Yoga may be beneficial for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease

Clinical question: 
Is yoga effective in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
Bottom line: 
There was some evidence yoga had favourable effects on diastolic blood pressure, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and uncertain effects on LDL-cholesterol. Quality of life was measured in 3 trials, but the results were inconclusive. It was not possible to say which types of yoga were effective in preventing CVD, or if the frequency, duration and physiological intensity of yoga impacted on its effectiveness. No studies reported adverse events or the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. Costs were also not examined in any of the included studies.
No study reported cardiovascular mortality, all-cause mortality or non-fatal events, and most studies were small and short-term (<6 months’ duration). There was substantial heterogeneity between studies, making it impossible to combine studies statistically for systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol. There was a high degree of heterogeneity between trials, from different sources (participants, type of yoga, duration of intervention and follow-up, outcome data), which precluded statistical pooling for some outcomes.
Sedentary lifestyle and stress are major risk factors for CVD. Since yoga involves exercise, and is thought to help in stress reduction, it may be an effective strategy in the primary prevention of CVD.Small reductions in CVD risk factors throughout a whole population may lead to large reductions in CVD incidence.1
Review CD#: 
July, 2014
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy