Pranayama or breath regulation is considered as an essential component of Yoga, which is said to influence the physiological systems. We present a comprehensive overview of scientific literature in the field of yogic breathing. We searched PubMed, PubMed Central and IndMed for citations for keywords "Pranayama" and "Yogic Breathing". The search yielded a total of 1400 references. Experimental papers, case studies and case series in English, revealing the effects of yogic breathing were included in the review. The preponderance of literature points to beneficial effects of yogic breathing techniques in both physiological and clinical setups. Advantageous effects of yogic breathing on the neurocognitive, psychophysiological, respiratory, biochemical and metabolic functions in healthy individuals were elicited. They were also found useful in management of various clinical conditions. Overall, yogic breathing could be considered safe, when practiced under guidance of a trained teacher. Considering the positive effects of yogic breathing, further large scale studies with rigorous designs to understand the mechanisms involved with yogic breathing are warranted.
Keywords: Health benefits; Physiological effects; Pranayama; Yoga; Yogic breathing.
Copyright © 2017 Transdisciplinary University, Bangalore and World Ayurveda Foundation. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.