Since the link between meditative and mindful practices like yoga and the rosary clearly exist, albeit weakly, I decided to take a look at the mitigating effects yoga has on stress. One study “A Yoga Intervention for young Adults with Elevated Symptoms of Depression” by Woolery et al. (2004) was particularly helpful because the young adults self-reported their symptoms before and after the intervention and the researchers took salivary cortisol samples throughout the study to look at stress reduction. I didn’t see how the article was particularly clear on the results of the salivary cortisol but I hope to use salivary cortisol in my methods as well to measure stress and the possible mediating affect the rosary service may have on stress.
I found the historical information in the article “Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study” as well as the information on rhythmic breathing to be helpful. Bernardi et al. (2001) described how recitation of the rosary (a repetitive Roman Catholic prayer) and yoga mantras slow respiration to a specific rhythm which can benefit heart rate and blood pressure. While, the effects of meditative practices such as yoga have been more widely studied repetitive and meditative prayer have not been studied as much. This paper was able to investigate a slight historical link between the two practices as well as a possible hypothesis for why both practices may be of physiological benefit to practitioners.
Bernardi, L., Sleight, P., Bandinelli, G., Cencetti, S., Fattorini, L., Wdowczyc-Szulc, J., & Lagi, A. (2001). Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: comparative study. Bmj, 323(7327), 1446-1449.