Heart Rate Variability Changes in the Integrated Yoga Program: Results and Implications

Gilija Bernotienė, Selen Razon, Algė Daunoravičienė, Alfonsas Vainoras, Agnė Slapšinskaitė


Background. Different methods are used to study cardiovascular parameters. Of these, heart rate variability (HRV) is a relevant marker for both athletes and physically active people. With regards to physical activity, yoga has become a popular form of activity in the recent years. In fact, research has indicated that yoga is a useful modality for both the management and prevention of several cardiovascular conditions. The purpose of the current study was to observe HRV dynamics in young women during a 6-month yoga intervention.

Methods. We recruited 13 women from multiple yoga studios. All participants were practicing Hatha yoga 2 times a week for 6 months. Data were collected: a) at baseline, b) 2 months after the yoga intervention, c) 4 months after the intervention and d) 6 months after the intervention. We used wireless Bluetooth electrocardiogram (ECG) recording device. ECG HVR parameters and heart rate (HR) were used for data analysis.

Results. HR dynamics showed no differences during the 6-month yoga intervention. Meanwhile, vLF parameter after relaxation and LF/HF ratio after body scan meditation significantly changed after yoga intervention. No changes were observed in LF or HF parameter dynamics.

Conclusion. Our results suggest that 6 months twice per week yoga practice influences vLF and LF/HF ratio, especially during relaxation and body scan meditation. We also suggest that healthy women could benefit from practicing body scan meditation. In conclusion, through modification of emotion reactivity, regular practice of yoga can help improve stress response and offset negative consequences associated with the stress process.

Keywords: yoga, heart rate variability, women’s health, ECG, stress.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.33607/bjshs.v4i115.817