Research: yoga & the lungs

Yoga practice improves pulmonary function in healthy individuals. Following yoga training in this study, there was statistically significant increases in:

  • vital capacity
  • tidal volume
  • expiratory reserve volume
  • breath holding time
  • endurance & peak expiratory flow rate (Birkel 2000)


Birkel DA, Edgren L. Hatha yoga: Improved vital capacity of college students. Altern Ther Health Med. 2000;6:55–63.
Karthik et al. Effect of Pranayama & Suryanamaskar on Pulmonary Functions in Medical Students. (2014), J of Clinical & Diagnostic Research
ASTHMA Cramer H et al. Yoga for asthma: a systematic review & meta-analysis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014;112(6):503–510.e5.
ASTHMA Manocha R, et al. Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomized controlled trial. Thorax. 2002;57(2):110–115.
ASTHMA Sabina AB, Williams AL, Wall HK, et al. Yoga intervention for adults with mild-to-moderate asthma: a pilot study. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005;94(5):543–548.
COPD Donesky-Cuenco D, Nguyen HQ, Paul S, et al. Yoga therapy decreases dyspnea-related distress & improves functional performance in people with COPD: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(3):225–234.