Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

Antonio Santo

Second Committee Member

James Navalta

Third Committee Member

Richard Tandy

Fourth Committee Member

Lawrence Golding

Fifth Committee Member

Daniel Young

Number of Pages



BACKGROUND:Generation of free radicals resulting in oxidative damage has been linked to cellular damage, aging, and human disease. Many studies have reported that physical exercise can contribute to oxidative stress. Further, exercise in a hyperthermic environment can promote additional oxidative stress. It is important to consider that practices in yoga may be beneficial in reducing oxidative stress according to some studies. The compound effects of exercise and hyperthermic exposure are experienced in the practice of Bikram yoga, the original "hot" yoga. Because Bikram yoga and other hot exercise classes are an increasingly growing fitness trend, it is necessary to investigate whether there are benefits and inherent risks associated with participation. Specifically, markers of oxidative stress may provide insight into the safety and benefit for practical application of Bikram yoga. The proposed research will acknowledge two products of oxidative stress by means of lipid peroxidation and the antioxidant defense mechanism.

PURPOSE:The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of one Bikram Yoga session on oxidative stress markers in healthy, trained adults.

METHODS:Fourteen healthy, Bikram yoga trained adults (7 females & 7 males) with a mean age, height, weight, BMI, and % body fat of 35.86 ± 9.09 y, 171.51 ± 9.37 cm, 76.23 ± 15.03 kg, 25.90 ± 4.83, and 20.96 ± 5.17 respectively, with 2.13 ± 1.82 years of experience, completed a Bikram yoga session in its standard hot environment (approximately 40.6°Celsius, 40% humidity)(HOT) and a Bikram yoga session in a thermoneutral environment (22.2°Celsius and 50% humidity)(CON) on two separate laboratory visits. Oxidative stress variables, plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and glutathione (GSH) were investigated. Hematocrit (HMT), heart rate (HR), and oral body temperature (TEMP) were also observed. PASW Statistics 20 software was used to analyze the data.

RESULTS:Oxidative stress in participation of one session of Bikram yoga performed in its standard hot environment is not significantly different when performed in a thermoneutral environment by healthy, trained adults. There was no significant interaction or main effects for TBARS (time: p=0.886, condition: p=0.480, interaction: p=0.507), GSH(time: p=0.161, condition: p=0.414, interaction: p=0.525), or hematocrit (time: p=0.581, condition: p=0.148, interaction: p=0.106). The practice of Bikram yoga in the HOT revealed elevated HR (60 min: p=0.005, 75 min: p=0.034, 105 min: p=0.033) and TEMP (15-90min: pCONCLUSION:The lack of significant change observed in TBARS, GSH, and hematocrit indicates that the trained participants did not undergo significant oxidative stress regardless of increased oral body temperature or heart rates from the practice of Bikram yoga in the heat. Explanation of comparable levels of oxidative stress may be due to the experience and acclimatization to the practice. These data suggests that while the hyperthermic environment provides cardiovascular benefits, it does not significantly contribute to more oxidative stress in an acute bout of Bikram yoga for the Bikram trained.


Bikram yoga; Glutathione; Heat – Physiological effect; Heat stress; Hyperthermic; Oxidative stress; TBARS; Yoga


Cell Biology | Exercise Science | Medical Physiology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Physiology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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