Science Innovations: New process to help dispose liquid nuclear waste safely   |  Science Innovations: New prospects of bio-inspired materials for energy & biotechnology sector  |  National Edu News: CSIR-CMERI develops Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility  |  Technology Inceptions: Casio G-Squad GBD-H1000  |  Technology Inceptions: JBL Earbuds C100TWS  |  National Edu News: Countrywide S&T infrastructure facilities to be accessible to industry & startup  |  Education Information: A web clinic series to strengthen S&T capacity of NGOs & Communities  |  Life Inspirations: Wizard with a Sense of Society  |  National Edu News: India designated Vice-Chair of OECD Working Group on GLP  |  Education Information: New International Faculty Visitors’ Accommodation at IIT Kharagpur  |  Policy Indications: Union Education Minister virtually launches 'KAPILA'  |  Education Information: Education Minister addresses the students of ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme  |  Education Information: New Innovation & Incubation Center and Sports Complex at IIT Jodhpur   |  Policy Indications: "Follow the Social Vaccine”: Dr. Harsh Vardhan  |  Guest Column: Chromosome of a Successful Edu-Startup  |  
May 15, 2018 Tuesday 05:31:27 PM IST

Meditation and Breathing Exercises can Sharpen Your Mind

Teacher Insights

Dublin: It has long been claimed by Yogis and Buddhists that meditation and ancient breath-focused practices, such as pranayama, strengthen our ability to focus on tasks. A new study explains for the first time the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention.

Breath-focused meditation and yogic breathing practices have numerous known cognitive benefits, including increased ability to focus, decreased mind wandering, improved arousal levels, more positive emotions, decreased emotional reactivity, along with many others. To date, however, no direct neurophysiological link between respiration and cognition has been suggested.

The research shows for the first time that breathing -- a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices -- directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser.

Michael Melnychuk, PhD candidate at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity, and lead author of the study, explained: "Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. In our study we looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where noradrenaline is made. Noradrenaline is an all-purpose action system in the brain. When we are stressed we produce too much noradrenaline and we can't focus. When we feel sluggish, we produce too little and again, we can't focus. There is a sweet spot of noradrenaline in which our emotions, thinking and memory are much clearer."


The research provides deeper scientific understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms which underlie ancient meditation practices. 

(Materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. )


Comments