Effect of Pranayama on Cardio-respiratoty System

Pranayama & Psychiatric Disorders :

The Pranayama shows a reduction in sympathetic activity which is the basis of its use in stress management. Sudarshan Kriya yoga (One of the rhythmic breathing process) has been used in depression and melancholia (16). A thirty minute session of yogic stretching and breathing exercises produced marked augmentation in perception of physical and mental energy. It increases the falling of alertness and enthusiasm. It is more invigorating than relaxation or visualization techniques especially when practiced in a group setting (17).

Pranayama & Cardiovascular Response :

The cardiovascular system is controlled by the ANS. Yoga accompanied by breath control increases cardiac output, decreases the hepatic, renal blood flow and increases cerebral blood flow in the peripheral vessels. Heart rate alterations in various types of pranayama and in single thought and thoughtless states have been described (18-19). The effects of inspiratory and expiratory phases of normal quiet breathing, deep breathing and savitri pranayama breathing on heart rate and mean ventricular QRS axis was investigated in young healthy untrained subjects. Pranayama breathing produced significant cardio acceleration and an increase in the QRS axis during the inspiratory phase compared to eupnoea. These changes were similar to the changes observed during the corresponding phase of deep breathing or savitri pranayama breathing (20). Right nostril breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system and increase the heart rate. Alternate nostril breathing bring about a balance in the ANS (21 Kapalbhati practice showed an increase in the low frequency band and decrease in the high frequency band of the heart rate variability spectrum indicating increased sympathetic activity (22) nadishohdhana pranayama increased both components of HRV.

Pranayama & Respiratory system :

The various practices use breathing exercises (pranayama), suryanamaskar, dhyana, devotional sessions, asanas, kriyas, and yogic chair breathing (23-24-25). Kapal bhati removes the residual secretions by moving the neck in all directions and forcing out secretions forcefully through the nose. Hence, by this mechanism yoga and naturopathy may be both useful in treating asthma (26).

Pranayama techniques form an important component of yoga. The types of pranayama generally used are surya bhedana, bhastrika, and nadi shodhana. The idea is to maintain a slow rhythmic pattern of breathing using both nostrils alternately. The produces a balancing effect on the ANS. Short kumbhak or breatholding increases O2 consumption while long kumbak decreases O2 consumption (27). Prolongation of breath holding time with increase in Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), forced vital capacity in first second (FEV1), maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and lowered respiratory rate has been reported after six weeks of training in pranayama (28).

Techniques involving focusing on a single thought resulted in regularity of respiration while in the no thought state there was reduction in the rate and regularity of respiration (29). Savitri type breathing had a similar effect as deep breathing on cardiovascular parameters (30). In a study of patients practicing hatha yoga, long term manipulation of breathing by practicing slow deep breathing likely results in overstretching of pulmonary stretch recepors, chronic manipulation results in vagus blockage, thereby vagal manipulation is decreased. This also leads to a conditioning or learning of a pattern of breathing with ample tidal volume and a slow rate (31).      Continue >>>>

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