EPISODE 220: Heart Rate Variability from Your Phone

The benefits of yoga practice are at least 50% nervous system related; and yet, most of the yoga world has completely forgotten your body’s electrical system. The nervous system effects of yoga are what distinguish it from other movement modalities, and it’s where much of the magic of practice is hidden.

For decades, there has been a biofeedback tool called, Heart Rate Variability (HRV), that allowed scientists to sneak peek into patients autonomic nervous system. Today, thanks to cheap sensor technology and smart phones, anyone can test their HRV using a smart phone at home.

Any serious yoga student should learn how to use HRV to quantify, track and better understand what’s going on, electrically, inside them. Quantification is going to completely revolutionize mind-body wellness and the way we practice. On this week’s Yoga Talk Show, you’ll meet Marco Altini, PhD, a tech entrepreneur pioneering HRV applications for at-home use.

Listen in to learn:

  • Why heart rate monitors simply give us an average heart rate per minute
  • How beat-to-beat variances gives us a completely different picture of what’s happening in our body—an insight into our nervous system
  • How cheap, at-home sensor technology is changing the way we can monitor our own health
  • Why breath pacing of 4-6 breaths per minute is ideal for most people to get into a high state of HRV

Links & Resources:


Marco Altini is a data scientist, programmer, and has a PhD in applied Machine Learning. He leads data science at Bloomlife, a digital health startup focusing on helping expecting mothers have a healthy pregnancy. He’s been developing apps since 2012, and has done a tone of work with Heart Rate Variability which is what we’ll be discussing today.

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