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    The Science behind Yoga and Meditation

    Yoga is an art and science which leads to the union of mind and body. It focuses on the science of healthy living, the Mind with the Body, and Man with Nature. The Science of Yoga is believed to be originated thousands of years ago and aims to manifest self-realization and freedom from materialistic life.

    • According to an estimate, about 76 million people in America practice Yoga.
    • Swami Vivekanand is credited to be the greatest advocator of Yoga in the west.
    • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest teacher of Yoga is from Australia.

    The Origin of Science of Yoga and Meditation.

    The Science of Yoga and Meditation comes under the branch of Neuroscience. The behavioral therapy of Yoga has both function and structural effects on the brain, mainly on posture, motivation, and sensibility. Meditation is a self-determined mental process that connects thoughts, behavior, emotions, and perception. A few Studies and empirical experiments suggest that Yoga and meditation improve cognition and enhance the capacity for physical and mental relaxation.

    Why understanding the Science behind Yoga Important?

    Understanding the science behind Yoga and meditation will motivate you to keep practicing; it is scientific and results in successful solutions.

    Furthermore, knowing science will motivate you to inspire friends and family and benefits for all.

    Effective Changes as observed by Science.

    Researches proposed that mindful meditation affects the process of controlled emotions, self-regulation, and self-awareness. It also observed brain structure and anterior cingulate cortex (the region associated with the attention that responds to mediation).

    The process improves the potential for the treatment, midline prefrontal cortex, and posterior cingulate cortex. Research over two decades suggests that the practice of Yoga and meditation reduce stress and promote health.

    Furthermore, many investigated studies on meditation in different conditions proved that it helps in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people with ulcerative colitis. It is also effective in easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

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    Takeaways:

    Knowing the right techniques is important; Yoga and Meditation are generally to be safe for healthy people. However, people with physical limitations should be extra careful.

    People with mental illness should consult a therapist or mental health expert before practicing Meditation. One should never replace conventional care with Yoga and Meditation.

    Key Studies

    • Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2013) – “Effect of yoga on arrhythmia burden, anxiety, depression, and quality of life in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23375926/

    • NBCI (2016) – “Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety.” A review on Modern Scientific Perspective.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769029/

    • Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (2015) – “Mind-body therapies and control of inflammatory biology.” A review of the evidence on Yoga, and other mind-body activities and their relationship to reducing inflammation.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26116436/

    Learnings from Science of Yoga and Meditation

    • Yoga relieves anxiety, depression, and reducing harmful inflammation.
    • Lowers blood pressure by pumping blood throughout the body and results in overall health.
    • Meditation and Yoga improve the quality of life by enhancing sleep quality and spiritual wellbeing.
    • Yoga is effective in reducing chronic pain and improves the physical function of the body.
    • It helps to relieve migraine, lung capacity, concentration and promotes healthy eating habits.

    The Bottom Line

    Regular practice of Yoga or Meditation is effective for the overall wellbeing of mind, body, and soul. Multiple studies have shown its impact on an individual’s mental and physical health.

    Neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, MRI, PET, SPECT) have revealed significant changes in both brain shape and connectivity through Yoga and meditation. While yogis have known the physical and mental benefits, modern scientific techniques have only recently observed the changes in brain connectivity, chemistry, and mechanism behind the positive practice of yoga and meditation.

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