What’s This Research About?

A slower breathing rate (approx. 5 or 6 full inhalations and exhalations per minute)
has been shown to increase baroreflex sensitivity (as well as vagus nerve stimulation,
downregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, and upregulation of the
parasympathetic nervous system). Ujjayi breathing may have similar effects to
slow breathing as the resistance created by the technique restricts the quantity
of air able to flow in and out of the lungs. It has been suggested that Ujjayi breathing
is a more controlled manner of breathing than just slow breathing and may provide
additional assistance to the practitioner in achieving the desired 5-6 breath per
minute ratio. On the contrary, certain aspects of Ujjayi breathing (greater exertion
on the exhalation and greater intrathoracic pressure) might actually upregulate the
parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite effect of slow breathing). The researchers
set out to test Ujjayi breathing against slow breathing, using BRS as their measure of
effectiveness. Unfortunately, their hypothesis was not clearly stated, only that they
set out to compare the two methods.

About The Author


Jules Mitchell

TITLE:  Cardiovascular and Respiratory Effect of Yogic Slow Breathing in the Yoga Beginner: What is the Best Approach?


PUBLICATION: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

DATE: 2013

AUTHORS : Mason H., Vandoni M., Debarbieri G., Codrons E., Ugargol V., Bernardi L.

Baroreflex sensitivity (BRS):  The baroreflex regulates blood pressure (BP) by controlling heart rate (HR), heart contractility, and venous/arterial resistance. Low sensitivity may identify a prognosis of a diminished capacity to adjust HR as needed whereas high sensitivity as generally seen as an indicator of cardiac health.

Ujjayi: Ujjayi breathing is a commonly practiced form of slow breathing coupled with a glottis muscle contraction to provide resistance in the respiratory passageway.

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