Bryan, S. & Pinto Zipp, G. (2014). The effect of mindfulness meditation techniques during yoga and cycling. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 20(6) 306-316.
Background: The majority of U.S. Americans do not participate in regular physical activity or eat properly, resulting in 69% of the population being obese and/or overweight. Selfregulatory abilities can enable an individual to adopt health behaviors that enhance health outcomes. Mindfulness is the ability to direct the mind to the current state while cultivating a sense of nonjudgment. The purpose of this research was to assess the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation techniques presented while participants were engaging in both yoga and cycling.
Materials and Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to either an exercise intervention that included 30 minutes of yoga followed by 30 minutes of indoor cycling, or a control group that received no intervention and did not cycle. For the intervention group, during the yoga and cycling sessions, mindfulness techniques, such as breathwork, visualization, body scanning, and mindfulness-based readings were provided. Participants assessed their feeling responses immediately following both yoga and cycling using the Exercise Induced Feeling Inventory (EFI) scale. Additional data were collected using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Mindful Eating Questionnaire (MEQ), and the General Well Being Schedule (GWBS).
Results: For this study, 29 adults were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 16 were assigned to the control group. More participants were assigned to the intervention group in order to detect a change if it existed. Participants engaged in the physical activities continuously for two 1-hour sessions per week, for 4 or 8 weeks, depending upon the subjects’ availability during the summer months. The FFMQ revealed a significant within-subjects increase in overall mindfulness score from pretest to post-test in the intervention group (P < 0.048) and significant improvements occurred in the facets of Observe (P < 0.008) and Non-judge (P < 0.035). A significant between-subjects crossover effect in mindful eating (P < 0.029) was measured, with the control group’s scores decreasing and the intervention group’s scores increasing. The GWBS data showed a within-group significant improvement (P < 0.048). During both cycling and yoga, the participants reported “feeling moderately” that they were upbeat, refreshed, peaceful, happy, energetic, enthusiastic, calm, and revived.
Conclusion: Participating in physical activity while incorporating mindfulness meditation techniques is a productive way to improve mindfulness. The positive feeling states following both yoga and cycling suggest that mindfulness techniques may support the ability to direct the mind and reduce negative sensations. Mindfulness promotes self-care and self-awareness; ultimately, combining mindfulness with the participation of physical activity may be a successful approach toward the improvement of health-behavior management.