A quick review of a paper published in April this year – Yoga-Based Cardiac Rehabilitation After Acute Myocardial Infarction – A Randomized Trial
The research looked at Yoga based Cardiac Rehabilitation (a programme called Yoga-CaRe) versus “enhanced standard care involving educational advice” for a group of just under 4,000 people who had suffered Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
The research saw small improvements in the (i) return to normal activities; (ii) general health and (ii) incidence of more serious heart problems, although in the latter the improvement was not statistically significant due to the number of cases in the trial.
The conclusion was “Yoga-CaRe improved self-rated health and return to pre-infarct activities after acute myocardial infarction, but the trial lacked statistical power to show a difference in MACE. Yoga-CaRe may be an option when conventional CR is unavailable or unacceptable to individuals.” – in other words Yoga helps, but its not a major improvement over normal care.
A few observations:
Its interesting that the follow up period in this trial was 22 months and 6 months – comparatively short in the grand scheme of things. Would the results have been different over time? A further two years follow up is planned, which will be interesting. Yoga is a “practice” rather than a “event” – so how would a cumulative Yoga practice change things?
Also this was “either or” – in reality standard care would normally, at least in the UK, be enhanced with Yoga rather than substituted and I do wonder how this would have changed things?
Finally research is, of course, invaluable, but it can be reductionist. Lived experience counts, and Yoga – beyond poses – can help us be more at peace with our mortality, our bodies and our spiritual perspectives. That can never cause harm.