You have to read through a lot of science to get to the bottom-line of this article, but once you do:
Compared to traditional aerobic exercise controls, there was no significant difference in how exercise or yoga changed risk factors, suggesting similar effectiveness of the two forms of physical activity and possibly similar underlying mechanisms. The mechanism behind the therapeutic effect of yoga for CVD is still unclear; studies have suggested that yoga may modulate autonomic function and beneficially alter markers of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity.12⇓–14 Through practicing yoga, the effects of stress can be reduced, leading to positive impacts on neuroendocrine status, metabolic and cardio-vagal function, and related inflammatory responses.12⇓–14 The similarity in effectiveness on risk factors between the two forms of exercise suggest that there could be comparable working mechanisms, with some possible physiological aerobic benefits occurring with yoga practice, and some stress-reducing, relaxation effect occurring with aerobic exercise.
That’s from the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. What is means, more or less, is that yoga is about as good at combating things like high blood pressure and cholesterol as relatively strenuous cardio such as swimming or biking. (From my own experiences, I’m not sure anything really beats swimming.) CVD is short for cardiovascular disease.
And here’s from the conclusion:
Our review finds emerging evidence to support a role for yoga in improving common modifiable risk factors of CVD and metabolic syndrome. Whereas previous reviews have looked at a single or a few risk factors, our review updates the existing literature and encompasses numerous CVD and metabolic risk factors that can be used to calculate overall CVD risk. We believe that these findings have important implications for the acceptance of yoga as an effective therapeutic intervention. Given the growing popularity of yoga in the US and around the world, there is a need for larger randomized controlled studies that meet explicit, high quality methodological standards to ascertain the effects of yoga. This review demonstrates the potential of yoga to have an impact on concrete, physiological outcomes that represent some of the greatest health burdens today.
And of course that’s where yoga’s headed, right?
Posted by Steve