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Comparative study on the effect of yogic relaxing asanas and pranayamas on cardiovascular response in healthy young volunteers

Vasanthan S, Madanmohan T, Bhavanani A B, Hanifah M, Jaiganesh K.

Abstract
Background: Cardiovascular morbidity is increasing recently in India. Stress and autonomic dysfunction are associated with cardiovascular morbidity. Yoga is the best lifestyle ever designed. Based on limited scientific research, yoga (meditation, asanas, and pranayamas including relaxation) therapy is known to improve cardiovascular autonomic functions.

Aims and Objective: To study and compare the effect of 6 months of training in relaxing asanas and pranayamas on blood pressure (BP), pulse pressure (PP), heart rate (HR), and rate-pressure product (RPP) in young healthy volunteers.

Materials and Methods: A total of 109 healthy volunteers aged 20-25 years were divided into 3 groups consisting of asan (n = 38), pranayam (n = 38), and control group (n = 33). The Yoga training was given 25 min/day for 6 days/week for 6 months. Pranayam group received relaxing pranayam (pranav, savitri, nadi shuddhi and chandra nadi), asan group received relaxing asan (pawanmuktasana, balasan, dharnicasan, and shavasan) and waiting list were kept as a control group. The results were statistically compared between groups by analysis of variance and intra-group pre-post comparisons by paired t-test.

Results: Post training analysis showed significant decreases in systolic BP and diastolic BP as well as PP, mean arterial pressure and RPP in both asan and pranayam group as compared with control. There was, however, no significant difference between asan and pranayam group.

Conclusion: Practising either relaxing asan or pranayam enhances parasympathetic activity and decreases sympathetic activity.

Key words: Pranayam; Asan; Blood Pressure



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