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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-9

Yoga and heart rate variability

Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Gopal Krushna Pal
Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Post graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-8093.155502

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Yoga is the union with the divine. Though there are different types of yoga, the primary objective of all yoga practices is to ensure an integral health, free from common health problems and stress-related disorders. Sympathovagal balance is the cornerstone of a stable homeostasis. Sympathovagal imbalance (SVI) has been reported to be associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other metabolic disorders. SVI has been documented to promote degeneration and decay and is the basis of all cause morbidity and mortality. Heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) are measures of sympathovagal balance or imbalance. Resting tachycardia and decreased HRV are established cardiovascular (CV) risks. Practice of yoga, especially relaxation techniques and slow pranayamas has been known to ensure sympathovagal balance, improve HRV and reduce CV risks. In this review, we discuss the types of yoga, physiological basis of improvement of health in yoga practice, the concept and importance of HRV, attainment of sympathovagal balance and improvement of HRV through practice of yoga.

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