Yoga practice is reported to lead to improvements in quality of life, psychological functioning, and symptom indices in cancer survivors. Importantly, meditative states experienced within yoga practice are correlated to neurophysiological systems that moderate both focus of attention and affective valence. The current study used a mixed methods approach based in neurophenomenology to investigate associations between attention, affect, and cardiac activity during a single yoga session for female cancer survivors. Yoga practice was associated with a linear increase in associative attention and positive affective valence, while shifts in cardiac activity were related to the intensity of each yoga sequence. Changes in attention and affect were predicted by concurrently assessed cardiac activity. Awareness of breathing, physical movement, and increased relaxation were reported by participants as potential mechanisms for yoga's salutary effects. While yoga practice shares commonalities with exercise and relaxation training, yoga may serve primarily as a promising meditative attention-affect regulation training methodology.
- Heart rate variability
- Mixed methods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology