Introduction: Breathing modulates cortical neuronal activity. Various breathing exercises are purported to have specific effects on emotional and cognitive functions. Objective: To determine the effect of unilateral left nostril breathing (ULNB) on nonlateralized, overall cognitive functions using computerized psychometric tests. Methods: A randomized, controlled, pilot study was conducted among 20 healthy yoga-naïve medical students. ULNB was performed for 15 min by the test group (n = 10) and breath awareness by the control group (n = 10). Attention and processing speed, memory, and executive function were assessed using the Letter-Digit Substitution Test, Sternberg Memory Task, and Victoria Stroop Test, respectively. Baseline, pre- and postintervention scores were recorded. Results: There was no significant difference between the groups in baseline scores. In the Sternberg Memory Task, a statistically significant decrease in response time was seen in the test (t(9) = 3.855, p = 0.004) as well as the control group (t(9) = 3.120, p = 0.012); there was no significant difference between the groups. No significant effect of UNLB was seen in the Letter-Digit Substitution Test and Stroop Test. Conclusions: Our study showed no difference in the effects of 15-min practice of ULNB and breath awareness on cognitive functions; both improved memory but not attention or executive function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and alternative medicine