The Impact of Yoga Education Among Postmenopausal South Asian Women at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Family Affair

Monday, 28 July 2014: 8:30 AM

Amandah L. Hoogbruin, RN, BScN, MScN, PhD
Faculty of Community and Health Studies, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, BC, Canada

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to determine the efficacy of using a random controlled design to measure the effects of a gentle 12 week structured Hatha yoga progam on lipid profile  (fasting blood cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides) and blood pressure, as primary  outcomes.  Other related indices of cardiovascular risk including measures of visceral adiposity (waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, body mass index (BMI)); insulin sensitivity (fasting glucose/insulin); inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP); sympathetic activity (resting heart rate, heart rate;  and perceived stress, mood, and sleep  will be examined  as secondary outcomes.

The yoga program is based on hatha yoga that has been adapted by the use of props and standardized, scripted poses that can be easily replicated and readily performed by individuals who are elderly, overweight, unfit, or who suffer from a chronic illness.

Methods: In Canada, the third largest group of South Asians is located in Surrey, British Columbia. In February, 2013, a 12 week pilot study was implemented consisting of 33, postmenopausal, sedentary, South Asian women who were randomly assigned to participate in either weekly Hatha Yoga education and individual at home yoga sessions, or a no yoga, the control group. Screening assessments were done to at the beginning of the study to obtain baseline data about quality of life and specific markers related to physiological and psychological indices of CVD risk.  Repeat screening assessments were done at the end of the yoga intervention (@ 3 months); and at 6 months.  Final screening sessions were completed in late September.

Results: Applying a yoga intervention and study procedures in a community setting posed unique challenges and required cultural sensitivity. All the study participants indicated that their role as the primary family caregiver greatly influenced their capacity to practice yoga regularly.  At the same time, all of them agreed that their families were instrumental in enabling them to attend yoga classes regularly.

Conclusion: This pilot study is among the first in Canada to rigorously examine the specific effects of yoga therapy on CVD risk profiles among postmenopausal, sedentary, South Asian women. Given the nature of the intervention (involves lifestyle modification), factors affecting study participants, (i.e., the role of family and its influence on regular yoga practice in the home), need to be considered when implementing a more extensive, clinical trial.