Acute hemodynamic responses to yoga exercise
The primary purpose of the present study was to determine the acute hemodynamic responses to twenty-three select yoga postures in advanced and novice yoga practitioners. Additionally, we sought to determine if trunk flexibility is related to arterial stiffness. Using a cross-sectional study design, 37 apparently healthy adults (26 females and 11 males; 22-71 years old) were divided into two groups according to level of yoga experience. Beat-to-beat measures of blood pressure, stroke volume, cardiac work-load, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were measured using a finger plethysmograph during the yoga routine. Baseline measures of trunk flexibility (sit-and-reach scores and inclinometer measurements) and arterial stiffness (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity) were also compared. Yoga postures elicited significant increases in heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac output (P<0.05) for both groups. There was no difference in blood pressure responses between the two groups throughout the yoga testing session. Lumbar flexion, as measured by an inclinometer, was significantly (P<0.01) and inversely associated with cfPWV (r=-0.52).