Comparison of Interoceptive Awareness and Equanimity Based on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Between Women Who Practice Yoga and Those Who Do Not

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute for Cognitive Science Studies, Tehran, Iran.


The aim of the present study is to compare the two indicators of interoceptive awareness and equanimity between yoga practitioners and non-practitioners. This is fundamental research conducted using a post-event methodology. During April and May of 2022, the research was conducted in Tehran and the laboratory of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Tehran University. The sample consisted of women who routinely practiced yoga (n=17) and women who did not (n=16). The target population consisted of Tehran-dwelling women. Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) was among the instruments utilized in this study. This instrument was utilized to assess interoceptive awareness and its eight subscales. In addition, the physiological index of heart rate variability (HRV) was used to accurately and objectively measure the equanimity component. The obtained data were then compared using an analysis of covariance test (with anxiety and depression scores as controls) and IBM SPSS Statistics 26 software. Interoceptive awareness and four of its subscales (attention regulation, self-regulation, listening to the body, and trust differ significantly between these two groups, according to the results. This indicates that, compared to the other group, those who practice yoga have a more conscious perception of their inner emotions and a general understanding of their inner physiological conditions. LF-HRV index differed significantly between the two groups based on comparison of HRV in the quiescent state. This information demonstrates various autonomic nervous system activities, which could be interpreted as evidence for the effect of equanimity. Various applications of the results are discussed in conclusion.


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