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The Science Behind Yoga

Dr. Stacy D. Hunter

Is Hot Yoga Extra Healthy?

Dr. Stacy D. Hunter is the director of the Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory at Texas State University and the research director for Pure Action, Inc. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a yoga practitioner since 2008. In this installment of Yoga & Science, she describes a study conducted to determine the effects of 12 weeks of hot yoga on vascular health. She has previously published several pioneering studies on the impact of yoga on vascular endothelial function and arterial stiffness, and with this study she aims to isolate how yoga in a heated environment effects changes in vascular function.

Dr. Hunter examined two groups of people over the course of 12 weeks. The first had hot yoga classes, the second had room temperature yoga classes. She found that the yoga improved the vascular health of both groups, but, against her expectations, she found the hot yoga had no additional effects. She notes how many of the scientists studying yoga do so because they are passionate about the practice, but points out how yoga itself still requires further scientific validation, and that the physiological outcomes of yoga need to be more meticulously mapped.

04:40 | 2019

Tags: Dr. Stacy D. Hunter,

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