Benefits of Yoga

Despite its increasing popularity, yoga is primarily an under-researched area. The large variability in the type, intensity and duration of yoga classes make them very difficult to study objectively.


The Benefits of Yoga: Research Based Practice


We conducted a literature review of the existing research on yoga and, based on this research, concluded that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that regular practice of yoga can offer the following benefits:





Yoga and Weight Loss

Many people sign up for hot yoga, in particular, because they have heard that it is a fantastic way to lose weight. Unfortunately, it is an urban legend that each class burns on average 1,500 calories. However, although not fully understood, there does appear to be a relationship between the regular practice of yoga (hot and non-hot) and weight loss.


Unfortunately, not many studies have rigorously examined this relationship and cause and effect has yet to be established. For example, it is not known if yoga has a direct or indirect effect on weight loss (does performing the postures reduce body mass? Or does performing the postures improve joint mobility and reduce back pain allowing one to be more active in general?)


However, the few studies that do exist suggest that yoga may be associated with weight loss or maintenance as a result of:


  • The calories burned during a yoga class
  • The regular practice of yoga may allow for additional exercises to be performed outside of the yoga class as a consequence of reduced back and joint pain
  • Yoga heightens mindfulness, improves mood and reduces stress which may help reduce food intake
  • Yoga may encourages a deeper connection between mind and body which may lead to enhanced awareness of satiety and the discomfort of overeating


The Benefits of Hot Yoga: Research Based Practice

Hot yoga has become a popular way to perform the asana (posture) practice and, despite being a relatively new trend, has already accumulated its very own set of urban legends. For example, we are often asked if a 60 minute hot yoga class really burns over 1,500 calories (answer – no, unfortunately not). Nevertheless, it has been suggested that the regular practice of hot yoga offers many other health benefits:


  • Research teams at leading universities such as Oxford and Harvard are now beginning to investigate hot yoga as a way to treat some of the 21st century’s most common illnesses.
  • Over the past decade research has found evidence which suggests that hot yoga classes have great potential for alleviating long-term pain conditions such as arthritis, are an effective treatment for depression and sleep disorders and provide some cardiovascular and pulmonary health benefits.
  • There is also evidence to suggest that regular practice of hot yoga can help us to cope better with everyday stress. Stress management is being viewed as a very important factor in halting the progression of heart disease and even possibly reversing this condition.



Validity and Reliability of Hot Yoga Research

Scientists have questioned the medical validity of the health claims made by proponents of hot yoga. As discussed, the large variability in the type, intensity and duration of yoga classes make them very difficult to study objectively. Yet, more recently, certain types of hot yoga classes have shown promise in overcoming these research related issues.


Bikram yoga in particular (in which a series of 26 poses are completed twice throughout a 90 minute class and the sequence is the same for each class, worldwide, with no variation) is becoming an interesting area for hot yoga related research.



How to Book a Class at Absolute Yoga, Crosby (Liverpool)
Call: 0151 928 1029
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