You can improve cardiovascular function without exercising in 2 weeks with this combination of pranayama (yoga breathing), meditation, lecture, and prayer. —Heart Views
This yoga class is asana-free: NO poses; NO forward bending; NO downward dog; NO breaking into a sweat required; yet, cardiovascular function is improved. The yoga beginners, the participants, in this clinical study experienced both a reduction in heart rate and a reduction in blood pressure. Perhaps you can, too.
Yoga Beginners Easily Learn Pranayama & Meditation
Researchers from S. Nijalingappa Medical College in Karnakata, India
- Selected 50 healthy men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 from a group of people at a yoga center who had “not yet started practicing yoga, but were keen on learning” — let’s call them the yoga beginners
- Split the participants into a treatment group and a control group
- Fed all the participants in both groups the same meals
- Prevented the participants from engaging in any physical exercise
Pranayama Sequence to Lower Blood Pressure
The yoga beginners took the same pranayama yoga (breathing exercises) class every day for 15 consecutive days from 6 to 8 pm. The sequence of the yoga class to improve cardiovascular function is as follows:
- Prayer for 10 minutes (have a conversation with any higher power or spirit that resonates with you)
- Pranayama for 45 minutes (see the eight types of pranayama yoga exercises below)
- A 5-minute break
- A 30-minute lecture on an array of health topics (you could watch/listen on Youtube or iTunes)
- Meditation for 20 minutes
- A final 10 minutes of prayer (see 1)
Pranayama Sequence to Improve Cardiovascular Function
1) Vibhagiya pranayama — 4 types of sectional breathing
- Adama (Kanista) Vibhagiya pranayama — abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing
- Madhyama vibhagiya pranayama — thoracic breathing in your ribcage
- Aadya Vibhagiya pranayama — breathing into the upper part of your chest under your clavicles
- Poorna Mudra pranayama — a full yogic breath combining abdominal, thoracic and clavicular breathing
2) Nadishuddi pranayama — alternate nostril breathing
3) Kapalabathi Kriya — cleansing breaths
4) Bahya pranayama — external breathing
5) Sitali and Sitkari –2wo types of cooling breaths
*Search for directions on YouTube.com
Proved Beneficial Beyond Doubt
The researchers concluded the study “proved beyond doubt that regular practice of pranayama and meditation for a minimum of 15 days is beneficial for improving cardiovascular function, even in healthy individuals, irrespective of
- body mass index (BMI)”
In the pranayama treatment group, women and men experienced a significant reduction in resting pulse rate and blood pressure — without exercising.
Before/After completing the pranayama class:
- Before, the yoga beginners had an average heart rate of 78.06 beats per minute –> After completing the classes, average heart rate dropped to 74.38. A heart rate of 60 to 90 beats per minute is common, athletes can have a heart rate as low as 40 to 60.
- Before, the yoga beginners had an average systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 126.80 mmHg and a diastolic reading (DBP) of 79.76 mmHg –> After completing the classes, SBP dropped to 123.00 mmHg and DBP was 76.68 mmHg.
**Questions I would like to ask the researchers about this study are
- Was one component of the class or the combination of the components responsible for the results?
- What type of meditation was it?
- Did the prayer portion involve chanting or singing?
References for Pranayama and Meditation Improve Cardiovascular Function
1. Heart Views; Effect of Short-Term Pranayama and Meditation on Cardiovascular Functions in Healthy Individuals; Roopa B. Ankad et al.; 2011
2. National Emergency Medical Association: What You Should Know About Your Heart Rate or Pulse