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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-34

Suryanamaskara exercise enhances sustained attention


1 Directorate of Distance Education, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Departments of Yoga and Management, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Registrar, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication29-Apr-2014

Correspondence Address:
Tikhe Sham Ganpat
Assistant Professor, Department of Yoga and Management, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, (Prashanti Kutiram), 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, Kempegowda Nagar, Bangalore - 560 019, Karnataka
India
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.131610

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  Abstract 

Background: The Suryanamaskara (SN) exercise is a comprehensive yoga technique which incorporates physical activity, breath regulation, relaxation and awareness. Apart from improving physical stamina and endurance, SN has been shown to influence an individual's perception and performance. But its immediate effect on sustained attention was not reported adequately. Objective: The study was designed to assess the immediate effect of 108 SN on sustained attention, efficiency and speed of visual scanning in subjects participated in Rathasapthami day (the seventh day following the Sun's northerly movement). Materials and Methods: In this single and mixed group pre-post study, 96 subjects with mean age 33.15 ± 13.61 years participated. The Six Letter Cancellation Test (SLCT) and Digit Letter Substitution Test (DLST) data were collected immediately before and after 108 SN. Statistical Analysis: Means, Standard Deviations, Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test were used for analyzing the data with the help of SPSS-16. Results: When compare with predata analysis, the SLCT showed 30.61% increase (P < 0.001) in Total Attempted (TA), 81.58% decrease (P < 0.01) in Wrongly Attempted (WA) and 31.87% increase (P < 0.001) in Net Score (NS). Similarly, the DLST showed 38.71% increase (P < 0.001) in TA, 13.64% decrease (P = 0.001) in WA and 35.44% increase (P < 0.001) in NA. Thus, the analysis of SLCT and DLST scores shows that SN was associated with increase in TA and NS and decrease in WA scores. Conclusion: When compared with pre data analysis, the post analysis of SLCT and DLST scores showed that the SN was associated with increase in TA and NS and decrease in WA scores. Thus, the SN holds great promise in enhancing sustained attention in healthy individuals. Well-designed studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

  Abstract in Arabic 

الملخص
الخلفية : إن تمارين سوريا نا ماسكارا ( س ن - Surya Namaskara) هي تقنية يوغا شاملة تشمل نشاط بدني وتنظيم صحي واسترخاء وانتباه. وبالإضافة إلى تحسين القدرة على التحمل البدني فإن ( س ن ) أظهرت أنها تؤثر على إدراك وأداء الشخص ولكن قدرتها على التأثير المباشر لم تتم دراستها بشكل كافي.
الهدف :الهدف من الدراسة هو تقييم النتائج الفورية لأثر ( س ن ) على الانتباه المستمر ، وكفاءة وسرعة المسح البصري في الأشخاص الذين شاركوا في يوم راثا سافاي ( اليوم السابع لحركة الشمس الشمالية )
المواد والطرق: اشترك الدراسة قبل وبعد ( س ن ) 96 فرداَ متوسط أعمارهم 15ر33 ± 61ر13 سنة . تم جمع المعلومات عن اختبارإلغاء ست حروف ( ت أس ح - SLCT) وتجربة تعويض الحرف الرقمي ( ت ت ح ر - DLST) فوراَ قبل وبعد 108 تكرار(س ن) .
النتائج : أظهر تحليل (ت إس ح) زيادة ملحوظة و قدرها 1.03% (0.001 < P) في حالات المحاولات الكلية ( م ك-
Total Attempt TA) ونقصان 81.58% في المحاولات الخاطئة Wrong Attempt TA)) مع زيادة 8ر13% في صافي النتيجة (Net Score - NS) (0.001 > P) . وبالمثل أظهرت ت إس ح . زيادة وقدرها 38.71% في المحاولات الكلية ( م ك ) ونقصان 13.64% في المحاولات الخاطئة ,ايضا زيادة 35.44% في صافي المحاولات . وبذلك فأن تحليل تجربة إلغاء ست حروف وتجربة تعويض الحرف الرقمي (SLCT and DLST) أظهرت أن صافي النتيجة(NS) تصاحبه زيادة فى (NS & TA) ونقص المحاولات الخاطئة (WA)
الاستنتاج :عندما تقارن نتائج ما بعد (ت أس ح و ت ح ر - SLCT and DLST) مع معلومات قبل التحليل يظهر أن (س ن- SN) يتوافق مع زيادة في المحاولات الكلية وصافي النتيجة مع نقصان في المحاولات الخاطئة . وبذلك فإن (س ن- NS) يشجع الانتباه المستمر في الأفراد الأصحاء. وينبغى إجراء دراسات مصممة بشكل جيد قبل إعطاء توصية قوية بذلك .




Keywords: Digit letter substitution test, six letter cancellation test, suryanamaskara, suryanamaskara exercise, sustained attention


How to cite this article:
Arun K, Prithvi A, Ganpat TS, Deshpande S, Pailoor S, Ramarao NH. Suryanamaskara exercise enhances sustained attention. Saudi J Sports Med 2014;14:31-4

How to cite this URL:
Arun K, Prithvi A, Ganpat TS, Deshpande S, Pailoor S, Ramarao NH. Suryanamaskara exercise enhances sustained attention. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Dec 9];14:31-4. Available from: http://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2014/14/1/31/131610


  Introduction Top


In Indian culture, yoga has traditionally been a part of daily routine which is meant for attaining healthy life. [1] The Suryanamaskar (SN) also called as Sun salutation, sun adoration for health, efficiency and longevity is a part of Indian traditional yogic practices. [2] SN is a part of yoga; it consists of a sequence of postures done with synchronized breathing. The practice of few cycles of SN is known to help in maintaining good health and vigor. The practice of SN does not need any extra gadgets. Also, it is very much aerobic and invigorates the body and the mind. [3]

Attention is an important skill for academic and professional performance. Techniques to improve these skills are not taught either in education or training courses. Attention is an essential element of cognition. Sustained attention is the capacity to attend to a task in hand for a required period of time. [4] The capacities to study and listen to a lecture for an extended length of time are examples of sustained attention. With so much of distractions in this technology-driven world it is becoming difficult for people to concentrate. The sustained attention (SA) is a vital function mediated by the right front parietal cortex. The SA is the capacity to attend to a task in hand for a required period of time. It is closely associated with task difficulty or complexity. [4] It is closely associated with the mental effort required by the task in hand. [5] The capacities to study and listen to a lecture for an extended length of time are examples of SA.

Thus, SN becomes a kind of activity which involves almost every part of the body and is considered as a complete exercise. Many of SN practitioners also believe that regular practice of few cycles, when performed properly leads to development and strengthening of almost every part of the body. [6] The SN when practiced as a part of integrated approach of yoga therapy can improve hot flushes and night sweats. It also can improve cognitive functions such as remote memory, mental balance, attention and concentration, delayed and immediate recall, verbal retention and recognition tests. [7] It is known that Six Letter Cancellation Test (SLCT) and Digit Letter Substitution Test (DLST) measure SA [8] and there was no study available evaluating the immediate effect of 108 rounds of SN on SA.

Objectives

To study immediate effect of 108 SN on SA in subjects using SLCT and DLST.


  Materials and Methods Top


Subjects

The 96 participants (45 males and 49 females) with 33.15 ± 13.61 years of mean age participated in this study.

Inclusion criteria

(i) Healthy individuals. (ii) Willing to participate.

Exclusion criteria

Pregnant ladies.

Design

Single group pre-post study.

Source of subjects

The subjects for the present study were selected from the program who participated on Rathasaptami Day (the seventh day following the Sun's northerly movement).

Informed consent

An informed consent was obtained from all the participants.

The institutional review board approval

The study was approved by the institutional review board (IRB) of S-VYASA University.

Intervention

In the present study, all subjects of the Rathasapthami day participated in 108 rounds of SN. Each cycle consists of 12 steps performed consecutively one after the other. The cycle begins with Stithi or Pranamasana; the prayer posture. It is then followed by the following positions in a sequence. Position 1-Hasta Utthanasana, the raised arms pose, Position 2-Padahastasana, the hand to foot pose, Position 3-Ashwasanchalana, the equestrian pose, Position 4-Santolasana, the balancing pose, Position 5-Shashakasana, the hare pose, Position 6-Ashtang Namasakarasan, the salutations with eight parts or points pose, Position 7-Bhujangasana, the cobra pose, Position 8-Parvatasana, the mountain pose, Position 9-Shashakasana, the hare pose, Position 10-Ashwasanchalana, the equestrian pose, Position 11-Padahastasana, the hand to foot pose and Position 12-Hasta Utthanasana, the raised arms pose and then coming back to the Stithi. [9]

Assessments: SLCT and DLST

SLCT

The SLCT consisted of a test worksheet that specified the six target letters to be cancelled and had a 'working section' that consisted of letters of the alphabet arranged randomly in 14 rows and 22 columns. The participants were asked to cancel as many six target letters as possible, which were printed at the top of working section of the test sheets, in the specified time, that is, 90 seconds. They were told that there were two possible strategies, that is, (i) doing all six letters at a time, or (ii) selecting any one target letter out of the six. They were asked to choose whichever strategy suited them. They were also told that they could follow a horizontal, vertical or a random path according to their choice. The scoring was done by a person who was unaware when the assessment was made. The total number of cancellations and wrong cancellations were scored and the net scores were calculated by deducting the wrong cancellations from the total cancellations attempted. The SLCT is a valid tool for measuring the SA, concentration and VS. [8]

DLST

The DLST worksheet consists of an 8 rows × 12 columns array of random digits 1-9. Subjects are seated with the worksheet upside down until the start of the test. They were also given a coding sheet naming the specific letter to substitute for each digit 1-9 in that particular test, the same coding applying to an entire test group. Subjects were instructed to make their own choice of letter substitution strategy, whether horizontally, vertically, or selecting each particular digit randomized in the array one at a time. They were told to substitute as many target digits as possible in the specified time of 90 seconds. Finally, they were instructed to turn over the worksheet and start the test. Each test was timed on a standard stopwatch. The different worksheets and coding were used for each test, with different digit-letter pairing in the key and differently randomized arrays of digits on the worksheet. Scoring the DLST counts both the total number of substitutions attempted and the number of wrong substitutions. Net score is obtained by deducting the latter from the former. The scoring was done by a person who was unaware when the assessment was made. The DLST is a valid tool for measuring the SA, concentration and VS. [8]

Data collection

The SLCT and DLST data were collected before (pre) and after (post) the practice of 108 SN.

Statistical analysis

The SPSS-16 was used for statistical analysis. The SLCT and DLST data were checked for normal distribution by using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. The data analysis showed that the data was not normally distributed. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test was used to test the significance of the change between pre and post measurements of SN.


  Results Top


When compared with pre data analysis, the SLCT showed 30.61% increase (P < 0.001) in Total Attempted (TA), 81.58% decrease (P < 0.01) in Wrongly Attempted (WA) and 31.87% increase (P < 0.001) in Net Score (NS) [Table 1]. Similarly, the DLST showed 38.71% increase (P < 0.001) in TA, 13.64% decrease (P = 0.001) in WA and 35.44% increase (P < 0.001) in NA [Table 2]. Thus, the analysis of SLCT and DLST scores shows that SN was associated with increase in TA and NS and decrease in WA scores.
Table 1: SLCT scores before and after SN

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Table 2: DLST scores before and after SN

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  Discussion Top


In the present study it was observed that the SLCT and DLST scores of TA and NS were increased significantly and WA scores decreased in participants in 108 SN as compared to pre measurement. The cancellation tasks involve SA, concentration, visual scanning, and activation and inhibition of rapid responses. [10] A previous study by Patil and Telles [11] assessed performance on the related SLCT immediately before and after cyclic meditation (CM) and supine rest. This study reported that the DLST depends on different components of psychomotor performance from the SLCT, namely: (a) sensory information processing ability; (b) central integration of learning and memory, and (c) motor function and coordination. [12] The DLST was developed from the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, one of the subsets of the Wechsler intelligence scale. [13] The substitution tests are essentially speed-dependent tasks that require the subject to match particular signs - symbols, digits, or letters - to other signs within a specified time period. The DLST has the advantage of using letters and digits, signs that are already well known to those taking the test. [14] The substitution tasks involve visual scanning, mental flexibility, SA and psychomotor speed, speed of information processing and rapid response activation and inhibition process. [15] A previous study on the SLCT showed that long-term yoga practitioners have superior cognitive abilities than non-meditators in the old age group. [16] Using the SLCT tool, it was reported that both modern education system and Gurukula education system (GES) improve SA in school boys and reveal that GES is more effective. [17] Similarly, previous study on SLCT showed that SN as a part of integrated approach of yoga therapy can improve hot flushes and night sweats. It can also improve cognitive functions such as remote memory, mental balance, attention and concentration, delayed and immediate recall, verbal retention and recognition tests. [7] The results of the present study are consistent with these findings and suggest that SN may enhance SA.


  Conclusion Top


The present study suggest that the practice of 108 SN increases TA and NS and decreases WA scores in SLCT and DLST which is associated with increase in SA. Thus, the SN holds a great promise in enhancing SA in healthy individuals. Although this preliminary research is promising, well-designed studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.


  Acknowledgement Top


Authors acknowledge Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) University for granting permission to carry out this work.

 
  References Top

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2.Rueckert L, Grafman J. Sustained attention defi cits in patients with right frontal lesions. Neuropsychologia 1996;34:953-63.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Bhutkar MV, Bhutkar PM, Taware GB, Surdi AD. How eff ective is sun salutation in improving muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition? Asian J Sports Med 2011;2:259-66.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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5.Omkar S, Mour M, Das D. Motion analysis of sun salutation using magnetometer and accelerometer. Int J Yoga 2009;2:62-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
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10.Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Loring DW. Neuropsychological Assessment. New York: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 337-74 .  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Sarang SP, Telles S. Immediate effect of two yoga-based relaxation techniques on performance in a letter-cancellation task. Percept Mot Skills 2007;105:379-85.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Agarwal AK, Kalra R, Natu MV, Dadhich AP, Deswal RS. Psychomotor performance of psychiatric inpatients under therapy: Assessment by paper and pencil test. Hum Psychopharmacol 2002;17:91-3.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.Wechsler D. WAIS-R Manual. New York: The Psychological Corporation; 1981. p. 12.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.van der Elst W, van Boxtel MP, van Breukelen GJ, Jolles J. The letter digit substitution test: Normative data for 1,858 healthy participants aged 24-81 from the Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS): Influence of age, education, and sex. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2006;28:998-1009.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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16.Prakash R, Rastogi P, Dubey I, Abhishek P, Chaudhury S, Small BJ. Long-term concentrative meditation and cognitive performance among older adults. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 2012;19:479-94.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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