SAHAJA YOGA: AN ANCIENT PATH TO MODERN MENTAL HEALTH?
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The present study looks to evaluate the effectiveness of the meditative practice of Sahaja Yoga as a treatment for the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whilst there is a small research literature that has investigated the efficacy of meditation (usually based upon the Buddhist Vipassana tradition) for the treatment of such symptoms, and a smaller literature looking at the effectiveness of Sahaja Yoga in the treatment of a number of physical health problems, no published studies have looked at the effectiveness of Sahaja Yoga as a treatment for mental health problems. The present study therefore compared three independent groups, these being a 'waiting list' control group, a cognitive-behavioural (CBT) based stress management group and a Sahaja Yoga meditation group. Both treatment groups consisted of six, two hourly sessions, once per week, with symptom severity being measured at pre- and post-treatment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADs) and the 12 item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Data were analysed using MANOV A and repeated measures AN OVA tests. The results show that, compared to controls, the participants in the Sahaja Yoga group reported significant reductions on all measures of symptomology, however, surprisingly, the CBT based group showed no such reductions. Limitations of the study, barriers to the use of Sahaja Yoga in clinical practice and the need for future research, particularly regarding process, are considered.
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