Modifications Taken in a Yoga Practice in Overweight versus Normal Weight Individuals
Author Block Sally A. Sherman, Ph.D., Renee J. Rogers, Ph.D., Kelliann K. Davis, Ph.D., John M. Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM1. 1University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. (Sponsor: John M. Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM)
Vinyasa yoga has demonstrated to elicit energy expenditure that is comparable to brisk walking. Whether overweight adults need to modify their yoga practice compare to normal weight adults, and whether this elicits a difference in energy expenditure is unclear.
PURPOSE: To compared the number of modifications taken by participants, and the energy expenditure, during a yoga session between overweight and normal weight individuals.
METHODS: Forty adults (men=20; women=20) participated in this study, with 21 classified as normal weight (BMI=22.0±1.6 kg/m2; age=30.8±8.8 years) and 19 classified as overweight (BMI=27.2±2.3 kg/m2; age=30.8±8.8 years). Participants engaged in a 60-minute Vinyasa yoga session that included a yoga sequence on a video that contained the instructor’s cues along with a person demonstrating the sequence. Participants were instructed to follow the verbal cues, but were permitted to take modifications of the poses to match their skill level. A trained instructor of Vinyasa yoga monitored whether each pose was performed in a manner consistent with the video or whether the individual modified the pose. Heart rate was assessed with a chest-worn monitor and energy expenditure was assessed with a portable metabolic indirect calorimetry device.
RESULTS: The number of modifications to the asanas did not differ between overweight (4.5±3.7) vs. normal weight (4.6±3.3) across the yoga session (p=0.93). Total energy expenditure during the yoga session was greater in overweight (315.3±68.1) vs. normal weight (190.1+51.3) (p=0.80). However, energy expenditure relative to body weight (kcal per kg) did not differ between overweight (3.8±0.5) vs. normal weight (3.7+0.7) (p=0.80), and mean METs per minute did not differ between overweight (3.6±0.6) vs. normal weight (3.6±0.5) (p=0.85). CONCLUSIONS: In a 60-minute yoga session, the number of modifications to the asanas and the relative energy expenditure did not differ between overweight and normal weight participants. These findings may suggest that yoga is a viable form of exercise for both normal weight and overweight adults, which may have implications for enhancing energy expenditure and for body weight regulation.