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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 983258, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/983258
Research Article

Frequency of Yoga Practice Predicts Health: Results of a National Survey of Yoga Practitioners

1University of Maryland School of Nursing, 655 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
2National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 10 Center Drive, Room 2B13, MSC 1151, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 22 April 2012; Accepted 20 June 2012

Academic Editor: Sat Bir S. Khalsa

Copyright © 2012 Alyson Ross et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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 ( ± 1 1 . 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.