S.A. Colletto, T.M. Stites, C.J. Wright

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Bikram yoga has seen a new wave of popularity in recent years, claiming that it improves fitness. While several studies have investigated potential health benefits of hot- (HOT) and room-temperature (RT) Bikram yoga, variables such as range of motion (ROM), heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP) and blood lactate have not been directly compared between Bikram and RT yoga. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological effects of Bikram yoga compared to RT yoga in healthy young adults. METHODS: 7 males and 6 females participated in this study. The participants completed 2, 45-minute sessions of an instructor led standardized Bikram yoga video, one week apart, in random order. One session was performed in a hot environment (~ 41oC), and the other in a RT (~ 20oC) environment. Immediately prior to and following each yoga session, ROM of the quadriceps and hamstrings, HR, BP, and blood lactate were measured ROM of the hamstrings and quadriceps were measured with an inclinometer. HR and BP were measured with an automated sphygmomanometer. Blood lactate was measured with a handheld lactate analyzer. All dependent measures were compared using separate 2 x 2 repeated measures ANOVA tests. RESULTS: No significant differences for HR and BP were observed for condition x time (p > 0.05). There were no significant differences for quadriceps ROM, hamstrings ROM between conditions (p > 0.05). However, there were significant pre- to post-intervention improvements in both conditions for quadriceps ROM (F1,12=17.375, p = 0.001; HOTpre: 160.64 ± 8.98o, HOTpost: 166.67 ± 9.30o; RTpre: 156.32 ± 10.36o, RTpost: 162.42 ± 10.18o) and for hamstring ROM (F1,12=17.034, p = 0.001; HOTpre: 108.00 ± 21.63o; HOTpost: 117.80 ± 18.80o; RTpre: 107.40 ± 15.89o; RTpost: 117.44 ± 18.17o). Additionally, there was a significant interaction for condition x time for BL (F1,12 =8.893, p = 0.011) with significant pre-post increases in BL observed for HOT (HOTpre: 1.88 ± 0.70 mmol/L, HOTpost: 3.45 ± 1.97 mmol/L; p = 0.019), but not for RT (RTpre: 2.53 ± 1.73 mmol/L, RTpost: 2.63 ± 0.99 mmol/L; p = 0.789). CONCLUSION: HOT and RT Bikram yoga elicited similar physiological responses, with the exception of BL. However, the small sample sizes, presence of confounding variables, and limited evidence for yoga-BL effects warrant further research in this area.

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