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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 127-128

Interests in yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic in India: A google trends study


Department of Psychiatry, Iqraa International Hospital and Research Centre, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Date of Submission31-Jul-2020
Date of Decision13-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance03-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication31-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. N A Uvais
Department of Psychiatry, Iqraa International Hospital and Research Centre, Kozhikode, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_245_20

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How to cite this article:
Uvais N A. Interests in yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic in India: A google trends study. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2021;37:127-8

How to cite this URL:
Uvais N A. Interests in yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic in India: A google trends study. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 15];37:127-8. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2021/37/1/127/312871



Sir,

The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying lockdown measures have brought an unparalleled destruction to physical and mental health and socioeconomic conditions across the globe. Restrictions in many countries including India have disrupted civil life and resulted in people being confined for months in their homes. There is a growing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic might unleash a mental health crisis in the near future. According to a recent study by the Indian Psychiatric Society, there is a significant increase in mental illness cases due to the worries about work, health, finance, strain in relationships, and lockdown, leading to one in five Indians suffering from mental illness.[1] To mitigate the mental health crisis, according to media reports, many Indians are turning to yoga, an ancient physical and mental practice which originated centuries ago in India.[2] However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no systematic attempt to document this growing interest in yoga among the population of India, during the lockdown period in India, which started on March 24, 2020. The objective of this study is to use the Google Trends search volume index (SVI), a normalized value from 0 to 100, to understand the changes in population interest in yoga during lockdown in India.

We searched Google trends using the key search word “Yoga” in India. The primary outcome was the mean SVI during two time intervals: prelockdown period (January 26, 2020–March 22, 2020), and the lockdown period (March 29, 2020–May 24, 2020) and the corresponding period of the previous year in order to rule out other seasonal effects ((March 29, 2019–May 24, 2019). The difference in Google Trends SVI data was analyzed using t-tests in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA).

A significant increase in SVI was seen between the prelockdown period (January 26, 2020–March 22, 2020) and the lockdown period (March 29, 2020–May 24, 2020) for the search word “yoga” (68.98 {6.43} vs. 90.09 [4.4], P < 0.001). This increase in SVI was also statistically significantly higher when compared to the same time period in 2019 (90.09 vs. 87.74, P < 0.05).

Our findings suggest that public interest in yoga in India has been significantly influenced by the events during the pandemic, especially the nationwide lockdown. Moreover, there are multiple media reports showing significant interests in yoga among the urban community and many yoga trainers also reported a significant increase in demands for online yoga training courses during the lockdown period.[3] The potential reason for this increase in interest in yoga could be that it can be performed indoor and people who want to keep or improve their physical and mental fitness might have seen yoga as a practical alternative to other usual outdoor fitness activities or visiting fitness centers. Internet search data like Google Trends may provide the most practical, least biased, and valuable insights into population behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] However, it is important to keep in mind that the observed surge in population interest in yoga may not translate into changes in behavior as we do not have the information on who participated in yoga following online searching. Public health experts and policymakers should utilize this surge in interest in yoga to promote active lifestyles during this crisis to mitigate the negative mental health outcomes.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Pimple J, Agrawal T. Efficacy of practicing positive psychological interventions, yoga, and mindfulness meditation in COVID-19 lockdown. International Journal of Indian Psychology 2020;8:293-303.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
The New Indian Express. 2020. More People in Vijayawada Turning to Yoga in Lockdown to Combat Stress: Instructors. Available from: https://www.newindianexpresscom/cities/vijayawada/2020/jun/22/more-people-in-vijayawada-turning-to-yoga-in-lockdown-to-combat-stress-instructors-2159698.html. [Last accessed on 2020 July 26].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
The Hindu. 2020. Yoga Gurus and Practitioners Discuss the Ups and Downs of Online Teaching Sessions. Available from: https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/online-yoga-classes-have-many-takers-during-the-lockdown-to-slow-the-spread-of-covid-19/article31876881.ece. [Last accessed on 2020 July 26].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ding D, Del Pozo Cruz B, Green MA, Bauman AE. Is the COVID-19 lockdown nudging people to be more active: A big data analysis. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:1183-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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