Yoga May Ease COPD Symptoms

The results of a small study conducted in India by Randeep Guleria, MD, of All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and colleagues show that yoga may improve some symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and overall quality of life, as reported by the Clinical Advisor.

Lack of patient compliance is a known problem with many standard pulmonary rehabilitation programs, so Guleria and colleagues enrolled 29 patients with COPD to determine if yoga could be beneficial. Twice weekly yoga classes improved several measures of dyspnea and living quality over the course of 12 weeks. The researchers measured lung function, dyspnea severity, quality of life and inflammation at baseline and 12 weeks. During the study period, the patients experienced significant improvements on all measures of dyspnea severity. Overall quality of life scores also significantly improved from a baseline value. There were no significant improvements on pulmonary function tests or inflammatory markers.

In 2011, scientists from Chicago’s Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science reported that 22 patients were given six weeks of yoga-based interventions, which included stretching, posing and deep breathing. The team noted that participants’ COPD symptoms became milder after a month and a half of yoga. Both teams call for more research on the subject.


1.Guleria R et al. e-Poster #1079. “Efficacy of yoga on inflammatory markers, dyspnea, and quality of life in COPD.” Presented at: CHEST 2013. Oct. 26-31, 2013; Chicago.
2.Fulambarker A, Farooki B, Kheir F, Copur AS, Srinivasan L, Schultz S. Effect of yoga in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Ther. 2012 Mar;19(2):96-100. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e3181f2ab86.