Yoga was helpful in improving exercise capacity as assessed by the 6-minute walk test. Yoga breathing exercises may be helpful for improving exercise capacity and pulmonary function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), study results published in Clinical Rehabilitation suggest.

Researchers performed a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials that included a pooled cohort of 586 patients with COPD. The studies in the analysis evaluated the effect of yoga vs either no yoga, sham yoga, or any active control on quality of life (QoL), dyspnea, exercise capacity, and pulmonary function (ie, absolute or predictive forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1]).

Yoga interventions were categorized as either yoga breathing only without physical movements or complex yoga interventions that included both yoga breathing and physical postures, meditation, and/or lifestyle advice. In addition to yoga’s effects on QoL and pulmonary function, the analysis also examined safety, or the number of patients who experienced adverse events.