Mindfulness and avoidance mediate the relationship between yoga practice and anxiety
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Objectives: There is accumulating evidence that yoga and mindfulness meditation can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, although the mechanisms by which this occurs remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between yoga practice and self-reported anxiety as well as the potential mediating roles of mindfulness and emotional avoidance. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, 367 participants were recruited online and completed measures of anxiety, avoidance, and mindfulness. Results: Results showed that length of yoga practice was significantly correlated with lower anxiety in yoga practitioners. Avoidance and mindfulness mediated the relationship between length of yoga practice and anxiety, shedding light on possible mechanisms by which these practices reduce anxiety. Conclusions: Future experimental and longitudinal research is needed to examine the causal role of mindfulness and avoidance in the relationship between yoga practice and anxiety, and whether yoga is a useful adjunct to cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety disorders.
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