What is the Science of Breathing and Meditation?

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Science of Breathing and Meditation?

Meditation generally means to move away from distracting thoughts and to focus on a single point of reference. When breathing is set as a single point of attention, then that type of meditation is called breathing-based meditation.

Most recently, breathing based meditation techniques are being routinely prescribed for better health and overall well-being.

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Rhythmic breathings or paced breathings are an integral part of breathing based meditation techniques that leads the practitioners into a relaxed mental state. The paced breathing or slow breathing is the type of breathing in which the breath frequency is intentionally slowed down.

Several studies have shown that engaging in mindfulness meditation, such as breathing based meditation, can result in better attention and focus in various cognitive tasks. It has been observed that the mental exercise of focusing on only one thing, such as breathing, enhances the functioning of the brain, which has far-reaching effects on most cognitive functions.

Studies have shown that brief mindful breath awareness meditations improved attentional functions and reduced engagement of the brain with distracting stimuli, thus causing generalized improvement in brain functions.

It has also been noticed that as a result of the meditational practices, there have been improvements in working memory and betterment in the ability to manipulate and retain goal-oriented information.

With the help of breathing based meditation, positive psychological outcomes such as decreased anxiety can be achieved. In addition to this, increased feelings of ease, comfort, and relaxation, as well as positive energy and pleasantness, can be achieved. Depression, anger, and confusion were observed to be much reduced in subjects who practiced meditation regularly, resulting in more emotional control.

Sixteen weeks of regular and briefly done breathing based meditation has been found to result in improved attention and less allocation of brain resources for the processing of distracting stimuli. It was found that if you keep on doing the meditational exercise, the benefits also increase over time.

Many researchers have tried to find out the structural and functional changes which take place during the meditational practices, but the exact comprehension of the neural and psychological mechanisms is limited at the moment.

One technique of applying breathing-based meditation is by directing attention to the flow of air at the nasal tip. Alternatively, the attention can be focused on the movement of the abdomen while exhaling and inhaling. If the attention wanders away from the sensation of breathing, then an effort is to be made to make the focus of attention to come back to the sensory experience of breathing again.

Using these kinds of breathing techniques can result in a reduction of various physiological strains that the body might be experiencing. It can also have a relieving effect on the mental workload an individual might be carrying. Once various physical and cognitive workloads are reduced or removed, betterment can be achieved in mental and physical performance by and individual. These meditational techniques may also prove to be helpful in maintaining optimum mental and physical performance during times of acute stress or prolonged periods of mental stress.

Please feel free to post your queries in the comment section.

Until next time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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