Effects of 3 Weeks Yogic Breathing Practice on Ventilation and Running Economy

Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(2):62-74. eCollection 2020.


Yogic breathing techniques (Pranayama) positively impact respiratory function (RF) in non-endurance trained individuals. The purpose of this study investigated effects of routine Pranayama practice on RF, running economy (RE) and perceptual responses. A between subject's case-control study design was incorporated. Eleven runners practiced three styles of Pranayama (30 min/day 6 days/week) for 3 consecutive weeks (YG) and completed a VO2 max tests on a treadmill (trial 1), basic RF tests, and constant workload RE trials at 60, 70, and 80% VO2 max (trial 2 and 3). A control group (n = 10) (CT) completed the same pre - post testing without intervention. Pre vs. post values for resting forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and forced expiratory flow volume in one second (FEV1). Yoga improved FVC and FEV1, but did not significantly impact RE However, RPE-L for HIGH had an interaction (p < 0.05) showing a decrease for YG and an increase for CT. The current study suggests 3 weeks of yogic Pranayama fails to significantly impact RE, however some evidence indicates YG may positively alter perceptual responses at individually prescribed workloads. More work is needed to definitively establish benefits of YG for runners.

Keywords: Aerobic; respiratory; submaximal; ventilation.