Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Specialization

Interpersonal Communication

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Geoff Leatham

Abstract

Previous studies have found that the practice of yoga is related to physical and mental health benefits in the yoga practitioner. Research has not yet studied how yoga practice may influence the practitioners’ interpersonal relationships after the change in mental and health benefits occurs within the self. This study examined how the practice of yoga in real life was positively related to relationship satisfaction and relationship commitment through the mediating variables of stress, mindfulness, authentic self (cognitive variables) and authenticity in relationships (behavioral variable). Two hundred participants were surveyed and one hundred and twenty-two of the participants had never practiced yoga, while seventy-six participants indicated that they had practiced yoga. The goal of this study was to see if those who practiced yoga before had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and relationship commitment then those who had not practiced yoga. Results indicated that those who practiced yoga differed from those who did not, by having higher levels of relationship satisfaction, p=. 000.

An unexpected finding of the study was that the practice of yoga in real life was significantly related to the meditating variables of stress, p = .000, mindfulness p = .089, and authentic self p=.001, rather than attending yoga class itself. Going to yoga class was significantly related to the practice of yoga in real life, p=.000. So, yoga in real life was used as the independent variable instead of attending yoga class. These results indicate that the practice of yoga in real life leads the individual to become less stressed, more mindful, and more in-tune with their authentic self, and these changes in the individual were all significantly related to relationship satisfaction but not relationship commitment.

The behavioral variable of authenticity in relationships mediated the relationship between yoga in real life and relationship commitment and satisfaction p=.000, but it was negatively related to relationship commitment and satisfaction. These findings suggest that being authentic in your relationship is negatively related to the individuals satisfaction and commitment levels, partners satisfaction and commitment levels were not examined in this study and it may provide a clearer reasoning for this result. This study suggests that going to yoga class leads the practitioner to practice aspects of yoga in real life and those who practice yoga in real life are more satisfied in their romantic relationships.

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