A Survey of Mental Toughness Effects in Yoga Practice
Yukiko Kezuka1, *, Chieko Kato2, Koichiro Aoki1
In order to have a healthy life after the COVID-19 pandemic, not only athletes but also ordinary people need to keep their mental strength up. Yoga is easy for various people and has the common goals such as self-control and goal-oriented personal development with mental toughness training. Yoga can lead to acquisition of mental strength. The aim of this study is to find elements of yoga which improve the general public’s mental toughness.
Mental toughness is the ability to control oneself with quick determination, focus, and confidence when encountering difficulties or crises. In business and education, performing well requires coping with the demands of difficult and pressurized situations, with or without competitors.
In recent years, yoga has gained attention as a method to maintain and promote health, accessible to all ages. One reason is its versatility, as it can be practiced at various intensities.
This study clarified the effects of yoga on ordinary people’s mental toughness through a questionnaire and an interview.
This study examined the effects of yoga on ordinary people’s mental toughness through a questionnaire and an interview with yoga therapists certified by the Japan Yoga Therapy Society. Among the participants, 17 were yoga therapists providing instruction to increase mental toughness for people working in companies, and 15 were yoga therapists who instructed children. The questionnaire included questions about the goals, form, time, and content of yoga practices, innovations and points of concern with teaching, and the effects of yoga practices. The participants’ responses to the questionnaire were classified into some categories by 3 experimenters. A semi-structured 30-minute interview was also conducted online with 8 yoga therapists who taught yoga therapy for mental toughness to workers and children. These therapists were asked to answer questions about the therapy (participants, form, and time of yoga practice), innovations and points of concern, and the effects of the yoga practice.
Result and Discussion:
The effects of yoga which is stated in the interview were divided into the following categories: Improvement of comfort, calmness, relaxation, approach to the unconscious, increased motivation, awareness of physical sensations, improvement of communication, self-efficacy, goal setting, increased concentration, self-control, control of emotions, happiness, self-control, and social skills. The results of the questionnaires and interviews suggested that yoga practice is useful for improving ordinary people’s mental toughness as it has effects in common with the factors constituting mental toughness. The yoga practice for mental toughness included mindfulness in asana and breathing exercises and taught awareness of the body and breath. In addition, the use of techniques such as Vedic meditation in yoga practice might lead to positive cognitive changes and improved goal-setting ability and social skills.
Some characteristics of yoga, such as awareness of and control over the senses and meditation on the cognitive aspects of the body, can also contribute to improvement of mental toughness. It is assumed that combination of asana and meditation can give people the power to overcome the stress of ordinary life.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Arts, Toyo University, Japan; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org