The Lived Experience of a Yoga Practice ‘Off the Mat’: Key Qualitative Findings from a New Zealand Study of Yoga Practitioners

Date
2024
Authors
Reynolds, Wendy L
Preez, Elizabeth du
Harris, Nigel K
Supervisor
Item type
Journal Article
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Modestum Ltd
Abstract

This study explored the influence of yoga on practitioners’ lives ‘off the mat’ through a phenomenological lens. Central to the study was the lived experience of yoga in a purposive sample of self-identified New Zealand practitioners (n=38; 89.5% female; aged 18 to 65 years; 60.5% aged 36 to 55 years). The study’s aim was to explore whether habitual yoga practitioners experience any pro-health downstream effects of their practice ‘off the mat’ via their lived experience of yoga. A qualitative mixed methodology was applied via a phenomenological lens that explicitly acknowledged the researcher’s own experience of the research topic. Qualitative methods comprised an open-ended online survey for all participants (n=38), followed by in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=8) on a randomized subset. Quantitative methods included online outcome measures (health habits, self-efficacy, interoceptive awareness, and physical activity), practice component data (tenure, dose, yoga styles, yoga teacher status, meditation frequency), and socio-demographics. This paper highlights the qualitative findings emerging from participant narratives. Reported benefits of practice included the provision of a filter through which to engage with life and the experience of self-regulation and mindfulness ‘off the mat’. Practitioners experienced yoga as a self-sustaining positive resource via self-regulation guided by an embodied awareness. The key narrative to emerge was an attunement to embodiment through movement. Embodied movement can elicit self-regulatory pathways that support health behavior.

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Keywords
3504 Commercial Services , 42 Health Sciences , 35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Source
American Journal of Qualitative Research, ISSN: 2576-2141 (Print); 2576-2141 (Online), Modestum Ltd, 8(1). doi: 10.29333/ajqr/14089
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