Oxygen consumption during pranayamic type of very slow-rate breathing
Indian J Med Res.
Telles S, Desiraju T.
Department of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.
To determine whether the yogic Ujjayi pranayamic type of breathing that involves sensory awareness and consciously controlled, extremely slow-rate breathing including at least a period of end-inspiration breath holding in each respiratory cycle would alter oxygen consumption or not, ten males with long standing experience in pranayama, and volunteering to participate in the laboratory study were assessed. These subjects aged 28-59 yr, had normal health appropriate to their age. Since kumbhak (timed breath holding) is considered as an important phase of the respiratory cycle in the pranayama, they were categorised into two groups of five each, one group practising the short kumbhak varieties of pranayama, and the other the long kumbhak varieties of pranayama. The duration of kumbhak phase was on an average 22.2 percent of the respiratory cycle in the short kumbhak group, and 50.4 per cent in the long kumbhak group. The oxygen consumption was measured in test sessions using the closed circuit method of breathing oxygen through the Benedict-Roth spirometer. Each subject was tested in several repeat sessions. Values of oxygen consumption of the period of pranayamic breathing, and of post-pranayamic breathing period, were compared to control value of oxygen consumption of the prepranayamic breathing period of each test session. The results revealed that the short kumbhak pranayamic breathing caused a statistically significant increase (52%) in the oxygen consumption (and metabolic rate) compared to the pre-pranayamic base-line period of breathing. In contrast to the above, the long kumbhak pranayamic breathing caused a statistically significant lowering (19% of the oxygen consumption (and metabolic rate).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)