Exploring home-based yoga for the promotion of physical activity and mental health


An individual's perception of competence can impact upon their decision to engage in exercise or sport, and can influence affective responses, perceived effort, and maintenance of physical activity. Yoga is a lower intensity physical activity that potentially offers a less challenging exercise opportunity that can enhance perceptions of competence. The aim of this pilot-study was to investigate the use of home-based yoga as a means of promoting accessibility of sport participation and increasing physical activity. The participants' own perceptions as well as associations between home-based yoga, physical activity, motivation, self-efficacy, sleep quality, and quality of life were examined. The sample (N = 5) consisted of individuals who previously had participated in sport at different levels, yet at the time of recruitment to the study were physically inactive and did not meet the recommended guidelines of daily activity. Participants completed a six-week home-based Virya yoga intervention that included weekly phone calls and the wearing of an activity monitor. Data were collected using a longitudinal mixed method multiple case study research design. Comparison of pre- and post-intervention measures revealed a significant increase in physical activity and a significant decrease of sitting. Thematic analysis of post intervention interviews with participants identified four higher order themes, specifically: "being more physically active"; "being more motivated"; "factors affecting the ability to be physically active"; and "a changed view of yoga." The present study provides preliminary support for the use of home-based yoga as a means to promote accessibility of sport participation and increasing physical activity.