Effect of a 16-week Bikram yoga program on perceived stress, self-efficacy and health-related quality of life in stressed and sedentary adults: A randomised controlled trial

J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Apr;21(4):352-357. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.08.006. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of 16 weeks of Bikram yoga on perceived stress, self-efficacy and health related quality of life (HRQoL) in sedentary, stressed adults.

Design: 16 week, parallel-arm, randomised controlled trial with flexible dosing.

Methods: Physically inactive, stressed adults (37.2±10.8 years) were randomised to Bikram yoga (three to five classes per week) or control (no treatment) group for 16 weeks. Outcome measures, collected via self-report, included perceived stress, general self-efficacy, and HRQoL. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, midpoint and completion.

Results: Individuals were randomised to the experimental (n=29) or control group (n=34). Average attendance in the experimental group was 27±18 classes. Repeated measure analyses of variance (intention-to-treat) demonstrated significantly improved perceived stress (p=0.003, partial η2=0.109), general self-efficacy (p=0.034, partial η2=0.056), and the general health (p=0.034, partial η2=0.058) and energy/fatigue (p=0.019, partial η2=0.066) domains of HRQoL in the experimental group versus the control group. Attendance was significantly associated with reductions in perceived stress, and an increase in several domains of HRQoL.

Conclusions: 16 weeks of Bikram yoga significantly improved perceived stress, general self-efficacy and HRQoL in sedentary, stressed adults. Future research should consider ways to optimise adherence, and should investigate effects of Bikram yoga intervention in other populations at risk for stress-related illness.

Trial registration: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12616000867493. Registered 04 July 2016. URL: http://www.anzctr.org.au/ACTRN12616000867493.aspx.

Keywords: Chronic disease; Hatha yoga; Inactivity; Psychological health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult