How does yoga affect your brain and memory

If you search on google – how many neurons in brain? It will give you below answer,

100,000,000,000 = 100 billion

That’s huge! It is universe! Every neuron is communicating and forming complex wire structured ever in this universe! Isn’t it!  

Brain is most mysterious from all manifested things in world, Would you agree? Most of the human would agree on fact that brain is still need to explore. Brain is our CPU (central processing unit).

The question is: How Does Yoga affect your brain and memory? This question is very important. This is billion dollar question in fact, isn’t it? Researcher and neuroscientist are doing extensive research and exploration on  subject Yoga for brain and memory. They are doing clinical research on effect of yoga and meditation on brain or mind.

Research by neuroscientists and doctors from harvard university  undertook the study of benefits of meditation on the brain and how it affects brain. Sara Lazar gathered  team of 16 persons in a 8 week mindfulness meditation (mindfulness is meditation technique) program to check if meditation affect the brain or not.

In that research, every person has given 45 minute meditation exercise with proper guidance and also instructed to do daily work with full alertness and mindfully, on this complete program they found some interesting as per below.

  • One can change the brain by training.
  • Change is measurable.
  • Decreased in grey matter in amygdala.

Here is the MRI scan result of Brain for before and after meditation effect.

If you wish to dive deep in how yoga and meditation can change the brain then read further below which are derived from the various research.

Effect of meditation on different part of brain

More to inform you that, our thoughts can change chemical composition of brain! So if you are doing regular deep breathing exercise or deep breathing meditation then you are actually rewiring of your brain!

Our body’s sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system are very important. Increase in heartbeat, blood pressure and respiratory system are due to Sympathetic nervous system. Parasympathetic nervous system is doing reverse of sympathetic system. It does decrease heart beat, blood pressure and respiratory system.

Hence, Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is important as it is required in emergencies like situation and it is stress booster while Parasympathetic nervous system is also important which calms the nervous system.

How your brain parts engaging with each other

For example when we heard any sound or noise, When you engage with sensory stimuli like sound,

  • Thalamus heard this  and it gives signal to the temporal lobe (listener) and amygdala.
  • Amygdala gives this signal hypothalamus. Temporal lobe gives signal to Frontal lobe.
  • Hypothalamus gives signal to sympathetic nervous system(SNS) to take appropriate action.
  • SNS  takes action according to Hypothalamus and increase heart rate as per the implicit or explicit memory of sound (if it is not previously heard and scary then heartbeat increases) via signaling via thalamus to your brain.
  • Here frontal lobe tells mind (or you) how to respond according to sound.

What happens when we do deep breathing meditation?

Deep breathing affects vagus nerve. Vagus nerve controls the body functions which are compulsory carried out like heart rate, breathing and digestion.

Vagus nerves uses acetylcholine neurotransmitters  to engage with diaphragm. If it is not communicate properly we die due to stop breathing.  Acetylcholine is also responsible for relaxation, learning and memory. Vagus nerve through acetylcholine sends the message of relaxation thought out your body.

Vagus nerve control the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for relaxation in body, decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.

The cortisol level reduced and hence stress decreased when we do deep breathing meditation. Due to relaxation you are now more mindful and aware that stimulate amygdala to deactivate responses and hence it tells hypothalamus to decrease heart rate, stress and anxiety.

I tried my best  to explain in layman term for your understanding. Now you would wish to know how to do deep breathing properly.

Very easy steps of doing deep breathing meditation

  • Sit comfortably. Erect your spinal cord.
  • Inhale slowly and from your belly.
  • Exhale very slowly from nose and belly goes.
  • Do Inhale and exhale as per your comfort.
  • After his initial deep breathing technique, now start inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds, do it this exercise for 3 minute.

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