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There were 2 groups with 20 college students in each. Their ages ranged from 17 to 22 years, with 5 females in each group. One group, i.e. the yoga group (mean age ± S.D. 18.2 ± 1.4 years) received 10 days training in yoga. During the 10 day period the 'control' group (mean age ± S.D. 17.9 ± 1.8 years) who were from the same college carried on with their usual routine. According to the ethical guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, and the signed informed consent was taken from all the subjects.

Testing procedure

Hand steadiness was tested with the conventionally used appartus (2). it was fabricated for us by Anand Agencies, Pune, India. This apparatus consists of a metal plate with nine holes of decreasing size. The largest being 8 mm in diameter, while the smallest is 2 mm in diameter. Subjects were asked to keep their arm extended without support, and insert a metal stylus to a depth of about 2cms in each hole, and maintain it there for 15sec, before withdrawing it. Accidental contact of the stylus with the sides of the plates are to be avoided. The stylus is connected to the plate in series, with an electronic counter which registers contacts between the stylus and the plate as errors.

Design of the Study

The steadiness test was performed for both groups at the beginning, and again at the end of the 10 day period. The values were tested for significant difference using the non-parametric Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test (two tailed).

Yoga training

The 'Yoga' group had come to the Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, for a 10-day residential camp. The yogic practices took up approximately 8 hours each day, and consisted of asanas (physical postures), pranayama (voluntary regulation of breathing), meditation, devotional sessions, tratakas (visual focusing exercise to improve eyesight as well as concentration), and lectures on the theory and philosophy of yoga.

Table 1: Number of errors made during a steadiness test in 2 groups of subjects, initially and at the end of a 10 day period ("Final")

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