Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Bart Hammig

Committee Member

Ed Mink

Second Committee Member

Dean Gorman

Third Committee Member

Timothy Eichler


anxiety, best practices, health behavior, mental health, programming, sleep, stress, university students, yoga


Purpose: This lack of rigor in yoga research methodology hinders the understanding of yoga components and best practices. This study implements two yoga interventions with recommended adequate structure, one more physically demanding (Ashtanga Vinyasa) and a less physically demanding (slow flow vinyasa). The instructor, who is also the lead researcher, developed a slow flow vinyasa sequence and modified the set sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa for beginners. Both yoga interventions cover domains suggested by Sherman (2012) for meticulous methods in yoga research.

Methods: This study implements two styles of yoga with university students over the course of eight weeks, meeting twice a week. The courses in this study are academic electives offered through the university, the treatment group consisted of four individual classes. The control group consisted of other elective classes that did not include yoga, such as women’s health and resilience & thriving. Effects were measured over time within groups and between groups through pre and post assessments for sleep, stress, anxiety, and depression. Sleep is measured in two ways, sleep quality and amount of sleep. This study also implements a newly developed assessment for yoga intervention fidelity, The Essential Properties of Yoga Questionnaire (EPYQ).

Using Sherman’s (2012) domains, the yoga interventions are articulated and implemented with intention to meet the medical standard of study replicability. Sherman’s domains are the followings: style of yoga, dose and delivery of yoga, home practice, yoga intervention components, deep relaxation, asana, pranayama, specific class sequences, dealing with modifications, selection of instructors, and intervention fidelity. The instructor completed the EPYQ after each class to evaluate intervention fidelity.

Results: The yoga groups significantly improved at post in amount of reported sleep (p = .035), stress (p = .015), and anxiety (p = .049). Significant differences were found between the two yoga styles at post assessment in amount of reported sleep (p <.001) and stress (p = .042). Depression was not found significant on any analysis.

Yoga groups showed positive improvements over the course of the intervention in amount of sleep (p <.001), stress (p <.001), and anxiety (p = .014). There were no significant differences between the two styles of yoga, Ashtanga and slow flow vinyasa, in this study. As expected, data analysis from the EPYQ showed a difference between the two styles only in the domains of breathwork and physicality.

Conclusions: The high standards for yoga interventions serves as a major step towards the integration of yoga and modern medicine. Much is still unknown about the different yoga intervention components and their affects. This study can be template for researchers and instructors to replicate and adjust appropriately to strengthen the methods of yoga interventions in research and practice.