Associations between attention, affect and cardiac activity in a single yoga session for female cancer survivors: An enactive neurophenomenology-based approach

Michael J. Mackenzie, Linda E. Carlson, David M. Paskevich, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Amanda J. Wurz, Kathryn Wytsma, Katie A. Krenz, Edward McAuley, S. Nicole Culos-Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-146
Number of pages18
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Attention
  • Cancer
  • Exercise
  • Heart rate variability
  • Meditation
  • Mixed methods
  • Neurophenomenology
  • Relaxation
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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