Though neurological benefits of yoga training have been reported, lacunae still exists in understanding neurophysiological effects of such training. Hence, the present study was conducted to find the effect of yogasanas and pranayams on neurological and neuromuscular functions in healthy human volunteers and also determined differential effects of training in asan, pranayama and their combination.
Materials and Methods:
Eighty male trainees from Pondicherry Police Training School were randomly divided into asan, pranayama, and asan-pranayama groups who received a training of 4 days a week for 6 months and a control group. Electroencephalogram (EEG), nerve conduction (NC), electromyogram (EMG), visual evoked potentials (VEP), and auditory reaction time (ART) were recorded before and after the study period. NC, EMG, and VEP data were obtained from 28 subjects; EEG data from 48 subjects; and RT from 67 subjects. Intergroup differences were assessed by AVOVA/Kruskal–Wallis and intragroup differences by Student's t-test.
Results and Discussion:
Police trainees showed beneficial effects of yoga training, although they were undergoing intensive police training and the yoga training was relatively less intense. Alpha, theta, and total power of EEG increased as a result of asan training. A shortening of visual reaction time and a decrease in red-green discriminatory reaction time signifies an improved and faster processing of visual input. They also showed a decrease in resting EMG voltage, signifying better muscular relaxation following pranayama training. Beta, theta and total power of EEG increased. ART and red-green discriminatory reaction times decreased in the trainees, signifying a more alert state as well as improved central neural processing. A combination of asan and pranayama training for 6 months produced an improvement in motor and sensory nerve conduction. Total power of EEG, alpha and theta power as well as delta % increased, while reaction time decreased signifying an alert and yet relaxed state of the neuromuscular system.
Summary and Conclusion:
The present study has shown that 6 months training in asan, pranayama as well as their combination is effective in improving physiological functions of police trainees. They showed beneficial effects of yoga training, although they were undergoing intensive police training and the yoga training was relatively less intense. Hence, we recommend that yoga training be introduced in police training curricula.