Effects of hatha yoga exercises on spine flexibility in young adults

Małgorzata Grabara 1
  • 1 Faculty of Health-Related Physical Activity, Department of Physical Education, Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland


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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Alter M.J. (2004) Science of flexibility. Champaign.

  • 2. Garber C.E., B. Blissmer, M.R. Deschenes, B.A. Franklin, M.J. Lamonte, I.M. Lee, D.C. Nieman, D.P. Swain (2011) American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc., 1334-1359.

  • 3. Gonçalves L.C., R.G. de Souza Valea, N.J.F. Barata, R.V. Varejão, E.H.M. Dantas (2011) Flexibility, functional autonomy and quality of life (QoL) in elderly yoga practitioners. Arch. Gerontol. Geriatr., 53: 158-162.

  • 4. Grabara M. (2013) Effect of 8-moths yoga training on shaping the spine in people over 55. Biomed. Hum. Kinet., 5: 59-64.

  • 5. Grabara M. (2016) Could hatha yoga be a health-related physical activity? Biomed. Hum. Kinet., 8: 10-16.

  • 6. Grabara M., J. Szopa (2015) Effects of hatha yoga exercises on spine flexibility in women over 50 years old. J. Phys. Ther. Sci., 27: 361-365.

  • 7. Grabara M., J. Szopa, D. Grabara (2011) Flexibility of the spine and selected joints in women practising hatha yoga. Polish J. Sport Med., 27: 61-73.

  • 8. Hartley L., M. Dyakova, J. Holmes, A. Clarke, M.S. Lee, E. Ernst, K. Rees (2014) Yoga for the primary prevention ofcardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev., CD010072.

  • 9. Haskell W.L., H.J. Montoye, D. Orenstein (1985) Physical activity and exercise to achieve health-related physical fitness components. Public Health Rep., 100: 202-212.

  • 10. Kim S.D. (2014) Effects of Yogic Exercises on Life Stress and Blood Glucose Levels in Nursing Students. J. Phys. Ther. Sci., 26(12): 2003-2006.

  • 11. Kim S.S., W.K. Min, J.H. Kim, B.H. Lee (2014) The effects of VR-based Wii Fit Yoga on physical function in middle-aged female LBP patients. J. Phys. Ther. Sci., 26: 549-552.

  • 12. Lau C., R. Yu, J. Woo (2015) Effects of a 12-week hatha yoga intervention on cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and Endurance, and flexibility in Hong Kong Chinese adults: a controlled clinical trial. Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med., 958727.

  • 13. Murugesan R., N. Govindarajulu, T.K. Bera (2000) Effect of selected yogic practices on the management of hypertension. Indian. J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 44: 207-210.

  • 14. Nishikawa Y., J. Aizawa, N. Kanemura, T. Takahashi, N. Hosomi, H. Maruyama, H. Kimura, M. Matsumoto, K. Takayanagi. (2015) Immediate effect of passive and active stretching on hamstrings flexibility: a single-blinded randomized control trial. J. Phys. Ther. Sci., 27(10): 3167-3170.

  • 15. Pollock M. L., G.A. Gaesser, J.D. Butcher, J.P. Després, R.K. Dishman, B.A. Franklin, C.E. Garber (1998) American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc., 30: 975-991.

  • 16. Shapiro D., I.A. Cook, D.M. Davydov, C. Ottaviani, A.F. Leuchter, M. Abrams (2007) Yoga as a complementary treatment of depression: effects of traits and moods on treatment outcome. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 4: 493-502.

  • 17. Singh S., V. Malhotra, K. Singh, S. Sharma. (2001). A preliminary report on the role of yoga asanas on oxidative stress in non-insulin dependent diabetes. Indian. J. Clin. Biochem., 16: 216-220.

  • 18. Tran M.D., R.G. Holly, J. Lashbrook, E.A. Amsterdam. (2001) Effects of hatha yoga practice on the health-related aspects of physical fitness. Prevent. Cardiol., 4: 165-170.

  • 19. Williams K., C. Abildso, L. Steinberg, E. Doyle, B. Epstein, D. Smith, G. Hobbs, R. Gross, G. Kelley, L. Cooper (2009) Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain. Spine, 34: 2066-2076.

  • 20. Word Health Organization. Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. (2010). Geneve.


Journal + Issues