The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
Bhavanani AB, Madanmohan, Udupa K.
Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, (JIPMER), Pondicherry 605 006.
Reaction time (RT) is an index of the processing ability of central nervous system and a simple means of determining sensory-motor performance. It has been reported that yoga training improves human performance including central neural processing. Earlier studies from our laboratories have shown that yoga training produces a significant decrease in visual reaction time (VRT) and auditory reaction time (ART). The present work was planned to determine if mukh bhastrika (a yogic technique in which breath is actively blasted out in 'whooshes' following a deep inspiration) has any effect on central neural processing by studying its effect on RT. 22 healthy schoolboys who were practising yoga for the past three months were recruited for the present study. VRT and ART were recorded before and after nine rounds of mukh bhastrika. Mukh bhastrika produced a significant (P < 0.01) decrease in VRT as well as ART. A decrease in RT indicates an improved sensory-motor performance and enhanced processing ability of central nervous system. This may be due to greater arousal, faster rate of information processing, improved concentration and/ or an ability to ignore extraneous stimuli. This is of applied value in situations requiring faster reactivity such as sports, machine operation, race driving and specialised surgery. It may also be of value to train mentally retarded children and older sports persons who have prolonged RT.