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Int J Yoga. 2019 Jan-Apr;12(1):62-67. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_10_18.

Positive Effects of Yoga on Physical and Respiratory Functions in Healthy Inactive Middle-Aged People.

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Department of Clinical Rehabilitation, Graduate School of Comprehensive Rehabilitation, Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka, Japan.



Yoga improves physical and respiratory functions in healthy inactive middle-aged people.


This study aimed to assess the effects of 8 weeks of asana and asana with pranayama lessons in order to clarify the influence of two different combinations of yoga practice on physical and respiratory functions in healthy inactive middle-aged people.

Subjects and Methods:

A total of 28 participants (mean age: 52.7 years) were divided into a yoga asana (YA) group and YA with pranayama (YAP) group. Participants attended a 70-min session once a week for 8 weeks. The YA group practiced basic asana without specific breathing instructions, while the YAP group practiced basic asana with specific breathing instructions (pranayama). Respiratory function was measured with an autospirometer. Physical function assessments included the 30-s chair stand test and upper and lower extremity flexibility. All tests were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of intervention.

Statistical Analysis:

Changes in scores were analyzed with the paired t-test for each group. Pre-post results were compared for all the measured values. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Both groups showed significant improvements in physical and overall respiratory functions after the 8-week yoga intervention. However, the maximal inspiratory pressure and lower extremity flexibility improved only in the YAP group.


The 8-week yoga intervention for healthy inactive middle-aged people improved the overall respiratory and physical functions, and the inclusion of pranayama had the added benefit of improving inspiratory muscle strength and global body flexibility.


Asana; Pimax; asana with pranayama; diaphragm stretching; flexibility; healthy inactive middle-aged people; physical function; respiratory function; respiratory muscle strength; trunk circumference

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