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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 research has shown a reduction in blood pressure (BP) immediately after the practice of alternate nostril yoga breathing (ANYB) in normal healthy male volunteers and in hypertensive patients of both sexes. The BP during ANYB has not been recorded. MATERIAL/METHODS: Participants were 26 male volunteers (group mean age +/-SD, 23.8+/-3.5 years). We assessed (1) heart rate variability, (2) non-invasive arterial BP, and (3) respiration rate, during (a) ANYB and (b) breath awareness (BAW) sessions. Each session was 25 minutes. We performed assessments at 3 time points: Pre (5 minutes), during (15 minutes; for ANYB or BAW) and Post (5 minutes). A naive-to-yoga control group (n=15 males, mean age +/-SD 26.1+/-4.0 years) were assessed while seated quietly for 25 minutes. RESULTS: During ANYB there was a significant decrease (repeated measures ANOVA) in systolic BP and respiration rate; while RMSSD (the square root of the mean of the sum of squares of differences between adjacent NN intervals) and NN50 (the number of interval differences of successive normal to normal intervals greater than 50 ms) significantly increased. During BAW respiration rate decreased. In contrast, respiration rate increased during the control state. ANYB and BAW were significantly different (2-factor ANOVA) in RMSSD and respiration rate. BAW and control were different with respect to respiration rate. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that vagal activity increased during and after ANYB, which could have contributed to the decrease in BP and changes in the HRV.

BACKGROUND: The characteristics of yoga practitioners and factors motivating people to practice yoga have been studied in the US and in Australia. This study aimed to determine the characteristics of yoga users in India, the factors that motivate them to practice yoga, and the yoga techniques of choice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was a one-time, cross-sectional survey based on convenience sampling. Inclusion criteria were (a) a minimum of 1 week experience of yoga and (b) at least 10 years of age. 14,250 people received the survey. After excluding those who did not meet the inclusion criteria or filled in the survey incompletely or incorrectly, 5,157 respondents were included in the study. RESULTS: Out of 5,157 respondents, there were more males (67.3%), aged between 21 and 44 years (33.7% of the sample surveyed), educated up to high school (62.5%), students (39.3%), and those who had between 1 and 12 months of experience in yoga (54.4%). The first most common reason to practice yoga for all respondents was physical fitness. Three of the remaining reasons to practice yoga differed significantly with age: (i) yoga for disease management (chi(2) = 17.62, p < 0.005), (ii) yoga as a hobby (chi(2) = 10.87, p < 0.05), and (iii) yoga based on the guru's (teacher's) instructions (chi(2) = 20.05, p < 0.001). The yoga technique of choice [i.e., (i) asanas (chi(2) = 23.17, p < 0.001), (ii) pranayama (chi(2) = 19.87, p < 0.001), or (iii) meditation (chi(2) = 9.64, p < 0.05)] differed significantly across age groups. CONCLUSION: In India, a yoga practitioner was more likely to be male, between 21 and 44 years of age, high school educated, and a student. The reasons to practice yoga and the yoga technique of choice differed significantly with age.

BACKGROUND: Walking and yoga have been independently evaluated for weight control; however, there are very few studies comparing the 2 with randomization. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The present study compared the effects of 90 minutes/day for 15 days of supervised yoga or supervised walking on: (i) related biochemistry, (ii) anthropometric variables, (iii) body composition, (iv) postural stability, and (v) bilateral hand grip strength in overweight and obese persons. Sixty-eight participants, of whom 5 were overweight (BMI >/=25 kg/m2) and 63 were obese (BMI >/=30 kg/m2; group mean age +/-S.D., 36.4+/-11.2 years; 35 females), were randomized as 2 groups - (i) a yoga group and (ii) a walking group - given the same diet. RESULTS: All differences were pre-post changes within each group. Both groups showed a significant (p<0.05; repeated measures ANOVA, post-hoc analyses) decrease in: BMI, waist circumference, hip circumference, lean mass, body water, and total cholesterol. The yoga group increased serum leptin (p<0.01) and decreased LDL cholesterol (p<0.05). The walking group decreased serum adiponectin (p<0.05) and triglycerides (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Both yoga and walking improved anthropometric variables and serum lipid profile in overweight and obese persons. The possible implications are discussed.

The present study was conducted to assess the immediate effect of high-frequency yoga breathing on muscle strength and motor speed. Bilateral handgrip strength, leg and back strength, finger tapping and arm tapping speed were assessed in fifty male participants (group mean age +/- SD, 26.9 +/- 6.2 years) before and after (a) high frequency yoga breathing for 15 minutes and (b) breath awareness for the same duration. Sessions (a) and (b) were on two different days but at the same time of the day. The schedule was alternated for different participants. There was a significant increase (P < 0.05) in right hand grip strength after high frequency yoga breathing. Both finger and arm tapping improved after both practices. The results suggest a role for high frequency yoga breathing in improving the hand grip strength as an immediate effect.

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).