August 5, 2009

Yoga at your desk may reduce stress

Twenty minutes a day of yoga and meditation performed at an employee's desk reduced stress and improved sleep, a U.S. researcher said.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction was established in 1979 to help Massachusetts hospital patients to heal, but it takes up one hour per day for eight weeks supplemented by lengthy weekly sessions and a full-day retreat.

Lead author Maryanna Klatt of Ohio State University said a shorter version of the program geared for office workers was also effective.

Participants attended one-hour weekly group meetings during lunch and practiced 20 minutes of meditation and yoga per day at their desks, Klatt said.

The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found the perceived stress decreased by about 11 percent among the group that experienced the intervention. The study participants also reported that it took them less time to fall asleep, they had fewer sleep disturbances and they experienced less daytime dysfunction than did members of the non-intervention group, the study said.