The primary goal of most traditional yoga is to quiet the mind through focused concentration an attention; however, of all the yoga traditions, the importance of physical fitness is emphasized most in hatha yoga. [1-4]

Studies have shown that hatha yoga practice can lead to improvements in:

-    Hand-grip strength [5]
-    Muscular endurance [6]
-    Flexibility [7]
-    Maximal oxygen uptake [8]
-    Decreases in percent body fat [9, 10]
-    Increased forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1.0) [11, 12]



1.  Lidell L. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1983. 

2.  Dass BH. Ashtanga Yoga Primer. Santa Cruz, CA: Sri Rama Publishing; 1981.

3.  Worthington V. A History of Yoga. London, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul; 1982.

4.  Zorn W Yoga for the Mind. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls; 1968.

5.  Madanmohan, Thombre P, Balakumar B, et al. Effect of yoga training on reaction time, respiratory endurance and muscle strength. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992;36(4):229–233. 

6.  Ray US, Hegde KS, Selvamurthy W. Improvement in muscular efficiency as related to a standard task after yogic exercises in middle aged men. Indian J Med Res. 1986;83:343–348.

7.  Gharote ML, Ganguly SK. Effects of a nine-week yogic training programm on some aspects of physical fitness of physically conditioned young males. Indian J Med Sci. 1979;33(10):258–263. 

8.  Balasubramanian B, Pansare MS. Effect of yoga on aerobic and anaerobic power of muscles. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol.1991;35(4):281–282. 

9.  Bera TK, Rajapurkar MV. Body composition, cardiovascular endurance, and anaerobic power of yogic practitioner. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1993;37(3):225–228. 

10.  Madhavi S, Raju PS, Reddy MV, et al. Effect of yogic exercises on lean body mass. J Assoc Physicians India. 1985;33(7):465–466. 

11.  Bhole MV, Karambelka PV, Gharote ML. Effect of yoga practices on vital capacity (a preliminary communication). Indian J Chest Dis. 1970;12(1):32–35. 

12.  Joshi LN, Joshi VD, Gokhale LV. Effect of short term “pranayam” practice on breathing rate and ventilatory functions of lung. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992;36(4):105–108.