Department of Kinesiology, California State University- San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA
Healing Yoga Foundation, San Francisco
Amy Wheeler, Ph.D.
It is the norm in society today to show advertising images of scantily clothed bodies, often air-brushed to perfection. It follows that it can be challenging when women compare their more natural and human forms to those shown in the magazine ads. The purpose of this study was to determine if taking a 10-week yoga class could have a positive impact on the perception that college aged women have of their bodies.
Each college-aged yogini (n= 67) was asked to fill out a questionnaire pertaining to how she perceived her body at the beginning of a 10-week yoga class. Examples of questions included, “I like the way that I look in a swim-suit”, and “I feel at ease with my body when I walk in front of a group of people”. The class met twice a week for 90 minutes. The class was taught in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya and had a strong focus on the synchronization of breath and movement. At the end of the 10-week quarter, each student was asked to fill out the same questionnaire regarding how she perceives her body. The questionnaire consisted of 12 questions, was proven to be a reliable and valid measure of body image, and used a Likert-scale of 1 to 5. One was labeled as low perception of body image and 5 as high perception of body image. Data was analyzed using SPSS 14.0 with paired-sample t-tests at a 95% confidence interval.
Results: Results showed that the perceived body image of college-aged women changed in a statistically significant manner, in the positive direction. Reported average levels of body image at the beginning of the quarter were a 2.67 on a scale of 1-5 (1= low and 5= high). After the 10-weeks of bi-weekly yoga in the T. Krishnamachary Tradition, the average score increased to 3.12. This is statistically significant, t(66)= -5.6, p
These data demonstrate that a twice a week group yoga class does have a significant impact on the body image of college-aged females.