Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Michelle Gray

Committee Member

Brendon McDermott

Second Committee Member

Edward Mink

Keywords

Health and environmental sciences; Flexibility; Hot yoga; Kinesiology; Thermoneutral; Yoga

Abstract

Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy, described as a therapeutic intervention and health maintenance practice that unites the mind and body to aid healing through the combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. There is ample research regarding yoga practiced in an environment that is thermoneutral, or in an environment that does not alter the metabolic heat production or evaporative heat loss of people. However, minimal research exists on the increasingly popular form of yoga known as hot yoga, or yoga practiced in an environment that is often humidified and 95° F or warmer. This exploratory study compared the physiological and mood effects deriving from a single bout of hot yoga and a single bout of thermoneutral yoga in 15 female, experienced yoga practitioners. Data collected pre-to post-hot yoga and pre-to-post-thermoneutral yoga included flexibility of the lower back, trunk, and hamstrings, heart rate, sweat rate, and mood. All variables increased following both yoga classes, however flexibility was 10% greater following the thermoneutral yoga class. Sweat rate and heart rate were significantly greater, sweat rate by 52% and heart rate by 11%, during the hot yoga class than the thermoneutral yoga class. Mood was similar between the two forms of yoga. Physical exhaustion was increased by 31% following the hot yoga class and decreased by 16% following the thermoneutral yoga class. These results have implications to provide health professionals, yoga teachers, and yoga practitioners with further knowledge on which form of yoga yields greater health benefits.

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