Medicine

Bikram yoga may not need to be so hot

Bikram yoga may not need to be so hot”

Bikram yoga - a yoga style performed in a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius - may be just as effective at improving health as the same yoga postures practiced at room temperature, a new study has claimed.

According to a recent study into the effects of heated yoga on vascular health, you get the same benefits practising yoga at normal temperatures as you do when you practise in heated conditions.

In the first investigation of its kind, scientists established that Bikram hot yoga, which has attracted a devoted worldwide following since its inception in the 1970s, did nothing extra to prevent heart disease or stroke.

It can also possibly delay the progression of atherosclerosis - a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries and can cause heart attack or stroke.

The intervention lasted for 12 weeks and participants were asked to attend three Bikram yoga classes per week.

The team enrolled 52 "sedentary but apparently healthy" adults aged 40-60 for the trial. One group practiced Bikram in a hot environment; a second group practiced Bikram in a room that was 73 degrees; and a third "control" group wasn't assigned to either of the two Bikram classes.

The difference in participants' blood vessels was measured after three months of yoga sessions, done three times a week for 90 minutes.

In the end, the investigators determined that both Bikram groups achieved similar improvements in their vasodilation levels, regardless of room temperature.

The study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, states: 'These results indicate that the set sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises may be the key ingredient in producing favourable changes in endothelial function with yoga'.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, co-director of the UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program in Los Angeles, cautioned there is no solid evidence to suggest that any form of yoga offers a leg up when it comes to heart health. The research indicated that the heated environment did not play a role in causing improvements in vascular health.

There's more on yoga and heart health at the American Heart Association.



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