Pranayama improves cardio-respiratory efficiency and physical endurance in young healthy volunteers

Roosha Satheesh, Chenmarathy Balakrishnan Bindu


Background: Pranayama involves manipulation of the breath, which is a dynamic bridge between body and mind. The aim of the study was to compare cardio respiratory parameters before and after pranayama practice and to correlate the changes in physical endurance with the changes in cardio-respiratory parameters.

Methods: A quasi experimental study was conducted among 120 healthy students in the age group 18-25 years. These students were given pranayama practice for 30 minutes a day for 3 days in a week for 12 weeks. The subjects were assessed for various cardio-respiratory parameters like respiratory rate (RR), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1/FVC, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) , breath holding time (BHT), Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), hand grip and rate of oxygen uptake per minute (VO2max) before and after pranayama practice. Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics, paired t test and Pearson correlation.

Results: There was a significant decrease in RR, HR, SBP and DBP after pranayama practice. BHT, FVC, FEV1, PEFR, hand grip and vo2 max were significantly increased after pranayama practice. Physical endurance is positively correlated with hand grip and heart rate.

Conclusions: The results emphasis the health benefits of pranayama. Regular pranayama improves the cardiovascular efficiency and physical endurance. In spite of yogic training being not very vigorous, cardio-respiratory efficiency was found to increase. Pranayama practice can be advocated to improve cardio-respiratory efficiency for patients as well as healthy individuals.


Blood pressure, Physical endurance, Pranayama, Respiratory function test, Yoga

Full Text:



Iyengar BKS. In: The illustrated light on yoga. 10th ed. New Delhi, India: HarperCollins Publishers; 2010.

Ross A, Thomas S. The health benefits of yoga and exercise: A review of comparison studies. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16:3-12.

Bjlani RL. In: Understanding medical physiology, 3rd ed. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers; 2004;871-910.

Dutta Ray S. Yogic Exercises-Physiologic and Psychic Process. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers; 1998.

Veerabhadrappa SG, Baljoshi VS, Khanapure S, Herur A. Patil S, Ankad RB, et al. Effect of yogic bellows on cardiovascular autonomic reactivity. J Cardiovasc Dis Res. 2011;2(4):223-7.

Bhavani AB, Madanmohan, Udupa K. Acute effect of Mukhbhastriks (a yogic bellows type breathing) on reaction time. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003;47(3):297-300.

Telles S, Raghura JP, Arankalle D, Naveen K. Immediate effect of high frequency yoga breathing on attention. Indian J Med Sci. 2008;62(1):20-2.

Udupa K, Madanmohan, Bhavani AB, Vijayalakshmi P, Krishnamurthy N. Effect of pranayama training on cardiac function in normal young volunteers. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003;47(1):27-33.

Madanmohan, Udupa K, Bhavani AB, Vijayalakshmi P, Surendiran A. Effect of slow and fast pranayams on reaction time and cardiorespiratory variables. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005;49(3):313-8.

Pradnya W, Balaji PS. Effect of pranayama on cardio respiratory efficiency. Indian J Basic Appl Med Res. 2013;8(2):918-22.

Bharshankar JR, Bharshankar RN, Deshpande VN, Kaore SB, Gosavi GB. Effect of yoga on cardiovascular system in subjects above 40 years. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003 Apr;47(2):202-6.

Keeli AC, Neil E, Joels N. In: Samson Wright’s Applied Physiology. 15th ed. Oxphord; 1982: 167-169.

Bauri R, Biswas M, Ghosh SS. Effect of yoga on VO2 max and anaerobic power of secondary school boys. Intl J Physical Edu, Sports Health. 2016;3(3):75-8.

Nagalakshmi V, Badiger SP. Effect of yoga on cardiorespiratory fitness in healthy individuals. Biomed. 2013;33(2):229-31.

Soni R, Singh S, Singh KP. The effect of pranayama and yogasana on lung functions in mild and moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Biomed. 2012;32(1):57-60.

Singh S, Rolinda RK, Singh KP, Tandon OP. Effects of pranayama and asanas on pulmonary functions in patients with coronary artery disease. Biomed. 2008;28:201-4.

Godfrey S, Campbell EJM. The control of breath holding. Respir Physiol. 1968;5(3):385-400.

Mascarenhas JF. Autonomic responses to breath holding and its variations following pranayama. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1988;32(4):257-64.

Wallace RK, Benson H, Wilson AF. A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. Am J Physiol. 1971;221(3):795-9.

Ankad RB, Ankad BS, Herur A, Patil S, Chinagudi S, Shashikala GV. Effect of short term pranayama and meditation on respiratory parameters in healthy individuals. Int J Collab Res Intern Med Public Heal. 2011;3(6):430-7.

Bauri R, Biswas M, Shankar S. Effect of yoga on VO2 max and anaerobic power of secondary school boys. Inter J Physical Edu, Sports Health. 2016;3(3):75-8.

Veerabhadrappa S, Baljoshi V, Khanapure S, Herur A, Patil S, Ankad R, et al. Effect of yogic bellows on cardiovascular autonomic reactivity. J Cardiovasc Dis Res. 2011;2(4):223-7.

Shankarappa V, Prashanth P, Annamalai N, Varunmalhotra. The short term effect of pranayama on the lung parameters. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2012; 6(1):27-30.

Madanmohan, Udupa K, Bhavanani AB. Article Effect of yoga training on handgrip , respiratory pressures. Indian J PhysiolPharmacol. 2003; 47(4):387-92.

Pooja MA, Aryaa B, Murtaza A. Comparison of Aerobic Capacity and Current Levels of Physical Activity in Yoga Practitioners and Healthy Non-Exercising Individuals. J Yoga Physio. 2018;6(3):555686.