Four weeks of trauma-informed yoga intervention and autonomic tone in female veteran and non-veteran college students
Keywords:Heart rate variability, Stress, Physiology, Parasympathetic activity, Mindfulness
Introduction: Female college students (veteran and non-veteran) are exposed to cumulative stressors and trauma that may lead to an imbalanced autonomic nervous system. Yoga has emerged as an efficacious intervention for psychological and physical trauma; however, the therapeutic dose of intervening yoga is unknown. Additionally, the frequency, duration, and type of yoga needed to achieve a therapeutic dose appear to be population specific when applied to trauma victims. The purpose of the study was to examine whether a short-term trauma-informed yoga intervention altered metrics of autonomic tone as assessed by heart rate variability (HRV) in female veteran and non-veteran college students. Methods: Nine female college students (age: 33 years ± 11, veteran, n = 4, non-veteran, n = 5) engaged in trauma-informed yoga once per week for one-hour over a four-week intervention. Repeated measures ANOVA were performed on the HRV variables lnRMSSD, lnHF, lnLF, and LF:HF. Results: Findings indicated no effect of the intervention on HRV as measured by lnRMSSD (p = .116), lnHF (p = .073), lnLF (p = .316), and LF:HF (p = .131). Further, no acute alterations in HRV were observed following a single session of trauma-informed yoga (p > .05). Conclusion: The findings of the study revealed no significant effect of trauma-informed yoga on HRV following a single session or after a four-week yoga intervention.
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