• July 16, 2024

Yoga Day 2024: What Happens in Your Brain During Yoga Nidra? Scientists Find Key Changes in Brain’s Functionality

New Delhi, June 20: On Thursday, a study found that yoga nidra showed significant changes in the brain’s functional connectivity during the practice of a first functional MRI (fMRI) study that explored the neural mechanisms underlying yoga nidra. The study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, AIIMS Delhi, and Mahajan Imaging Delhi also showed how yoga nidra practice brings deep relaxation and increased awareness.

Prof. Rahul Garg, IIT Delhi, stated, “According to Yogic texts, Yoga Nidra helps bring the ‘samskaras’ buried in the deep subconscious minds to the surface and eventually helps release them, thereby promoting health. The activation of brain areas involved in processing emotions is a very interesting finding in this context.” Happy International Day of Yoga 2024: Tadasana, Balasana, Vrksasana and Other Yoga Poses To Ace and Improve Your Focus.

Yoga Nidra practice, often referred to as ‘yogic sleep’ or ‘non-sleep deep rest (NSDR)’, is designed to induce a state of deep relaxation while maintaining heightened awareness. Practitioners use it to deepen their meditative states, and several research studies have demonstrated its significant benefits for mental health.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, involved two groups: 30 meditators (regular people with around 3000 hours of experience in meditation and/or yoga) and 31 beginner participants matched by age and other factors. Researchers discovered that the Default Mode Network (DMN) shows less connectivity in experienced meditators compared to beginners. This change in how the brain communicates helps us understand how Yoga Nidra affects our brain, promoting deep relaxation while maintaining awareness.

The DMN (Default Mode Network) is a set of connected parts of the brain that become active when a person is not concentrating on the outside world. It’s like the brain’s ‘background mode’ that kicks in during daydreaming, self-reflection, or when thoughts wander freely. DMN connectivity refers to how well these brain areas communicate and collaborate.

Researchers also discovered a strong connection between the amount of meditation and yoga practice people did and how much the DMN activity decreased during Yoga Nidra. They found that the more hours participants spent doing meditation and yoga, the more noticeable the changes in their brain activity during Yoga Nidra became. Yoga Poses for Beginners; 5 Easy Yoga Asanas With Names for a Smooth Journey of Yoga Practice.

Moreover, the study found that when listening to guided instructions during Yoga Nidra, both experienced meditators and beginners showed brain activity in areas responsible for language and movement processing, as anticipated. The researchers further highlighted, “However, what was more interesting was activation in regions associated with processing emotions, and in the brain area Thalamus, which is involved in controlling sleep.”

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 20, 2024 07:14 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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