A Nonrandomized Non-Naive Comparative Study of the Effects of Kapalabhati and Breath Awareness on Event-Related Potentials in Trained Yoga Practitioners

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Mar;15(3):281-5. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0250.


Objectives: The study was conducted to compare the P300 event-related potentials recorded before and after (1) high-frequency yoga breathing (HFYB) and (2) breath awareness.

Design: The P300 was recorded in participants of two groups before and after the intervention session (1 minute in duration). SETTINGS AND LOCATION: All participants were receiving yoga training in a residential yoga center, Swami Vivekanada Yoga Research Foundation in Bangalore, India.

Subjects: Thirty (30) male participants formed two groups (n = 15 each) with comparable ages (within an age range of 20-35 years) and comparable experience of the two techniques, the minimum experience being 3 months.

Interventions: The two groups were each given a separate intervention. One group practiced a HFYB at a frequency of approximately 2.0 Hz, called kapalabhati. The other group practiced breath awareness during which participants were aware of their breath while seated, relaxed.

Outcome measures: The P300 event-related potential, which is generated when attending to and discriminating between auditory stimuli, was recorded before and after both techniques.

Results: The P300 peak latency decreased after HFYB and the P300 peak amplitude increased after breath awareness.

Conclusions: Both practices (HFYB and Breath awareness), though very different, influenced the P300. HFYB reduced the peak latency, suggesting a decrease in time needed for this task, which requires selective attention. Breath awareness increased the P300 peak amplitude, suggesting an increase in the neural resources available for the task.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Tests
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods
  • Respiration*
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult