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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:983258. doi: 10.1155/2012/983258. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Frequency of yoga practice predicts health: results of a national survey of yoga practitioners.

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  • 1University of Maryland School of Nursing, 655 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Background. Yoga shows promise as a therapeutic intervention, but relationships between yoga practice and health are underexplored. Purpose. To examine the relationship between yoga practice and health (subjective well-being, diet, BMI, smoking, alcohol/caffeine consumption, sleep, fatigue, social support, mindfulness, and physical activity). Methods. Cross-sectional, anonymous internet surveys distributed to 4307 randomly selected from 18,160 individuals at 15 US Iyengar yoga studios; 1045 (24.3%) surveys completed. Results. Mean age 51.7 (± 11.7) years; 84.2% female. Frequency of home practice favorably predicted (P < .001): mindfulness, subjective well-being, BMI, fruit and vegetable consumption, vegetarian status, sleep, and fatigue. Each component of yoga practice (different categories of physical poses, breath work, meditation, philosophy study) predicted at least 1 health outcome (P < .05). Conclusions. Home practice of yoga predicted health better than years of practice or class frequency. Different physical poses and yoga techniques may have unique health benefits.

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