Impact of Hot Yoga on Arterial Stiffness and Quality of Life in Normal and Overweight/Obese Adults

J Phys Act Health. 2016 Dec;13(12):1360-1363. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2016-0170. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Quality of Life
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult