Objectives: The purpose of this qualitative study was twofold: (1) to better understand how yoga practitioners perceive intra- and interpersonal outcomes of their yoga practice, and (2) to develop a conceptual model of yoga effects on intra- and interpersonal outcomes that may underlie the "relational" influences of yoga. Design: As part of a larger study, 107 community-dwelling yoga practitioners (age M = 41.2. ±. 15.9. years) completed open-ended questions which asked questions focusing on whether yoga influences one's relationship to oneself and to others. A subsample (n = 12) completed in-depth interviews. The open-ended responses were analyzed using content analysis, and verbatim interview transcripts were analyzed for emergent themes using a constant comparison approach. Results: Four emerging themes were identified such that practitioners talked about the ability of yoga to generate calm states, mindfulness, (self-)compassion, and a sense of connectedness. Throughout the themes, a common pattern emerged such that yoga practice first led to positive intrapersonal changes, which then influenced one's interpersonal relationships. Based on these results, a conceptual model was developed depicting potential pathways of how yoga works to enhance relational outcomes. Conclusion: Findings demonstrate the promise yoga holds to improve one's relationship to oneself (intrapersonal) through mindfulness and self-compassion, and to others (interpersonal), through the enhancement of compassion and social connectedness, which may potentially lead to enhanced health and wellbeing outcomes. Further empirical testing of the model is warranted.
- Relational Health
- Social connectedness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and Manual Therapy
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing