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Increased heart rate variability but no effect on blood pressure from 8 weeks of hatha yoga - a pilot study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. (Lindfors)
2013 (English)In: BMC Research Notes, ISSN 1756-0500, Vol. 6, no 59, 1-9 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Yoga exercises are known to decrease stress and restore autonomic balance. Yet knowledge about the physiological effects of inversion postures is limited. This study aimed to investigate the effects of inversion postures (head below the heart) on blood pressure (BP) and heart rate variability (HRV).


Twelve healthy women and men took part in an 8-week yoga program (60 min once a week). BP was measured with an automatic Omron mx3 oscillometric monitoring device and HRV with a Holter 24-hour ECG at baseline and 8 weeks after the intervention.


There was no significant effect of inversion postures on BP. Nine out of 12 participants showed a significant increase in HRV (p < 0.05) at night (2 hours) on pNN50% (12.7 +/- 12.5 to 18.2 +/- 13.3). There were no significant changes in other HRV measures such as NN50, LF, HF, LF/HF ratio, LF normalized units (n.u.), HF n.u. and RMSSD.


Eight weeks of hatha yoga improved HRV significantly which suggests an increased vagal tone and reduced sympathetic activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 6, no 59, 1-9 p.
Keyword [en]
Autonomic balance, blood pressure, ECG, heart rate variability, yoga
National Category
Psychology Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
medicinsk beteendevetenskap; Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87644DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-59OAI: diva2:605348

Petra Lindfors was supported by a senior research fellowship at Stockholm University, Department of Psychology

Available from: 2013-02-13 Created: 2013-02-13 Last updated: 2013-04-18Bibliographically approved

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