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Yoga beginners and expert practitioners have lower BMI and take less medication, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga.

Yoga beginners and experts are thinner and take less medication.

Yoga beginners and experts are thinner and take less medication.

Researchers examined data from 211 female yoga practitioners, let’s call them yoginis, between 45 and 80-years-old. The yoginis completed an online survey to assess the effects practicing yoga has on body mass index (BMI) and the amount of medication taken. The researchers compared the results of the yoginis to a control group of 183 women between 45 and 77 with “no prior history of yoga practice.” Here are the results.

Yoga Beginners & Experts Have Lower BMI

The results of this yoga study show yoga beginners and long-term expert practitioners of yoga are likely to be healthier:

  • Yoga beginners had lower BMI scores than people who never practiced yoga
  • Expert yoginis have a lower BMI and take less medication than yoga beginners
  • None of the 49 expert yoginis who had done Hatha Yoga for 26 years or more were obese
  • The yoga practitioners with more hours of yoga reported per week and the most years of lifetime yoga practice have the lowest BMI scores

Yoga Practitioners Take Less Medication

The results of this yoga study show a significant relationship between practicing more hours of  yoga and taking less medication. However, there was no relationship between the number of years of practiced and medication consumption. Pain medication and prescription drugs were taken by 55 percent of yoga practitioners while 77 percent of those who don’t do yoga take these drugs.

On any given day in the U.S., 48 percent of people take least one medication, says the CDC. If you are taking time to go to yoga classes, as a beginner or expert, you are less likely to need medications for:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • high triglycerides
  • blood thinning
  • diabetes or prediabetes
  • hot flashes
  • inflammation or arthritis
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • pain

Why Are Most Yoga Teachers Thin and Healthy?

1. International Journal of Yoga; Increased Hatha Yoga Experience Predicts Lower Body Mass Index and Reduced Medication Use in Women Over 45 Years; N. Moliver, et al.; 2011

2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics: Therapeutic Drug Use (2015)

Photo credit: David Rosenblum