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   Table of Contents     
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 176-177
Yoga as an adjunct modality for promotion of healthy use of information technology

1 Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS Centre for Well Being, Service for Healthy Use of Technology Clinic, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, SVYASA University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication9-Jun-2016

How to cite this article:
Sharma MK, Bhargav H. Yoga as an adjunct modality for promotion of healthy use of information technology. Int J Yoga 2016;9:176-7

How to cite this URL:
Sharma MK, Bhargav H. Yoga as an adjunct modality for promotion of healthy use of information technology. Int J Yoga [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Mar 23];9:176-7. Available from:

Dear Sir,

The Internet is a new technology that has impacted the world and provided many benefits. At the same time, it has had negative ramifications. Reports indicate that some online users were becoming addicted to the Internet in much the same way that others became addicted to drugs or alcohol, which resulted in poor psychological well-being, reduced work performance, social withdrawal, poor self-confidence, family problems, marital breakdown, poor diet, sleep deprivation, and cardio-pulmonological complications.[1],[2] Other adverse consequences associated with Internet addiction (IA) include negative academic consequences. A study used pathological gambling as a model and defined addictive internet use as an impulse-control disorder that does not involve an intoxicant.[3]

In a survey among 350 (200 females and150 males), 24% had problematic usage of internet.[4] Another epidemiological survey on 2755 subjects from Bengaluru in the age group of 18–65 years (50.5% males and 49.5% females) found that addictive use was present among 1.3% (2% males and 0.6% females) for internet, 4.1% (5% males and 3.1% females) for mobile phones, and 3.5% for social networking sites.[5] It was observed that the hours spent on internet by dependent users were greater than those of the non-dependent users. Those dependent on internet scored higher than the non-dependent on the loneliness measures.[6] Similarly, screening of 621 students from class 11th and 12th in higher secondary schools of Ahmedabad city of India revealed that 12% were dependent on internet.[7]

In response to this fast emerging problem of Internet addiction, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru has started India's first technology de-addiction center called as the “SHUT Clinic” (Service for Healthy Use of Technology). SHUT Clinic has been getting 2–3 patients of IA/week with complaints of excessive use of internet that hampers their socio occupational functioning. Patients are chiefly belonging to male gender, in the age group of 14–19 years and from middle to upper socioeconomic status. Most common reported usages of internet are video gaming, mobile texting, social networking sites, and pornography using smart phones, computers at home, or cyber cafe. The average usage of internet varied from 10 to 12 h/day. Physical distress (body pain, dryness of eyes, and neck strain) is commonly reported dysfunction among the users. SHUT Clinic provides psychology-based support programs for the promotion of healthy use of technology on out-patient basis.

Research examined the risk factors associated with internet addiction in high school teenagers and identified male gender, drinking behavior, family dissatisfaction, and experience of recent stressful events as the major ones.[8] The study also shows that IA has a direct impact on depression, anxiety, and stress.[9]

Yoga, a holistic mind-body therapy that utilizes physical postures, breathing practices, meditation, and relaxation techniques have recently become popular as an important adjunct to conventional modalities of treatment for the management of various psychiatric disorders [10] including addictions.[11] Therefore, we incorporated yoga therapy as an add-on in SHUT Clinics. As a part of this approach, users (70 users who reported physical distress due to excessive use [10–12 h a day] of desktop/smart phone) were counseled to perform brief integrated yoga program, whenever the usages exceed more than 1 h/day. The integrated yoga program involved: Joint loosening practices with breath synchronization for 10 min (moving head forward and backward as well as clockwise and anticlockwise ten times each), blinking of eyes (twenty times), stretching of hand/legs and moving the wrist/legs clockwise and anticlockwise (ten times each) followed by Kapalabhati Kriya (skull shining breath) at 100 strokes/min for 2 min, Nadi-shuddhi pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) for 5 min, and Bhramari (humming breath) pranayama for 5 min. Subjects were also offered yogic counseling based on the principles of mind management from Bhagavad Gita.[12] These practices were demonstrated to them and supervised during sessions. The clinical interview revealed them to be at the action stage of motivation for these yoga practices. They were also motivated for lifestyle changes. The follow-up for assessing the efficacy of this program was carried out at 3 months interval for 45 IA subjects who continued the treatment. All of them reported reduction in the body pain and neck strain. Yoga practices also brought positive lifestyle changes in the form of regulated sleep, improved appetite, enhanced communication with others, and increased recreational activities outside the home. Due to these positive lifestyle changes and reduced physical symptoms such as neck strain and body pain, they reported 30–40% reduction in their technology use at the end of 3rd month. Moreover, those under yoga program showed better compliance with conventional modes of management may it be drugs or psychotherapeutic techniques.

Since high-stress levels, physical distress, and unregulated lifestyle are important contributors toward internet addiction, integrated yoga program with its comprehensive holistic approach may serve as a useful adjunct to enhance the efficacy of conventional modes of treatment.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Christakis DA. Internet addiction: A 21st century epidemic? BMC Med 2010;8:61.  Back to cited text no. 1
Flisher C. Getting plugged in: An overview of internet addiction. J Paediatr Child Health 2010;46:557-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Barthakur M, Sharma MK. Problematic internet use and mental health problems. Asian J Psychiatr 2012;5:279-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
Young KS. Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychol Behav 1998;1:237-44.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sharma MK, Benegal V, Rao G, Thennarasu K. Behavioral addiction in the community: An exploration. Indian Council Med Res 2013:1-89. [Funded unpublished work].  Back to cited text no. 5
Nalwa K, Anand AP. Internet addiction in students: A cause of concern. Cyberpsychol Behav 2003;6:653-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Yadav P, Banwari G, Parmar C, Maniar R. Internet addiction and its correlates among high school students: A preliminary study from Ahmedabad, India. Asian J Psychiatr 2013;6:500-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
Lam LT, Peng ZW, Mai JC, Jing J. Factors associated with Internet addiction among adolescents. Cyberpsychol Behav 2009;12:551-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Akin A, Iskender M. Internet addiction and depression, anxiety and stress. Int Online J Educ Sci 2011;3:138-48.  Back to cited text no. 9
Balasubramaniam M, Telles S, Doraiswamy PM. Yoga on our minds: A systematic review of yoga for neuropsychiatric disorders. Front Psychiatry 2013;3:117.  Back to cited text no. 10
Khanna S, Greeson JM. A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction. Complement Ther Med 2013;21:244-52.  Back to cited text no. 11
Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Yoga module for anxiety. In: Nagendra HR, editor. Yoga for Anxiety and Depression. 1st ed. Bangalore: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashan; 2001. p. 33-86.  Back to cited text no. 12

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Kumar Sharma
Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS Centre for Well Being, Service for Healthy Use of Technology Clinic, NIMHANS, Govindaswamy Block, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-6131.183706

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