Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Peter McGinnis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joy Hendrick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Philip Buckenmeyer, Ph.D.


The purpose of the research was to evaluate the physiological and stress-related psychological effects of three months of twice weekly ashtanga yoga training. The hypothesis was that three months of twice weekly ashtanga yoga practice would have positive effects on: blood pressure, upper body muscular endurance, trunk muscular endurance, flexibility, and perceived stress, as supported by previous research. The participants included seven college-age, untrained females who composed the yoga group, and five moderately active college-age females who composed the control group. Participants in the yoga group engaged in 60-90 minutes of ashtanga yoga, two times weekly, over a three month period, while the control group engaged in more traditional physical activity. Statistical analysis revealed some significant effects of ashtanga yoga practice. The yoga group participants were shown to have increased upper body muscular endurance and increased trunk flexibility. There was additional evidence supporting positive effects on cardiovascular fitness, perceived stress, and mental health. It was concluded that twice weekly ashtanga yoga training, for a period of three months, provides a sufficient stimulus to improve all three components of physical fitness in untrained females, while additionally yielding improvements in stress-related psychological health.