Yoga Research

Medical Conditions A-Z

ADHD

Jense, P. & Kenny, D. (2004). The effects of yoga on the attention and behavior of boys with Attention-Deficit/ hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Journal of Attention Disorder, 7, 205-216.

METHODS: Boys diagnosed with ADHD were randomly assigned to a 20-session yoga group (n = 11) or a control group (cooperative activities; n = 8). Boys were assessed pre- and post-intervention on the Conners’ Parent and Teacher Rating Scales. RESULTS: Significant improvements from pre-test to post-test were found for the yoga, but not for the control group on five subscales of the Conners’ Parent Rating Scales: Oppositional, Global Index Emotional Lability, Global Index Total, Global Index Restless/Impulsive and ADHD Index.

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Anxiety

Khalsa, S.B., Shorter, S.M., Cope, S., Wyshak, G., Sklar, E. (2009). Yoga ameliorates performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians. Applied psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 34, 279-289.

METHODS: Musicaians were randomized to a yoga lifestyle intervention group or to a group practicing yoga and meditation only for 2 months. Both yoga groups attended three Kripalu Yoga or meditation classes each week. The yoga lifestyle group also experienced weekly group practice and discussion sessions as part of their more immersive treatment. RESULTS: Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety and significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger at end-program relative to controls.

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Sahasi, G., Mohan, D., and Kacker, C. (1989). Effectiveness of yogic techniques in the management of anxiety. Journal of Personality and Clinical Studies, 5, 51-55.

METHODS: Evaluated the efficacy of selected yoga practices as compared with drug (diazepam) therapy in anxiety-neurotic outpatients (aged 18-47 yrs). Subjects were administered a battery of tests pre- and post-treatment.RESULTS: Data indicated a significant rate of improvement in yoga subjects who completed the prescribed length (5 days/wk for 3 months) of yoga practices as compared with drug therapy. At least 7% of yoga subjects were reported to be completely asymptomatic as compared with none of the drug therapy.

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Telles, S., Gaur, V. & Balkrishna, A. (2009). Effect of a yoga practice session and a yoga theory session on state anxiety. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 109, 924-930.

METHODS: Yoga novices were assigned to two groups, yoga practice and yoga theory, and their state anxiety was assessed before and after a 2-hr. yoga session. RESULTS: A reduction in state anxiety was found in the yoga practice group, as well as in the yoga theory group. Yoga practice as well as learning about theoretical aspects of yoga reduced state anxiety, with a greater reduction following yoga practice.

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Arthritis

Evans, S., Moieni, M., Taub, R., Subramanian, S.K., Tsao, J.C., Sternlieb, B., & Zeltzer, L.K. (2010). Iyengaryoga for young adults with rheumatoid arthritis: results from a mixed-methods pilot study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 39, 904-913.

METHODS: In this pilot study young adults with rheumatoid arthritis attended biweekly Iyengar yoga for 6 weeks.RESULTS: Significant improvements were reported on pain, pain disability, depression, mental health, vitality, self-efficacy, RA symptoms and functioning.

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Garfinkel, M. S., Schumacher, H. R. Jr, Husain, A., Levy, M., and Reshetar, R. A. (1994). Evaluation of a yoga based regimen for treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands. Journal of Rheumatology, 21, 2341-2343.

METHODS: Yoga and relaxation techniques have traditionally been used by non medical practitioners to help alleviate musculoskeletal symptoms. The objective of this study was to collect controlled observations of the effect of yoga on the hands of patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Patients with OA of the hands were randomly assigned to receive either the yoga program or no therapy. Yoga techniques were supervised by one instructor once/week for 8 weeks. Variables assessed were pain, strength, motion, tenderness, and hand function using the Stanford Hand Assessment questionnaire. RESULTS: The yoga treated group improved significantly more than the control group in pain during activity, tenderness and finger range of motion.

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Kolasinski, S.L., Garfinkel, M., Tsai, A.G., Matz, W., Van Dyke, A. & Schumacher, H.R. (2005). Iyengar yoga for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees: a pilot study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11, 689-693.

METHODS: Participants were instructed in modified Iyengar yoga postures during 90-minute classes once weekly for 8 weeks. Participants met ACR criteria for osteoarthritis of the knee and completed a medical history and physical examination, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale 2 (AIMS2), Patient Global Assessment (GA) by Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Physician GA by VAS, and 50-foot Walk Time before and following an 8-week course of yoga instruction. RESULTS: Statistically significant reductions in WOMAC Pain, WOMAC Physical Function, and AIMS2 Affect were observed when participants’ status were compared to their pre-course status. WOMAC Stiffness, AIMS2 Symptoms, Social and Role, Physician GA, and Patient GA measured trends in improvement of symptoms.

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Asthma

Nagarathna, R. and Nagendra, H. R. (1985). Yoga for bronchial asthma: A controlled study. British Medical Journal Clinical Research Ed, 291, 1077-1079.

METHODS: Fifty three patients with asthma underwent training for two weeks in an integrated set of yoga exercises including breathing exercises, physical postures, breath slowing techniques, meditation, and a devotional session, and were told to practice these exercises for 65 minutes daily. They were then compared with a control group of 53 patients with asthma matched for age, sex, and type and severity of asthma, who continued to take their usual drugs.RESULTS: There was a significantly greater improvement in the group who practiced yoga in the weekly number of attacks of asthma, scores for drug treatment, and peak flow rate.

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Nagendra, H. R. and Nagarathna, R. (1986). An integrated approach of yoga therapy for bronchial asthma: A 3-54-month prospective study. Journal of Asthma, 23, 123-137.

METHODS: After an initial integrated yoga training program of 2 to 4 weeks, 570 bronchial asthmatics were followed up for 3 to 54 months. RESULTS: Results showed significant improvement in most of the specific parameters. The regular practitioners showed the greatest improvement. Peak expiratory flow rate (PFR) values showed significant movement after yoga, and 72, 69, and 66% of the patients stopped or reduced parenteral, oral, and cortisone medication, respectively.

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Jain, S. C., Rai, L., Valecha, A., Jha, U. K., Bhatnagar, S. O., and Ram, K. (1991). Effect of yoga training on exercise tolerance in adolescents with childhood asthma. Journal of Asthma, 28, 437-442.

METHODS: Forty six young asthmatics with a history of childhood asthma were admitted for yoga training. Effects of training on resting pulmonary functions, exercise capacity, and exercise-induced bronchial lability index were measured. RESULTS: Yoga training resulted in a significant increase in pulmonary function and exercise capacity. A follow-up study spanning two years showed a good response with reduced symptom score and drug requirements in these subjects.

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Jain, S. C. and Talukdar, B. (1993). Evaluation of yoga therapy programme for patients of bronchial asthma.Singapore Medical Journal, 34, 306-308.

METHODS: The effects of a yoga therapy program were studied on 46 patients of chronic bronchial asthma including exercise capacity, pulmonary functions and blood gases. Exercise capacity was measured by 3 tests: (i) 12 min walk test: (ii) physical fitness index by modified Harvard step test; and (iii) Exercise-Liability index. RESULTS: Yoga therapy resulted in an increase in pulmonary functions and exercise tolerance. A one-year follow-up study showed a good to fair response with reduced symptoms scores and drug requirements in these subjects.

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Khanam, A. A., Sachdeva, U., Guleria, R., and Deepak, K. K. (1996). Study of pulmonary and autonomic functions of asthma patients after yoga training. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 40, 318-324.

METHODS: Nine diagnosed bronchial asthma patients were given yoga training for seven days. The autonomic function tests to measure parasympathetic reactivity (Deep Breathing test, Valsalva Manouever), sympathetic reactivity (Hand Grip test, Cold Pressure test), and pulmonary function tests were recorded before and after yoga training. RESULTS: The resting heart rate after yoga training was significantly decreased. The sympathetic reactivity was reduced following yoga training. There was no change in parasympathetic reactivity. The results indicated the reduction in sympathetic reactivity and improvement in pulmonary ventilation by way of relaxation of voluntary inspiratory and expiratory muscles.

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Sathyaprabha TN. Murthy H. Murthy BT. (2001). Efficacy of naturopathy and yoga in bronchial asthma–a self controlled matched scientific study. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 4, 80-86.

METHODS: The present study was aimed at finding the efficacy of a non-pharmacological approach of naturopathy and Yoga in bronchial asthma. 37 patients received treatment including 1. Diet therapy 2. Nature curetreatment and 3. Yoga therapy. The various parameters including lung function test were measured on admission and once a week. RESULTS: The results showed significant improvement in PEFR, VC, FVC, FEV1, FEV/FEC %, MVV, ESR and absolute eosinophil count. The patients reported a feeling of well being, freshness and comfortable breathing.

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Manocha, R., Marks, G.B., Kenchington, P., Peters, D., & Salome, C.M. (2002). Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: A randomised controlled trial. Thorax, 57, 110-115.

METHODS: Yoga and control groups attended a 2 hour session once a week for 4 months. Asthma related quality of life (AQLQ), Profile of Mood States (POMS), level of airway hyperesponsiveness to methacholine ( AHR ), and a diary card based combined asthma score ( CAS ) reflecting symptoms, bronchodilator usage, and peak expiratory flow rates were measured at the end of the treatment period and again 2 months later. RESULTS: The AHR and the AQLQ mood subscale improved more in the yoga group, as did the summary POMS score.

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Sodhi, C., Singh, S., & Dandona, P.K. (2009). A study of the effect of yoga training on pulmonary functions in patients with bronchial asthma. Indian Journal of Physiological Pharmacology, 53, 169-174.

METHODS: Patients with asthma were randomized into a yoga or a control group. RESULTS: The yoga group showed an increasing trend in peak expiratory flow rate, forced expiratory volume in the first second, forced vital capacity, forced mid expiratory flow in 0.25-0.75 seconds and FEV1/FVC% ratio at 4 weeks and 8 weeks.

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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Jensen PS, Kenny DT (2004). The effects of yoga on the attention and behavior of boys with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Journal of Attention Disorders, 7, 205-216.

METHODS: Boys diagnosed with ADHD by specialist pediatricians and stabilized on medication were randomly assigned to a 20-session yoga group or a control group. RESULTS: Improvements from pre-test to post-test were found for the yoga, but not for the control group on five subscales of the Conners’ Parents Rating Scales.

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Attitudes

Malathi, A., Damodaran, A., Shah, N., Patil, N., & Maratha, S. (2000). Effect of yogic practices on subjective well being. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 44, 202-226.

METHODS: Forty eight healthy volunteers who participated in the practice of yoga over a period of 4 months were assessed on the Subjective Well Being Inventory the SWBI before and after the course in order to evaluate the effect of yoga on subjective feelings of well-being and quality of life. RESULTS: A significant improvement in 9 of the 11 factors of the SWBI was observed at the end of 4 months in these participants.

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Back Pain

Saper, R.B., Sherman, K.J., Cullum-Dugan, D., Davis, R.B., Phillips, R.S., & Culpepper, L. (2009). Yoga for chronic low back pain in a predominantly minority population: A pilot randomized controlled trial.Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 15, 18-27.

METHODS: Adults with moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain participated in weekly hatha yoga classes for 12 weeks and were compared to a waitlist usual care control. RESULTS: At 12 weeks the yoga group participants reported less analgesic use, less opiate use, and greater overall improvement.

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Balance

Schmid, A.A., Van, Puymbroeck, M., & Koceja, D.M. (2010). Effect of a 12-week yoga intervention on fear of falling and balance in older adults: a pilot study. Archives of Physical medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 576-583.

METHODS: Older adults who all endorsed a fear of falling participated in a biweekly 12-week yoga intervention.RESULTS: Fear of falling decreased and static balance increased and lower-body flexibility increased.

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Breast Cancer

Chandwani, K.D., Thornton, B., Perkins, G.H., Arun, B., Raghuram, N.V., Nagendra, H.R., Wei, Q., &Cohen, L. (2010). Yoga improves quality of life and benefit finding in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer.Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 8, 43-55.

METHODS: Women with breast cancer were randomly assigned to either yoga or a wait-list group. Yoga classes were taught biweekly during the 6 weeks of radiotherapy. RESULTS: The yoga group reported significantly better general health perception and physical functioning scores, and more intrusive thoughts postradiotherapy.

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Culos-Reed, S., Carlson, L., Daroux, L. & Hately-Aldous, S. (2006). A pilot study of yoga for breast cancer survivors: Physical and psychological benefits. Psychooncology, 15, 891-897.

Significant differences between the intervention and the control group at post-intervention were seen only in psychosocial (i.e. global quality of life, emotional function, and diarrhea) variables physical fitness variables.

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Carson, J.W., Carson, K.M., Porter, L.S., Keefe, F.J., Shaw, H. & Miller, J.M. (2007). Yoga for women with metastatic breast cancer: Results from a pilot study. Journal of Pain Symptom Management, 33, 331-341.

Lagged analyses of length of home yoga practice women experienced significantly lower levels of pain and fatigue, and higher levels of invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation.

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Speed-Andrews, A.E., Stevinson, C., Belanger, L.J., Mirus, J.J & Courneya, K.S. (2010). Pilot Evaluation of an Iyengar Yoga Program for Breast Cancer Survivors.Cancer Nursing. [Epub ahead of print]

METHODS: Breast cancer survivors participated in Iyengar yoga classes for 12-weeks. RESULTS: Several indicators of quality of life improved, including mental health, vitality, role-emotional and bodily pain.

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Cancer

Cohen, L., Warneke, C., Fouladi, R.T., Rodriguez, M.A. & Chaoul-Reich, A. (2004) Psychological adjustment and sleep quality in a randomized trial of the effects of a Tibetan yoga intervention in patients with lymphoma. Cancer, 100, 2253-2260.

METHODS: Thirty-nine patients with lymphoma were assigned to a yoga group or to a wait-list control group. Patients in the yoga group participated in 7 weekly yoga sessions, and patients in the wait-list control group were free to participate in the yoga program after the 3-month follow-up assessment. RESULTS: Patients in the yoga group reported significantly lower sleep disturbance scores.

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Ulger, O., & Yağli, N.V. (2010). Effects of yoga on the quality of life in cancer patients.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 16, 60-63.

METHODS: Breast cancer patients participated in 8 yoga sessions that included warming and breathing exercises,asanas, relaxation in supine position, and meditation. RESULTS: Patients’ quality of life scores improved after the yoga program and their anxiety levels decreased.

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Cardiovascular

Bowman, A. J., Clayton, R. H., Murray, A., Reed, J. W., Subhan, M. M., and Ford, G. A. (1997). Effects of aerobic exercise training and yoga on the baroreflex in healthy elderly persons. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 27, 443-449.

METHODS: The effects of aerobic exercise training and yoga, a non-aerobic control intervention, on the baroreflexof elderly persons were determined. Baroreflex sensitivity was quantified by the alpha-index, at high frequency (reflecting parasympathetic activity) and mid-frequency (reflecting sympathetic activity as well), derived from spectral and cross-spectral analysis of spontaneous fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure. Twenty-six sedentary, healthy, normotensive elderly subjects were studied. Fourteen of the sedentary elderly subjects completed 6 weeks of aerobic training, while the other 12 subjects completed 6 weeks of yoga. RESULTS: Heart rate decreased following yoga but not aerobic training. VO2 max increased by 11% following yoga and by 24% following aerobic training. No significant change in alpha MF or alpha HF occurred after aerobic training. Following yoga, alpha HF but not alpha MF increased.

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Cade, W.T., Reeds, D.N., Mondy, K.E., Overton, E.T., Grassino, J., Tucker, S., Bopp, C., Laciny, E., Hubert, S., Lassa-Claxton, S., & Yarasheski, K.E. (2010). Yoga lifestyle intervention reduces blood pressure in HIV-infected adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Hiv Medicine, [Epub ahead of print]

METHODS: HIV adults were assigned to 20 weeks of yoga or standard care treatment. RESULTS: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased more in the yoga group than in the standard of care group.

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Manchanda, S.C. Narang, R., Reddy, K.S. Sachdeva U. Prabhakaran D. Dharmanand S. Rajani M. Bijlani R. (2000). Retardation of coronary atherosclerosis with yoga lifestyle intervention. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 48, 687-694.

METHODS: Yoga effects were evaluated on retardation of coronary atherosclerotic disease. In this prospective, randomized, controlled trial, 42 men with angiographically proven coronary artery disease were randomized to control and yoga intervention groups and were followed for one year. The active group was treated with a user-friendly program consisting of yoga, control of risk factors, diet control and moderate aerobic exercise. The control group was managed by conventional methods i.e. risk factor control and American Heart Association step I diet.RESULTS: At one year, the yoga group had fewer anginal episodes per week, improved exercise capacity and decreased in body weight. Serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels also decreased as compared with the control group. Revascularization procedures (coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery) were less frequently required in the yoga group. Coronary angiography repeated at one year showed that significantly more lesions regressed (20% versus 2%) and less lesions progressed (5% versus 37%) in the yoga group.

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Telles, S., Reddy, S.K., Nagendra, H.R. (2000). Oxygen consumption and respiration following two yoga relaxation techniques. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 25, 221-227.

METHODS: Two yoga practices, one combining “calming and stimulating” measures and the other, a “calming” technique, were compared. The oxygen consumption, breath rate, and breath volume of 40 male volunteers were assessed before and after sessions. RESULTS: The magnitude of change on all 3 measures was greater after the calming and stimulating session: (1) Oxygen consumption decreased 32% compared with 10%; (2) breath rate decreased 18% versus 15%; and (3) breath volume increased 29% versus 16%.

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Damodaran, A., et al (2002). Therapeutic potential of yoga practices in modifying cardiovascular risk profile in middle aged men and women. The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 50, 633-640.

METHODS: Twenty patients with mild to moderate essential hypertension underwent yogic practices daily for one hour for three months. RESULTS: Results showed decreased blood pressure blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides and improved subjective well-being and quality of life.

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Harinath, K., et al. (2004). Effects of Hatha yoga and Omkar meditation on cardiorespiratory performance,psychologic profile, and melatonin secretion. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10, 261-268.

METHODS: Thirty healthy men were randomly divided into two groups. Controls performed body flexibility exercises for 40 minutes and slow running for 20 minutes during morning hours and played games for 60 minutes during evening hours daily for 3 months. Group 2 subjects practiced selected yogic postures for 45 minutes.RESULTS: Yogic practices for 3 months resulted in improved cardiorespiratory performance and psychologicprofiles. Plasma melatonin also increased after three months of yogic practices.

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Madanmohan, Udupa, K., Bhavanani, A.B., Shatapathy, C.C. & Sahai, A. (2004). Modulation of cardiovascular response to exercise by yoga training. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 48,461-465.

METHODS: This study reports the effects of yoga training on cardiovascular response to exercise and the time course of recovery after the exercise. Cardiovascular response to exercise was determined by the Harvard step test using a platform of 45 cm height. The subjects were asked to step up and down the platform at a rate of 30/min for a total duration of 5 min or until fatigue, whichever was earlier. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure response to exercise were measured in the supine position before exercise and at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10 minutes after the exercise.RESULTS: Exercise produced a significant increase in HR, systolic pressure and a significant decrease in diastolic pressure. After two months of yoga training, exercise-induced changes in these parameters were significantly reduced.

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Telles, S., Joshi, M., Dash, M., Raghuraj, P., Naveen, K.V., & Nagendra, H.R. (2004). An evaluation of the ability to voluntarily reduce the heart rate after a month of yoga practice. Integrative Physiological and Behavior Science, 39, 119-225.

METHODS: This study determined whether yoga reduced heart rate and whether the reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. Two groups (yoga and control, n = 12 each) were assessed on Day 1 and on Day 30. During the intervening 30 days, the yoga group received training in yoga techniques while the control group carried on with their routine. At each assessment the baseline heart rate was recorded for one minute. This was followed by a six-minute period during which participants were asked to attempt to voluntarily reduce their heart rate, using any strategy. RESULTS: Both the baseline heart rate and the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily during the six-minute period were significantly lower in the yoga group on Day 30 compared to Day 1 by a group average of 10.7 beats per minute (i.e., bpm) and 6.8 bpm, respectively. In contrast, there was no significant change in either the baseline heart rate or the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily in the control group on Day 30 compared to Day 1.

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Yogendra, J., et al. (2004). Beneficial effects of yoga lifestyle on reversibility of ischaemic heart disease: Caring heart project of International Board of Yoga. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 52,283-289.

METHODS: Angiographically proven coronary artery disease patients were given a Yoga Program. RESULTS: At the end of one year of yoga training, total cholesterol was reduced by 23% in the yoga group as compared to 4% in controls and serum LDL cholesterol was reduced by 26% in the yoga group as compared to 3% in the control group.

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Carpal Tunnel

Garfinkel, M.S., Singhal, A., Katz, W.A., Allan, D.A., Reshetar, R. & Schumacher, H.R.J. (1998). Yoga-based intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Asociation, 280, 1601-1603.

METHODS: Forty-two individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome were assigned to a yoga group receiving 11 yoga postures designed for strengthening, stretching, and balancing each joint in the upper body along with relaxation given twice weekly for 8 weeks. Patients in the control group were offered a wrist splint to supplement their current treatment. RESULTS: Yoga was more effective than wrist splinting or no treatment in relieving symptoms and signs of carpal tunnel syndrome including grip strength, pain intensity, sleep disturbance, Phalen sign, and Tinel sign, and in median nerve motor and sensory conduction time.

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Children

Berger, D.L., & Silver, E.J., & Stein, R.E. (2009). Effects of yoga on inner-city children’s well-being: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 15, 36-42.

METHODS: One group of school children received yoga 1 hour per week for 12 weeks and the other group did not.RESULTS: The yoga group had enhanced wellbeing and improved strength, flexibility and balance.

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Cognition

Manjunath,-N-K; Telles,-Shirley (1999). Improvement in visual perceptual sensitivity in children following yoga training. Journal of Indian Psychology, 17, 41-45.

METHODS: 14 children who received 10 days of yoga training and 14 controls who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. RESULTS: Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and a decrease in degree of illusion; the control group showed no change.

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Telles S. Ramaprabhu V. Reddy SK. (2000). Effect of yoga training on maze learning. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 44,197-201.

METHODS: Performance on a maze learning task was assessed in 31 adults before and after 30 days of yoga training and in a control group of subjects who did not receive yoga training. Subjects were blind-folded and used the dominant hand to trace a path in a wooden pencil maze. At each assessment, subjects were given 5 trials, without a gap between them. Performance was based on the time taken to complete the maze and the number of blind alleys taken. RESULTS: The time and error scores of Trial 1 were significantly less after yoga. Hence the yoga group showed improved performance in maze tracing at retest 30 days later.

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Cortisol

Kamei, T., Toriumi, Y., Kimura, H., Ohno, S., Kumano, H. & Kimura, K. (2000). Decrease in serum cortisol during yoga exercise is correlated with alpha wave activation. Perception and Motor Skills, 90, 1027-1032.

METHODS: This study examined changes in brain waves and blood levels of serum cortisol during yoga exercise.RESULTS: Alpha waves increased and serum cortisol decreased. These two measures were negatively correlated.

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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Boyle, C.A., Sayers, S.P., Jensen, B.E., Headley, S.A. & Manos, T.M. (2004). The effects of yoga training and a single bout of yoga on delayed onset muscle soreness in the lower extremity. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18, 723-729.

METHODS: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of yoga training on the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness. 24 yoga-trained and non-yoga-trained women were administered a bench-stepping exercise. Muscle soreness was assessed using a Visual Analog Scale. Groups were also compared on body awareness, flexibility using the sit-and-reach test, and perceived exertion. RESULTS: Muscle soreness decreased and flexibility increased using the sit-and-reach-test after yoga.

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Depression

Kraemer, J.M., & Marquez, D.X.(2009). Psychosocial correlates and outcomes of yoga or walking among older adults. Journal of Psychology, 143, 390-404.

METHODS: Adults walked for exercise or participated in a yoga class. RESULTS: Yoga participants had greater levels of depression and perceived barriers to exercise, and lower quality of life than did walkers. With control for these differences, yoga practitioners had improved levels of fatigue pre- to postsession.

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Platania-Solazzo, A., Field, T. M., Blank, J., Seligman, F., Kuhn, C., Schanberg, S., and Saab, P. (1992).Relaxation therapy reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Acta Paedopsychiatrica, 55, 115-120.

METHODS: The immediate effects of relaxation therapy (RT) were assessed in 40 hospitalized children and adolescents with diagnoses of adjustment disorder and depression. These effects were assessed using a within subjects pre-test/post-test design and by comparison with a control group of 20 depressed and adjustment disorder patients who watched a 1-h relaxing videotape. The 1-h RT class consisted of yoga exercise, a brief massage and progressive muscle relaxation. RESULTS: Decreases were noted in both self-reported anxiety and in anxious behavior and fidgeting as well as increases in positive affect in the RT, but not the video group. In addition, adjustment disorder patients and a third of the depressed patients showed decreases in cortisol levels following RT, while no changes were noted in the video group. Thus, both diagnostic groups appeared to benefit from the RT class.

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Khumar, S. S, Kaur P. & Kaur S. (1993). Effectiveness of Shavasana on depression among university students. Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology, 20, 82-87.

METHODS: The effectiveness of yoga was examined as a therapeutic technique to alleviate depression. 50 female university students were diagnosed with severe depression; 25 experienced 30 Yoga sessions and 25 served as controls.RESULTS: The results revealed that (1) Yoga was an effective technique for alleviating depression and (2) continuation of the treatment for a longer period resulted in a significantly increased positive change in the Ss.

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Uebelacker, L.A., Tremont, G., Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B.A., Gillette, T., Kalibatseva, Z., & Miller, I.W. (2010). Open trial of Vinyasa yoga for persistently depressed individuals: evidence of feasibility and acceptability. Behavior Modification, 34, 247-264.

METHODS: Depressed individuals participated in Vinyasa yoga classes. RESULTS: By the end of the study the participants had fewer depression symptoms and increased mindfulness.

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Woolery, A., Myers, H., Sternlieb, B. & Zeltzer L. (2004). A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 10, 60-63.

METHODS: Twenty-eight young adults pre-screened for mild levels of depression were randomly assigned to a yoga course or a wait-list control group. Subjects in the yoga group attended two 1-hour Iyengar yoga classes each week for 5 consecutive weeks. The classes emphasized yoga postures thought to alleviate depression, particularly back bends, standing poses, and inversions. RESULTS: Subjects who participated in the yoga course demonstrated significant decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression and trait anxiety. These effects emerged by the middle of the yoga course and were maintained by the end.

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Streeter, C.C., Jensen, J.E., Perlmutter, R.M., Cabral, H.J., Tian, H., Terhune, D.B., Ciraulo, D.A., &Renshaw, P.F. (2007). Yoga practitioners completed a 60-minute yoga session and comparison subjects completed a 60-minute reading session. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13, 419-426.

METHODS: Yoga practitioners completed a 60-minute yoga session and comparison subjects completed a 60-minute reading session. RESULTS: There was a 27% increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after the yoga session but no change in the comparison subject group after the reading session. This suggests that the practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders.

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Diabetes

Jain, S. C., Uppal, A., Bhatnagar, S. O., & Talukdar, B. (1993). A study of response pattern of non-insulin dependent diabetics to yoga therapy. Diabetes Research & Clinical Practice, 19, 69-74.

METHODS: Changes in blood glucose and glucose tolerance by oral glucose tolerance test were investigated after 40 days of yoga in 149 non-insulin-dependent diabetics. RESULTS: One hundred and four patients showed a fair to good response to the yoga therapy. There was a significant reduction in hyperglycemia and a decrease in oral hypoglycemic drugs required for maintenance of normoglycemia.

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Kosuri, M., & Sridhar, G.R. (2009). Yoga practice in diabetes improves physical and psychological outcomes.Metabolic syndromes and Related Disorders, 7, 515-7.

METHODS: Diabetic adults participated in a 40-day yoga camp where yogic practices were overseen by trained yoga teachers. RESULTS: At the end of the study, there was a reduction of body mass index, anxiety and an improvement in well-being.

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Malhotra, V., et al. (2002). Effect of Yoga asanas on nerve conduction in type 2 diabetes. Indian Journal of Physiological & Pharmacology, 46, 298-306.

METHODS: Twenty Type 2 diabetic subjects were studied to see the effect of 40 days of Yoga asanas on nerve conduction velocity. The Yoga exercises were performed for 30-40 minutes every day for 40 days in the above sequence. RESULTS: Right hand and left hand median nerve conduction velocity increased. Control group nerve function parameters deteriorated over the period of study.

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Singh, S., et al. (2004). Role of yoga in modifying certain cardiovascular functions in type 2 diabetic patients. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 52, 203-206.

METHODS: The present study was conducted with twenty-four Type 2 diabetic cases. Patients were trained in yogaasanas 30-40 min/day for 40 days. RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels from basal 190. Blood glucose levels as well as glycosylated hemoglobin levels decreased. The pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure also decreased.

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Eating Disorders

Carei, T.R., Fyfe-Johnson, A.L., Breuner, C.C., Brown, M.A. (2010). Randomized controlled clinical trial of yoga in the treatment of eating disorders. Journal of Adolescence Health, 46, 346-351.

METHODS: Children with eating disorders were randomized to an 8-week trial of standard care vs. individualized yoga plus standard care. The No Yoga group was offered yoga after study completion as an incentive to maintain participation. RESULTS: The Yoga group demonstrated greater decreases in eating disorder symptoms. Food preoccupation decreased after each session. Both groups maintained current BMI levels and decreased in anxiety and depression over time.

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EMG

Narayan, R., Kamat, A., Khanolkar, M., Kamat, S., Desai, S. R., & Dhume, R. A. (1990). Quantitative evaluation of muscle relaxation induced by Kundalini yoga with the help of EMG integrator. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 34, 279-281.

METHODS: The present work quantified the degree of muscle relaxation following Yoga. RESULTS: The EMG data collected from 8 individuals (4 males 4 females) on the degree of muscle relaxation at the end of Yoga revealed a significant decrease in muscle activity amounting to 58% of the basal level in both sexes.

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Epilepsy

Ramaratnam, S. & Sridharan, K. (2000). Yoga for epilepsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3):CD001524

METHODS: To assess the efficacy of yoga in the treatment of patients with epilepsy, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, randomized control trials on treatment of epilepsy with yoga. RESULTS: Only one study met the selection criteria, and recruited a total of 32 patients, 10 to yoga and 22 to control treatments. Antiepileptic drugs were continued in all. Randomization was by roll of a dice. The results of this study were as follows: (1) Four patients treated with yoga were seizure free for six months compared to none in the control groups. (2) Nine patients in the yoga group had more than a 50% reduction in seizure frequency compared to only one among the controls. (3) There was a decline in the average number of attacks per month compared to the baseline frequency among the patients treated with yoga. (4) More than a 50% reduction in seizure duration was found in seven of the 10 patients treated with yoga, compared to none among the 22 controls.

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Exercise

Bera, T. K. & Rajapurkar, M. V. (1993). Body composition, cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic power of yogic practitioner. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 37, 225-228.

METHODS: Forty male high school students, age 12-15 yrs, participated in a study on yoga in relation to body composition, cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic power. The Ss were assigned to a yoga group and control group. Body composition, cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic power were measured. RESULTS: The results revealed a significant improvement in ideal body weight, body density, cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic power following yoga.

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Raju, P. S., Madhavi, S., Prasad, K. V., Reddy, M. V., Reddy, M. E., Sahay, B. K., & Murthy, K. J. (1994).Comparison of effects of yoga & physical exercise in athletes. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 100, 81-86.

METHODS: The effect of yoga breathing practice on exercise tests was studied in athletes in two phases; sub-maximal and maximal exercise tests. RESULTS: At the end of phase I (one year) both groups (control and experimental) achieved significantly higher work rate and reduction in oxygen consumption per unit work. There was a significant reduction in blood lactate in the experimental group, at rest. At the end of phase II (two years), the oxygen consumption per unit work was found to be significantly reduced and the work rate significantly increased in the experimental group. Blood lactate decreased significantly at rest in the experimental group only.

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Fitness

Cowen, V.S. (2010). Functional fitness improvements after a worksite-based yoga initiative. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 14, 50-54.

METHODS: Firefighters participated in yoga classes over a period of 6 weeks. The classes included pranayama(breathing), asanas (postures), and shavasana (relaxation). RESULTS: Improvements were noted in functional fitness, in trunk flexibility and perceived stress. Participants also reported favorable perceptions of yoga: feeling more focused and less musculoskeletal pain.

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Flexibility and Cognition

Oken, B., Zaidel, D., Kishiyama, S., Flegal, K., Dehen, C., Haas, M., Kraemer, D., Lawrence, J. & Leyva, J. (2006). Randomized, controlled, six-month trial of yoga in healthy seniors: effects on cognition and quality of life. Alternative Therapy Health Medicine, 12, 40-47.

The yoga intervention produced improvements in physical measures (eg, timed 1-legged standing, forward flexibility) as well as a number of quality-of-life measures related to sense of well-being and energy and fatigue compared to controls.

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Headache

Latha, D & Kaliappan, K. V. (1992). Efficacy of yoga therapy in the management of headaches. Journal of Indian Psychology, 10, 41-47.

METHODS: The effect of yoga was investigated as a treatment for migraine and tension headaches in 20 patients. Ss were randomly assigned to 4 months of yoga therapy and no treatment control conditions. Ss in both groups were assessed for headache activity (in terms of frequency, duration, and intensity), sources of stress, coping patterns, and somatic symptoms before and after the therapeutic intervention. RESULTS: Reduction occurred in headache activity, medication intake, symptoms, and stress perception for the yoga group. They also showed improved coping behavior.

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Heart Rate

Schell, F. J., Allolio, B., & Schonecke, O. W. (1994). Physiological and psychological effects of Hatha-Yoga exercise in healthy women. International Journal of Psychosomatics, 41, 46-52.

METHODS: Heart rate, blood pressure, and the hormones cortisol, prolactin and growth hormone were measured in a yoga group and a control group of young female volunteers reading in a comfortable position during the experimental period. RESULTS: The yoga group had decreased heart rate during yoga. The yoga group had higher scores on life satisfaction and lower scores on excitability, aggressiveness, openness, emotionality and somatic complaints and coping with stress and mood by the end of the experiment. The yoga group also had higher scores on high spirits and extravertedness.

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HIV

Cade, W.T., Reeds, D.N., Mondy, K.E., Overton, E.T., Grassino, J., Tucker, S., Bopp, C., Laciny E., Hubert, S., Lassa-Claxton, S., & Yarasheski, K.E. (2010). Yoga lifestyle intervention reduces blood pressure in HIV-infected adults with risk factors. HIV Medicine, [Epub ahead of print]

METHODS: HIV adults with mild-moderate cardiovascular disease risk were assigned to 20 weeks of yoga or standard care. RESULTS: Resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures decreased more in the yoga group.

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Hypertension

Patel, C. and North, W. R. (1975). Randomized controlled trial of yoga and bio-feedback in management of hypertension. Lancet, 2, 93-95.

METHODS: 34 hypertensive patients were assigned at random either to six weeks of yoga methods with biofeedback or to general relaxation. RESULTS: Both groups showed a reduction in blood-pressure although the decrease was significantly greater for the yoga group. The control group was then trained in yoga relaxation and their blood-pressure fell to that of the other group (now used as controls).

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Murugesan, R., Govindarajulu, N., & Bera, T.K. (2000). Effect of selected yogic practices on the management of hypertension. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 44, 207-210.

METHODS: Thirty three hypertensives, were assessed on systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate and body weight. The subjects were randomly assigned to three groups: a yoga group, a group who received medical treatment by the physician and a control group. Yoga was offered in the morning and in the evening for 1 hr/session for 11-weeks. Medical treatment comprised drug intake every day for the experimental period. RESULTS: The result of pre-post test revealed that both the treatment stimuli (i.e., yoga and drug) were effective in controlling the measures of hypertension.

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Immune Function

Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Christina, L., Preston, H., Houts, C.R., Malarkey, W.B., Emery, C.F., & Glaser, R. (2010).Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72, 113-121.

METHODS: Novices and experts were exposed to yoga, movement control, and passive-video control during three separate visits. RESULTS: The yoga session boosted participants’ positive affect compared with the control conditions. Novices’ serum interleukin levels were higher as was their C-reactive protein levels.

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Pullen, P.R., Thompson, W.R., Benardot, D., Brandon, L.J., Mehta, P.K., Rifai, L., Vadnais, D.S., Parrott, J.M., & Khan BV. (2010). The Benefits of Yoga for African American Heart Failure Patients. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42, 651-657.

METHODS: Patients with systolic or diastolic heart failure were randomized to a yoga group or control group. All patients were asked to follow a home walk program. RESULTS: Yoga improved cardiovascular endurance, quality of life, inflammatory markers( interlukin-6 and C-reactive protein) and flexibility.

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Insomnia

Khalsa, S.B. (2004). Treatment of chronic insomnia with yoga: a preliminary study with sleep-wake diaries.Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 29, 269-278.

METHODS: A simple daily yoga treatment was evaluated in a chronic insomnia population consisting of sleep-onset and/or sleep-maintenance insomnia and primary or secondary insomnia. Participants maintained sleep-wake diaries during a pretreatment 2-week baseline and a subsequent 8-week intervention, in which they practiced the treatment on their own following a single in-person training session with subsequent brief in-person and telephone follow-ups.RESULTS: Improvements were noted in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, sleep onset latency, wake time after sleep onset, number of awakenings, and sleep quality measures based on sleep-wake diary entries and averaged in 2-week intervals.

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Manjunath, N.K. & Telles, S. (2005). Influence of Yoga and Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 121, 683-90.

METHODS: Of the 120 residents from a home for the aged, 69 were stratified based on age and randomly allocated to three groups i.e., Yoga (physical postures, relaxation techniques, voluntarily regulated breathing and lectures on yoga philosophy), Ayurveda (a herbal preparation), and Wait-list control (no intervention). RESULTS: The Yoga group showed a significant decrease in the time taken to fall asleep, an increase in the total number of hours slept and in the feeling of being rested in the morning based on a rating scale after six months.

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Job Stress

Hartfiel, N., Havenhand, J., Khalsa, S.B., Clarke, G., & Krayer, A. (2010). The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, [Epub ahead of print].

METHODS: To assess Yoga effects on stress in the workplace, employees were randomized to either yoga or a wait-list control group. The yoga group was offered six weeks of a 60-minute Yoga class per week. RESULTS: The yoga group reported enhanced feelings of clear-mindedness, composure, elation, energy, and confidence. In addition, the yoga group reported increased life purpose, satisfaction, and feelings of greater self-confidence during stressful situations.

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Low Back Pain

Sherman, K.J., Cherkin, D.C., Erro, J., Miglioretti, D.L. & Deyo, R.A. (2005). Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 143, 118.

METHODS: 101 adults with chronic low back pain were given 12-week sessions of yoga or conventional therapeutic exercise classes or a self-care book. RESULTS: Back-related function in the yoga group was superior to the book and exercise groups at 12 weeks and at 26 weeks.

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Williams, K.A., Petronis, J., Smith, D., Goodrich, D., Wu, J., Ravi, N., Doyle, E.J. Jr., Gregory-Juckett, R., Munoz-Kolar, M., Gross, R. & Steinberg, L. (2005). Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain. Pain, 115, 107-117.

METHODS: A randomized control trial was conducted in subjects with non-specific chronic low back pain comparing Iyengar yoga therapy to an educational control group. Both programs were 16 weeks long. RESULTS:Analyses revealed significant reductions in pain intensity (64%), functional disability (77%) and pain medication usage (88%) in the yoga group at the post and 3-month follow-up assessments.

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Lung Function

Prakash, S., Meshram, S., & Ramtekkar, U. (2007). Atheletes, yogis and individuals with sedentary lifestyles; do their lung functions differ? Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 51, 76-80.

METHODS: Spirometric parameters were assessed in randomly selected 60 healthy male, non-smoking; non-obese subjects-athletes, yogis and sedentary workers. RESULTS: The highest mean FEV1 and PEFR were observed in yogis. Both yogis and athletes had significantly better FEV1 as compared to sedentary workers. Yogis also had significantly better PEFR as compared to sedentary workers and athletes. Yogis and athletes had similar lung functions except for better PEFR amongst yogis.

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Migraine

John, P., Sharma, N., Sharma, C. & Kankane, A. (2007). Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: A randomized controlled trial. Headache, 47, 654-61.

METHODS: Seventy-two patients with migraine without aura were randomly assigned to yoga therapy or self-care group for 3 months. Primary outcomes were headache frequency (headache diary), severity of migraine, and pain component (McGill pain questionnaire). Secondary outcomes were anxiety and depression (Hospital anxiety depression scale), medication score. RESULTS: After adjustment for baseline values, the subjects’ complaints related to headache intensity, frequency, pain rating index, affective pain rating index, total pain rating index, anxiety and depression scores, symptomatic medication use were significantly lower in the yoga group compared to the self-care group.

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Mindfulness

Shelov, D.V., Suchday, S., & Friedberg JP.(2009). A pilot study measuring the impact of yoga on the trait of mindfulness. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 37, 595-598.

METHODS: The participants were randomly assigned to an 8-week yoga group or a wait-list control. RESULTS: The yoga group experienced a greater increase in mindfulness including; Attention to the present moment and Accepting and open attitudes toward experience.

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Mental retardation

Uma, K., Nagendra, H. R., Nagarathna, R., Vaidehi, S., & Seethalakshmi, R. (1989). The integrated approach of yoga: A therapeutic tool for mentally retarded children: a one-year controlled study. Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 33, 415-421.

METHODS: Ninety children with mental retardation of mild, moderate and severe degree were selected for the study. Forty-five children experienced yoga for one academic year (5 h in every week) including breathing exercises and meditation. RESULTS: Significant improvement in IQ and social adaptation parameters occurred in the yoga group as compared to the control group.

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Mood

Berger, B. G. & Owen, D. R. (1992). Mood alteration with yoga and swimming: aerobic exercise may not be necessary. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 75, 1331-1343.

METHODS: College students (N = 87) in two swimming classes, a yoga class, and a lecture-control class completed mood and personality inventories before and after class on three occasions. RESULTS: Both the yoga and the swimmers groups reported greater decreases in scores on Anxiety, Confusion, Tension, and Depression than the control group.

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Wood, C. (1993). Mood change and perceptions of vitality: a comparison of the effects of relaxation, visualization and yoga. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 86, 254-258.

METHODS: Effects of relaxation, visualization and yogic breathing and stretch were assessed on perceptions of physical and mental energy and on positive and negative mood states in a group of 71 normal volunteers.RESULTS: Stretching produced a significantly greater increase in perceptions of mental and physical energy and feelings of alertness and enthusiasm than the other two procedures. Relaxation made subjects significantly more sleepy and sluggish immediately after the session than stretching. Visualization made them more sluggish but less content than stretching and more upset than relaxation after the second session.

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Obesity

McIver, S., & McGartland, M., & O’Halloran, P. (2009). “Overeating is not about the food”: women describe their experience of a yoga treatment program for binge eating. Qualittative Health Reseatch, 19, 1243-1245.

METHODS: Data from the journals of obese women were analyzed to examine the experience of a 12-week yoga program for binge eating. RESULTS: Qualitative analysis revealed that the women consumed less food, decreased eating speed, and improved food choices throughout the program.

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McIver, S., O’Halloran, P., & McGartland, M. (2009).Yoga as a treatment for binge eating disorder: a preliminary study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 17, 196-202.

METHODS: Women with binge eating disorder and a BMI>25, participated in a 12-week yoga program. RESULTS: The yoga group self-reported reductions in binge eating and increases in physical activity and BMI, hips and waist measurements decreased.

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Telles, S., Naveenm V.K., Balkrishna, A., Kumar, S. (2010). Short term health impact of a yoga and diet change program on obesity. Medical Science monitor, international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 16, 35-40.

METHODS: These individuals practiced yoga for 5 hours every day and had a low fat, high fiber, vegetarian diet.RESULTS: Following the 6-day program, participants showed a decrease in BMI, waist and hip circumference, fat-free mass, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting serum leptin levels and an increase in postural stability and hand grip strength.

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Oxygen Consumption

Sarang, P. & Telles, S. (2006). Oxygen consumption and respiration during and after two yoga relaxation techniques. Applied Psychophysiology Biofeedback, 31, 143-53.

Oxygen consumption decreased by 19.3 percent below baseline values after CM. combination of yoga postures with supine rest (in CM) reduces the oxygen consumption more than resting supine alone does.

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Osteoporosis

Tüzün, S., Aktas, I., Akarirmak, U., Sipahi, S., Tüzün, F.(2010). Yoga might be an alternative training for the quality of life and balance in postmenopausal osteoporosis. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicinem 46, 69-72.

METHODS: Postmenopausal osteoporotic women were assigned to a yoga exercise or a classic osteoporosis exercise program. RESULTS: Yoga education had a positive effect on pain, physical functions and social functions.

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Pancreatitis

Sarren, S., Kumari, V., Gajebasia, K. & Gajebasia, N. (2007). Yoga: a tool for improving the quality of life in chronic pancreatitis. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 13, 391-397.

METHODS: The patients were randomized to two groups. The control group continued their usual care as directed by their physicians. Patients in the yoga group, in addition, received biweekly yoga sessions for 12 wk. The patients’ demographic and health behaviour variables were assessed before and after the yoga programme using Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36) for quality of life, Profile of Mood States for assessing mood and Symptoms of Stress Inventory for measuring stress. RESULTS: Thirty patients were randomized to the yoga group and 30 to the control group. Significant improvements were seen in overall quality of life, symptoms of stress, mood changes, alcohol dependence and appetite after the 12 wk period apart from the general feeling of well-being and desire to continue with the programme in future in the yoga group, while there was no difference in the control group.

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Physiology

Baldwin, M. C (1999). Psychological and physiological influences of Hatha Yoga training on healthy, exercising adults. (yoga, stress, wellness). Dissertation Abstracts International Section A. Humanities and Social Sciences, 60, 1031.

METHODS: The purpose of this study was to explore the psychological and physiological differences between adult exercisers who added a weekly yoga class to their regular exercise program and those who did not. Subjects were pre tested and post tested for mood state, stress response, recovery heart rate, and spinal/hamstring flexibility. Over a period of eight weeks, subjects in both groups continued their normal exercise habits and maintained exercise logs. Subjects in the Yoga Group added a weekly yoga class. Subjects in the Control Group received a yoga class at a later time. At the end of eight weeks, exercise logs were collected and post tests were conducted. RESULTS: The results suggested: (1) more positive mood change in the Yoga Group over eight weeks, (2) more immediate positive affect from yoga than from cardiovascular or resistance training activities, (3) more compliance with yoga than with cardiovascular or resistance training activities, (4) comparable perceived exertion ratings for ‘moderate’ Hatha Yoga and routine aerobic exercise, (5) an 8% gain in spinal and hamstring flexibility in the Yoga Group over eight weeks, and (6) decreased vulnerability to stress in the Yoga Group, at the same time that sources of stress for that group increased.

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Pregnancy

Beddoe, A.E., Lee, K.A., Weiss, S.J., Kennedy, H.P., Yang, C.P. (2010). Effects of mindful yoga on sleep in pregnant women: a pilot study. Biological Research for Nursing, 11, 363-370.

METHODS: Pregnant women in their second or third trimesters attended weekly mindfulness meditation and prenatal Hatha yoga classes for 7 weeks. RESULTS: Women who began the intervention in the second trimester had significantly fewer awakenings (based on wrist activity monitors), less wake time during the night, and less perceived sleep disturbance post intervention than at baseline. Those who began during the third trimester had poorer sleep over time in spite of the intervention. Women who began the intervention in their second trimester had less awake time post intervention compared to third-trimester controls at baseline.

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Chuntharapat, S., Petpichetchian, W., & Hatthakit, U. (2008). Yoga during pregnancy: effects on maternal comfort, labor pain and birth outcomes. Complementary Therapies in Clinic, 14, 105-115.

This study examined the effects of a yoga program during pregnancy, on maternal comfort, labor pain, and birth outcomes. A randomized trial was conducted using 74-primigravid Thai women who were equally divided into two groups (experimental and control). The yoga program involved six, 1-h sessions at prescribed weeks of gestation. A variety of instruments were used to assess maternal comfort, labor pain and birth outcomes. The experimental group was found to have higher levels of maternal comfort during labor and 2h post-labor, and experienced less subject evaluated labor pain than the control group. In each group, pain increased and maternal comfort decreased as labor progressed. No differences were found, between the groups, regarding pethidine usage, labor augmentation or newborn Apgar scores at 1 and 5 min. The experimental group was found to have a shorter duration of the first stage of labor, as well as the total time of labor.

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Narendran, S., Nagarathna, R., Narendran, V., Gunasheela, S. & Nagendra, H.R. Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome. (2005). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11, 237-244.

METHODS: Three hundred thirty five women attending antenatal clinics were enrolled between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy in a prospective, matched, observational study. Women were matched for age, parity, body weight, and Doppler velocimetry scores of umbilical and uterine arteries. Yoga practices, including physical postures, breathing, and meditation were practiced by the yoga group one hour daily, from the date of entry into the study until delivery. The control group walked 30 minutes twice a day during the study period. RESULTS: The number of babies with birth weight > or = 2500 grams was significantly higher in the yoga group. Preterm labor was significantly lower in the yoga group. Complications such as isolated intrauterine growth retardation and pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) with associated IUGR were also significantly lower in the yoga group. There were no significant adverse effects noted in the yoga group.

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PTSD

Telles, S., Singh, N., Joshi, M., Balkrishna, A. (2010). Post traumatic stress symptoms and heart rate variability in Bihar flood survivors following yoga: a randomized controlled study. BMC Psychiatry, 2, 10-18.

METHODS: Flood survivors were randomly assigned a yoga and a wait-list control group. The yoga group practiced yoga for an hour daily. Both groups’ heart rate variability, breath rate, and four symptoms of emotional distress using visual analog scales, were assessed on the first and eighth day of the program. RESULTS: The yoga group experienced decreased sadness and the control group had increased anxiety.

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Pulmonary function

Makwana, K., Khirwadkar, N., & Gupta, H. C. (1988). Effect of short term yoga practice on ventilatoryfunction tests. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 32, 202-208.

METHODS: Twenty five normal male volunteers undergoing a ten week yoga course were assessed by ventilatoryfunction tests. RESULTS: The observations recorded at the end of ten weeks of the course showed improvedventilatory functions in the form of lowered respiratory rate, increased forced vital capacity, FEV1, maximum breathing capacity and breath holding time, while tidal volume and %FEV1, did not reveal any significant change.

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Rai, L., Ram, K., Kant, U., Madan, S. K., & Sharma, S. K. (1994). Energy expenditure and ventilatoryresponses during Siddhasana–a yogic seated posture. Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 38, 29-33.

METHODS: Various cardio-ventilatory responses were studied in states of the horizontal supine, chair-sitting andSiddhasana (a yoga seated posture). RESULTS: Sitting in the yoga posture was characterised by greater minute ventilation, larger tidal volume, higher oxygen consumption, greater CO2 elimination, higher heart rate frequency, greater oxygen pulse compared with other two postures.

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Birkel, D. A. & Edgren, L. (2000). Hatha yoga: improved vital capacity of college students. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 6, 55-63.

METHODS: To determine the effects of yoga postures and breathing exercises on vital capacity, researchers measured vital capacity using the Spiropet spiromete. Vital capacity determinants were taken near the beginning and end of two 17-week semesters. 89 men and 198 women were taught yoga poses, breathing techniques, and relaxation in two 50-minute class meetings for 15 weeks. RESULTS: The study showed a significant improvement in vital capacity across all categories over time.

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Spicuzza L. Gabutti A. Porta C. Montano N., & Bernardi L. (2000). Yoga and chemoreflex response to hypoxia and hypercapnia. Lancet, 356, 1495-1496.

METHODS : This study assessed whether chemoreflex sensitivity could be affected by the practice of yoga, and whether it was specifically because of a slow breathing rate obtained during yoga or as a general consequence of yoga. RESULTS: Slow breathing rate per se substantially reduced chemoreflex sensitivity, but long-term yoga practice was responsible for a generalized reduction in chemoreflex.

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Malhotra, V., et al. (2002).Study of yoga asanas in assessment of pulmonary function in NIDDM patients.Indian Journal of Physiological & Pharmacology, 46, 13-20.

METHODS: The present study was conducted with twenty four type 2 diabetic patients. These middle-aged subjects were type II diabetics on antihyperglycaemic and a dietary regimen. Training in yoga asanas occurred 30-40 min/day for 40 days. RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels. The postprandial blood glucose levels also decreased. The FEV1, FVC, PEFR, MVV increased significantly.

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Visweswaraiah, N. & Telles, S. (2004). Randomized trial of yoga as a complementary therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis. Respirology, 9, 96-101.

METHODS: A total of 1009 pulmonary tuberculosis patients were screened and 73 were alternately allocated to yoga or breathe awareness groups. RESULTS: At the end of 2 months, the yoga group showed a significant reduction in symptom scores, and an increase in weight, FVC and FEV(1). The breath awareness group also showed a significant reduction in symptom scores, and an increase in weight and FEV(1). Significantly more patients in the yoga group showed sputum conversion based on microscopy on days 30 and 45 compared to the breath awareness group. Improvement in the radiographic picture occurred in 16/25 of the yoga group compared to 3/22 of the breath awareness group on day 60. The improved level of infection, radiographic picture, FVC, weight gain and reduced symptoms in the yoga group suggest a complementary role for yoga in the management of pulmonary tuberculosis.

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Review

Khalsa, S.B. (2004). Yoga as a therapeutic intervention: A bibliometric analysis of published research studies. Indian Journal Physiology and Pharmacology, 48, 269-85.

REVIEW: Although yoga is historically a spiritual discipline, it has also been used clinically as a therapeutic intervention. A bibliometric analysis on the biomedical journal literature involving research on the clinical application of yoga has revealed an increase in publication frequency over the past 3 decades with a substantial and growing use of randomized controlled trials. Types of medical conditions have included psychopathological (e.g. depression, anxiety), cardiovascular (e.g. hypertension, heart disease), respiratory (e.g. asthma), diabetes and a variety of others. A majority of this research has been conducted by Indian investigators and published in Indian journals, particularly yoga specialty journals, although recent trends indicate increasing contributions from investigators in the U.S. and England. Yoga therapy is a relatively novel and emerging clinical discipline within the broad category of mind-body medicine, whose growth is consistent with the burgeoning popularity of yoga in the West and the increasing worldwide use of alternative medicine.

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Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies.Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, 3-12.

METHODS: Using PubMed and the key word “yoga,” a comprehensive search of the research literature was conducted. The most common comparison intervention involved exercise. RESULTS: In the studies reviewed, yoga was equal or superior to exercise on the outcome measures except for physical fitness.

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Runners

Donohue, B., Miller, A., Beisecker, M., Houser, D., Valdez, R., Tiller, S. & Taymar, T. (2006). Effects of a brief yoga exercises and motivational preparatory interventions in distance runners: Results of a controlled trial. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40, 60-63.

Participants assigned to yoga exercises showed significant improvements in running performance

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Steadiness

Telles, S., Hanumanthaiah, B., Nagarathna, R., & Nagendra, H. R. (1993). Improvement in static motor performance following yogic training of school children. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 76, 1264-1266.

METHODS: Two groups of 45 children each, whose ages ranged from 9 to 13 years, were assessed on a steadiness test, at the beginning and again at the end of a 10-day period during which one group received training in yoga, while the other group did not. The steadiness test required insertion of and holding for 15 sec. a metal stylus without touching the sides of holes of decreasing sizes in a metal plate. The contacts were counted as ‘errors’. During the 10-day period, one group (the ‘Yoga’ group) received training in special physical postures (asanas), voluntary regulation of breathing (Pranayama), maintenance of silence, as well as visual focusing exercises (tratakas) and games to improve the attention span and memory. The other group (control) carried out their usual routine. RESULTS: After 10 days, the ‘Yoga’ group showed a significant improvement.

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Sleep

Manjunath, N. & Telles, S. (2005). Influence of Yoga and Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 121, 683-690.

METHODS: The present study was designed to compare the effects of Yoga and Ayurveda on the self-rated sleep in a geriatric population. 69 elderly were randomly assigned to three groups i.e., Yoga, Ayurveda (a herbal preparation), and Wait-list control (no intervention). The groups were evaluated for self-assessment of sleep over a one week period at baseline, and after three and six months of the respective interventions. RESULTS: The Yoga group showed a significant decrease in the time taken to fall asleep (approximate group average decrease: 10 min), an increase in the total number of hours slept and in the feeling of being rested in the morning based on a rating scale after six months. The other groups showed no significant change.

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Stress

Brisbon, N.M., & Lowery, G.A. (2009). Mindfulness and Levels of Stress: A Comparison of Beginner and Advanced Hatha Yoga Practitioners. Journal of Religion and Health, [Epub ahead of print].

METHODS: Beginner practitioners (those with less than 5 years Hatha yoga experience and advanced practitioners (those with over 5 years experience). RESULTS: Advanced participants scored significantly higher on mindfulness and significantly lower on stress levels.

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Michalsen, A., Grossman, P., Acil, A., Langhorst, J., Ludtke, R., Esch, T., Stefano, G.B. & Dobos GJ. (2005). Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program. Medical Science Monitor, 11, 555-561.

METHODS: A controlled prospective non-randomized study was conducted in 24 self-referred female subjects who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed. During the yoga course, subjects attended two-weekly 90-minIyengar yoga classes. RESULTS: Compared to the waiting-list women, those who participated in the yoga-training demonstrated significant improvements in perceived stress, State and Trait Anxiety, well-being, vigor, fatigue and depression. Physical well-being also increased, and those subjects suffering from headache or back pain reported marked pain relief. Salivary cortisol decreased significantly after participation in a yoga class.

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Weight Gain

Kristal, A., Littman, A., Benitez, D. & White, E. (2005). Yoga practice is associated with attenuated weight gain in healthy, middle-aged men and women. Alternative Therapy Health Medicine, 11, 28-33.

Yoga practice for four or more years was associated with a 3.1-lb lower weight gain among normal weight participants and an 18.5-lb lower weight gain among overweight participants.

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Women

Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Christian, L., Preston, H., Houts, C.R., Malarkey, W.B., Emery, C.F., & Glaser, R. (2010).Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72, 113-121.

METHODS: A total of 50 healthy women, 25 novices and 25 experts, were exposed to (yoga, movement control, and passive-video control) during three separate visits. RESULTS: The yoga session boosted participants’ positive affect compared with the control conditions, but no overall differences in inflammatory or endocrine responses were unique to the yoga session.

Research Abstracts Courtesy of Touch Research Institute.