Intervention studies show yoga has several physical and psychological benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), however few studies have explored yoga use in everyday life amongst people with IBS. This study explored yoga use as a predictor of IBS-related quality of life (QoL) in relation to other physical and psychological factors. It also utilized the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model to investigate predictors of yoga practice, with a qualitative exploration of perceived IBS-related benefits and barriers to yoga.
A cross-sectional, mixed-methods survey was used. 219 adults with IBS (86.3% female, 32% yoga practitioners, mean age 46.42 years) completed a questionnaire battery to assess symptom severity, psychological symptoms, general health, QoL, COM-B constructs in relation to yoga, and perceived effectiveness of yoga for IBS. Open-ended responses assessing perceptions of yoga in relation to IBS were analysed using thematic analysis.
In hierarchical linear regression, education, yoga use, symptom severity, anxiety, depression, and general health explained 64.6% of variance in QoL (p<.001). Yoga use explained 6.1% after controlling for education. In hierarchical logistic regression, COM-B constructs explained 37.5% of the variance in yoga use (p<.001). In the final model, only Opportunity (p<.05) and Motivation (p<.001) significantly predicted yoga practice. Qualitative analysis identified three themes reflecting perceived benefits of yoga (IBS Relief, A Valuable Self-Management Tool, Holistic Wellbeing), and three reflecting perceived barriers/limitations (Lack of Physical Capability, Need for a Tailored Approach, Limited Motivation).
This study identifies significant relationships between yoga use in everyday life, physical and mental health, and IBS-related QoL, and identifies the COM-B model as a useful framework for understanding yoga practice amongst people with IBS. The findings demonstrate that practicing yoga as part of daily life may positively impact both physical and mental health of IBS patients. Furthermore, the findings can be used to inform more targeted yoga interventions and increase accessibility of yoga for this group.