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Health Benefits

Brain

Stress management and sufficient sleep/rest are essential factors for our health and wellbeing. The deep breathing and meditation undertaken during the hot yoga practice affect not only our body but also mind by calming it, and it is reflected to our mental wellbeing. These impacts have been researched by several studies. Among other things, there are evidence that 8-week Bikram Yoga Program improves mindfulness and perceived stress (Hewett et al. 2011), and increases life satisfaction (Rissell et al. 2004). Bikram yoga, among other types of yoga, have also been found to release the symptoms of depression and anxiety (Steeler et al. 2007) and to increase distress tolerance which leads to decreased emotional eating (Medina et al. 2015). In addition, Bikram yoga has been found to impact sleeping beneficially by easing falling asleep again after waking up during the night (Kudesia & Bianchi 2012).

References:

Hewett et al. An Examination of the Effectiveness of an 8-week Bikram Yoga Program on Mindfulness, Perceived Stress, and Physical Fitness. J Exercise Science & Fitness 2011, 9: 87-92.

Rissell et al. Hot, sweaty, and satisfied: Effects of Bikram yoga on psychological well-being. J Behav Health 2004, 3: 71-76.

Steeler et al. Yoga Asana Sessions Increase Brain GABA Levels: A Pilot Study. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2007, 13: 419-426.

Medina et al. The Effects of a Hatha Yoga Intervention on Facets of Distress Tolerance. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 2015, 44: 288-300.

Kudesia & Bianchi. Decreased Nocturnal Awakenings in Young Adults Performing Bikram Yoga: A Low-Constraint Home Sleep Monitoring Study. ISNR Neurology 2012, doi:10.5402/2012/153745.

Weight

Bikram yoga, among other types of yoga, has been found to have several weight decrease mechanisms. These are:

• it increases energy expenditure during the yoga sessions

• it allows for additional exercise outside yoga sessions by reducing back and joint pain

• it heightens mindfulness, improves mood, and reduces stress, which may help reduce food intake

• it allows individuals to feel more connected to their bodies, leading to enhanced awareness of satiety and the discomfort of overeating (Bernstein et al. 2014).

References:

Bernstein et al. Yoga in the Management of Overweight and obesity. Am J Lifestyle Med 2014, 8: 33-41.

Bones

Bikram yoga has been found to be beneficial for bone health by preventing bone loss. For example bone mineral density was found to be higher for those pre-menopausal women who had practiced Bikram yoga for minimum three years compared to women with no yoga experience at equivalent age (Mukherjee et al. 2010). In a 5-year study Bikram yoga was found to help 30 to 59 year-old women to maintain or even increase the bone density and this way prevent osteoporosis (Sangiorgio 2014).

References:

Mukherjee et al. Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women. Chinese Medicine, Irvine 2010: 1-4.

Sangiorgio et al. Optimization of Physical Activity as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss: A 5-Year Study of Bikram Yoga Practice in Females. Health 2014, 6: DOI:10.4236/health.2014.611139.

Hormones

Insulin is the leading hormone in our body. In a study with 149 type 2 diabetics, 70% of the patients showed a fair to good response (change in blood sugar level and glucose tolerance) to a 40-day Bikram yoga therapy (Suresh et al. 1993). Also a 8-week three times a week Bikram Yoga Program has been found to have beneficial impacts on glucose tolerance among overweight people (Hunter et al. 2013a), and insulin resistance among middle aged and older people (Hunter et al. 2013b).

References:

Suresh et al. A study of response pattern of non-insulin denpendent diabetes to yoga therapy. Diabetes Res Clin Practice 1993, 19: 69-74.

Hunter et al. Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram yoga in older obese adults: A pilot study. J Bodywork and Movement Therapies 2013 (a), 17: 404-407.

Hunter et al. The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2013 (b), 19: 930-934.

Heart Health

Bikram yoga has been found to have beneficial impact on heart health by lowering total and LDL cholesterol, and reducing arterial stiffness (Hunter et al. 2013.; Hewett et al. 2015). It has also been found to enhance cardiorespiratory endurance as a whole (Hewett 2011).

Lähteet:

Hunter et al. The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2013 (b), 19: 930-934.

Hewett et al. The Effects of Bikram yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015, Article ID 428427.

Hewett et al. An examination of the effectiveness of an 8-week Bikram Yoga Program on mindfulness, perceived stress, and physical fitness. J Exercise Science and Fitness 2011, 9: 87-92.

Hunter et al. Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram yoga in older obese adults: A pilot study. J Bodywork and Movement Therapies 2013 (a), 17: 404-407.

Hunter et al. The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2013 (b), 19: 930-934.