Abstract

Yoga has been shown to improve autonomic conditioning in humans, as evidenced by the enhancement of parasym-pathetic activity and baroreflex sensitivity. Therefore, we hypothesized that the experience of yoga may result in adaptation to acute hemodynamic changes. To decipher the long-term effects of yoga on cardiovascular variability, yoga practitioners were compared to yoga-naïve subjects during exposure to –40 mm Hg lower-body negative pressure (LBNP). A comparative study was conducted on 40 yoganaïve subjects and 40 yoga practitioners with an average age of 31.08 ± 7.31 years and 29.93 ± 7.57 years, respectively. Heart rate variability, blood pressure variability, baroreflex sensitivity, and correlation between systolic blood pressure and RR interval were evaluated at rest and during LBNP. In yoga practitioners, the heart rate was lower in supine rest (p = 0.011) and during LBNP (p = 0.043); the pNN50 measure of heart rate variability was higher in supine rest (p = 0.011) and during LBNP (p = 0.034). The yoga practitioners’ standard deviation of successive beat-to-beat blood pressure intervals of systolic blood pressure variability was lower in supine rest (p = 0.034) and during LBNP (p = 0.007), with higher sequence baroreflex sensitivity (p = 0.019) and ~ high-frequency baroreflex sensitivity. Mean systolic blood pressure and RR interval were inversely correlated in the yoga group (r = –0.317, p = 0.049). The yoga practitioners exhibited higher parasympathetic activity and baroreflex sensitivity with lower systolic blood pressure variability, indicating better adaptability to LBNP compared to the yoga-naïve group. Our findings indicate that the yoga module was helpful in conditions of hypovolemia in healthy subjects; it is proposed to be beneficial in clinical conditions associated with sympathetic dominance, impaired barore-flex sensitivity, and orthostatic intolerance.

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