Taking hot yoga classes lowered blood pressure in a small study of adults with elevated or stage 1 hypertension, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions. To determine this, researchers randomly assigned five participants to take hour-long hot yoga classes three times a week for 12 weeks, while another five were assigned to a control group that took no yoga classes. In the hot yoga group, systolic blood pressure dropped from an average 126 mmHg to 121 mmHg, and average diastolic pressure decreased from 82 mmHg to 79 mmHg, compared to no change in the control group. Perceived stress levels also fell among those in the hot yoga group but not in the non-yoga group.
While there is evidence of regular, room-temperature yoga’s positive effect on blood pressure, little is known about hot yoga’s potential impact, according to the researchers. “The findings are very preliminary at this point, yet they’re somewhat promising in terms of unveiling another unique way to lower blood pressure in adults without the use of medications,” says study author Stacy Hunter, PhD, assistant professor and lab director of the cardiovascular physiology lab at Texas State University in San Marcos.