Determinants of maintaining a daily yoga practice: Health locus of control and self-determination theory perspective

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Despite the growing evidence of the health benefits of a yoga practice, little is known about the factors that contribute to its sustained practice. The objectives of the present study were twofold: (1) to describe the personal characteristics (age, education level, and marital status) and yoga asana-related behavior of participants who practice Ashtanga and (2) to examine the health locus of control (HLOC) (an individual's beliefs about the extent of control that they have over things that happen to them) and self-determination theories. (People are able to become self-determined when their needs for competence, connection, and autonomy are fulfilled in relation to the motivated behavior.). Ashtanga yoga practitioners ( = 100, age range: 20-62 years) reported practicing yoga at least once a week completed self-report questionnaires: demographics, asana practice, the Perceived Choice and Awareness of Self Scale, HLOC, the General Health Questionnaire-12, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. It was observed that participants practiced yoga for an average 6.43 years, 5 days a week for 93 min representing a sustained, motivated health-related behavior. Years of practice and percentage of time spent in home practice explain 9% of the variance in the awareness of self, and 7% is explained by the number of practice days a week and state anxiety. Ashtanga yoga practitioners have a high internal HLOC; this is related to reduced trait anxiety and increased perceived choice. The Mysore system of yoga appears to facilitate sustained health-related behavior; it is suggested that health promotion should acknowledge the three aspects of self-determination theory: competence, autonomy, and relatedness, while focusing on the increasing intrinsic motivation and internalizing HLOC. [Abstract copyright: Copyright: © 2020 International Journal of Yoga.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Yoga
Issue number3
Early online date13 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 13 Sep 2020


  • Ashtanga yoga, health locus of control, self‑determination


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