alexa
Reach Us +44-1764-910199
Yoga and Arterial Stiffness: A New Perspective on Flexibility | OMICS International
ISSN: 2157-7595
Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy

Like us on:

Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700+ peer reviewed, Open Access Journals that operates with the help of 50,000+ Editorial Board Members and esteemed reviewers and 1000+ Scientific associations in Medical, Clinical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, Technology and Management Fields.
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Conferenceseries Events with over 600+ Conferences, 1200+ Symposiums and 1200+ Workshops on
Medical, Pharma, Engineering, Science, Technology and Business

Yoga and Arterial Stiffness: A New Perspective on Flexibility

Stacy D Hunter*

Research Director, Pure Action, Inc, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Stacy D Hunter
Research Director, Pure Action, Inc.
506 Oakland Avenue, Unit C
Austin TX 78703, USA
Tel: (512) 308-3338, ext: 103
Fax: (512) 861-6262
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: September 28, 2013; Accepted Date: October 23, 2013; Published Date: October 28, 2013

Citation: Hunter SD (2013) Yoga and Arterial Stiffness: A New Perspective on Flexibility. J Yoga Phys Ther 3:143. doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000143

Copyright: © 2013 Hunter SD. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Visit for more related articles at Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy

Stiffening of the large central arteries occurs with advancing age and precludes the development of overt cardiovascular disease (CVD) [1]. Arterial stiffening compromises the ability of the vessel to buffer cardiac pulsations and leads to exposure of the vascular beads to high stress and increasing blood pressure. Both endurance and strength training have been examined as potential mediators of vascular function with endurance training exhibiting a lowering effect and strength training demonstrating no effect or an increase in arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults [2,3]. Although the effects of endurance and strength training on arterial stiffness have been well documented, the impact of flexibility on the vasculature has only recently emerged as a topic of interest.

Yoga is an ancient mind-body practice originating in India thousands of years ago consisting of eight limbs, of which three: asana (posture); pranayama (breathing); and dhyana (meditation), have become increasingly practiced in the western world [4]. In the U.S., Hatha yoga, the physical practice combining asana and pranayama, is most common [4]. Yoga postures consist primarily of stretching and isometric exercises and are designed to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and focus. Therefore, yoga can be thought of as a form of flexibility training which could serve as a stimulus for vascular adaptation.

The relationship between yoga and vascular function was first examined in 2008 when a cross-sectional study demonstrated a lowering effect of yoga on arterial stiffness comparable to that of aerobic exercise [5]. In contrast, a subsequent cross-sectional study found no effect of yoga on arterial stiffness [6]. A potential explanation for this discrepancy is the variation in study design. In the aforementioned study [5], the yoga, endurance trained, and sedentary groups were not matched for body mass index (BMI) and yoga practitioners reportedly engaged in aerobic exercise, both of which could have impacted these findings as both exercise [2] and BMI [7] have been shown to affect arterial stiffness. The latter study limited their inclusion to yoga practitioners who did not regularly engage in other forms of exercise and matched the groups for BMI. Therefore, taken together, it appears that the previously shown lowering effect of yoga on arterial stiffness may have been partially due to confounding factors like habitual aerobic exercise or BMI.

Interventional studies in young and older adults implementing different styles of yoga have yielded conflicting results. Both Dhyana [8] and Bikram [9] yoga have reduced arterial stiffness in young adults whereas Bikram [9] and Ashtanga [10] yoga failed to significantly alter this measure in middle-aged and older adults. Thus, it appears that yoga only reduces arterial stiffness in young adults. Perhaps accounting for these opposing results is a loss of vascular plasticity with age as previously indicated by a study which found that exercise-induced adaptations in leg vascular resistance after 8 weeks of training were limited to young adults with no changes observed in older subjects [11].

Stretching is a central component of yoga postures which could serve as a stimulus for changes in arterial stiffness as evidenced by previously shown inverse associations between flexibility and arterial stiffness [12,13] and enhancements in arterial compliance with 12 weeks of stretching in middle-aged adults [14]. Given that currently no evidence suggests a beneficial effect of isometric exercise on arterial stiffness, the stretching component appears to be the primary factor driving the association between yoga and arterial elasticity.

Physiological mechanisms accounting for the relationship between yoga and arterial stiffness remain unclear. However, potential mechanisms include possible sustained axial stretching of the arteries posing a stimulus for matrix reorganization which could lead to changes in arterial elasticity [15]. Recurrent increases in sympathetic nerve activity elicited by stretching during the yoga postures could also result in lower resting levels of sympathetic innervation of vascular smooth muscle [16]. Reductions in inflammation resulting in less superoxide scavenging of nitric oxide with yoga could also contribute to a lowering effect of yoga on arterial stiffness [17].

Yoga is an increasingly practiced alternative exercise mode with a large focus on flexibility. While the effects of traditional exercise on arterial stiffness have been well documented, more studies using evidence-based evaluation methods are needed to understand the potential impact of various types of hatha yoga on indices of vascular function in various age groups. Existing evidence suggests that yoga may be beneficial in enhancing the elasticity of the arteries in young adults. However, these effects are not yet apparent in middle-aged and older adults in whom arterial stiffening is presumably enhanced.

References

Select your language of interest to view the total content in your interested language
Post your comment

Share This Article

Article Usage

  • Total views: 12126
  • [From(publication date):
    December-2013 - Dec 11, 2018]
  • Breakdown by view type
  • HTML page views : 8325
  • PDF downloads : 3801
 

Post your comment

captcha   Reload  Can't read the image? click here to refresh

Peer Reviewed Journals
 
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
International Conferences 2018-19
 
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri and Aquaculture Journals

Dr. Krish

[email protected]

+1-702-714-7001Extn: 9040

Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals

Ronald

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9040

Clinical Journals

Datta A

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Food & Nutrition Journals

Katie Wilson

nutritionjourn[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science

Andrea Jason

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics & Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Materials Science Journals

Rachle Green

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Nursing & Health Care Journals

Stephanie Skinner

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

Ann Jose

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

streamtajm

[email protected]

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

 
© 2008- 2018 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version