Effects of Beliefs and Expectations of Yoga on College Students’ Yoga Experience
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OBJECTIVES: Yoga’s popularity in the United States has increased five-fold in the last decade and this rising trend is reflected in University curricula as more campuses add yoga courses to their physical activity programs. This pilot study attempts to: 1) determine if college students’ beliefs and expectations of yoga could be a driving force behind yoga’s popularity and 2) determine the viability of adding yoga as a standard physical activity course to Angelo State University’s curriculum. METHODS: An 11-question survey was designed by integrating questions from the Beliefs About Yoga Scale (BAYS) with questions from the Perceptions of Yoga Teacher Questionnaire (PYTQ) and administered (either online or on paper) to a convenience sample of 38 students enrolled in a preliminary yoga course at Angelo State University (2013-2014). 89% of the students responded. RESULTS: All participants believed yoga would help them become more flexible. 96% believed that it would improve their overall health and focus, while 95% believed yoga would help them gain self-awareness. All participants expected a yoga teacher to teach postures safely and provide proper alignment and modifications. Only 31% felt that providing spiritual guidance was an important aspect of a yoga teacher. Additionally, 96% of all students expected to continue practicing yoga upon completion of the course. CONCLUSION: Although 20 of the 34 respondents wrote additional comments in favor of keeping and/or expanding the yoga course, the small number of the convenience sample requires additional data be gathered from across the university population and further research be conducted.