Yogis and Buddhists have long claimed that meditation and the ancient practice associated with breathing, such as pranayama, strengthen our ability to focus on tasks. A new study conducted by researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, explains for the first time the neurophysiological connection between breath and attention. Breathing meditation and yogic breathing practices have many advantages for cognitive functions, including an increased ability to focus, to stay awake, to get positive emotions, reduce emotional temper and more. To date, however, no physiological connection between the breath and brain function have not been conducted.
Scientists have shown that breathing is a key element of the practice of conscious meditation has a direct impact on the levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in the brain. This chemical messenger is released when we get excited by it, interested, when we exercise, focusareas or emotionally aroused, and helps the brain to form new connections like fertilizer. In other words, the way we breathe directly affects the chemistry of our brain so that it improves the attention and overall brain health.
The study showed that the participants who are well focused on performing tasks that require great attention, better synchronized breathing mode and direct attention than those who could not concentrate. That is, who properly breathe, the better heed. The authors believe that the methods of breath control can be used to stabilize attention and improve the condition of the brain.
Michael Melnychuk, PhD Institute of neuroscience, Trinity College and the study’s lead author, explained: “Practicing yoga is already 2500 years say that breathing affects the mind. In our study, we sought neurophysiological link that could explain it, by measuring respiration, reaction time and brain activity in a small region of the brain, the locus coeruleus, which produces norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a unique system of brain action. When we are under stress, norepinephrine is too much and we can’t concentrate. When we want to sleep, we produce too little, can’t concentrate. There is a Golden mean of norepinephrine, which of our emotions, thinking and memory will work much more clearly”.
Simply put, the study showed that attention depends on the breath. Perhaps focusing on the breath and adjusting it, you will be able to optimize your levels of attention and Vice versa, focusing on your attention, you can optimize your breathing and make it work for you.