Differential and incremental effects of ethical education, physical yoga, and mantra meditation on healthy participants – an experimental single-case study Karin Matko
Traditionally, yoga is a multicomponent practice consisting of postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and ethics. To date, only a few studies have tried to dismantle the effects of each of these components and their combinations. To fill this gap, we examined the incremental effects of ethical education and physical yoga on mantra meditation using a single-case multiple-baseline design. Fifty-seven healthy participants were randomly assigned to three baselines (7, 14, and 21 days) and four conditions: mantra meditation alone, meditation plus physical yoga, meditation plus ethical education, and meditation plus yoga and ethical education. All the interventions lasted for 8 weeks and forty-two participants completed the treatment. We analyzed our data using visual inspection, effect size estimation (Tau-U), and multilevel modeling. This talk will provide insights into some of the results of this extensive study. Almost all participants showed a longitudinal increase in well-being with participants who received ethical education exhibiting the largest increases. There was a tendency for the combined treatments to decrease stress and this tendency was strongest in the meditation-plus-yoga condition. In contrast, all treatments had an equally positive effect on body awareness and emotion regulation. We performed cluster analysis to examine interindividual differences between participants and found two clusters. In one cluster, participants showed increases in almost all dependent variables, whereas participants from the other cluster displayed no change. Those who benefitted scored higher on anxiety, neuroticism, and absorption, and lower on extraversion, distress tolerance, self compassion, and life satisfaction.These results emphasize the incremental and differential effects of practicing meditation in combination with other practices from the eightfold yoga path. Furthermore, they highlight interindividual differences in response to mind-body treatments. This approach is valuable for better understanding the multifaceted practice of yoga and developing custom-tailored interventions.