Study aim: To assess the effects of yoga exercises on the flexibility of the spine in male and female students aged 19–22 years old.
Material and methods: The study comprised 59 male and female first-year students, aged 19–22 years old (mean 19.6 ± 0.9), studying Sport and Tourism Management at the Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice. The participants took part in an obligatory yoga class, of 90 minutes duration, once a week over a 13-week period. The ranges of motion of the spine in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes were measured using the Rippstein Plurimeter-V.
Results: The study indicated a statistically significant increase of the spine flexibility in forward and lateral bending before and after the yoga classes in the entire studied group. In the men, a significant increase of the range of motion in backward bending was also noted. In the women, and in all of the participants (women and men together), a significant increase of the range of motion in the torsion was noted.
Conclusions: Regular yoga exercises could increase the flexibility of the spine and the hamstring muscles. Hatha yoga training may be a good intervention for improving flexibility, but for better results it should be performed more often than once a week.
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