Yoga, Well-Being, and Transcendence: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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Yoga is thriving in the West, but how much is known about the relationship between the practice and overall well-being? The purpose of this empirical study was to explore this relationship from an experiential, qualitative perspective. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 5 men living in the United Kingdom who practice yoga regularly, and the resulting verbatim transcripts were subjected to an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). We identified 4 interrelated experiential themes for our participants: the significant personal meaning of yoga for the men in how it relates to their overall well-being, the mind–body connection inherent in their practice, the transformative and stabilizing effect of the practice in their lives, and the enhanced sense of physical and emotional awareness they experienced as a result. These themes provide insights into how the men make sense of and relate yoga practice to their overall self-esteem and sense of self. The findings are discussed in relation to current issues within health psychology.

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