Yoga Mimamsa

: 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29--33

Anxiety and depression related to yog nidra among professional students

Rupali Joshi 
 Department of Psychology, P.N.G.G.P.G. College, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Rupali Joshi
Department of Psychology, P.N.G.G.P.G. College, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand


Background: Anxiety is one's response to stress. Its symptoms can be psychological, physical, or environmental challenges. Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feeling of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Yog nidra is probably the best known technique to induce complete physical and emotional relaxation. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the effectiveness of yog nidra for reducing anxiety and depression among first-year professional students. Materials and Methods: The level of anxiety was measured by using State, Trait, and Free-Floating Anxiety Scale developed by Tripathi and Rastogi (1986). The Hindi version of Beck Depression Inventory by Arora and Prashant (1988) was used to assess the depression level of participants. The study was conducted in three phases. In Phase-1 (preintervention), data were obtained from 201 students. In the Phase-2 (intervention phase), the participants were selected on the basis of high scores on the measures of anxiety and depression and divided into intervention (28 students) and non-intervention groups (30 students). The intervention group was given yog nidra training regularly for 5 weeks. Posttest was conducted after 5 weeks of the intervention. Results: The results showed a reduction in mean scores on the measures of anxiety and depression within the intervention group but not in the nonintervention group, which indicated the effectiveness of practicing yog nidra for reducing anxiety and depression and its positive effects among professional students. Conclusion: A dramatic effect of practicing yog nidra was observed among students for reducing anxiety and depression.

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Joshi R. Anxiety and depression related to yog nidra among professional students.Yoga Mimamsa 2020;52:29-33

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Joshi R. Anxiety and depression related to yog nidra among professional students. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 1 ];52:29-33
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Adolescence is the most important period of human life, a period of growing to maturity, a time for adaptation to realities of life, a time of striking changes, and a unique period full of crisis. Late adolescence, a period from 18 to about 22 years, is a period when transition from school to college as well as from adolescence to adulthood takes place and thus is a highly stressful transitional phase. The developmental tasks during this period involve preparing for a career, achieving socially responsible behavior, building a sound personality, developing healthy attitude toward marriage and family life, and formation of identity. This period demands a lot of adjustment and taxes the coping ability of the individual and is the formative foundation of adulthood, stresses at this period can have damaging effects which need to be addressed at this stage itself.

Anxiety is one's response to stress. These symptoms can be psychological, physical, or environmental challenges. Anxiety is a natural physiological response that arouses the fight or flight sensation as an appropriate fear response. An individual gets anxious in response to fear in order to protect himself or herself. It is only when anxiety becomes debilitating and disconnected to a known situation or stimuli that it becomes a problem. There are various forms of anxiety including excessive worrying, a sense of fear, restlessness, overly emotional responses, and negative thinking. This situation can turn so bad, and it may interrupt the quality of life. Anxiety includes stress, panic, avoidance, irrational fears, and fear of losing control and problems of sleeping and/or eating (Samantha, & Robert, 2009). Free-floating anxiety is severe, generalized anxiety having no apparent connection to any specific object, situation, or idea.

The psychological symptoms of anxiety among students include feeling nervous before attending classes, panicking, going blank during a test, feeling helpless while doing assignments, or lack of interest shown in subjects, which are considered difficult, whereas the physiological symptoms include sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, or an upset stomach (Ruffin, 2007). The anxiety level creates normal life difficult for some students and relaxation is nearly impossible and for others, the anxiety interferes with day-to-day functioning such as studies, their daily activities, and social life among students. In classroom setting, anxiety disorders may manifest in student's behaviors. Students with higher level of anxiety are associated with poorer academic performance (McCraty, 2007; Luigi, Francesca, Maria, Eleonora, Valentina, & Benedetto, 2007). The prevalence of anxiety among university students has been acknowledged by students and educators.

Further, depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feeling of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Significant negative consequences of depression among college students such as academic impairment, becoming a dropout, resorting to drugs and alcohol, and, in the extreme cases, suicide have been recorded in the available literature. A number of factors contribute to the initial presentation of depression during college. The transition itself from home to college places additional life stressors on young adults as they explore their identity, strive to master new skills far away from established support system, and face increased lifetime demands (Dyson, & Rank, 2006). Bayram and Bilgel (2008) found that first-year and second-year students had higher depression, anxiety, and stress than others. Students who were satisfied with their education had lower depression than those who were not. Students from families with poor economic conditions had higher depression and stress scores than students from families with moderate or good economic condition. Beck, Taylor and Robbins (2003) also found that those students who were beginning college and had an interpersonal or sociotropic orientation exhibited more symptoms of homesickness and depression.

Nevertheless, Yog –nidra is probably the best-known technique to induce complete physical and emotional relaxation. Yog nidra is a state of consciousness which is neither sleep nor awaken neither it is concentration or hypnotism. It can be defined as an altered state of consciousness. Techniques of Yog-Nidra have preventive, promotive, and creative values. It prevents stress and stress-related disorder by inducing deep physical emotional and mental relaxation by training the mind to remain calm and quiet. It is a state of conscious deep sleep. During the practice of yoga nidra, one appears to be sleep, but the consciousness is functioning at the deeper level of awareness. It is sleep with a trace of deep awareness. It is a state of mind in between wakefulness and dream. Normally when we sleep, we loose track of our self and cannot utilize this capacity of mind. Yoga nidra enables the person to be conscious in this state and nurture the seed of great willpower, inspire the higher self, and enjoy the vitality of life.

Earlier studies showed a positive impact of yoga nidra on anxiety, stress, and depression (Kumar, 2008; Rani, Tiwari, Singh, Singh, & Srivastava, 2012; Vorkapic, Pinhero, Marchioro, & Santana, 2018). Further, it is evident that yoga nidra was effective in maintaining physical and psychological health in middle-aged individuals (Tripathi, 2018). These studies suggest that yog nidra is a useful technique for all age group people who are suffering from many psychological issues. In fact, first-year college students suffer from a high level of anxiety and depression due to various factors such as academic work, facing new situations, transition from school to college, problems with relationship, homesickness, and fear of ragging. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore the effectiveness of yog nidra on anxiety and depression among college students. It was hypothesized that scores on measures of anxiety and depression are expected to decrease after practicing yog nidra for 5 weeks among students in the intervention groups, whereas no change will be observed in the nonintervention group.

 Materials and Methods

The present study adopted a pre-post interventional study design using equivalent groups. The study was divided into three phases – preintervention (Phase-1), intervention (Phase-2), and postintervention (Phase-3). The sample and tools measuring the various psychological aspects were chosen according to the research objectives and have been presented in the following sections.


The initial sample of the Phase-1 of the study consisted of 230 first-year students, all living in hostel and belonging to similar socioeconomic status. All the tests were administered on these 230 students, however, data of 29 students had to be discarded during scoring due to incomplete responses. Thus, in the initial Phase-1, the number of effective respondents was 201. All the students belonged to first year and resided in the hostel.

High-stress students were selected for the Phase-2 (intervention phase) and Phase-3 (postintervention phase) out of the 201 students on the basis of high scores on all the measures of anxiety and depression. The students were selected from IIT (Delhi), Delhi University, residing in institute/university hostels. The students were male and their age ranged from 16 to 19 years. Students having high stress were divided into two groups, namely, intervention group which consisted of 28 boys (n = 28) and nonintervention group which consisted of 30 boys (n = 30). The intervention group was taught and practiced yog nidra exercise, whereas the nonintervention group was not given any special training, however, participants of both groups were allowed to participate in regular college schedule.

The study was conducted with prior permission from various university authorities such as the heads of departments and hostel wardens of the concerned groups of students. The study protocol and the purpose of the experiment were explained to the study participants. Written informed consent from all the study participants was obtained before start of the experiment.


All the students were assessed at the baseline and after completion of training intervention of 5 weeks for anxiety and depression.


The level of anxiety was measured by using the State, Trait, and Free-floating anxiety Scale (Tripathi, & Rastigi, 1986). The scale has three dimensions, namely, state, trait, and free-floating anxiety. In the present study, only the free-floating anxiety subscale was used. This subscale has 24 items, and there are 14 positive items and 10 negative items. The responses are to be given on a 5-point rating scale from 5 to 1. The reliability of the subscale is 0.869.


The Hindi version of Beck Depression Inventory (Arora, & Prashant, 1988) was used to assess the depression level of the students. It contains twenty items, each having four response categories. Each response category has a score range from 0 to 3. The reliability of the test is 0.86.


The training of yog nidra was carried out in the respective hostels after seeking due permission from the concerned authorities. Prior to starting the training session, each participant was first given the following information about yog nidra “The Yog nidra is a more efficient and effective form of psychic and physiological rest and rejuvenation than conventional sleep. However, through the practice of yog nidra, we are not only relaxing but also restructuring and reforming our whole personality from within. Releasing of tension, relaxation, and peace of mind are the secrets of transformation. When a man is under tension, his behavior is influenced and when he relaxes, he becomes natural self. If you practice yog nidra, then the nature of your mind can be changed, your diseases can be cured, and your creative genius can be restored. Subconscious and unconscious mind are the most powerful forces in human beings. Whether you have physical, mental, or emotional problem or not, yog nidra should be practiced daily to dive deep into the mind, which aids in the evolution of your consciousness.” The stages of yoga nidra are (i) internalization/relaxation – preliminary preparation of the body; (ii) affirmation (Sankalpa) – personal goal previously decided on its declared silently; (iii) rotation of consciousness – the consciousness is taken on a tour of the whole body in a structured fashion; (iv) respiration awareness – a period of awareness of the breath at special positions in the body; (v) manifestations of opposites – Pairs of feelings and emotions are experienced; (vi) creative visualization – various archetypal images are visualized mentally; (vii) affirmation – Sankalpna is repeated and now in a highly suggestible state of consciousness, is programmed into the subconscious mind; and (viii) return to full awareness – a careful and gradual return to a normal state. The training instructions in yog nidra are presented in [Table 1].{Table 1}

The participants of the experimental group were trained to do yog nidra to the rhythm as demonstrated. This procedure was repeated 5–6 times till the participants had learned to regulate his/her breathing according to the count and the rising of abdomen was ensured. The participants were then trained yog nidra daily during morning and evening on empty stomach at least 5 weeks. Regularity of the practice was emphasized. Follow-up after a gap of 1 week was done to monitor adherence and to encourage and motivate the participants. All the participants cooperated readily as they reported feeling somewhat better after doing the exercises. This was continued for a period of 5 weeks for half an hour for each participant selected for Phase-2 and Phase-3 parts of the study.

Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics followed by paired sample t-tests was used for statistical analyses.


The mean scores among professional students on anxiety for intervention and nonintervention groups at Phase-1 were 55.79 and 53.67, respectively, and at Phase-3, it was 49.46 and 52.80, respectively [Table 2] and [Figure 1]. The difference between intervention and nonintervention groups was not significant either at Phase-1 (t56= 0.72, NS) or at Phase-3 (t56 = 1.18, NS).{Figure 1}{Table 2}

Comparisons between pre- and post-intervention stages revealed significant difference for the nonintervention group (t29 = 0.39, NS), but a highly significant difference was found within the intervention group (t27= 3.66, p < 0.01), with postintervention scores being lower.

Further, the mean scores among professional students on depression for the intervention and nonintervention groups at Phase-1 were 12.86 and 11.40 and at Phase-3, they were 9.00 and 10.17, respectively [Table 2] and [Figure 1]. No significant difference was found between the intervention and nonintervention groups at either Phase-1 (t56= 0.70, NS) or at Phase-3 (t56= 0.57, NS). Comparisons between pre- and post-intervention stages revealed no difference for the nonintervention group (t29= 1.03, NS), but a highly significant difference was found within the intervention group (t27= 2.24, p < 0.05), with scores at postintervention stage being significantly lower than those at preintervention stage.


Yog nidra appears to have facilitated an improvement in self-reported depression and anxiety among the study participants. According to the yoga usage log, all participants used the audio instructions at least once in between the study visits, and no participants attempted the practices without the instructions. Thus, the yog nidra users may have found the instructions useful to the practice. Our finding was supported by Rani, Tiwari, Singh, Singh, and Srivastava (2012); Sachdeva and Guruma (2018); Vorkapic, Pinhero, Marchioro, & Santana (2018). Dhamodhini and Sendhil (2019) found in their study that yog nidra effectively provides impact on stress and anxiety levels and increased feelings of relaxation and peace after practicing yog nidra.

The study results revealed similar findings for depressive symptoms as well. A previous study reported similar significant improvement on the measures of stress and psychological outcomes (state and trait anxiety, well-being, and depression). Most of the respondents of the present study expressed the opinion that they were feeling more comfortable after practicing the yog nidra. They also intimated the researcher that they would like to adhere to the yog routine as it was helping them in various ways such as keeping their irritation and aggression under control, feeling peaceful, and ability to concentrate on their studies despite various problems being accosted by them in this transitional phase.


A dramatic effect of practicing yog nidra was observed among students in reducing anxiety and depression. It is suggested that assessment of stress among college-entering students should be done. Furthermore, teaching of yog nidra should be taken up at the institutional level as a step for reducing the stress and for the ultimate welfare of the students.


In the present study, the efficacy of yog nidra exercise was explored, however, in further studies, comparison of various relaxation techniques may be planned. Besides it, all students included in the present study were boys only due to practical constraints of data collection for various phases. A comparative study can be done on boys and girls.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.[15]


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