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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The practice of yoga is associated with enhanced psychological wellbeing. The current study assessed the correlation between the duration of yoga practice with state mindfulness, mind-wandering and state anxiety. Also, we examined if an additional 20 min of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding (experimental group) for 8 weeks would affect these psychological variables more than regular yoga practice (control group) alone.METHODS: One hundred sixteen subjects were randomly assigned to experimental (n = 60) and control (n = 56) groups. State mindfulness attention awareness scale (SMAAS), Mind-Wandering Questionnaire (MWQ) and State anxiety inventory were administered at baseline and at the end of 8 weeks. RESULTS: Baseline assessment revealed a positive correlation between duration of yoga practice with SMAAS scores and negative correlation with MWQ and state anxiety scores. At the end of 8 weeks, both groups demonstrated enhanced psychological functions, but the experimental group receiving additional yoga breathing performed better than the group practicing yoga alone. CONCLUSION: An additional practice of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding was found to enhance the psychological functions in young adult yoga practitioners.

Various pranayama techniques are known to produce different physiological effects. We evaluated the effect of three-different pranayama techniques on cerebrovascular hemodynamics. Eighteen healthy volunteers with the mean ± standard deviation age of 23.78 ± 2.96 years were performed three-different pranayama techniques: (1) Bhramari, (2) Kapalbhati and (3) Bahir-Kumbhaka in three-different orders. Continuous transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitoring was performed before, during and after the pranayama techniques. TCD parameters such as peak systolic velocity, end diastolic velocity (EDV), mean flow velocity (MFV) and pulsatility index (PI) of right middle cerebral artery were recorded. Practice of Kapalbhati showed significant reductions in EDV and MFV with significant increase in PI while, Bahir-Kumbhaka showed significant increase in EDV and MFV with significant reduction in PI. However, no such significant changes were observed in Bhramari pranayama. Various types of pranayama techniques produce different cerebrovascular hemodynamic changes in healthy volunteers.

Background:Pranayama techniques are known to produce variable physiological effects on the body. We evaluated the effect of the two commonly practiced Pranayama techniques on cerebral hemodynamics. Materials and Methods: Fifteen healthy male volunteers, trained in Yoga and Pranayama, were included in the study. Mean age was 24 years (range 22–32 years). Study participants performed 2 Pranayamas in 2 different orders. Order 1 (n = 7) performed Bhastrika (bellows breaths) followed by Kumbhaka (breath retention) while order 2 (n = 8) performed Kumbhaka followed by Bhastrika. Both breathing techniques were performed for 1 min each. Continuous transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitoring was performed during the breathing techniques. TCD parameters that were recorded included peak systolic velocity (PSV), end-diastolic velocity (EDV), mean flow velocity (MFV), and pulsatility index (PI) of the right middle cerebral artery at baseline, 15, 30, 45, and 60 s. Results: Significant reductions in EDV (3.67 ± 6.48; P < 0.001) and MFV (22.00 ± 7.30; P < 0.001) with a significant increase in PI (2.43 ± 0.76; P < 0.001) were observed during Bhastrika. On the contrary, a significant increase in PSV (65.27 ± 13.75; P < 0.001), EDV (28.67 ± 12.03; P < 0.001), and MFV (43.67 ± 12.85; P < 0.001) with a significant reduction in PI (0.89 ± 0.28; P < 0.01) was observed only during Kumbhaka. Conclusion: Bhastrika and Kumbhaka practices of Pranayama produce considerable and opposing effects on cerebral hemodynamic parameters. Our findings may play a potential role in designing the Pranayama techniques according to patients’ requirements.

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.

Pranayama or breath regulation is considered as an essential component of Yoga, which is said to influence the physiological systems. We present a comprehensive overview of scientific literature in the field of yogic breathing. We searched PubMed, PubMed Central and IndMed for citations for keywords "Pranayama" and "Yogic Breathing". The search yielded a total of 1400 references. Experimental papers, case studies and case series in English, revealing the effects of yogic breathing were included in the review. The preponderance of literature points to beneficial effects of yogic breathing techniques in both physiological and clinical setups. Advantageous effects of yogic breathing on the neurocognitive, psychophysiological, respiratory, biochemical and metabolic functions in healthy individuals were elicited. They were also found useful in management of various clinical conditions. Overall, yogic breathing could be considered safe, when practiced under guidance of a trained teacher. Considering the positive effects of yogic breathing, further large scale studies with rigorous designs to understand the mechanisms involved with yogic breathing are warranted.

Background: There is very little evidence available on the effects of yoga-based breathing practices on response inhibition. The current study used stop-signal paradigm to assess the effects of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding (YBH) on response inhibition among healthy volunteers.Materials and Methods: Thirty-six healthy volunteers (17 males + 19 females), with mean age of 20.31 ± 3.48 years from a university, were recruited in a within-subject repeated measures (RM) design. The recordings for stop signal task were performed on three different days for baseline, post-YBH, and post yogic breath awareness (YBA) sessions. Stop-signal reaction time (SSRT), mean reaction time to go stimuli (go RT), and the probability of responding on-stop signal trials (p [r/s]) were analyzed for 36 volunteers using RM analysis of variance. Results: SSRT reduced significantly in both YBH (218.33 ± 38.38) and YBA (213.15 ± 37.29) groups when compared to baseline (231.98 ± 29.54). No significant changes were observed in go RT and p (r/s). Further, the changes in SSRT were not significantly different among YBH and YBA groups. Conclusion: Both YBH and YBA groups were found to enhance response inhibition in the stop-signal paradigm. YBH could be further evaluated in clinical settings for conditions where response inhibition is altered.