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A Study on Prevalence, Protection and Recovery From COVID-19 in Seasoned Yoga Practitioners in Comparison to Age and Gender Matched Controls

Background:

Globally, COVID-19 has resulted in more than 3 million confirmed cases with a continuing rise in numbers. Following the first case detection in the United States on January 20, 2020, there has been a steady rise in the reported cases resulting in all 50 states being affected by the disease. As of April 28, 2020, two million deaths globally have been attributed to this disease. This is an ongoing pandemic, and our understanding of it is continually evolving.

Measures such as social distancing and working remotely have been enforced worldwide to curb disease transmission. This has led to an increased number of people staying indoors and living a more sedentary lifestyle. Many clinicians and people in the community have raised concerns about maintaining good mental and emotional health along with physical health.

Amidst concerns for maintenance of holistic health, yoga in its forms of guided breathing, meditation, and mindfulnessare interventions people are practicing rigorously in the current times of uncertainty. These interventions require no external infrastructure, promote a sense of calm and well-being, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Need for the study:

The study aims at collecting information on the prevalence of COVID 19 infection in seasoned yoga practitioners and comparing it with the prevalence of COVID-19 infection prevalence rates among age and gender matched control participants.

The study hypothesizes that yoga practice promotes protection and enhances recovery from the COVID-19 infection. To prove the hypothesis, the study investigators intend to collect and compare responses from seasoned yoga practitioners and age and gender matched controls regarding their recovery from the COVID 19 infection. Based on validated questionnaires on perceived stress, anxiety, depression, well-being, mindfulness, joy disposition, and resilience in participants over the study duration, the study investigators also intend to collect information on participant's mental and emotional predispositions.

Through this Randomized Controlled Trial, the following specific aims are to be accomplished:

Specific Aim 1: To compare prevalence rates of diagnosed COVID-19 infection between the seasoned yoga practitioners and age and gender matched controls at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks.

Specific Aim 2: To Compare Protection and Recovery from COVID 19 infection between seasoned yoga practitioners and controls as demonstrated by:

Self-reported duration of fever and respiratory symptoms in COVID-19 positive participants
Self-reported readiness to return to work (or a feeling of being physically and mentally fit) This is the key secondary outcome of the study.

Specific aim 3: To quantitatively assess the effects of yoga practices between seasoned practitioners and the control groups on measures such as perceived stress, resilience, and overall wellbeing by use of validated scales.

We also aim to do exploratory analysis by comparing the different yoga practices and their duration between the 3 study groups to establish a dose-response curve if possible.

Note: The term "yoga" used throughout this document is defined as mindfulness practices which involve deep breathing exercises and meditation, and excludes strenuous physical exercise.