A recent study has unveiled that yoga and meditation have positive impacts on the body's central nervous system. They even improve the immune system of an individual.
Yoga and meditation are gaining popularity in the Western world, and the practitioners are availing their physical and psychological benefits. A current study in the popular journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests the positive effects or benefits of the meditation and the yoga. The research study has addressed several approaches in promoting the resilience. Dr. B Rael Cahn from the University of Southern California led the study.
The research team carried their study with 200 participants who participated in the yoga and meditation retreat for three months. The participants practiced meditation and yoga on a regular basis and availed the vegetarian diet during this period. Among these participants, 98 volunteers needed to undergo tests to measure specific biomarkers. But, because of the shortage of funding, 38 volunteers, among them 19 female and 19 male, underwent the said assessments.
Now, among these 38 volunteers, only 26 volunteers' biological samples were analyzed. A good number of participants already experienced in performing yoga and meditation. These include pranayama, Samyama meditation, Shoonya, and Hatha yoga.
The assessments of these participants were done after and also before participating in the yoga and meditation retreat. The assessment includes the psychometric tests to collect data regarding the participants' psychological involvement, mindfulness, and the psychological well-being. It also measures the BDNF protein that helps to promote several nerve cells' growth and survival. The protein also plays a significant role in metabolic regulation, resilience to the stress, and the immune response.
CAR or the "cortisol awakening response" assessment took place during the research to measure the cortisol secretion. Cortisol is a hormone that involves in the important interaction between pituitary gland, adrenal gland, and the hypothalamus. The assessment to explore the benefits of yoga and meditation involves the measurements of cytokine levels. They play a significant role in functioning the essential immune system.
Now, the data analysis suggested that practices of the yoga and meditation at the retreat helped to reduce the depression and the anxiety levels. The data analysis and responses from the participants even indicated an increment of the mindfulness. Notably, the researchers found the increment of the BDNF levels and strong CAR, indicating improved resilience obviously to the stress factors. The important fact is the outcome of the research points out certain elements' improved functioning.
These elements belong to the central nervous system and better immune system. It also suggests the strengthened sense related to awareness and the focus. In a word, yoga and meditation bring several biological improvements that increase the psychological and physical well-being. According to the Medical News Today, the researchers suggest the probability that yoga and meditation could enhance the function of the hippocampus.
The research team actually derived this probability after observing the effects of the retreat's aftermath. The research team and also Dr. Cahn are very excited after observing the research outcomes. They believe that the results will help to explore more grounds to perform further studies regarding the yoga and meditation. These studies will be related to the psychological and physical benefits.