Neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) is a common condition in which abrupt cardiovascular autonomic changes (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure) can result in syncope (fainting). Yoga has been shown in long-term yoga practitioners to improve autonomic variability and the stability of the autonomic nervous system response to stress.
A pilot study of 44 primarily young women (21 in intervention group; 23 in control group) with neurocardiogenic syncope found that yoga practice three times a week for 3 consecutive months significantly improved number of episodes of syncope and functional status. All the subjects before yoga intervention had a positive tilt table test (meaning that lightheadedness or fainting was triggered by raising the head to 60 or 80 degrees) and only 6 of the 21 subjects had a positive test after the three-month yoga intervention. The study suggests that yoga could be helpful for yoga women who have neurocardiogenic syncope, and further research and larger studies are warranted.