Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram Yoga in older obese adults: a pilot study

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Oct;17(4):404-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Feb 21.


Bikram yoga is an exotic form of physical activity combining hatha yoga and thermal therapy that could positively impact metabolic health. Although this increasingly popular alternative exercise may be ideal for obese adults due to its low impact nature, few studies have elucidated the health benefits associated with it. As an initial step, we determined the effect of Bikram yoga on glucose tolerance. Fourteen young lean and 15 older obese subjects completed an 8-week Bikram yoga intervention in which classes were completed 3 times per week. Glucose tolerance was assessed using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test. The area under the glucose curve following the oral glucose tolerance test was significantly reduced as a result of the Bikram Yoga intervention in older obese (P < 0.05) but not in young lean subjects. We concluded that a short-term Bikram yoga intervention improved glucose tolerance in older obese, but not in young lean adults.

Keywords: Alternative therapy; Complementary therapy; Metabolism; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Yoga*


  • Blood Glucose