Effect of Short Term Pranayama and Meditation on Respiratory Parameters in Healthy Individuals

Context: Pranayama is a technique of controlling and modulating breath and meditation, a process through which one attains a state of deep rest yet active state of mind. Recent studies on long-term yogic practices have shown improvements in respiratory functions. Aim: The present study was done to evaluate the effects of pranayama and meditation on respiratory parameters. Settings and Design: The present study was a comparative prospective study consisting of 50 (24 male and 26 female) healthy subjects of 20-60 years age. Methods and Material: Participants fulfilling the inclusion and exclusion criteria underwent two hours daily yoga program for 15 days taught by yoga teacher. Pre and post yoga respiratory functions were assessed by measuring chest expansion, breath holding time and peak expiratory flow rate. The parameters were analyzed by Student t test. Results: There was significant increase in chest expansion, breath holding time and peak expiratory flow rate compared to pre yoga practice. The response was similar in both genders, both age groups <40 yrs and >40yrs and both groups of BMI <25 kg/m^sup 2^ and >25 kg/m^sup 2^. Conclusions: This study showed beneficial effects of short term (15 days) regular pranayama and meditation practice on respiratory functions irrespective of age, gender and BMI in normal healthy individuals. Keywords: Yoga, meditation, peak expiratory flow rate.

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