Effects of Various Prāṇāyāma on Cardiovascular and Autonomic Variables
Ancient Science of Life
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Pages: 72 - 77
Source ID: shanti-sources-84031
Collection: Contemplative Practices and Breath Research
Abstract: Cardiovascular functions are controlled by neural factors, temperature, hormones, etc., Of these, neural factors primarily concern the autonomic nervous system, which plays a major role in maintaining and regulating cardiac functions, e.g., blood pressure and heart rate. Prāṇāyāma is one of the most important yogic practices. There are various review articles on Yoga and its effects but, though Prāṇāyāma is a part of yoga, there is lack of review articles. To the best of our knowledge there is no known review article on effect of various Prāṇāyāma on cardiovascular and autonomic variables. To provide a general overview about the effect of various prāṇāyāma (breathing techniques) on cardiovascular and autonomic variables. A narrative review was performed based on the available scientific literature. An electronic data search was performed in Medline/PubMed database to review relevant articles, using keywords such as "Prāṇāyāma, Yogic breathing techniques, Unilateral nostril breathing, Alternate nostril breathing, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika and Bhramari Pranayama". All the relevant articles published from 1988 to 06-04-2016 were included in this review. Slow type of yogic breathing technique was reported to produce beneficial effect on cardiovascular and autonomic variables while fast breathing techniques do not produce such effects. There is lack of consistency in the results of specific nostril yogic breathing techniques and the mechanisms behind the effects of various prāṇāyāma. This review suggests that different types of Prāṇāyāma techniques produce different effects and the mechanisms behind these effects are not fully understood.