Research in the field of human performance is once again finding the multitude of benefits of incorporating yoga into an overall health and fitness program. New research in the Journal of Human Movement, examined the effects of a hatha yoga practice on the posture and the curvature of spine. Researchers studied the antero-posterior curvature of the spine, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis angles of 72 women, and 46 men. Subjects’ participated in a 90 minute yoga class once per week, for 15 weeks.
Researchers divided the subjects into three different groups. The first group included all the participants in the study, the second group included subjects who attended the yoga classes and also practiced yoga regularly, the third group included students only practiced the yoga class, but no other exercise program. Spinal measurements were taken before and after the yoga intervention, which included the antero-posterior curvature of the spine, thoracic kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis angles.
Researchers found that after only 15 weeks of yoga there was a significant decrease in thoracic kyphosis angles and lumbar lordosis angles of the spine. Researchers noted that 50-62% of subjects were found to have corrected angular values of thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis when compared to the measurements taken before the start of classes, which were at 40-45%. Researchers noted that women tended to experience more significant differences in the measurements than men. Overall, researchers assert that that the shaping of the antero-posterior curvature of the spine and posture can be effected by the addition of a regular yoga practice.