Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
This section should be read in conjunction with the entry on Health: Therapies (General)
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an exercise-related and posture-related technique that involves gentle stretching, breath control and meditation. CAP understands that there are various different forms of yoga, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram and Iyengar.
CAP also understands that Yoga has been combined with various other exercise techniques to produce “fusion” classes, for example Yogalates, Body Balancing and Body Conditioning.
What claims are likely to be acceptable?
Some mild claims about Yoga may be acceptable, such as:
- helping relaxation
- enhancing mood
- aiding sleep
- relieving tension
- improving a sense of well-being
- Improving core strength, balance, flexibility, suppleness, posture and joint mobility [only if presented in relation to healthy people who practice yoga regularly]
What claims are likely to be problematic?
Neither CAP nor the ASA has seen robust evidence for the health benefits of yoga. As such, any claims that go beyond those listed above are likely to be considered problematic unless they are supported by robust evidence in the form of clinical trials.
Whilst it may be acceptable to claim that yoga can help encourage deep breathing in relation to improved posture, in the absence of robust evidence, claims that yoga can help with breathing more generally are likely to require clinical evidence [see also references to lung conditions below].
What about conditions for which medical supervision should be sought?
Marketers should take care to ensure that they do not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
Unless a yoga teacher or therapist holds suitable medical qualifications, they should not refer to medical conditions whose diagnosis or treatment requires the supervision of a suitably qualified healthcare professional, such as breathing difficulties or lung conditions like asthma (Rule 12.2).
CAP recommends that marketers also read this CAP Guidance on Substantiation for health, beauty and slimming claims and this CAP Guidance on Health adn beauty ads that refer to medical conditions.