HealthDay News — Improvements in weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol were seen among patients randomly assigned yoga classes. These improvements were similar compared with the health benefits of conventional exercise such as brisk walking, according to results of a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“Despite the growing evidence on the health implications of yoga, the physiological mechanisms behind the observed clinical effects of yoga on cardiovascular risk remains unclear,” explained Paul Chu, of Harvard University, and colleagues.

To analyze the type and frequency of yoga practiced and its effect on cardiovascular health, the investigators conducted a systemic review and random-effects meta-analysis of 37 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

On average, patients who practiced yoga cut five points from their blood pressure and 12 points from their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Patients also lost an average of five pounds. No significant difference was found between yoga and exercise.

“This review demonstrates the potential of yoga to have an impact on concrete, physiological outcomes that represent some of the greatest health burdens today,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Chu P et al. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2014; doi: 10.1177/2047487314562741