This study is investigating the relationship between how you feel and your body's involuntary processes (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure) after participating in Ashtanga yoga.  This study and programme of training consist of 2 assessments of your autonomic nervous system, 2 surveys, and 12 yoga classes.  None of the lab testing hurts or is uncomfortable in any way!

VISIT 1 (APPROX. 1 HOUR): After you've expressed interest in the study, you will meet with the researchers at the Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Research (PACR) Laboratory (Room #240, Human Kinetics Building, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada) where you will receive a consent form and information sheet about the study.  If you are still interested in participating in the study, you will be asked to sign the consent form and fill out a physical readiness questionnaire. If you are still eligible to participate, you then will have your blood pressure (BP) measured in your


upper arm, similar to how it is taken at a doctor’s office.  In brief, your BP will be measured in your upper dominant arm after 10 minutes of seated rest.  Your BP will be measured 4 times, with 2 minutes of rest between measures.  If you are eligible to participate, you will then practice all parts of the study with the researchers.  This is known as the familiarization session and the purpose is to have you experience all of the techniques we'll be using in the lab so that you can get used to everything before we begin the study.  For example, we will be measuring your heart function with an electrocardiograph (ECG), which involves attaching three electrodes to your body; two will go just under each of your collar bones and one will be placed on your side under your ribcage.  They are painless and adhere to your skin just like a sticker. 


TESTING DAYS (VISITS 2–3; APPROX. 90 MINS. EACH): The testing days will happen the week before the first yoga class and the week after the last yoga class.  You will be asked not to exercise vigorously (e.g., exercise that causes you to breath really hard and sweat heavily) or drink alcohol for 24 hours before each testing day.  We also will ask you to avoid caffeine for at least 12 hours and eating for at least 2 hours before.  All testing will take place at the same time of day, in a quiet, temperature-controlled room, following a light meal. On testing days, you will be asked to go to the washroom before testing, as a full bladder can increase your blood pressure. 

After you have completed the autonomic nervous system testing, you will then move to a computer terminal where you will fill out a computer-based survey. To give you privacy while you complete the survey, the researchers will wait in an isolated part of the lab that is easily accessible should you have any questions. 

In this study, you will be progressively instructed in just over one half of the primary series (see What is Ashtanga Yoga? for an explanation).  You will learn all the poses up to, but not including, the peak poses, which are very difficult.  You will learn the preparation for the first peak pose, which is quite fun. 

Each week, we will add new poses to the ones that we will have taught in the previous weeks.  This progressive instruction will help you to learn poses and transitions of increasing difficulty.  We will give you a lot of technical training so that you learn the poses correctly from the beginning.  We will move at a pretty good pace during these 6 weeks so it is important to come to both classes each week.  Otherwise, you will fall behind and if you attempt to catch up too fast after missing too many classes, you might hurt yourself.


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