The Minded Institute is always up to date with the newest research relating to neuroscience, yoga, mindfulness, anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD and other trauma. We also try to conduct our own research.

Recently, Heather Mason, The Minded Institute’s founder and director, along with Minded Institute therapist and lecturer Veena Ugargol and Italian researchers Matteo Vandoni, Erwan Codrons and Luciano Bernardi have published a research article, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Effect of Yogic Slow Breathing in the Yogic Beginner: What is the Best Approach? in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Volume 2013).

Heather has long been interested in the physiological influences of certain yogic breaths and was pleased to have an opportunity to investigate the effects of Ujjayi breath. On a brief trip to Italy, Heather and Veena visited Bernardi’s lab and hooked Veena up to a bunch of devices (pictured). “She looked rather cute and somewhat odd,” says Mason. “We were intrigued as to how Veena’s well-trained Ujjayi breath affected various measures and decided to conduct a research study.”

Mason described the process saying, “We compared slow breathing at 6 breaths a minute with the same rate using Ujjayi and measured the influence on Baroreflex Sensitivity, i.e. the heart’s ability to effectively respond to changes in blood pressure. We found that for novices, slow breathing without Ujjayi increases the baroreflex more than with Ujjayi although it was a close tie. Further, beginning with the Ujjayi inhalation reduced the baroreflex sensitivity when compared to just focusing on the exhalation. We have some ideas as to why this might be, for example, novices pull and push the breath in more than experienced yogis. We postulate that non-novice yogic breathers would find an increase in baroreflex sensitivity with Ujjayi breathing over slow breathing.”

“It was exciting to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Bernardi who is a trail blazer in the field of breath and cardiac and pulmonary health!”

The paper can be read in full at and Mason et al hope to follow it up with research on more experienced yogis.

Some other recent research that may be of interest includes:

1) This study on yoga, heart rate variability and workplace stress
2) This research around mind-body practices (including yoga) and PTSD
3) This review of research and proposal for future treatment plans regarding CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) for refugees who have survived trauma and torture

If you’d like to get regular alerts about research that may be of interest as well as other Minded Institute related events and information, you can “follow” us on twitter @yogamind or “like” us at as well as following this blog.

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