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New Study Reveals Yoga Nidra's Profound Impact on Brain Activity

Researchers from IIT Delhi and AIIMS Delhi have conducted the first functional MRI (fMRI) study examining the neural mechanisms of Yoga Nidra. This ancient practice is renowned for inducing profound relaxation while enhancing awareness. Published in Scientific Reports, the study “Functional Connectivity Changes in Meditators and Novices during Yoga Nidra Practice” sheds light on how the brain responds to this meditative technique.

Impact of Meditation Experience on Brain Activity During Yoga Nidra

The study examined 30 experienced meditators, each averaging 3000 hours of meditation and yogic practice, alongside 31 novice controls. Results show that increased practice hours correlate with more pronounced changes in brain activity during Yoga Nidra.

Emotional Brain Activation

According to Prof. Rahul Garg from IIT Delhi, the study reveals that Yoga Nidra activates brain regions responsible for processing emotions. This supports ancient yogic texts that propose Yoga Nidra’s role in surfacing subconscious “samskaras” (impressions), facilitating their release and promoting overall health.

Differences Between Experienced Meditators and Novices

The study highlights distinct responses to Yoga Nidra between experienced meditators and novices. Meditators demonstrate decreased mental chatter during practice, a change associated with their cumulative hours of yoga and meditation. This decrease suggests enhancements in mental clarity and emotional equilibrium.

Role of the Default Mode Network (DMN)

The Default Mode Network (DMN), a network of interconnected brain regions active during restful states, exhibits distinct behavior in meditators versus novices. Serving as the brain’s “background mode” during daydreaming and self-reflection, DMN connectivity varied significantly during Yoga Nidra sessions. These variations suggest altered internal communication and cooperation within the brain among practitioners.

How to Practice Yoga Nidra?

Practicing Yoga Nidra entails lying in a comfortable position and following verbal guidance through stages of relaxation, breath awareness, and visualization.

This methodical approach relaxes body and mind, promoting healing and reducing stress. Regular practice may alleviate: 

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Tension-related issues

It helps revitalise the mind and promotes overall well-being.

Source: Inputs from various media Sources 

the aartery chronicles

Priya Bairagi

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