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Int J Yoga. 2013 Jan;6(1):26-30. doi: 10.4103/0973-6131.105940.

Voluntary heart rate reduction following yoga using different strategies.

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Department of Yoga and Biosciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, India.



One month of yoga training has been shown to reduce the pulse rate voluntarily without using external cues. Hence, the present study was designed to understand the strategies used by yoga practitioners and autonomic changes associated with voluntary heart rate reduction.


Fifty volunteers (group mean age ± S.D., 25.4 ± 4.8 years; 25 males) were assessed in two trials on separate days. Each trial was for 12 minutes, with a 'pre' state and 'during' state of 6 minutes each. For both trials the 'pre' state was relaxation with eyes closed. In the 'during' state of Trial I, subjects were asked to voluntarily reduce their heart rate using a strategy of their choice. From their responses to specific questions it was determined that 22 out of 50 persons used breath regulation as a strategy. Hence, in the 'during' state of Trial II, subjects were asked to voluntarily reduce their heart rate by breath regulation.


In the first trial, the heart rate was reduced by an average of 19.6 beats per minute and in the second trial (with breath regulation exclusively) an average decrease of 22.2 beats per minute was achieved.


Hence, the strategy used did not markedly alter the outcome.


Breath regulation; voluntary heart rate reduction; yoga

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