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BACKGROUND: Walking and yoga have been independently evaluated for weight control; however, there are very few studies comparing the 2 with randomization. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The present study compared the effects of 90 minutes/day for 15 days of supervised yoga or supervised walking on: (i) related biochemistry, (ii) anthropometric variables, (iii) body composition, (iv) postural stability, and (v) bilateral hand grip strength in overweight and obese persons. Sixty-eight participants, of whom 5 were overweight (BMI >/=25 kg/m2) and 63 were obese (BMI >/=30 kg/m2; group mean age +/-S.D., 36.4+/-11.2 years; 35 females), were randomized as 2 groups - (i) a yoga group and (ii) a walking group - given the same diet. RESULTS: All differences were pre-post changes within each group. Both groups showed a significant (p<0.05; repeated measures ANOVA, post-hoc analyses) decrease in: BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, lean mass, body water, and total cholesterol. The yoga group increased serum leptin (p<0.01) and decreased LDL cholesterol (p<0.05). The walking group decreased serum adiponectin (p<0.05) and triglycerides (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Both yoga and walking improved anthropometric variables and serum lipid profile in overweight and obese persons. The possible implications are discussed.

State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, self-rated quality of sleep, and discomfort due to over-breathing which occurs when stressed were studied. Out of a total of 140 participants, seventy participants self-selected to be in a yoga group for stress relief (group mean age +/- SD, 33.0 +/- 6.5 years; 37 males). Seventy age and gender matched participants were in a control group. State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, discomfort and self-rated quality of sleep were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Symptom Checklist-90-R, SF-12, Nijmegen Discomfort Evaluation Scale and a Sleep Rating Questionnaire respectively. Assessments were made at the beginning and end of the week. Repeated measures ANOVAs with Bonferroni adjusted post-hoc analyses showed a significant decrease in state anxiety (P < 0.001), somatization of stress (P < 0.01), improved health-related quality of life (P < 0.01), self-rated quality of sleep (P < 0.01), and decrease in discomfort due to over-breathing (P < 0.001). No changes (except decreased discomfort due to over-breathing; P < 0.01) occurred in the control group. This study suggests that a brief yoga program may be beneficial in decreasing anxiety, somatization of stress and discomfort, improving health-related quality of life and self-rated sleep quality.

State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, self-rated quality of sleep, and discomfort due to over-breathing which occurs when stressed were studied. Out of a total of 140 participants, seventy participants self-selected to be in a yoga group for stress relief (group mean age +/- SD, 33.0 +/- 6.5 years; 37 males). Seventy age and gender matched participants were in a control group. State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, discomfort and self-rated quality of sleep were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Symptom Checklist-90-R, SF-12, Nijmegen Discomfort Evaluation Scale and a Sleep Rating Questionnaire respectively. Assessments were made at the beginning and end of the week. Repeated measures ANOVAs with Bonferroni adjusted post-hoc analyses showed a significant decrease in state anxiety (P < 0.001), somatization of stress (P < 0.01), improved health-related quality of life (P < 0.01), self-rated quality of sleep (P < 0.01), and decrease in discomfort due to over-breathing (P < 0.001). No changes (except decreased discomfort due to over-breathing; P < 0.01) occurred in the control group. This study suggests that a brief yoga program may be beneficial in decreasing anxiety, somatization of stress and discomfort, improving health-related quality of life and self-rated sleep quality.

BACKGROUND: Previously, forced unilateral nostril breathing was associated with ipsilateral, or contralateral cerebral hemisphere changes, or no change. Hence it was inconclusive. The present study was conducted on 13 normal healthy participants to determine the effects of alternate nostril yoga breathing on (a) cerebral hemisphere asymmetry, and (b) changes in the standard EEG bands. METHODS: Participants were randomly allocated to three sessions (a) alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB), (b) breath awareness and (c) quiet sitting, on separate days. EEG was recorded from bilaterally symmetrical sites (FP1, FP2, C3, C4, O1 and O2). All sites were referenced to the ipsilateral ear lobe. RESULTS: There was no change in cerebral hemisphere symmetry. The relative power in the theta band was decreased during alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB) and the beta amplitude was lower after ANYB. During quiet sitting the relative power in the beta band increased, while the amplitude of the alpha band reduced. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that ANYB was associated with greater calmness, whereas quiet sitting without specific directions was associated with arousal. The results imply a possible use of ANYB for stress and anxiety reduction.

The present study was conducted to assess the immediate effect of high-frequency yoga breathing on muscle strength and motor speed. Bilateral handgrip strength, leg and back strength, finger tapping and arm tapping speed were assessed in fifty male participants (group mean age +/- SD, 26.9 +/- 6.2 years) before and after (a) high frequency yoga breathing for 15 minutes and (b) breath awareness for the same duration. Sessions (a) and (b) were on two different days but at the same time of the day. The schedule was alternated for different participants. There was a significant increase (P < 0.05) in right hand grip strength after high frequency yoga breathing. Both finger and arm tapping improved after both practices. The results suggest a role for high frequency yoga breathing in improving the hand grip strength as an immediate effect.