The effect of Yoga meditation and metronomic breathing on physiological parameters: A study of heart rate variability

Document Type : Original Paper


1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran.

2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan, Iran


Background and Aim Despite the pervading application of different kinds of meditation in treating physical and mental ailments, the effects on neuroautonomic function and physiological parameters have not been extensively researched. In this study, some indices from empirical mode decomposition (EMD) of heart rate variability (HRV) signals have been examined during meditation. Specifically, the current manuscript aimed to evaluate the modes existing in HRV signals during Yoga meditation and compare them with the corresponding indices before Yoga, metronomic and spontaneous breathing. The validity of the HRV was studied using four Yoga meditators, eight healthy subjects, and eight volunteers during metronomic breathing.

Experimental procedure Intrinsic mode functions (IMFs) and their power spectrums were characterized utilizing entropy and statistical measures. In addition, the frequency bands of HRV signals were extracted using wavelet transform to obtain more insight into autonomic differences. Wilcoxon test was used for statistical evaluations.

Results Analyzing the frequency bands of HRV signals revealed that there are significant differences in very-low-frequency and high-frequency indices between Yoga and other conditions (p < 0.05). The most variation in IMFs of HRV signals occurred during Yoga, in which the range of six IMF values was between 15 and 63. Additionally, the IMF patterns in both before Yoga and Metronomic breathing were similar. Significantly lower IMF indices were obtained for normal breathing (p < 0.05). The average wavelet entropy value of IMFs is about 106 for metronomic breathing and before Yoga, -0.5×106 for Yoga, and -2.5×106 for normal breathing.

Conclusion The proposed EMD-based measures can be efficiently exploited in differentiating the HRV signals of meditators.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 10 May 2023
  • Receive Date: 27 December 2022
  • Revise Date: 05 May 2023
  • Accept Date: 10 May 2023