Physiological Characteristics of Long-Term Bikram Yoga Practitioners

Abel, Allison N.; Lloyd, Lisa K.; Williams, James S.; Miller, Brian K.
October 2012
Journal of Exercise Physiology Online;Oct2012, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p32
Academic Journal
The effects of yoga training on health and fitness are unclear despite widespread participation. The primary purpose of this cross-sectional study was to describe the resting heart rate, blood pressure, lung function and aerobic fitness characteristics of long-term Bikram yoga practitioners. A secondary purpose was to examine the relationship between previous Bikram yoga experience and these physiological measures. Thirty-one Bikram yoga practitioners were placed into 2 groups according to years of experience (low = <3 months and high = =1 yr). All subjects completed a battery of tests to measure resting blood pressure and heart rate, pulmonary flow rates and capacities, and aerobic fitness. Unpaired t-tests demonstrated no significant differences between the two groups in any of the measured variables. A significant but weak correlation was detected between Bikram yoga experience and both percentage of predicted forced vital capacity (r = 0.38, P<0.05) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (r = 0.37, P<0.05). These results suggest that this form of yoga training does not provide an adequate stimulus to alter resting hemodynamics, pulmonary function or aerobic fitness.


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