Post: 5 interesting physical changes that happen in your brain during meditation.

I do practise everyday my daily routine meditation for around 20 to 30 mins. I do it every day as a part of my yoga routine. Being a medical professional, I always had the inquisitiveness to know behind the science for meditating.
Many types of research and studies have been going around behind the science and physiological changes that happen during meditation. Since there are too many studies and too much research floating around in various media, it is very confusing sometimes. By now, all of us know that meditation benefits us to be more focus, reduced stress, mindful, calmer and compassionate.

But I would like to highlight more on the actual physical changes that can happen to the brain on regularly meditating based on scientific studies. Meditation by any religious, traditional and yoga form mainly follow two methods of focusing.

Single focus method: In this method, you have to focus on a particular thing, maybe your breathing, or the area between your eyebrows (the pineal gland) or maybe the physical sensation around your body. When you wander, you bring your focus back to the particular thing that you are focusing on.

Open focus method: In this method, when you close your eyes, you don’t focus on a particular thing. You keep your focus open on the dark, wide-open space around you. Whatever thoughts, come your way, you are aware of them and let them go without focusing on them.

What happens to your brain when you do meditation daily for 20mins to an hour for 8 to 10 weeks? Physical changes have been reported in the limbic brain based on various researches.

Amygdala: This is a part of the limbic brain which is responsible for most of your emotional stimuli mainly fight or flight response. This area is responsible for stress, fear, anger, violence, pain and so on. Meditation causes to shrink the amygdala, making it smaller than it’s the usual size. Therefore, due to these physical changes, your response to these emotions of stress, fear, anger is reduced considerably and you become calmer.

Pons: This is a part of the brain stem which is mainly responsible for processing all sensory inputs, and vital activities like sleep, respiration, swallowing, facial expression. Meditation has helped to strengthen the pons, thereby improving all its vital functions.

Posterior cingulate: This part of the brain is responsible for “understanding self” and controlling the wandering thoughts. When you process any kind of information, this part of the brain is responsible for the relevance of self and the degree of subjectivity. Meditation helps to strengthen this part of the brain which in turn helps you to take a more wider approach to issues, and be more considerate towards self. It helps you to be non-judgemental and not take things personally. Precuneus is also part of the limbic cortex which helps in self-relevance. It is responsible for happiness state. Meditation helps strengthen this area too.

Left Hippocampus: This part of the brain is for long term memory and cognition. Meditation helps to increase the volume, the grey matter in this area. So your memory and cognitive abilities start improving.

Temporo Parietal Junction: This part of the brain is responsible to help you understand perspective to any issues. It is this part of the brain which is responsible to understand the other person’s view, be more empathetic and compassionate. Meditation helps to strengthen this area in the brain.

Post: 7 tremendous benefits of a particular breathing technique (Kapalabhati)

I have been a yoga practitioner for years. It has been very instrumental in overall wellbeing in my life.
Kapalabhati in Sanskrit means ‘skull cleaning or shining’. It is a breathing technique practised as Pranayama in yoga. Though the word sounds awkward, it is a breathing exercise of successive, rapid, forceful exhalations followed by brief passive inhalation.

The procedure is quite simple:

  • Sit comfortably in Padmasana or simply legs crossed.
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • Follow your normal breathing for some time.
  • In a quick moment, contract your abdominal muscles, and forcefully exhale air from both of your lungs.
  • Then allow air to fill your lungs slowly without effort.
  • Perform this cycle for 10 times at a stretch, then return to normal breathing. With daily practice, the cycle can easily go up to 120 times with each round.

Since this is an ancient old practise, in spite of having tremendous benefits, it has some contraindications.

  • Not to be practiced by women who are either pregnant or during menstrual cycle.
  • As there is too much of abdominal movements, not to be practiced by someone having abdominal hernia.
  • Not to be practiced by a person with slip disc, back pain or neck injury.
  • If you suffer from acute respiratory infections, it is better to rest, and let the infections go before doing any Pranayamas.

This practice has ample benefits. 7 important ones are.
1.It is a very useful tool to release congestion and volatile toxins from the body. It also cleans the nasal passage and respiratory system. It is powerful detoxifying method.

2.Since there is a contraction, relaxation of abdominal muscles, it stimulates and improves digestion.
3. It increases heart rate and blood circulation.
4. It is known to reduce stress, anxiety and tensions.

5.The endocrine system and glands are stimulated and regulated.
6.Since you focus entirely on your breathe, your mind gets rid of unnecessary thoughts, hence helps in concentrating. Therefore, a useful tool during the examination.
7. This breathing technique helps to treat diseases related to the nervous system, endocrine system and mental health.

Post:10 tips to slow down ageing.

10 tips to slow down ageing.
Ageing is natural so inevitable. But why ageing occurs ? Our body is made up of a community of living cells, functional units which function individually as well as in harmony with one another. The basic cause of ageing is cell damage. Each living cell continue to replicate again and again. But with each time, the cell dies and replicate, the telomere in the DNA strand of cell shortens. So as ageing start progressing, the telomere start shortening. The old cell function slowly and start declining. This telomere of cell can determine our actual biological age.

Other important factors of ageing are free radical damage, exposure to heat, radiation, sunlight, emotional stress and unhealthy lifestyle. Inspite of all these factors, the question is, can we slow down ageing ? The answer is yes. We can control some of these factors and slow down the ageing process. 


So, comes the key points to at least slow down this natural process…

  1. First, the most important key is loving yourself beyond anything . Love yourself and accepting the way you are. This gives you an immense strength to take care of yourself, your body ,mind  and soul. Once this feeling is ingrain in you, you will naturally take utmost care of yourself and also the people around you. 
  2. More than physical stress, emotional stress is the commonest cause to trigger ageing. Troubled relationship, work stress, lonliness are some common triggers. Try look out for solutions whenever you are in a messy situation. Maintaining a calm mind, would surely give some solutions. Hard times do come. But good times always come. Once you move on from your mental stress, not only physically, as well as mentally you will start feeling better. 

3 Completely avoid a sedentary life style. Follow a routine exercise regime. Any form of physical activity like walking, jogging, gymming, cycling are all beneficial. Yoga is a very useful form of practise. Sometime, due to time constrain for busy work life, routine exercise is difficult , then incorporate more and more physical activity like climbing stairs, body movement to keep boosting the body’s metabolism.

4.Maintaing a healthy lifestyle is very important to slow down ageing. Life style factors like smoking, alcohol and sugar intake should be reduced. Avoiding them completely, is a boost to slow down ageing. 

5. Eating habits should be routinely scheduled. Have meal at regular timings with no intermittent snacking. But yes, a fruit or handful of nuts whenever hungry is just normal. Try drinking plenty of fluids, mainly water. This gives you a naturally glowing complexion. 
6. Meals should be composed of good portions of veggies and fruits which would give you the natural dose of antioxidants to combat the free radical damage.

7. Greying of hair is normal. Nutritious food and fluid intake regularly would surely enrich your hair texture and prevent hair fall. Coconut and almond oils are good for head massage as they help in hair growth. Too much of hair colours and chemical treatment can prove harmful in the long run.

8. To keep your skin look younger even when ageing is the diet and a good night sleep. Big portion of fresh fruits and veggies with fluid intake daily would surely help. Do follow your routine skin regime to keep your skin clean and hydrated. Organic /nature based products are good for skin. Applying sun screen lotions and wearing protective clothing during sun exposure are beneficial for skin.

9.Follow your hobbies, passion or any interest you have. This gives you the freedom of expressing your thoughts, emotional outlet to let out. This also gives you joy and peace within. To age slowly, mental calmness and peace are very important. 


10. Lastly, give yourself a few minutes everyday, to meditate, to go within, to the person you are, or the one you want to become. Money and materialistic success are not enough for a calm and happy state of mind. Be grateful always, spiritually, stay connected to your higher self, for having a beautiful life. 




Post: My take on yoga mat….

Practising yoga is my daily routine regime for health and wellness. But do I have made the right choice of yoga mat where I enjoy doing my routine practise ? Or is it worse like sliding and slipping very often while holding a posture ?

Before, jumping onto the topic of yoga mat availability and preferences, I would like to share some insight facts about Yoga.

It’s an ancient Indian practice of mind, body and spirit connection. Traditionally, it was practised by the yogis to keep them in discipline with their mind, body and spirit. The ultimate goal of all traditional forms of Yoga was to attain samadhi (enlightenment). All the traditional forms of Yoga like Hatha Yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga and Karma Yoga has the same common goal to help reach the samadhi state. Though it is not associated with any religion, it is more of a spiritual practice than a fitness method. Therefore, while practising Yoga, the spiritual essence is very important. Today, because of its popularity in the entire world, the deviation from the actual traditional Yoga has been a concern. It has become more of a fitness tool to build up muscles, stretching, flexing muscles and aerobic exercises. The popularity has been boosted due to its immense benefit on many medical ailments like mental illness, schizophrenia, anxiety, stress and bodily pain. In fact, studies have found that practising yoga and meditation regularly can be beneficial and facilitate healing of all type of physical and mental illnesses. 

I, myself have been a yoga practitioner for the last 5 years. It has not only helped me become more self – discipline and focused but also benefited me both physically and mentally. That is how , I have started to know about Yoga Mat.

As a routine practitioner of Yoga, I know how it is important and essential to have the right kind of yoga mat. Whenever, I use to step into a store, to buy my yoga mat, seeing the different types of sizes and colour, I always ended up in a confusion. Sometimes, picking up the wrong mat, make me realise it to be too thick, slippery, sticky and easily damaged. This has happened to me a number of times. In the course of my experience, I have started to learn the right kind of choice of Yoga mat which does work for me and also last longer without damage. 

Yoga which has gained immense popularity in the fitness industry, likewise the yoga mat companies have become billion dollar industries. When we step inside a store, there are a lot of different types of yoga mats with different materials, sizes and colour. Keeping up the popularity, comfort and trends, different materials of Yoga mat has been in the market, starting from rubber, plastic, cotton, jute and also PVC, latex. Depending upon our essentially, comfort and durability, the choice should be made. Since it’s for our daily routine use, toxic material like PVC, latex should be avoided. As for new beginners of Yoga, the mat should be of sticky material like natural rubber.

Though not a beginner anymore, my personal preference has been always a natural rubber mat. Such a mat would help better grip and prevent from slipping while holding asanas (Yoga poses). Eco-friendly material like cotton and jute mats have become very popular for health reasons and in a warm climate. They are comfortable and help in absorbing sweat. But the wear and tear are more due to the material. Plastic elastomer is the new material that has been widely used in Yoga mats. These mats are quite cheap and health friendly too. One more important aspect of the Yoga mat is the thickness. Regarding the thickness of the mat, it may vary from a range of 1/16 to 1/4th  of thickness. Again, this is a personal choice depending on what type of floor, we do routine practice and the kind of cushioning required. Usually, the i/8th thickness is most preferred for its durability and performance. Nowadays, yoga mats are available with a travel bag, that helps us to carry along wherever we travel. But, yes, many buy it to look cool and trendy. So, next time, when shopping for a Yoga mat, you do have some tips to grab the right choice for you. 

Ideally, yoga should be performed in close proximity to nature. To breathe freely during Pranayamas (breathing poses) and to breathe fresh air. So, the best places are in the quiet back yard, garden or balcony. But this is not possible in city life. So, any preferred place indoor or outdoor is fine, but it should be a quiet place away from distraction. 

Doing Yoga is not just a fitness regime, but also our dedication, respect and spirituality towards the incredible ancient practice.