Have you ever thought about the effect on your body when you practice yoga or meditate? The science of yoga and meditation comes under neuroscience.
What is neuroscience? In simple words, neuroscience combines the study of the nervous system. It contains a wide range of sciences from biology to math and psychology to understand the functions of the nervous system. Further, the nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and sensory nerves spread throughout the body. It is inclusive of neurons and neural circuits. They send signals throughout the body so that we can hear, think, walk, and do necessary things that help us stay alive and experience life. In short, we can enable life and experience it through this system.
How do Yoga and Meditation fit into Science?
The science of yoga and meditation aims to find out how these practices affect our brain and body through the nervous system. Both Yoga and meditation benefit not only the body but also improves overall mental health. First of all, you all need to know, what is the connection between yoga and meditation? The answer to this is, Yoga is seen as a way of life and it gives several benefits when practiced. On the other hand, meditation is a part of yoga that deals with mental relaxation and concentration. Yoga is different from meditation. That is, we cannot consider Yoga and meditation as synonyms. Yoga has been studied scientifically since the 19th century.
Scientific Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Practicing Yoga and Meditation has resulted in several benefits in the lives of people. Some of the benefits are stated below:
1. Moderates Stress Hormones
When our body gets stressed, it secretes a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone keeps us alert in crisis, but also disturbs the functioning of the body in the long term. Yoga and meditation moderate the production of the cortisol hormone, thus reducing the stress level from the body and keeps the body calm.
2. Improves Immunity Function
Since too much cortisol can immobilize our defense system in our body, it dampens the effectiveness of the immune system. Yoga helps to moderate the production of cortisol, however, boosting immunity.
3. Cures Addiction
Scientifically, practicing Yoga generates a chemical in the brain called Dopamine that gives one contentment similar to the one during active consumption of drugs for pleasure. Thus, the urge for that level of serenity from addiction is no longer manifested. Practicing yoga can give one the same level of dopamine high or serenity, thus cutting out the urge for addiction.
4. Secretes Antioxidant Enzymes
Exposure to environmental pollution metabolic by-products has resulted in the formation of free radicals, which contribute to different diseases. The human body contains a powerful internal defense system
in the form of antioxidant enzymes, to counteract these free enzymes. According to the scientific analysis, the level of antioxidant enzymes is generally present more significantly higher in the people who practice yoga, and meditation.
5. Stimulates Parasympathetic Nervous System
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic together forms the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by fear, anxiety, worries, work pressure, and many other factors. This causes high blood pressure and a rise in heart rate. When the parasympathetic nervous system switches on, the blood starts to flow towards digestive organs, endocrine glands, and other organs. Meditation and yoga reduce the heartbeat rate and lowers blood pressure. However, the parasympathetic nervous system cancels the sympathetic nervous system, thus calming the human body.
6. Reduces high blood pressure
Many times; high blood pressure makes the heart pump the blood harder and thus leads to poor heart function. High blood pressure also contributes to the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which may lead to heart attack and stroke. These activities help to improve physical health by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, blood vessel tension, thus reducing the strain on the heart, and arteries.
7. Physically changes the brain
People who practice yoga and meditation generally have more folds in the outer layer of the brain. This process is known as gyrification and it may increase the ability of the brain to process information.
8. Reduces pain
Many people suffer from joint pains or even body pains. According to scientific research, it is developed that yoga and meditation activate certain areas of the brain that has resulted in the reduction of pain.
9. Promotes emotional health
Engaging time in meditation leads to an improvement in the outlook of life. People exercising these practices experienced a reduction in negative thoughts and images, thus creating a positive outlook and improved self-image.
10. Increases strength and endurance of attention
People who practice meditation and yoga have a positive experience in their attention towards any work. According to the scientific study, people who practice regularly experienced an improvement in attention and accuracy in completing a task.
What does Science say about the safety and side effects of practicing Yoga and Meditation?
These are generally suitable and safe for healthy people. People with certain physical problems or limitations may not be able to perform some practices involving body movements. Such people should seek advice from health care providers and practice these activities with their instructor’s advice.
Yoga and meditation have paved their way to the Western culture of fitness and wellness. Science has manifested these practices. Both Yoga and Meditation have proven that they benefit not only the body but also improve mental health. These practices develop beneficiary habits and feelings. It helps to keep the mind stress-free, clear, and sharp. They lead to an improvement in balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength. There are uncountable benefits of practicing Yoga and Meditation. Everyone should practice these activities in one form or another, to remain fit and well. This would benefit you in your upcoming future and prevents you from exposure to severe diseases.
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Srishti Soni is a commerce students with a keen interest towards business and financial society. She is down to earth and loves to explore new things. She believes in practical world and loves listening music.