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Yoga for Women : Effect On Weight, Waist, Hips and Chest Flexibility - A Study

 

Research Paper By -

Suneeta Vaze, Dr. N K Porwal, Dr. Asha Damodaran

Contact Address -

Brindavan Yoga Hall, BARC Staff Club, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai - 400 094

 

In the recent past modernization of cultures, urbanisation and industrialization have greatly influenced our way of living and we have tended to drastically deviate from those well established ancient principles practiced and professed by our sages. We are trying to seek apparently comfortable living conditions where physical activities have been replaced by labour saving machines and appliances and thus have grossly confronted the nature. Food habits, on the other hand, have changed. Eating of more and more artificially preserved and processed food items lacking ingredients essential for maintaining good health is on the increase. Our exaggerated expectations remaining unfulfilled, have resulted into elevated stress levels in our life. All these have given rise to so many disorders like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. In the promotion of physical and mental health and prevention of many of these disorders, yoga is supposed to play a vital role*. Yoga - practitioner's integrated personality changes for the better as yoga has got holistic approach.

In the promotion of physical & mental health and prevention of many of these disorders, yoga is supposed to play a vital rolel'I. Yoga practitioner's integrated personality changes for the better as yoga has got holistic approach.

Dr. Gharote from Lonavala studied the therapeutic effect of yoga on cases of obesity and the results were assessed - through measurements of skin - fold at various points. Results showed significant decrease in skin - fold measurement both in males and females **. However, we have studied in the present work the effects of yogic practices on fat accumulating parameters by measuring weight, waist - line, hips etc. in a group of women.

 

 

Aim

 

A large number of persons attend clinics or follow other practices for reducing obesity and for improving physical look. These are the cases in which influence of the state of mind of the persons on their bodies are fairly predominant. In the case of women it is seen that with increasing age there is increase in fat accumulation mainly at the hip regions. Our aim was t study the long term effects (at least for 6 month duration) of yogic practices on weight, waist - line, hips and chest flexibility in case of a group of women who performed yogasanas and pranayamas regularly.

 

 

Method

 

There has been a regular class of yoga practices in Brindavan Yoga Hall at Anushakti Nagar in Mumbai from 10:30 hours to 12:00 hours in the morning for women for the last 17 years. In this study, in the beginning of admission and thereafter every month, the measurements of weight, waist, hips, maximum value for the chest after complete inhalation and minimum value of the chest after exhalation were recorded. The women covered in the present study were in the age group of 22 to 69 years. These data were collected from 1995 to 1998. Participants were taught yoga practices and were supervised by the trained and experienced yoga teacher. They practiced yogasanas and pranayamas followed by 20 minutes of relaxation techniques like Shavasana, Makarasana or Yoganidra. The asanas taught in this study were vajrasana, suryanamaskara, pavanmuktasana, bhujangasana, salabhasana, trikonasana, hastapadasana, cakrasana, dhanurasana, viparitkarani, sarvangasana and pranayamas followed by relaxation postures. In this group, there were women who were overweight and some were having different ailments like asthma, spondylosis (neck and back) and some were having no complaint. Due care was taken for yoga - practices contraindicated in some individual subjects depending upon their physical conditions. In the present study, in the beginning of admission and thereafter every month, the measurements of weight, waistline, hips, maximum value of chest after complete inhalation and minimum value after exhalation were recorded. They were told the importance of balanced diet and were instructed to follow moderation in dietary habits.

 

 

Results and Discussions

 

In this paper we have complied the data for 26 women who had been coming continuously at least for 6 months daily except Saturdays and Sundays. Though originally we have collected data for 32 women, but six women for personal reasons could not maintain regularity and they reported to the yoga teacher after a gap of two or three months in between the fixed span of six months decided in the present study. All these irregular yoga - practitioners showed gain in body weights and increase in other parameters as compared to the general trend shown in case of regular yoga practitioners. It is worth mentioning here that the yoga practitioners were told the importance of balanced diet and they were instructed to do normal daily activity as before joining yoga class.

The data obtained during the present study are shown in Table - 1 Statistical analysis was carried out with respect to weight-parameter in order to study its distribution in the subjects. The % cumulative probability less than the weight (as shown in Table -2 plotted against the weight revealed that the entire population of subjects is composed of two different groups, one of subjects from S.No. 1 to 14 (normal group) and another Serial No. 15 to 17. Incidentally only 3 subjects having body weight 84 kg and 94 kg fell in the obese group.

 

Serial No.
Weight Before
Weight After
Waist
Hips
Chest
Chest
     
Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
1
65
67
90
88
102
103
99
100
94
93
2
65
59
95
92
109
104
97
95
95
93
3
73
73
98
99
121
122
103
103
101
100
4
63
63
92
93
114
114
91
90
89
87
5
57
55
93
92
101
95
96
98
95
95
6
54
55
94
90
105
101
88
89
85
85
7
68
68
90
88
107
108
100
99
98
97
8
60
57
87
83
100
96
89
88
87
86
9
94
87
108
100
123
117
110
105
108
103
10
87
82
95
96
127
124
107
106
105
104
11
60
57
88
82
101
97
98
99
96
96
12
84
78
106
104
123
118
115
111
114
109
13
54
53
84
85
100
97
93
94
91
90
14
51
48
90
85
100
94
90
85
89
89
15
50
49
73
72
100
100
83
83
81
81
16
59
57
77
77
110
105
90
92
88
86
17
63
60
80
81
107
106
95
94
93
90
18
68
62
84
79
107
102
100
98
97
92
19
74
72
102
100
126
122
104
103
103
101
20
58
56
87
88
106
105
92
94
90
90
21
55
55
88
88
104
14
94
93
90
88
22
67
65
87
84
105
102
95
95
94
92
23
67
66
97
95
108
108
102
102
101
100
24
63
62
95
92
106
107
100
99
98
97
25
73
73
94
94
109
109
100
103
98
100
26
65
64
97
97
108
106
103
103
102
100

 

Table 1: Initial and final measurements for the various Parameters in case of a group of women who practiced Yoga for 6 months regularly.

The results show that in all three women body weight, hips and waistline measurements had decreased. Some more data are needed to prove the statistical significance of these observations. The percentage changes in body weight, waistline, hips and chest flexibility are shown in Table-3 in the same order of serial number as shown in Table - 1.

 

 

Reduction in Weight

 

The bar chart on data of Table-3 is shown in Fig.-1 and depicts the percentage reduction in weight after doing yogic practices for 6 months. Out of 26 ladies in this group, 19 practitioners lost the body-weights while 2 women gained the weight (of the order of 4%) due to dietary indiscretion during festivals. There were 5 women, in whose case there were no change in body - weight. Arithmetic average of % reduction in body-weight works out to be 3.03 while taking all the 26 women into consideration. In 93% of yoga practitioners covered in this study, either the body-weight has remained stable or there were reduction in body-weights.

 

Reduction in Waist - Line

 

The bar chart depicting the percentage change in waist line is shown in Fig-2.

 

Serial No.
Weight (kg)
No. of persons
Cumulative Frequency (n)
% Cumulative Probability less than the weight (2n-1)/N, N=26
1
50
1
1
1.92
2
51
1
2
5.77
3
54
2
4
13.46
4
55
1
5
17.31
5
57
1
6
21.15
6
58
1
7
25.00
7
59
1
8
28.85
8
60
2
10
36.54
9
63
3
13
48.08
10
65
3
16
59.61
11
67
2
20
67.31
12
68
2
20
75.00
13
73
2
22
82.69
14
74
1
23
86.54
15
84
1
24
90.38
16
87
1
25
94.23
17
94
1
26
98.08

Table 2: Data for the distribution of population for statistical analysis

 

From the data collected for the waist line measurements. it is seen that there is reduction in waistline for 18 women while in case of 6 women there is slight increase in waist (of the order of a centimeter in each case). For two women there was found to be no change in this parameter. The average percentage reduction in waistline was found to be 2.11. In 81 % of the cases, the waistline parameter either decreased or remained stable.

 

 

Reduction in Hips

 

The percentage reduction in circumference at hipline for all 26 women is shown in Fig.-3. There was decrease for 17 women and increase for 4 women circumference at hip points while in case of 5 women there was no change observed in this parameter as found in the study. In 85% of the participants who have come regularly for yoga class, either the same parameter was stable or it got decreased.

 

 

Increase in Lung Flexibility

 

The bar chart depicting % changes in lung- flexibility is shown in Fig-4.

For 16 women there was increase in percentage lung flexibility and for 10 women there was no change in this parameter. None of them, however, showed decrease in their lung-flexibility.

No restriction on diet, behavior or other activities were advised in particular to be observed by yoga practitioners during the course of this study. Yoga is believed to have holistic approach and it imparts an all round improvement in our personalities. Habits covering ahar, vihar, acar and vicar are getting transformed in positive direction. It has been shown that there is general improvement in well-being among the yoga practitioners at physical and mental levels. Their interpersonal relationship with the family members and in the society is improved considerably. The general reduction in mental stress due to relaxation, helps the body to cope up with the day to day activity efficiently. The yogic postures increase the blood circulation which reduces the toxicity in the body for the overall healthy growth like improved functioning of various glands, kidney and liver. The percentage increase in positive attributes are supposed to be due to the holistic approach that is the outcome of yogic attitude people feel while undergoing yogic training.

 

% Reduction in Weight
% Reduction in Waistline
%Increase in Chest Flexibility
%Reduction in Hips
-3.07
1.12
0
-0.98
9.23
3.16
0
4.59
0
-2.04
0
-0.83
0
-1.09
50
0
3.51
1.08
200
5.94
-1.85
4.26
33
3.85
0
2.22
0
-0.93
5
4.6
0
4
7.44
2.91
0
4.09
5.74
-1.05
0
2.36
5
6.82
50
3.96
7.14
1.89
100
4.06
1.85
-1.19
100
3
5.88
5.55
0
6
2
1.36
0
0
3.39
0
200
3.66
5
-1.25
100
0.93
8.82
5.95
100
4.67
2.7
1.96
100
3.17
3.45
-1.14
100
0.94
0
0
25
0
2.98
2.98
200
2.85
1.49
1.49
100
0
1.59
1.59
50
-0.94
0
9
0
0
1.53
1.53
400
1.85

Table 3: Percentage reduction in various parameters after 6 months.

 

Fig. 1



  Fig. 2


 
Fig. 3


  Fig. 4


 

Acknowledgment

 

The authors are thankful to Mr. R K Gaur, Scientific Officer, RSSD, BARC,Mumbai for the help extended during statistical analysis.

 

References -

 

  • "Yogic and Tantric Medicines" by Prof. O P Jaggi, Publisher: Atma Ram and Sons, Delhi.
  • Gharote, M.L., "Evaluation of effects of yogic treatment on obesity", A paper read at the West Zone Scientific Seminar on Indigenous Systems of Medicine, held on 11th and 12th August, 1973, at the Haffkins Institute, Mumbai.