The Science and Research Behind Bikram Hot Yoga
Your one-stop page for Bikram Yoga research resources. The unaltered, consistent yoga sequence and method we teach is highly amenable to rigorous scientific research! In interventional, independent research, it has been found to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and depression/anxiety.
Additional Recommended Readings
Scroll to the bottom of this page for a growing collection of other readings on Bikram Yoga, approaches to practice, and yoga in American culture.
Peer-Reviewed Research Articles, Medical Studies, and Scientific Research:
- Randomized controlled trial of bikram yoga and aerobic exercise for depression in women: Efficacy and stress-based mechanisms. Harkness, Kate L., et al. Journal of Affective Disorders, February 2021.
- Effects of yoga interventions practised in heated and thermoneutral conditions on endothelium-dependent vasodilation: The Bikram yoga heart study. Hunter SD et al. Experimental Physiology. 2018
- Improvements in Glucose Tolerance with Bikram Yoga. Hunter SD. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy. 2013.
- The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. Hunter SD. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2013.
- Bikram Yoga reduces Depression and Anxiety. Lindsey B. Hopkins DeBoer. San Francisco VA Medical Center. Presented at Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Conference 2015
- The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations. Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2015
- E. F. Hart and B. L. Tracy, “Yoga as steadiness training: effects on motor variability in young adults,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1659–1669, 2008.
- B. L. Tracy and C. E. F. Hart, “Bikram yoga training and physical fitness in healthy young adults,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 822–830, 2013.
- Z. L. Hewett, L. B. Ransdell, Y. Gao, L. M. Petlichkoff, and S. Lucas, “An examination of the effectiveness of an 8-week bikram yoga program on mindfulness, perceived stress, and physical fitness,” Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 87–92, 2011.
- R. S. Kudesia and M. T. Bianchi, “Decreased nocturnal awakenings in young adults performing bikram yoga: a low-constraint home sleep monitoring study,” ISRN Neurology, vol. 2012, Article ID 153745, 7 pages, 2012.
- A. N. Abel, L. K. Lloyd, J. S. Williams, and B. K. Miller, “Physiological characteristics of long-term Bikram yoga practitioners,” Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 32–39, 2012.
- S. D. Hunter, M. S. Dhindsa, E. Cunningham et al., “The effect of bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 19, no. 12, pp. 930–934, 2013.
- S. D. Hunter, M. Dhindsa, E. Cunningham, T. Tarumi, M. Alkatan, and H. Tanaka, “Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram yoga in older obese adults: a pilot study,” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11 Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 404–407, 2013.
- S. N. Sangiorgio, A. K. Mukherjee, N. W. Lau, A. Mukherjee, P. Mukhopadhyay, and E. Ebramzadeh, “Optimization of physical activity as a countermeasure of bone loss: a 5-year study of bikram yoga practice in females,” Health, vol. 06, no. 11, pp. 1124– 1132, 2014.
- L. Pate and M. J. Buono, “The physiological responses to Bikram yoga in novice and experienced practitioners,” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 12–18, 2014.
- M. L. Fritz, A. M. Grossman, A. Mukherjee, S. D. Hunter, and B. L. Tracy, “Acute metabolic, cardiovascular, and thermal responses to a single session of Bikram yoga,” in Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain ACSM Annual Meeting, Denver, Colo, USA, 2013
Current Research Underway:
Additional Recommended Readings: Research Summaries, Related Articles, and Other Media
Bikram Yoga benefits certain cardiovascular measures both in heated and non-heated room:
- Hot Yoga’s Benefits May Not Come from the Heat at All. Forbes Magazine. 2018. (Research was done specifically on Bikram Yoga, not generic “hot yoga”.)
- Bikram Yoga doesn’t need hot room to benefit heart health. Reuters. 2018. (Note that reductions in LDL and body fat percentage were more significant in those who practiced the Bikram Yoga class in the hot room group.)
Bikram Yoga as part of Addiction Recovery:
- Teacher: Experience Needed. New York Times, March 11, 2011.
- 9 Ways Yoga Helped Me Overcome Addiction. Hip Sobriety Blog.
Bikram Yoga and Autoimmune Disease:
- Hope for Autoimmune Disease: 15 Personal Stories of Living Better with Bikram Yoga
- Bikram Yoga for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Using Bikram Yoga to Help Reverse Rheumatoid Arthritis – with Rowena Jayne (podcast)
Other Insights and Recommended Readings & Media:
- Sitting Down In Bikram Yoga: What it Says About You.
- F*** Neoliberal Yoga: Selling Yoga and Selling Ourselves in the Digital Age – PART I
- and PART II