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1.  Protocol for a randomized controlled study of Iyengar yoga for youth with irritable bowel syndrome 
Trials  2011;12:15.
Introduction
Irritable bowel syndrome affects as many as 14% of high school-aged students. Symptoms include discomfort in the abdomen, along with diarrhea and/or constipation and other gastroenterological symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life and daily functioning. Emotional stress appears to exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms suggesting that mind-body interventions reducing arousal may prove beneficial. For many sufferers, symptoms can be traced to childhood and adolescence, making the early manifestation of irritable bowel syndrome important to understand. The current study will focus on young people aged 14-26 years with irritable bowel syndrome. The study will test the potential benefits of Iyengar yoga on clinical symptoms, psychospiritual functioning and visceral sensitivity. Yoga is thought to bring physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to practitioners and has been associated with reduced stress and pain. Through its focus on restoration and use of props, Iyengar yoga is especially designed to decrease arousal and promote psychospiritual resources in physically compromised individuals. An extensive and standardized teacher-training program support Iyengar yoga's reliability and safety. It is hypothesized that yoga will be feasible with less than 20% attrition; and the yoga group will demonstrate significantly improved outcomes compared to controls, with physiological and psychospiritual mechanisms contributing to improvements.
Methods/Design
Sixty irritable bowel syndrome patients aged 14-26 will be randomly assigned to a standardized 6-week twice weekly Iyengar yoga group-based program or a wait-list usual care control group. The groups will be compared on the primary clinical outcomes of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, quality of life and global improvement at post-treatment and 2-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes will include visceral pain sensitivity assessed with a standardized laboratory task (water load task), functional disability and psychospiritual variables including catastrophizing, self-efficacy, mood, acceptance and mindfulness. Mechanisms of action involved in the proposed beneficial effects of yoga upon clinical outcomes will be explored, and include the mediating effects of visceral sensitivity, increased psychospiritual resources, regulated autonomic nervous system responses and regulated hormonal stress response assessed via salivary cortisol.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01107977.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-15
PMCID: PMC3033835  PMID: 21244698
2.  Impact of Iyengar yoga on quality of life in young women with rheumatoid arthritis 
The Clinical journal of pain  2013;29(11):988-997.
Objective
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, disabling disease that can greatly compromise health related quality of life (HRQOL). The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a 6-week twice/week Iyengar yoga (IY) program on HRQOL of young adults with RA compared to a usual-care waitlist control group.
Method
The program was designed to improve the primary outcome of HRQOL including pain, as well as disability and psychological functioning in patients. Assessments were collected pre, post, and at 2-months following treatment. Weekly ratings of anxiety, depression, pain and sleep were also recorded. A total of 26 participants completed the intervention (yoga = 11; usual care waitlist = 15). All participants were female (mean age =28 years).
Results
Overall attrition was low at 15%. On average, women in the yoga group attended 96% of the yoga classes. No adverse events were reported. Relative to the usual-care waitlist, women assigned to the yoga program showed significantly greater improvement on standardized measures of HRQOL, pain disability, general health, mood, fatigue, acceptance of chronic pain and self-efficacy regarding pain at post treatment. Almost half of the yoga group reported clinically meaningful symptom improvement. Analysis of the uncontrolled effects and maintenance of treatment effects showed improvements in HRQOL general health, pain disability and weekly ratings of pain, anxiety and depression that maintained at follow-up.
Conclusion
The findings suggest a brief IY intervention is a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for young people with RA, leading to health related quality of life (HRQOL), pain disability, fatigue, and mood benefits. Moreover, improvements in quality of life, pain disability and mood persisted at the 2-month follow-up.
doi:10.1097/AJP.0b013e31827da381
PMCID: PMC3644391  PMID: 23370082
Yoga; arthritis; young adults
3.  A pilot study of yoga as self-care for arthritis in minority communities 
Background
While arthritis is the most common cause of disability, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics experience worse arthritis impact despite having the same or lower prevalence of arthritis compared to non-Hispanic whites. People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, more energy, and improved sleep, yet arthritis is one of the most common reasons for limiting physical activity. Mind-body interventions, such as yoga, that teach stress management along with physical activity may be well suited for investigation in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Yoga users are predominantly white, female, and college educated. There are few studies that examine yoga in minority populations; none address arthritis. This paper presents a study protocol examining the feasibility and acceptability of providing yoga to an urban, minority population with arthritis.
Methods/design
In this ongoing pilot study, a convenience sample of 20 minority adults diagnosed with either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis undergo an 8-week program of yoga classes. It is believed that by attending yoga classes designed for patients with arthritis, with racially concordant instructors; acceptability of yoga as an adjunct to standard arthritis treatment and self-care will be enhanced. Self-care is defined as adopting behaviors that improve physical and mental well-being. This concept is quantified through collecting patient-reported outcome measures related to spiritual growth, health responsibility, interpersonal relations, and stress management. Additional measures collected during this study include: physical function, anxiety/depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, social roles, and pain; as well as baseline demographic and clinical data. Field notes, quantitative and qualitative data regarding feasibility and acceptability are also collected. Acceptability is determined by response/retention rates, positive qualitative data, and continuing yoga practice after three months.
Discussion
There are a number of challenges in recruiting and retaining participants from a community clinic serving minority populations. Adopting behaviors that improve well-being and quality of life include those that integrate mental health (mind) and physical health (body). Few studies have examined offering integrative modalities to this population. This pilot was undertaken to quantify measures of feasibility and acceptability that will be useful when evaluating future plans for expanding the study of yoga in urban, minority populations with arthritis.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01617421
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-55
PMCID: PMC3637098  PMID: 23548052
Yoga; Complementary and alternative medicine; Minority; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Self-efficacy
4.  Impact and Outcomes of an Iyengar Yoga Program in a Cancer Centre 
Current Oncology  2008;15(Suppl 2):s109.es72-s109.es78.
Background
Individuals have increasingly sought complementary therapies to enhance health and well-being during cancer, although little evidence of their effect is available.
Objectives
We investigated how an Iyengar yoga program affects the self-identified worst symptom in a group of participants. whether quality of life, spiritual well-being, and mood disturbance change over the Iyengar yoga program and at 6 weeks after the program. how, from a participant’s perspective, the Iyengar yoga program complements conventional cancer treatment.
Patients and Methods
This pre–post instrumental collective case study used a mixed methods design and was conducted at a private Iyengar yoga studio. The sample consisted of 24 volunteers (23 women, 1 man; 88% Caucasian; mean age: 49 years) who were currently on treatment or who had been treated for cancer within the previous 6 months, and who participated in ten 90-minute weekly Iyengar yoga classes.
The main outcome measures were most-bothersome symptom (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile 2 instrument), quality of life and spiritual well-being (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–General subscale and Spiritual subscale), and mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States–Short Form). Participant perspectives were obtained in qualitative interviews.
Results
Statistically significant improvements were reported in most-bothersome symptom (t(23) = 5.242; p < 0.001), quality of life (F(2,46) = 14.5; p < 0.001), spiritual well-being (F(2,46) = 14.4; p < 0.001), and mood disturbance (F(2,46) = 10.8; p < 0.001) during the program. At follow-up, quality of life (t(21) = −3.7; p = 0.001) and mood disturbance (t(21) = 2.4; p = 0.025) significantly improved over time. Categorical aggregation of the interview data showed that participants felt the program provided them with various benefits not included on the outcomes questionnaires.
Conclusions
Over the course of the Iyengar Yoga for Cancer program, participants reported an improvement in overall well-being. The program was also found to present participants with a holistic approach to care and to provide tools to effectively manage the demands of living with cancer and its treatment.
PMCID: PMC2528557  PMID: 18769575
Iyengar yoga; cancer; complementary and alternative medicine; integrative oncology; mixed methodology
5.  “Now I see a brighter day”: expectations and perceived benefits of an Iyengar yoga intervention for young patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of joints and associated fatigue, deteriorated range of motion, and impaired psychosocial functioning. Young adults with RA are at a particular risk for compromised health-related quality of life, and there is a need for safe, effective complementary treatment in addition to traditional medical approaches. The aim of the present study was to use face-to-face participant interviews, conducted before and after an Iyengar yoga (IY) program, to examine mechanisms through which yoga may be beneficial to young adults with RA.
This pilot study utilized a single-arm design where all participants received the intervention. Classes were taught twice per week (1.5 hours each) for 6 weeks by an IY teacher qualified in therapeutics. Interview themes included participants’ baseline expectations about yoga and viewpoints as to how their functioning had been impacted by the IY intervention were examined. Five young adults with RA aged 24–31 years (mean = 28; 80% female) completed the yoga intervention. Participants consistently reported that yoga helped with energy, relaxation and mood and they discussed perceived mechanisms for how yoga impacted well-being. Mechanisms included physical changes such as range of motion and physiological awareness, and psychospiritual developments such as acceptance, coping, self-efficacy and mindfulness. Though the study is limited, participants’ responses provide compelling evidence that IY for RA patients is an intervention worthy of further exploration. The mechanisms and outcomes reported by participants support a biopsychosocial model, which proposes that yoga benefits patients through both physiological and psychospiritual changes.
doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000101
PMCID: PMC3493157  PMID: 23145356
Iyengar yoga; Rheumatoid arthritis; Qualitative data
6.  Changes in pain intensity and health related quality of life with Iyengar yoga in nonspecific chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled study 
International Journal of Yoga  2014;7(1):48-53.
Background:
Nonspecific chronic low back (nCLBP) pain is prevalent among adult population and often leads to functional limitations, psychological symptoms, lower quality of life (QOL), and higher healthcare costs. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on pain intensity and health related quality of life (HRQOL) with nCLBP.
Aim of the Study:
To compare the effect of Iyengar yoga therapy and conventional exercise therapy on pain intensity and HRQOL in nonspecific chronic low back pain.
Materials and Methods:
Experimental study with random sampling technique.
Subjects/Intervention:
Sixty subjects who fulfilled the selection criteria were randomly assigned to Iyengar yoga (yoga group, n = 30) and control group (exercise group, n = 30). Participants completed low back pain evaluation form and HRQOL-4 questionnaire before their intervention and again 4 weeks and 6 month later. Yoga group underwent 29 yogic postures training and exercise group had undergone general exercise program for 4 weeks.
Statistics:
Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze group differences over time, while controlling for baseline differences.
Results:
Patients in both groups experienced significant reduction in pain and improvement in HRQOL. In visual analogue scale (VAS) yoga group showed reduction of 72.81% (P = 0.001) as compared to exercise group 42.50% (P = 0.001). In HRQOL, yoga group showed reduction of 86.99% (P = 0.001) as compared to exercise group 67.66% (P = 0.001).
Conclusion:
These results suggest that Iyengar yoga provides better improvement in pain reduction and improvement in HRQOL in nonspecific chronic back pain than general exercise.
doi:10.4103/0973-6131.123481
PMCID: PMC4097916  PMID: 25035607
Health related quality of life; Iyengar yoga; nonspecific chronic low back pain; visual analog scale
7.  Yoga for managing knee osteoarthritis in older women: a pilot randomized controlled trial 
Background
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common problem in older women that is associated with pain and disabilities. Although yoga is recommended as an exercise intervention to manage arthritis, there is limited evidence documenting its effectiveness, with little known about its long term benefits. This study’s aims were to assess the feasibility and potential efficacy of a Hatha yoga exercise program in managing OA-related symptoms in older women with knee OA.
Methods
Eligible participants (N = 36; mean age 72 years) were randomly assigned to 8-week yoga program involving group and home-based sessions or wait-list control. The yoga intervention program was developed by a group of yoga experts (N = 5). The primary outcome was the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) total score that measures knee OA pain, stiffness, and function at 8 weeks. The secondary outcomes, physical function of the lower extremities, body mass index (BMI), quality of sleep (QOS), and quality of life (QOL), were measured using weight, height, the short physical performance battery (SPPB), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Cantril Self-Anchoring Ladder, and the SF12v2 Health Survey. Data were collected at baseline, 4 weeks and 8 weeks, and 20 weeks.
Results
The recruitment target was met, with study retention at 95%. Based on ANCOVAs, participants in the treatment group exhibited significantly greater improvement in WOMAC pain (adjusted means [SE]) (8.3 [.67], 5.8 [.67]; p = .01), stiffness (4.7 [.28], 3.4 [.28]; p = .002) and SPPB (repeated chair stands) (2.0 [.23], 2.8 [.23]; p = .03) at 8 weeks. Significant treatment and time effects were seen in WOMAC pain (7.0 [.46], 5.4 [.54]; p = .03), function (24.5 [1.8], 19.9 [1.6]; p = .01) and total scores (35.4 [2.3], 28.6 [2.1]; p = .01) from 4 to 20 weeks. Sleep disturbance was improved but the PSQI total score declined significantly at 20 weeks. Changes in BMI and QOL were not significant. No yoga related adverse events were observed.
Conclusions
A weekly yoga program with home practice is feasible, acceptable, and safe for older women with knee OA, and shows therapeutic benefits.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01832155
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-160
PMCID: PMC4038088  PMID: 24886638
Yoga; Knee osteoarthritis; Symptom management; Older women
8.  “More than I Expected”: Perceived Benefits of Yoga Practice among Older Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease 
Objective
This study was conducted with participants from trials examining the effects of an Iyengar yoga program on cardiovascular disease risk. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the perceived benefits of yoga in a population of older, predominantly overweight adults participating in a gentle 8-week yoga program.
Design
This study used a constructivist-interpretive approach to naturalistic inquiry.
Setting
A total of 42 participants completed the intervention and met the inclusion criteria for the current qualitative study.
Intervention
The 8-week Iyengar yoga program included two 90-minute yoga classes and five 30-minute home sessions per week. Participants completed weekly logs and an exit questionnaire at the end of the study.
Main Outcome Measures
Qualitative data from weekly logs and exit questionnaires were compiled and conventional content analysis performed with the use of ATLAS.ti to facilitate the process.
Results
Four broad themes emerged from content analysis: Practicing yoga improved overall physical function and capacity (for 83% of participants); practicing yoga reduced stress/anxiety and enhanced calmness (83% of participants); practicing yoga enriched the quality of sleep (21% of participants); and practicing yoga supported efforts toward dietary improvements (14% of participants).
Conclusions
These results suggest that yoga may have ancillary benefits in terms of improved physical function, enhanced mental/emotional state, enriched sleep quality, and improved lifestyle choices, and may be useful as a health promotion strategy in the prevention and management of chronic disease.
doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2012.11.001
PMCID: PMC3564012  PMID: 23374201
9.  Iyengar Yoga for Distressed Women: A 3-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial 
Distress is an increasing public health problem. We aimed to investigate the effects of an Iyengar yoga program on perceived stress and psychological outcomes in distressed women and evaluated a potential dose-effect relationship. Seventy-two female distressed subjects were included into a 3-armed randomized controlled trial and allocated to yoga group 1 (n = 24) with twelve 90 min sessions over 3 months, yoga group 2 (n = 24) with 24 sessions over 3 months, or a waiting list control group (n = 24). The primary outcome was stress perception, measured by Cohen Stress Scale; secondary outcomes included state trait anxiety, depression, psychological and physical quality of life (QOL), profile of Mood States, well being, and bodily complaints. After three months, women in the yoga groups showed significant improvements in perceived stress (P = 0.003), state trait anxiety (P = 0.021 and P = 0.003), depression (P = 0.008), psychological QOL (P = 0.012), mood states being (P = 0.007), and bodily complaints well(P = 0.012) when compared to controls. Both yoga programs were similarly effective for these outcomes; however, compliance was better in the group with fewer sessions (yoga group 1). Dose effects were seen only in the analysis of group-independent effects for back pain, anxiety, and depression. These findings suggest that Iyengar yoga effectively reduces distress and improves related psychological and physical outcomes. Furthermore, attending twice-weekly yoga classes was not superior to once-weekly classes, as a result of limited compliance in the twice-weekly group.
doi:10.1155/2012/408727
PMCID: PMC3463199  PMID: 23049608
10.  Community based yoga classes for type 2 diabetes: an exploratory randomised controlled trial 
Background
Yoga is a popular therapy for diabetes but its efficacy is contested. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of researching community based yoga classes in Type 2 diabetes with a view to informing the design of a definitive, multi-centre trial
Methods
The study design was an exploratory randomised controlled trial with in-depth process evaluation. The setting was two multi-ethnic boroughs in London, UK; one with average and one with low mean socio-economic deprivation score. Classes were held at a sports centre or GP surgery. Participants were 59 people with Type 2 diabetes not taking insulin, recruited from general practice lists or opportunistically by general practice staff. The intervention group were offered 12 weeks of a twice-weekly 90-minute yoga class; the control group was a waiting list for the yoga classes. Both groups received advice and leaflets on healthy lifestyle and were encouraged to exercise.
Primary outcome measure was HbA1c. Secondary outcome measures included attendance, weight, waist circumference, lipid levels, blood pressure, UKPDS cardiovascular risk score, diabetes-related quality of life (ADDQoL), and self-efficacy. Process measures were attendance at yoga sessions, self-reported frequency of practice between taught sessions, and qualitative data (interviews with patients and therapists, ethnographic observation of the yoga classes, and analysis of documents including minutes of meetings, correspondence, and exercise plans).
Results
Despite broad inclusion criteria, around two-thirds of the patients on GP diabetic registers proved ineligible, and 90% of the remainder declined to participate. Mean age of participants was 60 +/- 10 years. Attendance at yoga classes was around 50%. Nobody did the exercises regularly at home. Yoga teachers felt that most participants were unsuitable for 'standard' yoga exercises because of limited flexibility, lack of basic fitness, co-morbidity, and lack of confidence. There was a small fall in HbA1c in the yoga group which was not statistically significant and which was not sustained six months later, and no significant change in other outcome measures.
Conclusion
The benefits of yoga in type 2 diabetes suggested in some previous studies were not confirmed. Possible explanations (apart from lack of efficacy) include recruitment challenges; practical and motivational barriers to class attendance; physical and motivational barriers to engaging in the exercises; inadequate intensity and/or duration of yoga intervention; and insufficient personalisation of exercises to individual needs. All these factors should be considered when designing future trials.
Trial registration
National Research Register (1410) and Current Controlled Trials (ISRCTN63637211).
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-33
PMCID: PMC2652459  PMID: 19228402
11.  Adherence to yoga and exercise interventions in a 6-month clinical trial 
Background
To determine factors that predict adherence to a mind-body intervention in a randomized trial.
Design
We analyzed adherence data from a 3-arm trial involving 135 generally healthy seniors 65–85 years of age randomized to a 6-month intervention consisting of: an Iyengar yoga class with home practice, an exercise class with home practice, or a wait-list control group. Outcome measures included cognitive function, mood, fatigue, anxiety, health-related quality of life, and physical measures. Adherence to the intervention was obtained by class attendance and biweekly home practice logs.
Results
The drop-out rate was 13%. Among the completers of the two active interventions, average yoga class attendance was 77% and home practice occurred 64% of all days. Average exercise class attendance was 69% and home exercise occurred 54% of all days. There were no clear effects of adherence on the significant study outcomes (quality of life and physical measures). Class attendance was significantly correlated with baseline measures of depression, fatigue, and physical components of health-related quality of life. Significant differences in baseline measures were also found between study completers and drop-outs in the active interventions. Adherence was not related to age, gender, or education level.
Conclusion
Healthy seniors have good attendance at classes with a physically active intervention. Home practice takes place over half of the time. Decreased adherence to a potentially beneficial intervention has the potential to decrease the effect of the intervention in a clinical trial because subjects who might sustain the greatest benefit will receive a lower dose of the intervention and subjects with higher adherence rates may be functioning closer to maximum ability before the intervention. Strategies to maximize adherence among subjects at greater risk for low adherence will be important for future trials, especially complementary treatments requiring greater effort than simple pill-taking.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-37
PMCID: PMC2194735  PMID: 17996075
12.  The efficacy of a comprehensive lifestyle modification programme based on yoga in the management of bronchial asthma: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
There is a substantial body of evidence on the efficacy of yoga in the management of bronchial asthma. Many studies have reported, as the effects of yoga on bronchial asthma, significant improvements in pulmonary functions, quality of life and reduction in airway hyper-reactivity, frequency of attacks and medication use. In addition, a few studies have attempted to understand the effects of yoga on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) or exercise tolerance capacity. However, none of these studies has investigated any immunological mechanisms by which yoga improves these variables in bronchial asthma.
Methods
The present randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted on 57 adult subjects with mild or moderate bronchial asthma who were allocated randomly to either the yoga (intervention) group (n = 29) or the wait-listed control group (n = 28). The control group received only conventional care and the yoga group received an intervention based on yoga, in addition to the conventional care. The intervention consisted of 2-wk supervised training in lifestyle modification and stress management based on yoga followed by closely monitored continuation of the practices at home for 6-wk. The outcome measures were assessed in both the groups at 0 wk (baseline), 2, 4 and 8 wk by using Generalized Linear Model (GLM) repeated measures followed by post-hoc analysis.
Results
In the yoga group, there was a steady and progressive improvement in pulmonary function, the change being statistically significant in case of the first second of forced expiratory volume (FEV1) at 8 wk, and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) at 2, 4 and 8 wk as compared to the corresponding baseline values. There was a significant reduction in EIB in the yoga group. However, there was no corresponding reduction in the urinary prostaglandin D2 metabolite (11β prostaglandin F2α) levels in response to the exercise challenge. There was also no significant change in serum eosinophilic cationic protein levels during the 8-wk study period in either group. There was a significant improvement in Asthma Quality of Life (AQOL) scores in both groups over the 8-wk study period. But the improvement was achieved earlier and was more complete in the yoga group. The number-needed-to-treat worked out to be 1.82 for the total AQOL score. An improvement in total AQOL score was greater than the minimal important difference and the same outcome was achieved for the sub-domains of the AQOL. The frequency of rescue medication use showed a significant decrease over the study period in both the groups. However, the decrease was achieved relatively earlier and was more marked in the yoga group than in the control group.
Conclusion
The present RCT has demonstrated that adding the mind-body approach of yoga to the predominantly physical approach of conventional care results in measurable improvement in subjective as well as objective outcomes in bronchial asthma. The trial supports the efficacy of yoga in the management of bronchial asthma. However, the preliminary efforts made towards working out the mechanism of action of the intervention have not thrown much light on how yoga works in bronchial asthma.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00815962
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-9-37
PMCID: PMC2734746  PMID: 19643002
13.  Randomised controlled trial of a 12 week yoga intervention on negative affective states, cardiovascular and cognitive function in post-cardiac rehabilitation patients 
Background
Negative affective states such as anxiety, depression and stress are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly in cardiac and post-cardiac rehabilitation populations.
Yoga is a balanced practice of physical exercise, breathing control and meditation that can reduce psychosocial symptoms as well as improve cardiovascular and cognitive function. It has the potential to positively affect multiple disease pathways and may prove to be a practical adjunct to cardiac rehabilitation in further reducing cardiac risk factors as well as improving self-efficacy and post-cardiac rehabilitation adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Method and design
This is a parallel arm, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial that will assess the outcomes of post- phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation patients assigned to a yoga intervention in comparison to a no-treatment wait-list control group. Participants randomised to the yoga group will engage in a 12 week yoga program comprising of two group based sessions and one self-administered home session each week. Group based sessions will be led by an experienced yoga instructor. This will involve teaching beginner students a hatha yoga sequence that incorporates asana (poses and postures), pranayama (breathing control) and meditation. The primary outcomes of this study are negative affective states of anxiety, depression and stress assessed using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. Secondary outcomes include measures of quality of life, and cardiovascular and cognitive function. The cardiovascular outcomes will include blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, pulse wave velocity, carotid intima media thickness measurements, lipid/glucose profiles and C-reactive protein assays. Assessments will be conducted prior to (week 0), mid-way through (week 6) and following the intervention period (week 12) as well as at a four week follow-up (week 16).
Discussion
This study will determine the effect of yoga practice on negative affective states, cardiovascular and cognitive function in post-phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation patients. The findings may provide evidence to incorporate yoga into standardised cardiac rehabilitation programs as a practical adjunct to improve the management of psychosocial symptoms associated with cardiovascular events in addition to improving patients’ cognitive and cardiovascular functions.
Trial Registration
ACTRN12612000358842
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-411
PMCID: PMC4218996  PMID: 25342209
Yoga; Anxiety; Stress; Depression; Cardiac rehabilitation
14.  A randomized trial of yoga for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome 
BACKGROUND:
Adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) frequently experience interference with everyday activities. Mind-body approaches such as yoga have been recommended as interventions for patients with IBS. Despite promising results among adult samples, there have been limited studies exploring the efficacy of yoga with pediatric patients.
OBJECTIVE:
To conduct a preliminary randomized study of yoga as treatment for adolescents with IBS.
METHODS:
Twenty-five adolescents aged 11 to 18 years with IBS were randomly assigned to either a yoga or wait list control group. Before the intervention, both groups completed questionnaires assessing gastrointestinal symptoms, pain, functional disability, coping, anxiety and depression. The yoga intervention consisted of a 1 h instructional session, demonstration and practice, followed by four weeks of daily home practice guided by a video. After four weeks, adolescents repeated the baseline questionnaires. The wait list control group then received the yoga intervention and four weeks later completed an additional set of questionnaires.
RESULTS:
Adolescents in the yoga group reported lower levels of functional disability, less use of emotion-focused avoidance and lower anxiety following the intervention than adolescents in the control group. When the pre- and postintervention data for the two groups were combined, adolescents had significantly lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms and emotion-focused avoidance following the yoga intervention. Adolescents found the yoga to be helpful and indicated they would continue to use it to manage their IBS.
CONCLUSIONS:
Yoga holds promise as an intervention for adolescents with IBS.
PMCID: PMC2673138  PMID: 17149454
Adolescents; Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); Mind-body; Recurrent abdominal pain; Yoga
15.  Yoga for Persistent Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: Results of a Pilot Study 
Approximately one-third of breast cancer survivors experiences persistent fatigue for months or years after successful treatment completion. There is a lack of evidence-based treatments for cancer-related fatigue, particularly among cancer survivors. This single-arm pilot study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a yoga intervention for fatigued breast cancer survivors based on the Iyengar tradition. Iyengar yoga prescribes specific poses for individuals with specific medical problems and conditions; this trial emphasized postures believed to be effective for reducing fatigue among breast cancer survivors, including inversions and backbends performed with the support of props. Twelve women were enrolled in the trial, and 11 completed the full 12-week course of treatment. There was a significant improvement in fatigue scores from pre- to post-intervention that was maintained at the 3-month post-intervention followup. Significant improvements were also observed in measures of physical function, depressed mood, and quality of life. These results support the acceptability of this intervention and suggest that it may have beneficial effects on persistent post-treatment fatigue. However, results require replication in a larger randomized controlled trial.
doi:10.1155/2011/623168
PMCID: PMC3026999  PMID: 21274288
16.  Effectiveness of Iyengar yoga in treating spinal (back and neck) pain: A systematic review 
Considerable amount of money spent in health care is used for treatments of lifestyle related, chronic health conditions, which come from behaviors that contribute to morbidity and mortality of the population. Back and neck pain are two of the most common musculoskeletal problems in modern society that have significant cost in health care. Yoga, as a branch of complementary alternative medicine, has emerged and is showing to be an effective treatment against nonspecific spinal pain. Recent studies have shown positive outcome of yoga in general on reducing pain and functional disability of the spine. The objective of this study is to conduct a systematic review of the existing research within Iyengar yoga method and its effectiveness on relieving back and neck pain (defined as spinal pain). Database research form the following sources (Cochrane library, NCBI PubMed, the Clinical Trial Registry of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Google Scholar, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsychINFO) demonstrated inclusion and exclusion criteria that selected only Iyengar yoga interventions, which in turn, identified six randomized control trials dedicated to compare the effectiveness of yoga for back and neck pain versus other care. The difference between the groups on the postintervention pain or functional disability intensity assessment was, in all six studies, favoring the yoga group, which projected a decrease in back and neck pain. Overall six studies with 570 patients showed, that Iyengar yoga is an effective means for both back and neck pain in comparison to control groups. This systematic review found strong evidence for short-term effectiveness, but little evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic spine pain in the patient-centered outcomes.
doi:10.4103/0973-6131.146046
PMCID: PMC4278133  PMID: 25558128
Back pain; complementary alternative medicine; effectiveness; Iyengar yoga; neck pain; randomized control trials; spine pain
17.  Yoga vs. physical therapy vs. education for chronic low back pain in predominantly minority populations: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:67.
Background
Chronic low back pain causes substantial morbidity and cost to society while disproportionately impacting low-income and minority adults. Several randomized controlled trials show yoga is an effective treatment. However, the comparative effectiveness of yoga and physical therapy, a common mainstream treatment for chronic low back pain, is unknown.
Methods/Design
This is a randomized controlled trial for 320 predominantly low-income minority adults with chronic low back pain, comparing yoga, physical therapy, and education. Inclusion criteria are adults 18–64 years old with non-specific low back pain lasting ≥12 weeks and a self-reported average pain intensity of ≥4 on a 0–10 scale. Recruitment takes place at Boston Medical Center, an urban academic safety-net hospital and seven federally qualified community health centers located in diverse neighborhoods. The 52-week study has an initial 12-week Treatment Phase where participants are randomized in a 2:2:1 ratio into i) a standardized weekly hatha yoga class supplemented by home practice; ii) a standardized evidence-based exercise therapy protocol adapted from the Treatment Based Classification method, individually delivered by a physical therapist and supplemented by home practice; and iii) education delivered through a self-care book. Co-primary outcome measures are 12-week pain intensity measured on an 11-point numerical rating scale and back-specific function measured using the modified Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. In the subsequent 40-week Maintenance Phase, yoga participants are re-randomized in a 1:1 ratio to either structured maintenance yoga classes or home practice only. Physical therapy participants are similarly re-randomized to either five booster sessions or home practice only. Education participants continue to follow recommendations of educational materials. We will also assess cost effectiveness from the perspectives of the individual, insurers, and society using claims databases, electronic medical records, self-report cost data, and study records. Qualitative data from interviews will add subjective detail to complement quantitative data.
Trial registration
This trial is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov, with the ID number: NCT01343927.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-67
PMCID: PMC3944007  PMID: 24568299
Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Cost effectiveness; Low back pain; Physical therapy; Randomized controlled trial; Yoga
18.  Complementary health approach to quality of life in menopausal women: a community-based interventional study 
Background
Menopause is the stage when the menstrual period permanently stops, and is a part of every woman’s life. It usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 years, and is associated with hormonal, physical, and psychological changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels play the biggest part in menopause. In this stage, the ovaries make less estrogen and progesterone. When the body produces less of these hormones, the parts of the body that depend on estrogen to keep them healthy will react and this often causes discomfort for women. This study tested the impact of a complementary health approach to quality of life in menopausal women.
Methods
A community-based interventional study was conducted in selected areas in Kattankulathur Block, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. A simple random sampling technique was used to select menopausal women for the study. Of 260 menopausal women identified, 130 were allocated to a study group and 130 to a control group. The study group underwent yoga training for 1.5 hours per day on 5 consecutive days. After the 5-day intensive yoga training program, the menopausal women practiced yoga daily at home for 35–40 minutes a day. Along with daily yoga practice, they underwent group yoga practice for 2 days a week under the supervision of one of the investigators until 18 weeks. The yoga training program consisted of Yogasanas, Pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation. The standardized World Health Organization QoL BREF scale was used to assess the women’s quality of life. We distributed an instruction manual on steps of selected yoga practice for the women’s self-reference at home after the 5 days of continuous yoga practice. A yoga practice diary was used to confirm regular performance of yoga. The women in the control group did not participate in the yoga program; however, on completion of the study, these women received intensive yoga training for 5 days.
Results
There was an extremely high statistically significant difference (P=0.001) between the study group and the control group with regard to the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains of quality of life after 6, 12, and 18 weeks of yoga therapy. The mean gain score was high in all the domains of quality of life in the study group at weeks 6, 12, and 18. The overall mean gain score in the study group was 31.58 versus 1.61 in the control group. The overall mean gain score difference was 29.97 in all domains of quality of life between the study group and the control group. In the study group, the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains of quality of life were greatly improved by practicing yoga for 18 weeks. No adverse events were reported by the women after yoga practice.
Conclusion
Quality of life in menopausal women was greatly improved after 18 weeks of yoga practice. Women who regularly practice yoga find that they are able to enjoy menopause and experience the freedom, liberation, and energy that it brings. We conclude that yoga is an effective complementary health approach for improving quality of life in menopausal women.
Video abstract
doi:10.2147/CIA.S70064
PMCID: PMC4232038  PMID: 25422589
complementary health approach; yoga; quality of life; menopause
19.  YOGA FOR CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN IN A PREDOMINANTLY MINORITY POPULATION: A PILOT RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL 
Background
Several studies suggest yoga may be effective for chronic low back pain; however, trials targeting minorities have not been conducted.
Primary Study Objectives
Assess the feasibility of studying yoga in a predominantly minority population with chronic low back pain. Collect preliminary data to plan a larger powered study.
Study Design
Pilot randomized controlled trial.
Setting
Two community health centers in a racially diverse neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
Participants
Thirty English-speaking adults (mean age 44 years, 83% female, 83% racial/ethnic minorities; 48% with incomes ≤$30000) with moderate-to-severe chronic low back pain.
Interventions
Standardized series of weekly hatha yoga classes for 12 weeks compared to a waitlist usual care control.
Outcome Measures
Feasibility measured by time to complete enrollment, proportion of racial/ethnic minorities enrolled, retention rates, and adverse events. Primary efficacy outcomes were changes from baseline to 12 weeks in pain score (0=no pain to 10=worst possible pain) and back-related function using the modified Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (0–23 point scale, higher scores reflect poorer function). Secondary efficacy outcomes were analgesic use, global improvement, and quality of life (SF-36).
Results
Recruitment took 2 months. Retention rates were 97% at 12 weeks and 77% at 26 weeks. Mean pain scores for yoga decreased from baseline to 12 weeks (6.7 to 4.4) compared to usual care, which decreased from 7.5 to 7.1 (P=.02). Mean Roland scores for yoga decreased from 14.5 to 8.2 compared to usual care, which decreased from 16.1 to 12.5 (P=.28). At 12 weeks, yoga compared to usual care participants reported less analgesic use (13% vs 73%, P=.003), less opiate use (0% vs 33%, P=.04), and greater overall improvement (73% vs 27%, P=.03). There were no differences in SF-36 scores and no serious adverse events.
Conclusion
A yoga study intervention in a predominantly minority population with chronic low back pain was moderately feasible and may be more effective than usual care for reducing pain and pain medication use.
PMCID: PMC2792123  PMID: 19943573
20.  Impact of yoga on blood pressure and quality of life in patients with hypertension – a controlled trial in primary care, matched for systolic blood pressure 
Background
Medical treatment of hypertension is not always sufficient to achieve blood pressure control. Despite this, previous studies on supplementary therapies, such as yoga, are relatively few. We investigated the effects of two yoga interventions on blood pressure and quality of life in patients in primary health care diagnosed with hypertension.
Methods
Adult patients (age 20–80 years) with diagnosed hypertension were identified by an electronic chart search at a primary health care center in southern Sweden. In total, 83 subjects with blood pressure values of 120–179/≤109 mmHg at baseline were enrolled. At baseline, the patients underwent standardized blood pressure measurement at the health care center and they completed a questionnaire on self-rated quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF). There were three groups: 1) yoga class with yoga instructor (n = 28); 2) yoga at home (n = 28); and 3) a control group (n = 27). The participants were matched at the group level for systolic blood pressure. After 12 weeks of intervention, the assessments were performed again. At baseline a majority of the patients (92%) were on antihypertensive medication, and the patients were requested not to change their medication during the study.
Results
The yoga class group showed no improvement in blood pressure or self-rated quality of life, while in the yoga at home group there was a decline in diastolic blood pressure of 4.4 mmHg (p < 0.05) compared to the control group. Moreover, the yoga at home group showed significant improvement in self-rated quality of life compared to the control group (p < 0.05).
Conclusions
A short yoga program for the patient to practice at home seems to have an antihypertensive effect, as well as a positive effect on self-rated quality of life compared to controls. This implies that simple yoga exercises may be useful as a supplementary blood pressure therapy in addition to medical treatment when prescribed by primary care physicians.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01302535)
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-111
PMCID: PMC4029555  PMID: 24314119
Hypertension; Yoga; Quality of life; Primary health care; Complementary therapies
21.  Medical yoga: Another way of being in the world—A phenomenological study from the perspective of persons suffering from stress-related symptoms 
The prevalence of stress-related illness has grown in recent years. Many of these patients seek help in primary health care. Yoga can reduce stress and thus complements pharmacological therapy in medical practice. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated patients’ experiences of yoga treatment in a primary health care setting or, specifically, the experiences of yoga when suffering from stress-related illness. Thus, the aim of the present study was to explore the meaning of participating in medical yoga as a complementary treatment for stress-related symptoms and diagnosis in a primary health care setting. This study has a descriptive phenomenological design and took place at a primary health care centre in Sweden during 2011. Five women and one man (43–51 years) participated. They were recruited from the intervention group (n=18) in a randomized control trial, in which they had participated in a medical yoga group in addition to standard care for 12 weeks. Data were collected by means of qualitative interviews, and a phenomenological data analysis was conducted. The essential meaning of the medical yoga experience was that the medical yoga was not an endpoint of recovery but the start of a process towards an increased sense of wholeness. It was described as a way of alleviating suffering, and it provided the participants with a tool for dealing with their stress and current situation on a practical level. It led to greater self-awareness and self-esteem, which in turn had an implicit impact on their lifeworld. In phenomenological terms, this can be summarized as Another way of being in the world, encompassing a perception of deepened identity. From a philosophical perspective, due to using the body in a new way (yoga), the participants had learnt to see things differently, which enriched and recast their perception of themselves and their lives.
doi:10.3402/qhw.v9.23033
PMCID: PMC3888904  PMID: 24434055
Complementary therapy; medical yoga; phenomenology; stress-related illness; qualitative research
22.  Ectopic Lymphoid Structures Support Ongoing Production of Class-Switched Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Synovium 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1.
Background
Follicular structures resembling germinal centres (GCs) that are characterized by follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks have long been recognized in chronically inflamed tissues in autoimmune diseases, including the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is debated whether these ectopic structures promote autoimmunity and chronic inflammation driving the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) are highly specific markers of RA, predict a poor prognosis, and have been suggested to be pathogenic. Therefore, the main study objectives were to determine whether ectopic lymphoid structures in RA synovium: (i) express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme required for somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of Ig genes; (ii) support ongoing CSR and ACPA production; and (iii) remain functional in a RA/severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) chimera model devoid of new immune cell influx into the synovium.
Methods and Findings
Using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative Taqman real-time PCR (QT-PCR) in synovial tissue from 55 patients with RA, we demonstrated that FDC+ structures invariably expressed AID with a distribution resembling secondary lymphoid organs. Further, AID+/CD21+ follicular structures were surrounded by ACPA+/CD138+ plasma cells, as demonstrated by immune reactivity to citrullinated fibrinogen. Moreover, we identified a novel subset of synovial AID+/CD20+ B cells outside GCs resembling interfollicular large B cells. In order to gain direct functional evidence that AID+ structures support CSR and in situ manufacturing of class-switched ACPA, 34 SCID mice were transplanted with RA synovium and humanely killed at 4 wk for harvesting of transplants and sera. Persistent expression of AID and Iγ-Cμ circular transcripts (identifying ongoing IgM-IgG class-switching) was observed in synovial grafts expressing FDCs/CD21L. Furthermore, synovial mRNA levels of AID were closely associated with circulating human IgG ACPA in mouse sera. Finally, the survival and proliferation of functional B cell niches was associated with persistent overexpression of genes regulating ectopic lymphoneogenesis.
Conclusions
Our demonstration that FDC+ follicular units invariably express AID and are surrounded by ACPA-producing plasma cells provides strong evidence that ectopic lymphoid structures in the RA synovium are functional and support autoantibody production. This concept is further confirmed by evidence of sustained AID expression, B cell proliferation, ongoing CSR, and production of human IgG ACPA from GC+ synovial tissue transplanted into SCID mice, independently of new B cell influx from the systemic circulation. These data identify AID as a potential therapeutic target in RA and suggest that survival of functional synovial B cell niches may profoundly influence chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and response to B cell–depleting therapies.
Costantino Pitzalis and colleagues show that lymphoid structures in synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis support production of anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies, which continues following transplantation into SCID mice.
Editors' Summary
Background.
More than 1 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis, an “autoimmune” condition that affects the joints. Normally, the immune system provides protection against infection by responding to foreign antigens (molecules that are unique to invading organisms) while ignoring self-antigens present in the body's own tissues. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and non-self fails for unknown reasons and the immune system begins to attack human tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joints (the synovium) is attacked, it becomes inflamed and thickened, and chemicals are released that damage all the tissues in the joint. Eventually, the joint may become so scarred that movement is no longer possible. Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in the small joints in the hands and feet, but larger joints and other tissues (including the heart and blood vessels) can be affected. Its symptoms, which tend to fluctuate, include early morning joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, and feeling generally unwell. Although the disease is not always easy to diagnose, the immune systems of many people with rheumatoid arthritis make “anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies” (ACPA). These “autoantibodies” (which some experts believe can contribute to the joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis) recognize self-proteins that contain the unusual amino acid citrulline, and their detection on blood tests can help make the diagnosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the recently developed biologic drugs, often used together with the more traditional disease-modifying therapies, are able to halt its progression by specifically blocking the chemicals that cause joint damage. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce its symptoms, and badly damaged joints can sometimes be surgically replaced.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before scientists can develop a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, they need to know how and why autoantibodies are made that attack the joints in this common and disabling disease. B cells, the immune system cells that make antibodies, mature in structures known as “germinal centers” in the spleen and lymph nodes. In the germinal centers, immature B cells are exposed to antigens and undergo two genetic processes called “somatic hypermutation” and “class-switch recombination” that ensure that each B cell makes an antibody that sticks as tightly as possible to just one antigen. The B cells then multiply and enter the bloodstream where they help to deal with infections. Interestingly, the inflamed synovium of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis contains structures that resemble germinal centers. Could these ectopic (misplaced) lymphoid structures, which are characterized by networks of immune system cells called follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), promote autoimmunity and long-term inflammation by driving the production of autoantibodies within the joint itself? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected synovial tissue from 55 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and used two approaches, called immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, to investigate whether FDC-containing structures in synovium expressed an enzyme called activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which is needed for both somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. All the FDC-containing structures that the researchers found in their samples expressed AID. Furthermore, these AID-containing structures were surrounded by mature B cells making ACPAs. To test whether these B cells were derived from AID-expressing cells resident in the synovium rather than ACPA-expressing immune system cells coming into the synovium from elsewhere in the body, the researchers transplanted synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis under the skin of a special sort of mouse that largely lacks its own immune system. Four weeks later, the researchers found that the transplanted human lymphoid tissue was still making AID, that the level of AID expression correlated with the amount of human ACPA in the blood of the mice, and that the B cells in the transplant were proliferating.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the ectopic lymphoid structures present in the synovium of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis are functional and are able to make ACPA. Because ACPA may be responsible for joint damage, the survival of these structures could, therefore, be involved in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. More experiments are needed to confirm this idea, but these findings may explain why drugs that effectively clear B cells from the bloodstream do not always produce a marked clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, they suggest that AID might provide a new target for the development of drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0060001.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rene Toes and Tom Huizinga
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish). MedlinePlus provides links to other information on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices information service has detailed information on rheumatoid arthritis
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides Fast Facts, an easy to read publication for the public, and a more detailed Handbook on rheumatoid arthritis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview on rheumatoid arthritis that includes statistics about this disease and its impact on daily life
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0060001
PMCID: PMC2621263  PMID: 19143467
23.  Yoga respiratory training improves respiratory function and cardiac sympathovagal balance in elderly subjects: a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2011;1(1):e000085.
Objectives
Since ageing is associated with a decline in pulmonary function, heart rate variability and spontaneous baroreflex, and recent studies suggest that yoga respiratory exercises may improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, we hypothesised that yoga respiratory training may improve respiratory function and cardiac autonomic modulation in healthy elderly subjects.
Design
76 healthy elderly subjects were enrolled in a randomised control trial in Brazil and 29 completed the study (age 68±6 years, 34% males, body mass index 25±3 kg/m2). Subjects were randomised into a 4-month training program (2 classes/week plus home exercises) of either stretching (control, n=14) or respiratory exercises (yoga, n=15). Yoga respiratory exercises (Bhastrika) consisted of rapid forced expirations followed by inspiration through the right nostril, inspiratory apnoea with generation of intrathoracic negative pressure, and expiration through the left nostril. Pulmonary function, maximum expiratory and inspiratory pressures (PEmax and PImax, respectively), heart rate variability and blood pressure variability for spontaneous baroreflex determination were determined at baseline and after 4 months.
Results
Subjects in both groups had similar demographic parameters. Physiological variables did not change after 4 months in the control group. However, in the yoga group, there were significant increases in PEmax (34%, p<0.0001) and PImax (26%, p<0.0001) and a significant decrease in the low frequency component (a marker of cardiac sympathetic modulation) and low frequency/high frequency ratio (marker of sympathovagal balance) of heart rate variability (40%, p<0.001). Spontaneous baroreflex did not change, and quality of life only marginally increased in the yoga group.
Conclusion
Respiratory yoga training may be beneficial for the elderly healthy population by improving respiratory function and sympathovagal balance.
Trial Registration
CinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00969345; trial registry name: Effects of respiratory yoga training (Bhastrika) on heart rate variability and baroreflex, and quality of life of healthy elderly subjects.
Article summary
Article focus
Yoga respiratory training may improve respiratory function and cardiac autonomic modulation in healthy elderly subjects.
Key messages
Yoga respiratory training improves respiratory function by increasing PEmax and PImax.
Yoga respiratory training improves both cardiac autonomic modulation by lowering the low frequency component, and the sympathovagal balance evaluated by heart rate variability.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The study design allowed evaluation of heart rate variability without confounding by the effects of drugs, including β-blockers, that can interfere with autonomic modulation.
As the sample size was small and only included healthy elderly subjects, the results should be extrapolated with caution to elderly subjects with significant comorbidities.
The respiratory exercises were taught to highly motivated yoga practitioners, and so the general elderly population may find it difficult to learn them.
Paced breathing during the collection of heart rate variability measurements may influence autonomic variables but allowed the confounding effects of respiratory training on the pattern of breathing to be avoided.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000085
PMCID: PMC3191432  PMID: 22021757
24.  RANDOMIZED, CONTROLLED, SIX-MONTH TRIAL OF YOGA IN HEALTHY SENIORS: EFFECTS ON COGNITION AND QUALITY OF LIFE 
Context
There are potential benefits of mind-body techniques on cognitive function because the techniques involve an active attentional or mindfulness component, but this has not been fully explored.
Objective
To determine the effect of yoga on cognitive function, fatigue, mood, and quality of life in seniors.
Design
Randomized, controlled trial comparing yoga, exercise, and wait-list control groups.
Participants
One hundred thirty-five generally healthy men and women aged 65–85 years.
Intervention
Participants were randomized to 6 months of Hatha yoga class, walking exercise class, or wait-list control. Subjects assigned to classes also were asked to practice at home.
Main Outcome Measures
Outcome assessments performed at baseline and after the 6-month period included a battery of cognitive measures focused on attention and alertness, the primary outcome measures being performance on the Stroop Test and a quantitative electroencephalogram (EEC) measure of alertness; SF-36 health-related quality of life; Profile of Mood States; Multi-Dimensional Fatigue Inventory; and physical measures related to the interventions.
Results
One hundred thirty-five subjects were recruited and randomized. Seventeen subjects did not finish the 6-month intervention. There were no effects from either of the active interventions on any of the cognitive and alertness outcome measures. The yoga intervention produced improvements in physical measures (eg, timed 1-legged standing, forward flexibility) as well as a number of quality-of-life measures related to sense of well-being and energy and fatigue compared to controls.
Conclusions
There were no relative improvements of cognitive function among healthy seniors in the yoga or exercise group compared to the wait-list control group. Those in the yoga group showed significant improvement in quality-of-life and physical measures compared to exercise and wait-list control groups.
PMCID: PMC1457100  PMID: 16454146
25.  Characteristics of randomized controlled trials of yoga: a bibliometric analysis 
Background
A growing number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have investigated the therapeutic value of yoga interventions. This bibliometric analysis aimed to provide a comprehensive review of the characteristics of the totality of available randomized yoga trials.
Methods
All RCTs of yoga were eligible. Medline/PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, IndMED, and the tables of content of yoga specialty journals not listed in medical databases were screened through February 2014. Bibliometric data, data on participants, and intervention were extracted and analyzed descriptively.
Results
Published between 1975 and 2014, a total of 366 papers were included, reporting 312 RCTs from 23 different countries with 22,548 participants. The median study sample size was 59 (range 8–410, interquartile range = 31, 93). Two hundred sixty-four RCTs (84.6%) were conducted with adults, 105 (33.7%) with older adults and 31 (9.9%) with children. Eighty-four RCTs (26.9%) were conducted with healthy participants. Other trials enrolled patients with one of 63 varied medical conditions; the most common being breast cancer (17 RCTs, 5.4%), depression (14 RCTs, 4.5%), asthma (14 RCTs, 4.5%) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (13 RCTs, 4.2%). Whilst 119 RCTs (38.1%) did not define the style of yoga used, 35 RCTs (11.2%) used Hatha yoga and 30 RCTs (9.6%) yoga breathing. The remaining 128 RCTs (41.0%) used 46 varied yoga styles, with a median intervention length of 9 weeks (range 1 day to 1 year; interquartile range = 5, 12). Two hundred and forty-four RCTs (78.2%) used yoga postures, 232 RCTs (74.4%) used breath control, 153 RCTs (49.0%) used meditation and 32 RCTs (10.3%) used philosophy lectures. One hundred and seventy-four RCTs (55.6%) compared yoga with no specific treatment; 21 varied control interventions were used in the remaining RCTs.
Conclusions
This bibliometric analysis presents the most complete up-to-date overview on published randomized yoga trials. While the available research evidence is sparse for most conditions, there was a marked increase in published RCTs in recent years.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-328
PMCID: PMC4161862  PMID: 25183419
Yoga; Complementary therapies; Randomized controlled trials; Bibliometrics; Review

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