The EPYQ: Measure helps researchers capture the beneficial components of yoga

Research shows that yoga interventions yield a wide range of benefits for health and well-being. But what specific components of these interventions facilitate such effects? 

In a paper published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, researchers validated a measure that identifies these components. The Essential Properties of Yoga Questionnaire (EPYQ) captures 14 dimensions of yoga interventions:

  • acceptance/compassion
  • bandhas (energy locks)
  • body awareness
  • breathwork
  • instructor mention of health benefits
  • individual attention
  • meditation and mindfulness
  • mental and emotional awareness
  • physicality
  • active postures
  • restorative postures
  • social aspects
  • spirituality
  • yoga philosophy

The article’s authors developed the questionnaire because most studies of the effects of yoga on health don’t adequately describe the intervention components: “This lack of detail prevents researchers from making comparisons across studies and limits our understanding of the relative effects of different aspects of yoga interventions.”

The article explains how the EPYQ’s 14 dimensions of yoga interventions were identified, and how these are linked to the roots of traditions commonly drawn upon in research. Importantly, the EPYQ tool will facilitate new directions and nuance in yoga therapy studies, so although the paper was published in 2018 it remains relevant today.

“We anticipate that the EPYQ will advance yoga research by providing a standard way to rate interventions, enabling comparisons of results across studies, assisting in the selection of comparison conditions, optimizing the mix of yoga dimensions in interventions, and aiding in identifying underlying mechanisms of action. The tool will also allow researchers to link specific components of yoga to specific health outcomes such as changes in pain, depression, and functioning.”

The International Journal of Yoga Therapy is an annual peer-reviewed journal that features scholarly articles related to yoga therapy. 

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