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Autonomic Nervous System Responses to an Acute Bout of Vinyasa Yoga

Thrower, Alexis (2022) Autonomic Nervous System Responses to an Acute Bout of Vinyasa Yoga. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Many behaviors, such as physical activity, influence cardiovascular health. Meeting physical activity guidelines is one method to improve health/and decrease disease risk, possibly due to changes in autonomic function. Vinyasa yoga has been found to be a form of moderate-intensity physical activity; however, autonomic and cardiovascular responses to this style of yoga have not been thoroughly studied. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of a vinyasa yoga session on measures of autonomic nervous system function, including heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and heart rate variability (HRV).
Methods: Eighteen subjects completed two separate laboratory visits that included baseline measurements, 60 minutes of vinyasa yoga or 60 minutes of viewing a documentary, 5 minute post condition measurements, desk work, and 65 minute post condition measurements. These measurements included SBP, HR, and HRV factors (standard deviation of normal-to-normal R-R intervals (SDNN), root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD), and high frequency (HF) HRV parameters), and a Standardized Subjective Exercise Experience Scale (SEES).
Results: SBP responses were significantly lower 5 minutes post yoga (-8.14 mmHg; p= 0.000) and not significantly lower 65 minutes post yoga (-2.76 mmHg; p=0.136) compared to the control. HR responses were significantly higher 5 (+10.49 bpm; p=0.000) and 65 minutes (+4.7 bpm; p=0.002) post yoga compared to the control. SDNN was significantly lower 5 (-0.24 ln; p=0.006) and 65 minutes (-0.14 ln; p=0.001) post yoga compared to the control. RMSSD was significantly lower 5 (-0.49 ln; p=0.000) and 65 minutes (-0.29 ln; p=0.000) post yoga compared to the control. HF was significantly lower 5 minutes (-0.51 log; 0.008) post yoga and not significantly lower 65 minutes (-0.26 log; p=0.209) post yoga compared to a control. Overall, of the three factors of the SEES, positive wellbeing significantly improved post yoga compared to the control (p=0.040), while psychological distress (p=0.399) and fatigue (p=0.714) did not show significant differences between conditions.
Conclusions: A vinyasa yoga session has immediate BP benefits in the absence of HR/HRV improvements. A more comprehensive assessment of autonomic function is recommended.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thrower, Alexisant145@pitt.eduant145
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDavis, KelliannKelli.Davis@pitt.edukkd2
Committee MemberAlansare,
Committee MemberBarone Gibbs,
Committee MemberSherman, SallySallySherman@pitt.edusas307
Date: 31 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 June 2022
Approval Date: 31 August 2022
Submission Date: 3 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 94
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: yoga, cardiovascular, Autonomic
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 16:07
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 16:07


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