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The heart rate variability (HRV) is an indicator of the cardiac autonomic control. Two spectral components are usually recorded, viz. high frequency (0.15-0.50 Hz), which is due to vagal efferent activity and a low frequency component (0.05-0.15 Hz), due to sympathetic activity. The present study was conducted to study the HRV in two yoga practices which have been previously reported to have opposite effects, viz, sympathetic stimulation (kapalabhati, breathing at high frequency, i.e., 2.0 Hz) and reduced sympathetic activity (nadisuddhi, alternate nostril breathing). Twelve male volunteers (age range, 21 to 33 years) were assessed before and after each practice on separate days. The electrocardiogram (lead I) was digitized on-line and off-line analysis was done. The results showed a significant increase in low frequency (LF) power and LF/HF ratio while high frequency (HF) power was significantly lower following kapalabhati. There were no significant changes following nadisuddhi. The results suggest that kapalabhati modifies the autonomic status by increasing sympathetic activity with reduced vagal activity. The study also suggests that HRV is a more useful psychophysiological measure than heart rate alone.

The study aimed at determining whether novices to yoga would be able to reduce their heart rate voluntarily and whether the magnitude of reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. Two groups (yoga and control, n = 12 each) were assessed on Day 1 and on Day 30. During the intervening 30 days, the yoga group received training in yoga techniques while the control group carried on with their routine. At each assessment the baseline heart rate was recorded for one minute, this was followed by a six-minute period during which participants were asked to attempt to voluntarily reduce their heart rate, using any strategy. Both the baseline heart rate and the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily during the six-minute period were significantly lower in the yoga group on Day 30 compared to Day 1 by a group average of 10.7 beats per minute (i.e., bpm) and 6.8 bpm, respectively (p < .05, Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test). In contrast, there was no significant change in either the baseline heart rate or the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily in the control group on Day 30 compared to Day 1. The results suggest that yoga training can enable practitioners to use their own strategies to reduce the heart rate, which has possible therapeutic applications.

The study aimed at determining whether novices to yoga would be able to reduce their heart rate voluntarily and whether the magnitude of reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. Two groups (yoga and control, n = 12 each) were assessed on Day 1 and on Day 30. During the intervening 30 days, the yoga group received training in yoga techniques while the control group carried on with their routine. At each assessment the baseline heart rate was recorded for one minute, this was followed by a six-minute period during which participants were asked to attempt to voluntarily reduce their heart rate, using any strategy. Both the baseline heart rate and the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily during the six-minute period were significantly lower in the yoga group on Day 30 compared to Day 1 by a group average of 10.7 beats per minute (i.e., bpm) and 6.8 bpm, respectively (p < .05, Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test). In contrast, there was no significant change in either the baseline heart rate or the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily in the control group on Day 30 compared to Day 1. The results suggest that yoga training can enable practitioners to use their own strategies to reduce the heart rate, which has possible therapeutic applications.

The study aimed at determining whether novices to yoga would be able to reduce their heart rate voluntarily and whether the magnitude of reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. Two groups (yoga and control, n = 12 each) were assessed on Day 1 and on Day 30. During the intervening 30 days, the yoga group received training in yoga techniques while the control group carried on with their routine. At each assessment the baseline heart rate was recorded for one minute, this was followed by a six-minute period during which participants were asked to attempt to voluntarily reduce their heart rate, using any strategy. Both the baseline heart rate and the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily during the six-minute period were significantly lower in the yoga group on Day 30 compared to Day 1 by a group average of 10.7 beats per minute (i.e., bpm) and 6.8 bpm, respectively (p < .05, Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test). In contrast, there was no significant change in either the baseline heart rate or the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily in the control group on Day 30 compared to Day 1. The results suggest that yoga training can enable practitioners to use their own strategies to reduce the heart rate, which has possible therapeutic applications.

The effect of right, left, and alternate nostril yoga breathing (i.e., RNYB, LNYB, and ANYB, respectively) were compared with breath awareness (BAW) and normal breathing (CTL). Autonomic and respiratory variables were studied in 21 male volunteers with ages between 18 and 45 years and experience in the yoga breathing practices between 3 and 48 months. Subjects were assessed in five experimental sessions on five separate days. The sessions were in fixed possible sequences and subjects were assigned to a sequence randomly. Each session was for 40 min; 30 min for the breathing practice, preceded and followed by 5 min of quiet sitting. Assessments included heart rate variability, skin conductance, finger plethysmogram amplitude, breath rate, and blood pressure. Following RNYB there was a significant increase in systolic, diastolic and mean pressure. In contrast, the systolic and diastolic pressure decreased after ANYB and the systolic and mean pressure were lower after LNYB. Hence, unilateral nostril yoga breathing practices appear to influence the blood pressure in different ways. These effects suggest possible therapeutic applications.

The present study was conducted to determine whether breathing through a particular nostril has a lateralized effect on hand grip strength. 130 right hand dominant, school children between 11 and 18 yrs of age were randomly assigned to 5 groups. Each group had a specific yoga practice in addition to the regular program for a 10 day yoga camp. The practices were: (1) right-, (2) left-, (3) alternate- nostril breathing (4), breath awareness and (5) practice of mudras. Hand grip strength of both hands was assessed initially and at the end of 10 days for all 5 groups. The right-, left- and alternate-nostril breathing groups had a significant increase in grip strength of both hands, ranging from 4.1% to 6.5%, at the end of the camp though without any lateralization effect. The breath awareness and mudra groups showed no change. Hence the present results suggest that yoga breathing through a particular nostril, or through alternate nostrils increases hand grip strength of both hands without lateralization.

A previous report described selective electrical activity of the cerebral hemispheres with uninostril breathing. In the present study, middle latency auditory evoked potentials (MLAEPs) were recorded from symmetrical scalp sites during the practice of uninostril yoga breathing. There were two sessions (40 min each) of right nostril yoga breathing (RNB) and of breath awareness (BAW), with (i) 'before', (ii) test (either RNB or BAW) and (iii) 'after' periods. The participants were 14 male volunteers aged between 18 and 33 years, and the setting was a yoga centre. MLAEPs were recorded from symmetrical scalp sites (C4 and C3). During RNB, the peak amplitudes of two negative components (viz. Na wave and Nb wave) were significantly increased on the right side. Increased peak amplitudes of Na and Nb waves suggested that RNB increased the number of neurons recruited on the right side, suggesting a possible application of RNB in certain psychiatric disorders with cerebral hemispheric imbalance.