Mounting scientific research continues to suggest that health, quality of life, and even the very length of life, are all profoundly affected by our mental and emotional states. The emerging field of mind/body medicine explains how our thoughts and emotions can powerfully affect brain, endocrine (hormone), and immune system function.
This influence is facilitated by chemical messengers called neuropeptides, which are released with ones’ every emotion. They are rapidly picked up by cells in the immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems, and directly affect their functioning. When you learn about yoga breathing, it becomes clear how “positive” and “negative” feelings affect the whole system.
For example, feeling joy, love, and enthusiasm, produces chemical messengers that can affect the brain, endocrine, and immune systems in positive ways. In contrast, “negative” emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, produce chemicals that can adversely affect them, resulting in less resistance to disease and poorer overall health. This is how feeling stressed can lead to significant alterations in the physiology, and can contribute to a broad range of diseases, ranging from cancer and cardiovascular disease to asthma, depression, and ulcers.
Learn About Yoga Breathing – The Best Process to Counter Stress The yogic science of breath is a precise, 5,000+ year-old science of health promotion.
It is one of the first sciences to recognize the impact of mind and emotions on creating and restoring optimal health. One of the most comprehensive yoga breathing techniques is understood to use specific rhythms of breath to eliminate stress, support the various organs and systems within the body, transform overpowering emotions, and restore peace of mind.
Following is a summary of some key findings of the many studies done by modern medical science at hospitals and research institutions:
1. Improved Brain Function
Brain function was measured and compared through EEG (electroencephalogram)changes on yoga and non yoga breathing practitioners. Practitioners displayed significantly greater mental alertness (beta activity) than the control group.
2. Significant Falls in Cortisol, the “Stress Hormone”
In one study, blood cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, was measured in a control group and the yoga practitioners. The significant fall in serum cortisol levels among the beginning and regular practitioners, suggests that regular practice of yoga breathing progressively develops greater levels of both relaxation and resilience to stress.
3. Effect on Blood Lactate
Blood lactate is another biochemical measure of stress. Participants in police training constitute a highly stressed group. They undergo intense physical and emotional training daily. Blood lactate was measured in 10 such individuals, both before learning about yoga breathing, and after the first session. There was a significant fall in lactate levels after the yoga session, suggesting that it induces a state of relaxation.
4. Effect on Immune Function
The immune system protects us from disease. Natural killer (NK) cells are the surveillance cells of the immune system and are capable of destroying tumor cells as well as infected cells. NK cells were counted in the blood of three groups: yoga breathing practitioners, normal individuals not practicing yoga breathing, and cancer patients in remission. NK cells were significantly higher in the yoga breathing group than in either non practicing individuals or in cancer patients in remission.
The cancer patients then started to learn about yoga breathing. After 3-6 months of regular practice, there was a significant increase in the cancer patients’ NK cell count. This is particularly encouraging, since cancer survivors have abnormally low levels of NK cells, and NK cells are believed to be important in the bodys’ defense against new and recurring cancers.
5. Effect on Antioxidant Enzymes
The body is repeatedly exposed to environmental pollutants, and its cells continuously produce normal metabolic byproducts. Both of these factors can result in the formation of free radicals. These react with oxygen and cause oxidant damage, contributing to many diseases, including cancer and such cardiovascular diseases as heart disease and stroke.
Levels of three major antioxidant enzymes were all found to be significantly higher in yoga breathing practitioners than in the matched control group.
6. Effect on Blood Cholesterol
Psychosocial stress is a major contributor to hypertension and coronary heart disease
In CHD, deposits of LDL cholesterol, fat, and other substances on the arterial walls slow or block the flow of blood, resulting in heart malfunction. A study was conducted to assess the cholesterol levels of individuals before they learned about yoga breathing, as well as after 7 and 45 days of regular practice. Significant drops in total cholesterol and LDL (harmful) cholesterol, as well as increases in HDL (beneficial) cholesterol were observed.
7. Effect on Depression
Yoga Breathing has been shown to have a 68%-73% success rate in the treatment of depression, regardless of severity. Relief from depression, determined by psychiatric evaluation was experienced within three weeks. At the three-month follow-ups, patients remained stable and in remission.
Conclusions — Just One: Learn About Yoga Breathing!
The subjective reports of increased health, vitality, well being, and peace of mind by thousands of yoga breathing practitioners are consistent with research findings to date, which suggest an overall strengthening of the mind/body system. Thus, even though further studies are needed, these findings point to the powerful health restoration and promotion effects of these time-honored practices.