Two scientific reviews of human clinical research have found that hatha yoga significantly reduces heart disease risk factors. Researchers from Germany’s University of Duisburg-Essen reviewed 44 studies involving more than 3,000 people.
Overall, the studies found that hatha yoga significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Yoga participants also showed lower respiratory and heartbeat rates, significantly reduced triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol. Several important diabetes risk markers decreased among the yoga participants; they also realized smaller waistlines.
Similar results were reached by scientists from the United Kingdom’s Warwick Medical School. In analyzing 11 studies involving 800 people, they found that regular yoga exercise both reduced diastolic blood pressure and triglycerides and increased beneficial HDL cholesterol levels.