The Effects of Fast and Slow Yoga Breathing on Cerebral and Central Hemodynamics

Author: Gabriella Bellissimo1, Eric Leslie1, Valarie Maestas1, Micah Zuhl1,2
1 Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
2 School of Health Sciences, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA.
Conference/Journal: Int J Yoga
Date published: Sep-Dec 2020
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 207-212 , Special Notes: doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_98_19. , Word Count: 223

Yoga breathing has shown to impose significant cardiovascular and psychological health benefits.

The mechanism (s) responsible for these health benefits remain unclear. The aim of the present study was to assess the differences in cerebral and central hemodynamic responses following fast breathing (FB) and slow breathing (SB) protocols compared to breathing awareness (BA) as a control.

Twenty healthy participants (10 males and 10 females) volunteered to take part in the study. Participants were between ages 18-55 years (group mean: 24 ± 5 years), with a height of 168.7 ± 9.8 cm and a weight of 70.16 ± 10.9 kg. A familiarization trial including FB and SB protocols were performed by each participant at least 24 h before the testing day. The breathing protocols were designed to achieve 6 breath/min for SB and ~ 120 breaths/min for FB.

FB resulted in an increase in both right prefrontal cortex (RPFC) and left prefrontal cortex (LPFC) hemoglobin difference (Hbdiff) (brain oxygenation) compared to BA (P < 0.05). FB resulted in an increased Hbdiff in LPFC compared to RPFC SB (P < 0.05). FB resulted in an increased Hbdiff in LPFC compared to SB (P < 0.05).

FB may be an effective yoga breathing technique for eliciting cerebral brain oxygenation indicated by increased Hbdiff. These results may be applicable to both healthy and clinical populations.

Keywords: Breathing; fast breathing; hemodynamics; slow breathing.

PMID: 33343150 PMCID: PMC7735505 DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_98_19