EFFECT OF YOGA TRAINING ON MAZE LEARNING Shirley Telles* , Vempati Ramaprabhu and Satish Kumar Reddy Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, 9, Appajappa Agrahara, 1st Main, Chamarajpet, Bangalore - 560 018 (Received on October 4, 1999)
Abstract: The performance in a maze learning task was assessed in adults of either sex (n=31) before and after 30 days of yoga training and in an age and gender matched control group of subjects who did not receive training in yoga. Subjects were blind folded and used the dominant hand to trace the path in a wooden pencil maze. At each assessment, subjects were given 5 trials, without a gap between them. Performance was based on the time taken to complete the maze and the number of blind alleys taken. The time and error scores of Trial 1 were significantly less after yoga (two-factor ANOVA, Tukey test). Repeating trials significantly decreased time scores at Trial 5 versus Trial 1, for both groups on Day 1 and for the control group on Day 30. Hence the yoga group showed improved performance in maze tracing at retest 30 days later, which may be related to this group being faster learners and also the effect of yoga itself. Yoga training did not influence maze learning, based on the performance in 5 repeat trials. Key words: maze learning; yoga; performance. INTRODUCTION Maze tracing is a task which gives data related to the highest levels of mental functioning, including the process of choosing, trying, and rejecting or adopting alternative courses of conduct or thought. Performance in this task improves with repetition (i.e., maze learning) (1). Maze tracing also has a motor component, which contributes to scores of the time taken to complete tracing the path(2). Following yoga practice, volunteers were found to have improved static motor performance (3, 4) and manual dexterity (5). However, the effects of yoga practice on mental functions such as planning have not been studied. The present study was designed to determine if yoga practice changes: (i) performance scores in a maze tracing task on retest after 30 days, and (ii) maze learning based on performance with 5 repeated trials.