Yoga reduces basal metabolic rate

yoga posture

Long term practice of combined yoga postures and ‘Pranayama’ can lead to lowering of the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Yoga is considered to be an ancient technique that was first practiced by the yogis and sages to attain physical and psychological fitness and lead a healthy life. The purpose of yoga is to allow an individual to attain a balance between the internal and external environment and achieve physical, spiritual as well as mental wellness. Yoga asanas (postures) and ‘Pranayama’ (breathing exercises) are believed to be very effective in lowering the respiratory rate, calming the mind and relaxing muscles.

To determine the effect of yoga on physical and psychological health, numerous studies have been conducted. Many of these studies have shown that Yogic Relaxation, Zen Meditation, Om Meditation and Transcendental Meditation tend to lower the heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption rate and spontaneous galvanic skin response. The reason behind this is perhaps the decreased arousal and decreased muscular and mental activity.

Yoga involves several asanas (postures), which tend to have inhibitory or stimulatory effects on the basal metabolic rate. However, in daily life different Yoga procedures are typically practiced in combination. In a study published in online journal-  BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine- researchers MS Chaya and his collegues studied the effect of long term yoga procedures on the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) of healthy adults. BMR is referred as the amount of energy required by the body to keep functioning normally while at rest. The researchers measured the total change in the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) of people who actively engage in a combination of yoga procedures (pranayama or breathing exercises, meditation and yogic postures or asanas) for at least 6 months.

The researchers divided the subjects into two groups. While the first group was asked to perform combined yoga procedures regularly, the other group was asked not to perform Yoga practices. After six months, the researchers discovered that in comparison to the people in non yoga group, individuals in yoga group showed a considerable increase in the BMR. The study conducted by these researchers appears to be quite different from the earlier studies conducted on the same topic. This difference can be attributed to the fact that the objective of the current study was to assess the effect of real life yoga practice (that combines different techniques), when practiced over a certain period. In addition, the study also shows a hierarchy of effects. It reveals the fact that result of the mixed yoga practice, involving the procedures or techniques having inhibitory or stimulatory effects, was that of inhibition.


Author: Ann M
Verified and Approved by: Dr.Bimal Rajalingam
Conflict of Interests: None
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Disclaimer: This article is written by a non-medical professional.

Saturday, January 15, 2011
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