How Accurate Are Weekly Logs Of Home Yoga Practice?

How Accurate Are Weekly Logs Of Home Yoga Practice?

Practitioners accurately recorded weekly formal home yoga practice

Research Study At A Glance

The Research Question Asked

Do practitioners accurately record home yoga practice on a weekly log?

Type of Study

Pilot study via a survey of practitioners

Study Participants (Sample)

Sample size: 72 participants
Study participants:

  • 66 female; 6 male
  • All over 18
  • All had at least a regular weekly yoga practice

Methods

In order to study frequency of home practice, researchers asked study participants to complete both a daily and weekly log of their practice for four weeks. Researchers then compared the similarity and differences between weekly logs and weekly sums of daily logs. Specifically, they compared the following between the two logs: number of yoga classes per week, number of times and number of minutes practitioners engaged in a formal home yoga practice per week, and number of times practitioners engaged in informal home yoga practice each week.

Results

Generally, the number of yoga classes taken per week and both the number of times and the minutes of time that practitioners engaged in formal home yoga practice per week had excellent, or at least good agreement, between the two methods of logging yoga practice (daily or weekly log).

Conclusion

Practitioners accurately recorded frequency and duration of formal home yoga practice on a weekly log when compared to a daily log.

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Background

Consistency of practice is key to experiencing the benefits of yoga. Previous research has shown that frequency of yoga practice can affect its results. So, understanding the context of yoga practice is an important piece of information for understanding its particular effects. Knowing how often and for how long someone practices yoga can help researchers understand whether the effects of a yoga practice are due more to the yoga technique, or the frequency or duration of yoga practice.

Practicing at home is often key to consistency of yoga practice since most people have work, family, and other obligations that prevent them from taking classes in a studio multiple days a week. For that reason, yoga research trials are often designed with the expectation that participants will practice at home as part of their “yoga treatment.” Researchers then need a reliable way for study participants to indicate how often, when, and what kind of yoga practice they do on their own. This research team wanted to evaluate a method of documenting how often yogis practice. They examined two types of record-keeping for home yoga practitioners and evaluated the pros and cons of each type of practice log.

Research question

Do practitioners accurately record home yoga practice on a weekly log?

Research methods

The research team recruited 72 yoga practitioners who had done yoga on at least a weekly basis before signing up to participate in this study. The participants were primarily female (66 participants) and all were over age 18. The researchers asked all participants to complete two types of yoga practice logs during the study: one daily log and one weekly log. Both logs recorded formal and informal home yoga practice. The researchers defined formal practice as including postures, breathing practices, or meditation for at least five minutes at a time. They defined informal practice as engaging in postures, breathing practices, body awareness, or meditation in the middle of other activities, and for less than five minutes.

Specifically, researchers asked practitioners to record the following on a daily and weekly basis:

  • Number of yoga classes attended
  • Total minutes in yoga classes
  • Number of times and average minutes duration engaged in formal home yoga practice
  • Types of activities used in formal home yoga practice
  • Number of times and types of activities used in informal home yoga practice

Participants completed daily surveys for 28 days starting at day 0. They completed weekly surveys starting on day 0 and then at the end of weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4.

After the study participants completed their practice logs, the researchers compared the similarity and differences between the weekly logs and the weekly sums of the daily logs. Specifically, they compared the following between the two logs: number of yoga classes per week, number of times and number of minutes practitioners spent doing formal home yoga practice per week, and number of times practitioners engaged in informal home yoga practice each week.

Results

  • Yoga practitioners’ weekly logs reported a higher number of yoga classes taken than the weekly sum of their daily reports.
  • Yoga practitioners’ weekly logs reported a higher number of times they engaged in formal home yoga practice than the weekly sum of their daily reports.
  • Yoga practitioners’ daily log sums of the number of times they engaged in informal home yoga practice were higher than their weekly report.
  • Generally, the number of yoga classes taken per week as well as the number of times and the minutes of time that practitioners engaged in formal home yoga practice per week had excellent, or at least good agreement, between the two methods of logging yoga practice (daily or weekly log).
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Why is this relevant to yoga practitioners?

Frequency of yoga practice matters. We demonstrated this in our large survey of yoga practitioners. As we said in that article “Frequency of yoga practice, either with or without a teacher, was the most consistent positive predictor of experiencing nearly all types of benefits.” So it makes sense that tracking the frequency of yoga practice is necessary for any study aimed at getting a better understanding of yoga’s effects. Establishing a reliable tracking method that isn’t so tedious that they’ll give it up can also be helpful for home practitioners who want to record their practice time. So the information from this study is relevant to anyone who wants to track how often they practice yoga.

Conclusion

Tracking practice using a weekly log was more reliable for some kinds of yoga practice than others. Weekly logs were pretty consistent with daily logs for number of yoga classes, and frequency and duration of formal home yoga practice. However, daily logs were more accurate for recording informal practice.

Reference citation

Uebelacker, L.A., S. Feltus, R. Jones, G.N. Tremont, I.W. Miller. 2019. Weekly assessment of number of yoga classes and amount of yoga home practice: Agreement with daily diaries. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 43:227-231.