Don't sweat it: Bikram yoga is no more effective than yoga practiced at room temperature

January 19, 2018, The Physiological Society
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Bikram yoga, a hot yoga style, is no more effective at improving health than the same yoga postures at room temperature - that's what research published in Experimental Physiology and carried out by Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, USA, has found.

Bikram is popular worldwide and involves 26 poses performed in a room heated to 40°C. Despite its popularity, little is known about the associated with it and even less is known about the stipulation that it is carried out in a hot environment. This is the first publication to date to isolate the effects of the heat in Bikram yoga, and it found that the heated environment did not play a role in causing improvements in vascular health.

The research showed that Bikram yoga can reduce changes in the lining of that are involved in the development and progression of heart disease. It also found that it can possibly delay the progression of atherosclerosis, which is a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries and can cause heart attack or stroke. However, crucially, it found that it is not necessary for the yoga to be performed at a hot temperature with the effects also being seen at room temperature.

80 participants were enrolled and randomised to one of three study groups after preliminary screening. In addition to the heated and yoga groups, a control group was also included to account for the effect of time on our primary results. The intervention lasted for 12 weeks and participants were asked to attend 3 Bikram yoga classes per week.

Stacy D Hunter, corresponding author said, 'The new finding from this investigation was that the heated practice environment did not seem to play a role in eliciting improvements in with Bikram yoga. This is the first publication to date to show a beneficial effect of the practice in the absence of the heat.'

Explore further: Human research study explores effects of hot yoga

More information: Stacy D. Hunter et al, Effects of yoga interventions practiced in heated and thermoneutral conditions on endothelium-dependent vasodilation: The Bikram yoga heart study, Experimental Physiology (2018). DOI: 10.1113/EP086725

Related Stories

Human research study explores effects of hot yoga

November 21, 2017
Bikram yoga, the most commonly practiced type of hot yoga, offers practitioners a vigorous workout in a studio kept at 100°F or more. But is working out in that much heat good for you? That's what Dr. Shannon Mathis and ...

Yoga effective at reducing symptoms of depression

August 3, 2017
People who suffer from depression may want to look to yoga as a complement to traditional therapies as the practice appears to lessen symptoms of the disorder, according to studies presented at the 125th Annual Convention ...

'Hot' yoga yields fitness benefits according to researcher

July 14, 2014
Researchers at Colorado State University have produced some of the first scientific evidence that Bikram yoga, a type of "hot yoga," has beneficial effects on fitness.

Yoga and aerobic exercise together may improve heart disease risk factors

October 19, 2017
Heart disease patients who practice yoga in addition to aerobic exercise saw twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels when compared to patients who practiced either Indian yoga or aerobic ...

Yoga in the workplace can reduce back pain and sickness absence

December 8, 2017
Back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the world. In the US, four out of every five people experience back pain at some point in their life. In the UK, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits ...

Yoga more risky for causing musculoskeletal pain than you might think

June 27, 2017
Yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 per cent of people and exacerbates 21 per cent of existing injuries, University of Sydney research shows.

Recommended for you

Little difference between gun owners, non-gun owners on key gun policies

May 17, 2018
A new national public opinion survey from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds widespread agreement among gun owners and non-gun owners in their support for policies that restrict or regulate firearms.

Giving employees 'decoy' sanitizer options could improve hand hygiene

May 17, 2018
Introducing a less convenient option for hand sanitizing may actually boost workers' use of hand sanitizer and increase sanitary conditions in the workplace, according to findings in Psychological Science, a journal of the ...

Research shows that sexual activity and emotional closeness are unrelated to the rate of cognitive decline

May 16, 2018
Older people who enjoy a sexually active and emotionally close relationship with their partner tend to perform better at memory tests than sexually inactive older adults on a short-term basis, but this is not the case over ...

New study reveals how electronic health records can benefit clinical trials

May 16, 2018
The study entitled "Long term extension of a randomised controlled trial of probiotics using electronic health records" led by researchers in the Swansea University Medical School and the College of Human and Health Sciences, ...

Latest research strengthens case that early exposure to pollution affects long-term health

May 16, 2018
Research led by the University of Southampton has shown increasing evidence that exposure to air pollution in early life has detrimental long-term health consequences.

Researchers find a connection between left-handedness and low birth weight

May 15, 2018
A team of researchers from Finland, the Netherlands and Japan has found a connection between left-handedness and low baby birth weight. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.