Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a prevalent psychiatric disorder associated with substantial impairment and poor treatment response. It is believed that yoga influences processes that are linked to the maintenance of GAD including mindfulness, anxiety, and heart rate variability, but has yet to be evaluated among people with the disorder.
The presented study (2016) is a first step toward documenting the efficacy of yoga for reducing worry among people with GAD using a single-subject AB design case series and daily ratings of worry. Three participants with primary GAD received eight twice-weekly Kripalu yoga sessions following a baseline data collection period. Standardized self-report measures of worry, trait anxiety, experiential avoidance, mindfulness, and heart rate variability were assessed pre- and post-intervention.
Participants showed systematic improvement in daily worry ratings on at least one index and all scores on self-reported measures of worry, anxiety, experiential avoidance, and mindfulness changed in the expected direction following yoga (with one or two exceptions). Participants also showed improved heart rate variability during a worry period from pre- to post-intervention. Yoga has the potential to improve the processes linked to GAD and should stimulate further research in this area.
Link to research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27797661