Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

John Quindry

Commitee Members

Charles Palmer, Laura Dybdal, Brandon Ronan


Yoga, Recovery


University of Montana


NCAA student athletes face unique physiological and psychological stressors daily, which may contribute to overtraining, burnout, and other physical and mental health issues. However, NCAA institutions often leave recovery up to the individual athlete due to time restriction and Countable Athletic Related Activities (CARA) hour limitations on team mandated activities. Attention to methods to promote recovery from these training loads is increasing in NCAA institutions. A mind-body activity such as yoga is proposed to have physiological and psychological benefits for student athletes. The goal of this review is to identify which aspects of yoga promote the most effective recovery in measures such as: performance, physical biomarkers of stress, muscle damage, heart rate variability, sleep quality, mood state, anxiety, and depression. A recovery yoga protocol is presented, based on the current literature on the topic, to suggest a time- and cost-effective mind-body recovery modality for NCAA student athletes. The recommendation of this review concludes that, among other approaches, NCAA athletes are ideal candidates to undertake the practice of a yoga-based relaxation technique. As such, initial incorporation of yoga is recommended for 20 minutes twice weekly, with a third 60- minute practice each week for a more integrated mind-body yoga experience. From the literature, there is a scientific rationale to understand and anticipate physiological effects such as decreased muscle soreness, heart rate variability, and oxidative stress and psychological effects of improved mood, decreased anxiety, and depression in terms of yoga efficacy. Based on this rationale, introduction of yoga-based recovery is likely to improve some aspects of academic and athletic performance, as well as overall greater wellbeing upon completion of the recommended intervention. However, well-founded conclusions are tentative because explicit mechanistic research is sparse. Accordingly, outcomes based research is needed to confirm the extent to which introduction of these recovery-based approaches will benefit yoga novices.



© Copyright 2018 Paige D. Schober