Background: Yoga has been shown to be beneficial in diabetes in many studies, though randomized control trials are few. The aim of this randomized control trial was to see the effect of Sudarshan Kriya and related practices (comprehensive yogic breathing program) on quality of life, glycemic control, and cardiac autonomic functions in diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for sudden cardiac death. Cardiac autonomic neuropathy has been implicated in the causation of sudden cardiac death. Therefore, a maneuver to prevent progression of cardiac autonomic neuropathy holds significance.
Materials and methods: A total of 120 patients of diabetes on oral medication and diet and exercise advice were randomized into two groups: (1) Continued to receive standard treatment for diabetes. (2) Patients administered comprehensive yogic breathing program and monitored to regularly practice yoga in addition to standard treatment of diabetes. At 6 months, quality of life and postprandial plasma glucose significantly improved in the group practicing yoga compared to baseline, but there was no significant improvement in the fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin.
Results: On per protocol analysis, sympathetic cardiac autonomic functions significantly improved from baseline in the group practicing comprehensive yogic breathing.
Conclusion: This randomized control trial points towards the beneficial effect of yogic breathing program in preventing progression of cardiac neuropathy. This has important implications as cardiac autonomic neuropathy has been considered as one of the factors for sudden cardiac deaths.
Keywords: Comprehensive yogic breathing program; cardiac autonomic function; diabetes mellitus.