Short-term yoga practice can improve balance, leg strength and leg muscle control in younger adults, according to a small study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2008; 22 , 1659–69). Colorado State University researchers in Fort Collins studied 21 adults ages 21–39 who were of similar age, height and body mass to determine the effects of Bikram yoga training on strength, steadiness and muscle control. Half participated in an 8-week Bikram yoga class that was offered three times per week. The other half served as a control group.
Evaluations showed that those who received the yoga training experienced significant balance improvements, modest increases in leg strength and, for those with the least amount of conditioning, improvements in leg muscle control. Yoga participants did not increase upper-body strength.