According to the researchers at IIT-Roorkee in Uttarakhand, heart rate variability, a sign of a healthy heart, has been shown to be higher in yoga practitioners than in non-practitioners.
Ramesh Kumar Sunkaria, Vinod Kumar and Suresh Chandra Saxena of the Electrical Engineering Department evaluated two small groups of men in order to see whether yoga can improve heart health.
The team said that in their preliminary study of 84 volunteers, there was strengthening of parasympathetic (vagal) control in subjects who regularly practice yoga, which is indicative of better autonomic control over heart rate and so a healthier heart.
They analysed the "HRV spectra" of the electrocardiograms (ECG) of 42 healthy male volunteers who were non-yogic practitioners, and 42 who are experienced practitioners, all volunteers were aged between 18 and 48 years.
The spectral analysis of HRV is an important tool in exploring heart health and the mechanisms of heart rate regulation, according to the team.