Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2015) 14, 756 - 768

Research article
Effects of an 8-Month Ashtanga-Based Yoga Intervention on Bone Metabolism in Middle-Aged Premenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Study
SoJung Kim1, Michael G. Bemben1, Allen W. Knehans2, Debra A. Bemben1, 
Author Information
1 Bone Density Research Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA
2 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Debra A. Bemben
✉ PhD Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, 1401 Asp Avenue, Norman OK, USA 73019
Publish Date
Received: 04-06-2015
Accepted: 03-09-2015
Published (online): 24-11-2015
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Although Yoga has the potential to be an alternative physical activity to enhance bone health, there is a lack of high quality evidence for this type of intervention. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to examine the effects of a progressive 8-month Ashtanga-based Yoga program on bone turnover markers (BTM), areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and volumetric bone characteristics in premenopausal women. Thirty-four premenopausal women (35-50 years) were randomly assigned either to a Yoga group (YE, n = 16) or a control group (CON, n = 18). Participants in YE group performed 60 minutes of an Ashtanga-based Yoga series 2 times/week with one day between sessions for 8 months, and the session intensity was progressively increased by adding the number of sun salutations (SS). Participants in CON were encouraged to maintain their normal daily lifestyles monitored by the bone specific physical activity questionnaire (BPAQ) at 2 month intervals for 8 months. Body composition was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Bone formation (bone alkaline phosphatase, Bone ALP) and bone resorption (Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase-5b, TRAP5b) markers were assessed at baseline and after 8 months. aBMD of total body, lumbar spine and dual proximal femur and tibia bone characteristics were measured using DXA and peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT), respectively. We found that the serum Bone ALP concentrations were maintained in YE, but significantly (p = 0.005) decreased in CON after the 8 month intervention, and there were significant (p = 0.002) group differences in Bone ALP percent changes (YE 9.1 ± 4.0% vs. CON -7.1 ± 2.3%). No changes in TRAP5b were found in either group. The 8-month Yoga program did not increase aBMD or tibia bone strength variables. Body composition results showed no changes in weight, fat mass, or % fat, but small significant increases in bone free lean body mass occurred in both groups. The findings of this study suggest that regular long-term Ashtanga Yoga had a small positive effect on bone formation but did not alter aBMD or tibia bone characteristics in premenopausal women.

Key words: Yoga, Sun Salutations, bone formation, bone resorption, bone mineral density, bone strength

           Key Points
  • Regular long-term Ashtanga-based Yoga program had a small positive effect on bone formation, but no effects were found on bone resorption.
  • None of the bone density or geometry variables were changed by the 8-month Ashtanga-based Yoga intervention.
  • Future Yoga interventions should focus on longer duration and greater frequency to elicit improvements in bone mineral density.
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