Psychophysiological and metabolic changes with yoga practices

Tyagi, A 2014, Psychophysiological and metabolic changes with yoga practices, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Psychophysiological and metabolic changes with yoga practices
Author(s) Tyagi, A
Year 2014
Abstract Background: Stress results from a homeostatic burden that requires an adaptive response. Responses to stress include ‘reactivity’, ‘recovery’ and ‘restoration’, with the type of response mediating the relationship between stress and disease. The inability to recover after a stressful event or maladaptation to stress due to reduced adaptive capacity and/or psychophysiological inflexibility contributes to allostatic load and the development of chronic disease such as metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its associated features.

Yoga encompasses an ancient system of practices that enhance synchrony between the mind, body and breath and fosters psychophysiological resilience through a combination of stimulating and relaxing practices. While the practice of yoga was originally designed to enhance personal and spiritual development, many practices have been shown to alter physiological and psychological processes in ways that reduce the risk of disease.

Aims: The major objectives of this thesis are:

To investigate the effects on yoga of blood pressure (BP) regulation, cardiovascular risk factors, oxygen consumption (OC) and heart rate variability (HRV)

To examine the metabolic and cardio-autonomic responses to stress in regular yoga practitioners, non-yoga practitioners and people with metabolic syndrome

To investigate the mood states and flow states associated with the practice of yoga in yoga practitioners, non-yoga practitioners and people with metabolic syndrome

Methods: A series of five studies were undertaken including systematic reviews of yoga and BP, OC and HRV and two explorative interventional studies. The systematic reviews categorized studies according to the type of yoga practice and the experimental design. The interventional studies compared the cardiovascular, metabolic and autonomic responses to mental arithmetic stress and various yoga practices in regular yoga practitioners, non-yoga practitioners and individuals with MetS.

Results/Discussion: The systematic reviews suggest that different yoga practices have profound effects on BP, OC and HRV, with changes that suggest increased resilience and resistance to stress and the features of metabolic syndrome. These reviews also suggest that regular yoga practitioners have an enhanced homeostatic capacity and an ability to exert extraordinary control on physiological processes and maintain homeostatic responses under extreme conditions.

The experimental study suggests that compared to non-yoga practitioners, regular yoga practitioners had a greater physiological response to mental arithmetic stress and make a faster and more complete recovery. People with metabolic syndrome on the other hand had a blunted and incomplete recovery. The experimental study also demonstrated that regular yoga practitioners had an enhanced experience of flow and positive mood states at baseline and greater increase after yoga practices compared to the other groups.

Conclusion: Yoga practices have a profound effect on cardiovascular, autonomic and metabolic responses that counter many of the triggers and effects of MetS and other chronic diseases. Regular yoga practitioners appear to have greater resilience to stress with increased psycho-physiological flexibility and enhanced mood states. Yoga practices are worthy of inclusion in clinical settings to counter stress and a variety of chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome. Further rigorous clinical trials of different yoga practices are required to justify the inclusion of yoga in clinical guidelines for specific conditions.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Subjects Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Yogic
Oxygen consumation
Stress reactivity/recovery
Blood pressure
Heart rate variability
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Created: Fri, 24 Feb 2017, 08:09:19 EST by Adam Rivett
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