Attitudes towards mental health in Indians who practice yoga regularly and those who do not

(1) Eastern Regional High School, Voorhees, New Jersey, (2) Cognizant Technology Solutions, College Station, Texas
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Whether it is through implicit association or intentional practice, yoga has been known to help individuals maintain good mental health. However, many communities, such as South Asian communities, often project the stereotype that embodies neglecting topics such as mental health and considering them taboo. As a result, the effects of yoga on Indians and their attitudes towards mental health is a subject that still needs to be closely examined. It is imperative that ongoing research address the possible ways Indian communities can destigmatize and improve mental health. In this online survey-based study, we focused on examining whether yoga would alter individuals’ attitudes toward mental health. We aimed to measure whether a practice rooted in South Asian culture would allow people to value mental health more. Furthermore, we expanded the body of research concerning mental health in South Asian (specifically Indian) communities and determined whether certain practices could be used to improve mental health conditions in the Indian community. We hypothesized that 1) participants who regularly practiced yoga would be more familiar with the term mental health, 2) participants who practiced yoga would value their
mental health more, and 3) participants who practiced yoga regularly would be more open about their mental health and be more likely to reach out for professional help if needed. We did not find a statistical significance for any of our hypotheses which suggests that yoga may not have an effect on perceptions of mental health in yoga-practicing Indian adults.

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