Background: Obesity is associated with arterial stiffening and diminished quality of life. Bikram yoga may be a feasible alternative to traditional exercise among obese individuals. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of Bikram yoga, a heated style of hatha yoga, on arterial stiffness in normal and overweight/obese adults.
Methods: Forty-three (23 normal body mass index or BMI; 20 overweight/obese) apparently healthy participants completed an 8-week Bikram yoga intervention. Body composition was estimated via dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, arterial stiffness was measured via brachialankle pulse wave velocity, and health-related quality of life was assessed via RAND 36-Item Short Form survey at baseline and at the end of the 8-week intervention.
Results: After the intervention, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity decreased (P < .05) in overweight/obese participants while no such changes were observed in normal BMI participants. In the quality of life measures, emotional well-being improved (P < .05) in both groups, and general health improved (P < .05) only in the normal weight BMI group.
Conclusion: Bikram yoga ameliorates arterial stiffness in overweight/obese adults and can positively impact quality of life regardless of BMI.
Keywords: body composition; cardiovascular health; exercise physiology; interventions; obesity.