• Users Online: 147
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65-68

A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children

S-VYASA Yoga University Campus, Prashanti Kutiram, Vivekananda Road, Kallubalu Post, Jigani, Anekal, Bengaluru, India

Date of Web Publication29-May-2015

Correspondence Address:
Natesh Babu
Asst. Director, S-VYASA Yoga University Campus, Prashanti Kutiram, Vivekananda Road, Kallubalu Post, Jigani, Anekal, Bengaluru - 560105
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-5633.157887

Rights and Permissions

Background: Meditation brings calmness to the mental activities and develops the internal awareness. It can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety in student community and academicians. Aims: The aim was to measure the outcomes of cyclic meditation (CM), yogic relaxation technique, when compared to supine rest (SR). We examine reduction in anxiety, using Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Materials and Methods: A total of 60 high school students (both genders) participated in this study, aged between 13 and 16 years (group average age ± standard deviation, 14.78 ± 1.22 years). They were attending 10 days yoga training course during their summer vacation. Those children's, who had English as the main medium of instructions, were included. They acted as their own controls. They were divided into two groups and tested on the STAI, immediately before and after 22:30 min of practice of CM on 1 day, and immediately before and after an equal period of SR on the other day. For the assessment, the first group performed CM on day 9, and SR on day 10. For the second group, the order was reversed. Results: There was a significant reduction on STAI scores within group (pre and post) of CM (4.27%, P = 0.016) session and no change in SR session. Further, subgroup analysis based on gender revealed that the female group had a significant reduction following both sessions, but male group had nonsignificant reduction in STAI score. The female group found significantly differs from the male group in STAI score on both the sessions. Conclusions: The CM found to be a useful technique to combat the state of anxiety with different magnitude of changes in gender subgroups. The female group was benefitted more by following both CM and SR sessions compared with male group.

Keywords: Anxiety, cyclic meditation, meditation, relaxation

How to cite this article:
Babu N, Pradhana B, Nagendra H R. A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2013;1:65-8

How to cite this URL:
Babu N, Pradhana B, Nagendra H R. A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2024 Mar 1];1:65-8. Available from: https://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2013/1/2/65/157887

  Introduction Top

Meditation is difficult to learn and practice and hence requires guided training. Hence, S-VYASA developed a technique based on Upanishadic verses taken from Mandukya karika, [1] which say that when mind loses its awareness (laya) and enters into a sleepy state, then it awaken with some stimulation (Sambodhayet). Do it again and again till mind reaches a state of equanimity calmness. [2]

This technique is called cyclic meditation (CM) which consists of a set of postures interspersed with relaxation techniques. Scientific investigations documented that CM showed improvement in physiological, [3] psychological, [4] and neurophysiological variables. [5] School children's underwent 7 days CM training and found improvement in psychomotor performance. [6],[7]

Stress is associated with homeostasis, which lead to somatic and pathological condition. [8] This has been playing a major role in society and generating difficulties in human's social, emotional, behavioral, and personal life. [9] All the fields are getting affected by stress, including working place, educational and health institutions. [10] The negative effects have been seen in all occupational and professional areas.

Impact of stress has an adverse effect on student's health and academic performance. [11] Independently, either single yoga technique or integrated yoga has been found to diminish the stress level. There are several yoga techniques to combat the harmful effects. Scientific investigation showed that students of MBBS, [8],[12],[13],[14] dental [15] and nursing, [16] engineering, [17] college, [18] and school [19] have used different yoga practices for their psychological health benefits.

Most of the above mentioned studies investigated the long-term effect while CM studies are conducted on Yoga residential university course students. There is a dearth of scientific studies on teenage school students. Hence, the present study is aimed to evaluate immediate effect of CM on teenage students' anxiety.

  Materials and Methods Top


The sample size was calculated based on the effect size (0.57) obtained from the previous study, [20] using G* Power software, Version 3.0.10 (Behavior Research Methods), [21] where the α level was 0.05, power β = 0.95 and the recommended sample size was 42. In this study, 60 high school students were recruited, who were under-going a 10 day personality development camp. Since the intervention and measuring tool for the test were in English, the subjects belonged to English medium school with normal health status were included. Similarly, subjects having any history of ill-health and undergoing any medication were excluded. They were in the age range of 13-16 years (group average age, 14.37 ± 1.22 years) in equal number of both genders [Table 1]. They were explained about the details of the protocol, and the written consent was obtained from their parents.
Table 1: Age groups mean±SD, of male and female

Click here to view


The participants were given training for practice of both CM and supine rest (SR) for 8 days. They were assessed before and after equal period of both CM and SR. The assessments were taken on two consecutive days, on day 9 and 10. It was self as control design. The subjects were randomly assigned into two groups equally. The first group performed CM on day 9 and SR on day 10, and the second group with the order reversed. Subjects were tested on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) immediately before and after a session of CM of 22:30 min's duration on 1 day, and immediately before and after an equal period of SR on the other day.


Anxiety assessment

The state anxiety was measured using Spielberger's STAI consisted of 20 self-report scales, with each scale running from 1 to 4 for a full score of 80, to evaluate the general tendency to be anxious as a personality trait. The reported concurrent validity ranges from 0.75 to 0.80 with other tests [22] and it was widely used earlier in Indian population.


Subjects were instructed to keep their eyes closed throughout the practice of both CM and SR. CM used prerecorded instructions, which emphasized the need to carry out the practice slowly, with awareness and relaxation. Practice starts with subjects lying on their back in the supine (Shavasana) and consists of the following sequence:

Chanting of a verse from the Mandukya Upanishad[1] (0:40 min); isometric contraction of the muscles of the body ending with SR (1:00 min); slowly getting up by shifting the body to the left side and standing at ease (Tadasana), "balancing" the weight on both feet, called centering (2:00 min); The first standing lateral bending posture, toward the right side (Ardhakaticakrasana) (1:20 min); Tadasana (1:10 min) with instructions about relaxation and awareness; Ardhakaticakrasana bending toward the left side (1:20 min); Tadasana as previously (1:10 min); forward bending (Padahastasana) (1:20 min); Tadasana as previously (1:10 min); backward bending (Ardhacakrasana) (1:20 min); slowly coming down into the supine posture (Shavasana) with instructions to relax different parts of the body in sequence (10:00 min). All postures are practiced slowly, with instructions to be aware of all felt sensations. Total duration of practice is 22:30 min. [2]

During the session of SR, subjects were asked to lie on their back in the corpse posture (Shavasana) with eyes closed, legs apart and arms away from the sides of the body. This practice was also given for 22:30 min, the same as for CM, timed on a stopwatch.

Data analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (Released 2007. SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.). The scores of STAI data were normally distributed (P > 0.05, Shapiro-Wilk's test). Hence, Student's paired "t"- test was used for within group comparison for both CM and SR.

  Results Top

Mean values and standard deviation for STAI scores tests are given in [Table 2].
Table 2: State anxiety inventory of CM and SR (values are group mean±SD)

Click here to view

Cyclic meditation session showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 38.90 to 37.24 (P = 0.016, paired sample "t"- test). The SR session showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 38.88 to 37.62 (P = 0.073, paired sample "t"- test). The two sessions showed no significant difference in their baseline mean (P = 0.981, independent "t"- test) and also following CM and SR sessions (P = 0.705, independent "t"- test).

  • Female group: CM sessions showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 37.71 to 34.75 (P = 0.01, paired sample " t"- test). The SR session showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 37.94 to 35.08 (P = 0.017, paired sample " t"- test)
  • Male group: CM sessions showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 37.71 to 34.75 (P = 0.633, paired sample " t"- test). The SR session SR showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 37.94 to 35.08 (P = 0.620, paired sample " t"- test).

There was no significant gender difference of the mean before sessions of CM (P = 0.301, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.451, Independent " t"- test). However, there were significant difference in the mean score after session of CM (P = 0.047, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.049, Independent " t"- test).

The female group had significantly higher reduction in STAI score as compared to male group in CM (P = 0.049, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.019, Independent "t"- test).

  Discussion Top

The present study showed a significant reduction in State Anxiety Scores following CM session in the whole group by 4.27% alone. Previous study in adult group with similar design showed higher magnitude of changes. This may be due to participants in the previous study who were highly experienced and well-trained in meditation, relaxation and different yoga techniques. They were residential students doing undergraduate and postgraduate yoga courses. [23] The gender subgroup analysis found a significant reduction in (CM = 7.85% and SR = 7.54%) compared with their respective prescores.

The meta-analysis of efficacy of relaxation training (Jacobson's progressive relaxation, autogenic training, applied relaxation, and meditation) for anxiety showed medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.57). [20] In another study on natural stress relief, meditation reduced trait anxiety after 1 and 2 weeks of practice (Cohen's d = 0.46; d = 0.67) respectively. [24] Whereas in the present study found (Cohen's d = 0.32 for the whole group and d = 0.5 for female group) immediately after CM, which showed consistent findings with earlier studies. Hence, this indicates that different relaxation strategies had a different effect on anxiety levels.

The key components of CM are slow, smooth, effortless body movement with awareness and relaxation. The relaxation component of CM occurs at the end of last 7 min, which may lead to lowering the sympathetic arousal and anxiety scores. These characteristics of CM may be contributing toward reducing the state of anxiety.

Identical study on CM had shown an increase in parasympathetic activity, [25] reduction in oxygen consumption, [3] inhibit the cortical arousal. [5] These are the physiological indicators of reduction of stress and anxiety.

This is the first comparative study between genders on CM. Until now all the CM study had been evaluated in the adult well experienced male participants except one study that included female subjects alone. [25] Apart from this there were two studies on teenagers that included both genders, but they were not mentioned about gender comparison of their outcome measures. [6],[7]

The study had few limitations; participants were recruited from yoga camp, which could be a confounding variable, as the outcome variable might be influenced because of the adherence toward yoga practices. It was a self as control study design with convenient sampling, low sample size, and short duration of training program 7 days. Hence, the result cannot be generalized. CM can be used in educational programs for the school children's to reduce their anxiety level. Further, studies using CM as an intervention could also be investigated on physiological variable viz., EEG, EMG activity, and cortisol level and hormonal activity.

  Acknowledgment Top

Authors acknowledge the support of S-VYASA Yoga University, Bengaluru in carrying out this study.

  References Top

Chinmayananda S. Mandukya Upanishad. Bombay, India: Sachin Publishers; 1984.  Back to cited text no. 1
Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R. New Perspectives in Stress Management. Bangalore, India: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashan; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 2
Sarang PS, Telles S. Oxygen consumption and respiration during and after two yoga relaxation techniques. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2006;31:143-53.  Back to cited text no. 3
Subramanya P, Telles S. Performance on psychomotor tasks following two yoga-based relaxation techniques. Percept Mot Skills 2009;109:563-76.  Back to cited text no. 4
Subramanya P, Telles S. Changes in midlatency auditory evoked potentials following two yoga-based relaxation techniques. Clin EEG Neurosci 2009;40:190-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Pradhan B, Nagendra H. Immediate effect of two yoga-based relaxation techniques on attention in children. Int J Yoga 2010;3:67-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Pradhan B, Nagendra HR. Effect of yoga relaxation techniques on performance of digit-letter substitution task by teenagers. Int J Yoga 2009;2:30-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Gopal A, Mondal S, Gandhi A, Arora S, Bhattacharjee J. Effect of integrated yoga practices on immune responses in examination stress-A preliminary study. Int J Yoga 2011;4:26-32.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Mendelson T, Greenberg MT, Dariotis JK, Gould LF, Rhoades BL, Leaf PJ. Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a school-based mindfulness intervention for urban youth. J Abnorm Child Psychol 2010;38:985-94.  Back to cited text no. 9
Shirey MR, McDaniel AM, Ebright PR, Fisher ML, Doebbeling BN. Understanding nurse manager stress and work complexity: Factors that make a difference. J Nurs Adm 2010;40:82-91.  Back to cited text no. 10
Warnecke E, Quinn S, Ogden K, Towle N, Nelson MR. A randomised controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness practice on medical student stress levels. Med Educ 2011;45:381-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Malathi A, Damodaran A, Shah N, Krishnamurthy G, Namjoshi P, Ghodke S. Psychophysiological changes at the time of examination in medical students before and after the practice of yoga and relaxation. Indian J Psychiatry 1998;40:35-40.  Back to cited text no. 12
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Malathi A, Damodaran A. Stress due to exams in medical students - role of yoga. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1999;43:218-24.  Back to cited text no. 13
Simard AA, Henry M. Impact of a short yoga intervention on medical students' health: A pilot study. Med Teach 2009;31:950-2.  Back to cited text no. 14
Shankarapillai R, Nair MA, George R. The effect of yoga in stress reduction for dental students performing their first periodontal surgery: A randomized controlled study. Int J Yoga 2012;5:48-51.  Back to cited text no. 15
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Malinski VM, Todaro-Franceschi V. Exploring co-meditation as a means of reducing anxiety and facilitating relaxation in a nursing school setting. J Holist Nurs 2011;29:242-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
Subramanian S, Elango T, Malligarjunan H, Kochupillai V, Dayalan H. Role of sudarshan kriya and pranayam on lipid profile and blood cell parameters during exam stress: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga 2012;5:21-7.  Back to cited text no. 17
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Smith JA, Greer T, Sheets T, Watson S. Is there more to yoga than exercise? Altern Ther Health Med 2011;17:22-9.  Back to cited text no. 18
Kauts A, Sharma N. Effect of yoga on academic performance in relation to stress. Int J Yoga 2009;2:39-43.  Back to cited text no. 19
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Manzoni GM, Pagnini F, Castelnuovo G, Molinari E. Relaxation training for anxiety: A ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry 2008;8:41.  Back to cited text no. 20
Faul F, Erdfelder E, Lang AG, Buchner A. G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behav Res Methods 2007;39:175-91.  Back to cited text no. 21
Spielberger C, Gorsuch R, Lushene R. Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press; 1970.  Back to cited text no. 22
Subramanya P, Telles S. Effect of two yoga-based relaxation techniques on memory scores and state anxiety. Biopsychosoc Med 2009;3:8.  Back to cited text no. 23
Coppola F. Effects of natural stress relief meditation on trait anxiety: A pilot study. Psychol Rep 2007;101:130-4.  Back to cited text no. 24
An H, Kulkarni R, Nagarathna R, Nagendra H. Measures of heart rate variability in women following a meditation technique. Int J Yoga 2010;3:6-9.  Back to cited text no. 25
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  


  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Effect of yoga on cognitive functions and anxiety among female school children with low academic performance: A randomized control trial
Niranjan Parajuli, Balaram Pradhan, Saee Bapat
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2022; : 101614
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
   Materials and Me...
   Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded1405    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal