Neurophysiology of Pranayama
Pranayama, the yogic art of breathing, leads to a control of the emotions which in turn brings to concentration and mental poise. Pranayama is a bridge which helps the student of yoga to cross from the realm of purely physical development to that of the spirit and forms a crucial stage in his journey towards self-realisation. In recent years, an amount of scientific literature has been devoted to the investigation of brain activity changes induced by different meditative techniques, and a large variety of findings have been described. However, the study of Pranayama breathing techniques in a neuroscientific perspective is still a new and mostly unexplored topic. Recently, it has been found by a research team of University of Pisa using a simil-Pranayama stimulation of the nasal epithelium, a widespread enhancement of theta and delta brainwaves activity and of their synchronization among multiple brain regions. This findings could shed light on the links between respiration, cerebral activity and subjective experience, suggesting a neurophysiological basis for interpreting altered states of consciousness induced by respiration-based meditative practices, thanks to the stimulation of special mechanical receptors in our nostrils. The theory will be followed by a practical breathing workshop.
by Gabriele Penazzi
GABRIELE PENAZZI Is currently studying in collaboration with a research team of University of Pisa the link between brain activity and state of consciousness modifications induced by the stimulation of the nasal epithelium. In collaboration with the cultural association URLA he organized different conferences and conventions, like “Neurogym: psychological fitness”, “Consciousness: points of view for an integrated perspective” and “Freedom of research and psychedelic substances”.