||Increase of vagal-mediated heart rate variability and resting-state amygdala functional connectivity after short sudarshan kriya yoga practicing
||Department of Physiology
sudarshan kriya yoga
resting-state magnetic resonance imaging
vagal-mediated heart rate variability
Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) consists of a unique yoga breathing technique which is practiced by more than tens of millions of people around the world. Regular practicing of SKY increases well-being and relieves emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. There are two versions of SKY practicing: weekly “long SKY” practicing in a group and daily “short SKY” practicing at home. Recent studies have found that long SKY increases vagal-mediated heart rate variability (HRV). However, whether short SKY has similar effects on HRV is unknown. Relief of negative emotions by SKY is probably related to the activity of amygdala, which is not only an emotional center, but also affects autonomic tone. We conjectured that short SKY practicing not only changes vagal-meditated HRV but also changes the activity of amygdala and its functional connectivity (FC) with other brain regions. In this study, we have recruited 25 healthy participants who had learned SKY and regularly practice at home or in a group. Each participant underwent two days of resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and photoplethysmographic (PPG) HRV analysis. On one day, short SKY for 35 minutes was practiced, and on the other day was 35 minutes of control video watching. Data were collected simultaneously for each participant immediately before and after interventions. HRV analysis results showed that short SKY but not video watching increased the root mean square of the successive differences (RMSSD), indicating that short SKY improves vagal-mediated HRV. Regional homogeneity (ReHo) of brain image analysis showed that the activity pattern after short SKY practicing was different from that after control video watching. Short SKY practicing especially increased the activity of the supramarginal gyrus, while the control group increased the activity of the visual cortex. However, the activity of the bilateral amygdala region did not change. FC analysis showed that if using bilateral amygdala as the seed region, FC between bilateral amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), FC between left amygdala with the supramarginal gyrus, and FC between right amygdala with the temporal gyrus were all increased after short SKY practicing, suggesting that FC between the amygdala and the mood-regulating brain area after short SKY practicing. Correlation analysis showed that changed RMSSD was positively correlated with changed FC between right amygdala and right insula; changed RMSSD was also positively correlated with FC between left amygdala and thalamus, and between left amygdala with right amygdala / parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) / pons after short SKY practicing. Furthermore, using thalamus as a seed region, positive correlation was also found between changed RMSSD and changed FC between thalamus and a big cluster which includes brainstem / prefrontal gyrus / striatum / insula / thalamus / cerebellum / PHG / superior temporal gyrus / precentral gyrus/ hippocampus / claustrum / left amygdala after short SKY practicing. However, all of these positive correlations were not found in control video watching. Overall, results from this study show that the short version of SKY not only improves the vagal tone, but also the activity of brain regions involved in emotional regulation. Increase of vagal tone is related to the FC of the amygdala to regions include thalamus and brainstem.
Table Contents X
Figure Contents XI
1. Effects of yoga on emotion and autonomic tone 1
2. Sudarshan kriya yoga and its beneficial effects 1
3. Respiration, vagal tone, and heart rate 3
4. Heart rate variability (HRV) and its physiological meaning 4
5. Brain-body pathways of amygdala on the regulation of emotion and autonomic nervous system 5
6. Changes of resting-state amygdala functions in yoga or meditation practices that include respiration manipulation 6
7. Different functions between left and right amygdala 7
8. Resting-state regional homogeneity (ReHo) and seed-based FC 7
Materials and Methods 10
Short SKY 11
Entertainment video watching 12
Data Analyses: 12
HRV data acquisition and analyses 12
fMRI Data Acquisition 13
fMRI Data Preprocessing 14
The regional homogeneity (ReHo) and seed-based functional connectivity analyses 15
Statistical Analysis 16
1. Significant increase of RMSSD after short SKY practicing but not control video watching 18
2. Differential changes of regional brain activity after short SKY practicing and control video watching 19
3. No changes in the activity of bilateral amygdala after short SKY practicing and control video watching 20
4. Differential changes of the bilateral amygdala FC after short SKY practicing and control video watching 21
5. Changes of RMSSD are not correlated with FC of bilateral amygdala with mPFC, ACC, temporal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus after short SKY practicing 22
6. Positive correlation between △RMSSD and FC of the bilateral amygdala with brain regions after short SKY practicing 22
7. Positive correlation between △RMSSD and FC of thalamus after short SKY practicing 23
1. Findings of this study 25
2. Short SKY practicing increases vagal-mediated HRV in healthy subjects 25
3. Brain regions which activity changed after short SKY practicing 27
4. Changes of amygdala FC but not regional activity after short SKY practicing 28
5. Increases of vagal-mediated HRV is not correlated with amygdala FC with mPFC, ACC, temporal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus after short SKY practicing 30
6. Increase of vagal-mediated HRV is correlated with amygdala FC with insula and brain regions in limbic system and brainstem after short SKY practicing 31
7. Increase of vagal-mediated HRV is correlated with thalamus FC with forebrain regions, limbic system, cerebellum and brainstem after short SKY practicing 32
8. The vagal-mediated and non vagal-mediated network after short SKY practicing 33
9. Limitations 33
Supplementary Data 65
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