Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR.
Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.
This study was conducted to assess the physiological effects of a yoga breathing practice that involves breathing exclusively through the right nostril. This practice is called surya anuloma viloma pranayama (SAV). Twelve volunteers (average age 27.2 years +/- 3.3 years, four males) were assessed before and after test sessions conducted on two consecutive days. On one day the test session involved practicing SAV pranayama for 45 minutes (SAV session). During the test period of the other day, subjects were asked to breathe normally for 45 minutes (NB session). For half the patients (randomly chosen) the SAV session was on the first day and the NB session on the next day. For the remaining six patients, the order of the two sessions was reversed. After the SAV session (but not after the NB) there was a significant (P < .05, paired t test) increase in oxygen consumption (17%) and in systolic blood pressure (mean increase 9.4 mm Hg) and a significant decrease in digit pulse volume (45.7%). The latter two changes are interpreted to be the result of increased cutaneous vasoconstriction. After both SAV and NB sessions, there was a significant decrease in skin resistance (two factor ANOVA, Tukey test). These findings show that SAV has a sympathetic stimulating effect. This technique and other variations of unilateral forced nostril breathing deserve further study regarding therapeutic merits in a wide range of disorders.