All I can say is wow. We’ve known yoga “works” for thousands of years. I have personally read many individual studies that demonstrate yoga’s benefits. I’ve even been involved in designing a study or two. But a recent systematic review of yoga research since 1970 astounds even me.
Dr. Kim Innes of the University of Virginia performed a systematic review of seventy studies published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and India since 1970. She was particularly interested in what these studies show about the effects of yoga on insulin resistance syndrome and heart disease. Of the seventy studies:
- Eighteen focused on yoga’s effects on heart disease
- Five investigated yoga’s ability to relieve stress
- Fifty-one studied yoga’s effects on lipids, blood pressure, weight loss and blood pressure
Here’s what Dr. Innes found:
- Individuals who practiced yoga for one month to one year lost between 1.5% and 13.6 % of their body weight. (This is equivalent to medically approved weight loss programs.)
- In the fourteen studies that measured cholesterol, yoga participants’ total cholesterol was reduced by 5.8% to 25.2%. “Bad cholesterol” (LDL) was reduced by 12.8% to 26%, and triglycerides decreased by 22% to 28.5%
- In twenty-seven studies that measured blood pressure, more than 75% of yoga participants showed decreases in blood pressure.
- All of the fifty-one studies that examined insulin resistance (a major contributor to heart disease) showed significant improvements. There is also great news for individuals with type 2 diabetes. All individuals with type 2 diabetes showed improvements in fasting glucose levels.
No matter which way you slice it, yoga is good for your heart. And as those of us who practice regularly can attest, it’s great for your spirit, too!
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!