Effects of Bikram Yoga on Body Composition, Blood Pressure, and Sleep Patterns in Adult Practitioners


 Bikram yoga, body composition, blood pressure, sleep, BOD POD.

How to Cite

Charleston F. Marger, Lori K. Hicklin, & Dena P. Garner. (2016). Effects of Bikram Yoga on Body Composition, Blood Pressure, and Sleep Patterns in Adult Practitioners. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 12, 75–80. https://doi.org/10.6000/1927-5129.2016.12.12


Studies have demonstrated positive results for people who practice traditional yoga, specifically in body mass index, depression, cancer, sleeping patterns, and diabetes. Most forms of traditional yoga are held in a temperate climate between 293 Kelvin (K) to 295 K; a temperature that is calming and places little stress on the body. Bikram yoga, however, is a more intense form of yoga performed in a hotter climate, typically at 314 K with 40% humidity. The purpose of this study was to determine how Bikram yoga affected blood pressure, body composition, and sleep patterns in beginner and intermediate/experienced practitioners. Participants (N=16) completed 8 weeks of sessions, ranging between 2 to 7 classes per week in a local Bikram yoga program conducted by certified instructors. All participants were assessed prior to the study and again at the end of the eight weeks. A BOD POD (an air displacement plethysmography) was used for body composition assessments, while a digital blood pressure cuff was used to assess blood pressure. In addition, participants were also surveyed on sleep parameters pre and post yoga participation. In combining all subjects, results showed there was a significant improvement (p=0.054) in faster time to fall asleep (27.66 min pre and 23.967 min post), and a trend (p=0.057) towards improved mean arterial pressure (92.20 mmHg pre and 88.33 mm Hg post). There were no differences in weight loss or percent body fat in subjects. This study indicates that there is a trend towards improved blood pressure and significant improvement in sleep parameters after 8 weeks of Bikram yoga for both intermediate/experienced and beginners, but no differences in body composition.



Schroeder J. ACSM | Articles [Internet

Kudesia R, Bianchi M. Decreased nocturnal awakenings in young adults performing Bikram yoga: a low-constraint home sleep monitoring study. ISRN Neurol 2012; 2012: 1-7.

Holcombe K. Yoga & breathing | Try Pranayama for stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Yoga Journal [Internet

Geithner C. ACSM information on selecting and effectively using a yoga program. American College of Sports Medicine [Internet

Brukner P, Khan K. Clinical Sports Medicine, 4th ed. Sydney: McGraw Hill 2012.

Bikram yoga testimonials. California: Bikram’s Yoga College of India [Internet

Ross A, Friedmann E, Bevans M, Thomas S. Frequency of yoga practice predicts health: results of a national survey of yoga practitioners. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 1-10.

Hariprasad VR, Sivakumar PT, Koparde V, et al. Effects of yoga intervention on sleep and quality-of-life in elderly: A randomized controlled trial. Indian J Psychiatry 2013; 55(Suppl 3): S364-S368. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.116310

Kiecolt-Glaser J, Christian L, Preston H, Houts C, Malarkey W, Emery C, et al. Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosom Med 2010; 72(2): 113-121. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181cb9377

Kim SJ, Bemben MG, Bemben DA. Effects of an 8-month yoga intervention on arterial compliance and muscle strength in premenopausal women. J Sports Sci Med 2012; 11(2): 322-330. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC3737865/

Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Tuffrey V, Richardson J, Pilington K. Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of research evidence. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39: 884-891. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2005.018069

Seo DY, Lee SR, Figueroa A. Kim, et al. Yoga training improves metabolic parameters in obese boys. Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2012; 16: 175-180. http://dx.doi.org/10.4196/kjpp.2012.16.3.175

Fang R, Li X. A regular yoga intervention for staff nurse sleep quality and work stress: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Nurs 2015; 24 (23/24): 3374-3379.

Yang K. A review of yoga programs for four leading risk factors of chronic diseases. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2007; 4(4): 487-491. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem154

Singh M, Singh Bal B, Singh D. An analysis of certain components of health related fitness: An exploration through the practice of yoga. J Bio Exer 2014; 10(2). doi:http:doi.org/10.4127/jbe/2014.0074

Bhutkar MV, Bhutkar PM, Taware GB, Surdi AD. How effective is sun salutation in improving muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition? Asian J Sports Med 2011; 2(4): 259-266. http://dx.doi.org/10.5812/asjsm.34742

Krystal AD, Edinger JD. Measuring sleep quality. Sleep Med 2008; 9(1): S10-S17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1389-9457(08)70011-X

Halpern J, Cohen M, Kennedy G, Reece J, Cahan C, Baharav A. Yoga for improving sleep quality and quality of life for older adults. Altern Ther Health Med 2014; 20(3): 37-46.

Abel AN, Lloyd LK, Williams JS, Miller BK. Physiological characteristics of long-term bikram yoga practitioners. JEPonline [Internet

Fritz M, Grossman AM, Mukherjee A, Hunter SD, Tracy BL. Acute metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal responses to a single session of Bikram yoga. Acute metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal responses to a single session of Bikram yoga. Presentation presented at 61st Annual American College of Sports Medicine; 2014 May; Orlando, Florida.

Hewett Z, Ransdell L, Gao Y, Petlichkoff L, Lucas S. An examination of the effectiveness of an 8-week Bikram yoga program on mindfulness, perceived stress, and physical fitness. J Exerc Sci Fit 2011; 9(2): 87-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1728-869X(12)60003-3

Hunter S, Dhindsa M, Cunningham E, Tarumi T, Alkatan M, Nualnim N, et al. The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. J Altern Complement Med 2013; 19(12): 930-934. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/acm.2012.0709

Tracy BL, Hart CE. Bikram yoga training and physical fitness in healthy young adults. J Strength Cond Res 2013; 27(3): 822-830. http://dx.doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c340f

Büssing A, Michalsen A, Khalsa SBS, Telles S, Sherman KJ. Effects of yoga on mental and physical health: a short summary of reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012; 2012: Article ID 165410. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/165410

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2016 Charleston F. Marger, Lori K. Hicklin , Dena P. Garner