Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Lynn Hartzler (Advisor), David Goldstein (Committee Member), Marietta Orlowski (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States and more than 600,000 people per year die when the condition goes untreated. Many cardiovascular maladies, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be markedly improved with lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. In this study, 15 sedentary adult women (aged 19-63 years) participated in a prescribed 12-week yoga program. Electrocardiography was used to measure Heart Rate Variability, a tool that assesses autonomic tone on the heart. Autonomic nervous system activity is assessed at VLF, LF, and HF spectral components. Lower body flexibility improved over the 12-week yoga program, indicating the yoga was appropriate as a low-impact exercise. There were no significant changes in HRV from baseline to the end of 12 weeks. Therefore, it is likely that a higher intensity exercise program over a longer time-course is needed to increase heart rate variability.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded




Included in

Biology Commons