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BACKGROUND Reports suggest that vigilance or sustained attention increases sympathetic activity. A persistent increase in sympathetic activity can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Alternate-nostril yoga breathing has been shown to be useful to (i) improve attention and (ii) decrease the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Earlier studies did not report simultaneous recordings of the blood pressure and performance in vigilance tests after alternate-nostril yoga breathing. With this background, the present study was planned to determine if 15 minutes of alternate nostril yoga breathing could improve the performance in a vigilance test without an increase in blood pressure. MATERIAL AND METHODS Fifteen healthy male volunteers participated in the study (group mean age +/-SD, 22.4+/-2.4 years). Participants were assessed on 3 separate days in 3 different sessions. These were (i) alternate nostril yoga breathing, (ii) breath awareness, and (iii) sitting quietly as a control. Blood pressure and the digit vigilance test were simultaneously assessed before and after each session. RESULTS Systolic blood pressure (p<0.01), mean arterial blood pressure (p<0.05), and the time taken to complete the digit vigilance test (p<0.05) significantly decreased following alternate-nostril yoga breathing. The time taken to complete the digit vigilance test differed significantly between sessions (p<0.05). The time taken to complete the digit vigilance test was also significantly decreased after sitting quietly (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS Alternate-nostril yoga breathing appears to improve performance in the digit vigilance test, along with a reduction in systolic blood pressure. This is suggestive of better vigilance without sympathetic activation.

BACKGROUND: Previous trials of yoga therapy for nonspecific low back pain (nsLBP) (without sciatica) showed beneficial effects. OBJECTIVE: To test effects of yoga therapy on pain and disability associated with lumbar disc extrusions and bulges. METHODS: Parallel-group, randomised, controlled trial. Sixty-one adults from rural population, aged 20-45, with nsLBP or sciatica, and disc extrusions or bulges. Randomised to yoga (n=30) and control (n=31). Yoga: 3-month yoga course of group classes and home practice, designed to ensure safety for disc extrusions. CONTROL: normal medical care. OUTCOME MEASURES (3-4 months) Primary: Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ); worst pain in past two weeks. Secondary: Aberdeen Low Back Pain Scale; straight leg raise test; structural changes. RESULTS: Disc projections per case ranged from one bulge or one extrusion to three bulges plus two extrusions. Sixty-two percent had sciatica. Intention-to-treat analysis of the RMDQ data, adjusted for age, sex and baseline RMDQ scores, gave a Yoga Group score 3.29 points lower than Control Group (0.98, 5.61; p=0.006) at 3 months. No other significant differences in the endpoints occurred. No adverse effects of yoga were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Yoga therapy can be safe and beneficial for patients with nsLBP or sciatica, accompanied by disc extrusions and bulges.

BACKGROUND High-frequency yoga breathing (breath rate of 2.0 Hz) has been associated with changes in oxy-hemoglobin in the prefrontal region of the brain. The present study assessed the effects of high-frequency yoga breathing (HFYB) at 1.0 Hz on frontal oxy-hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) and deoxy-hemoglobin (deoxy-Hb). MATERIAL AND METHODS Forty healthy male participants were recruited for the study. The experimental group consisted of 20 participants 23-40 years old (group mean +/-S.D., 26.4+/-4.7 years) with at least 3 months of experience performing HFYB (group mean +/-S.D., 16.3+/-9.8 months). The control group consisted of 20 participants ages 23-38 years (group mean age +/- S.D., 27.4+/-4.1 years), who were seated quietly for the same duration and their average experience of yoga practice was (+/-S.D.) 4.3+/-2.7 months. Each participant in the experimental group was assessed at 2 sessions (HFYB and breath awareness [BAW]) on alternate days. Hemodynamic changes were assessed using a functional near-infrared spectroscopy sensor placed over the forehead. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures analyses of variance followed by post hoc Bonferroni adjustment. RESULTS A significant reduction was observed in oxy-Hb during and after HFYB on the left and right sides compared to values before. We also found a significant reduction in deoxy-Hb during and after the quiet sitting control session compared to pre-session values on left and right sides. CONCLUSIONS The decrease in oxy-Hb during and after HFYB suggests that there was no frontal activation during HFYB when practiced at the rate of 1.0 Hz.

BACKGROUND: Previously, forced unilateral nostril breathing was associated with ipsilateral, or contralateral cerebral hemisphere changes, or no change. Hence it was inconclusive. The present study was conducted on 13 normal healthy participants to determine the effects of alternate nostril yoga breathing on (a) cerebral hemisphere asymmetry, and (b) changes in the standard EEG bands. METHODS: Participants were randomly allocated to three sessions (a) alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB), (b) breath awareness and (c) quiet sitting, on separate days. EEG was recorded from bilaterally symmetrical sites (FP1, FP2, C3, C4, O1 and O2). All sites were referenced to the ipsilateral ear lobe. RESULTS: There was no change in cerebral hemisphere symmetry. The relative power in the theta band was decreased during alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB) and the beta amplitude was lower after ANYB. During quiet sitting the relative power in the beta band increased, while the amplitude of the alpha band reduced. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that ANYB was associated with greater calmness, whereas quiet sitting without specific directions was associated with arousal. The results imply a possible use of ANYB for stress and anxiety reduction.

Background: Central obesity is associated with a higher risk of disease. Previously yoga reduced the BMI and waist circumference (WC) in persons with obesity. Additional anthropometric measures and indices predict the risk of developing diseases associated with central obesity. Hence the present study aimed to assess the effects of 12 weeks of yoga or nutritional advice on these measures. The secondary aim was to determine the changes in quality of life (QoL) given the importance of psychological factors in obesity. Material and Methods: Twenty-six adult females with central obesity in a yoga group (YOG) were compared with 26 adult females in a nutritional advice group (NAG). Yoga was practiced for 75 min/day, 3 days/week and included postures, breathing practices and guided relaxation. The NAG had one 45 min presentation/week on nutrition. Assessments were at baseline and 12 weeks. Data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc comparisons. Age-wise comparisons were with t-tests. Results: At baseline and 12 weeks NAG had higher triglycerides and VLDL than YOG. Other comparisons are within the two groups. After 12 weeks NAG showed a significant decrease in WC, hip circumference (HC), abdominal volume index (AVI), body roundness index (BRI), a significant increase in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. YOG had a significant decrease in WC, sagittal abdominal diameter, HC, BMI, WC/HC, a body shape index, conicity index, AVI, BRI, HDL cholesterol, and improved QoL. With age-wise analyses, in the 30-45 years age range the YOG showed most of the changes mentioned above whereas NAG showed no changes. In contrast for the 46-59 years age range most of the changes in the two groups were comparable. Conclusions: Yoga and nutritional advice with a diet plan can reduce anthropometric measures associated with diseases related to central obesity, with more changes in the YOG. This was greater for the 30-45 year age range, where the NAG showed no change; while changes were comparable for the two groups in the 46-59 year age range. Hence yoga may be especially useful for adult females with central obesity between 30 and 45 years of age. TRIAL REGISTRATION: (CTRI/2018/05/014077).