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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.