Knitting is the new yoga? comparing techniques; physiological and psychological indicators of the relaxation response

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Croghan, Christiana
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Herbert Benson (1975) proposed knitting and yoga can elicit the relaxation response based on their shared rhythmic repetitive nature. This theory has been captured by recent publications of the proposition ‘knitting is the new yoga’. The relaxation response repeated measures of decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, increased relaxation states and increased semantic relaxation were examined in the conditions of knitting and yoga. Effects of regular participation and skill on relaxation were also examined. 25 knitting and 25 yoga participants completed 2 baseline and 1 post experiment survey and consented to repeated measures of blood pressure and heart rate. It was hypothesized that 15 minutes of knitting or yoga would elicit the measured indicators of the relaxation response and that regularity of participation and skill would affect results. Support was found for the proposition “knitting is the new yoga” along with significant evidence supporting the hypotheses knitting and yoga can elicit the relaxation response. Author keywords: knitting, yoga, relaxation response