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Study on the Effect of Yoga Nidra & Pranakarshan Pranayama on Alpha EEG & GSR

Authors:
  • Uttarakhand Sanskrit University, Haridwar, India

Abstract

Contemporary studies show that researchers are keen to know the effect of Yoga nidra in various directions; thus it is the right time to go deep into the search of the impact of Yoga nidra. The present study aims at finding out the effect of Yoga nidra especially on ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) on healthy subjects. The study conducted at the Yoga Arogya Polyclinic of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya in collaboration of Brahmavarchas Research Institute, Haridwar. Practice time of Yoga nidra was 30 minutes and the duration was 6 months. Eighty students were taken from PG Yoga classes for observing the effect as well as 30 was in control group. The present study shows a significant change on the ESR level of the normal persons as the result of Yoga nidra practice. The results are significant at 0.01 level of confidence. At the end it can be concluded that Yoga nidra positively decreases the level of ESR in the male and female subjects both.
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
Vol. 8 (3), July 2009, pp. 453-454
Study on the effect of Pranakarshan pranayama and Yoga nidra on
alpha EEG & GSR
Kamakhya Kumar1*& Bhanu Joshi2
1Department of Human Cons & Yogic Science, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Shantikunj, Haridwar, Uttaranchal;
2Department of Yogic Science Govt MBPG College, Haldwani (Nainital) Uttarakhand
Received 3 August 2006; revised 4 October 2008
The study was aimed to find out the effect of yogic practices on student’s physiology. Forty students of 18-25 yrs age
groups were selected from MBPG College Haldwani, Nainital, Uttarakhand. A package of Yoga nidra practice and
Pranakarshan pranayama was given for 40 days. The effects studied on the alpha EEG and GSR level showed a significant
change. On the basis of that it is concluded that practice of yoga helps to improve the immunity of the students.
Keywords: Yoga nidra, Pranakarshan pranayama, Immunity
IPC Int. Cl.8: A61H1/00, A61P31/00
The mechanization of world and the advancement of
science and technology have provided us with
enormous ranges of creature comforts. These have led
to comfort-driven mode of living, generating
restlessness, tensions, stress and a horde of new
diseases and disorders. The practice of Yoga not only
help to keep the young body strong and supple but
also incorporate mental activities, disciplines that help
to develop attention and concentration and stimulate
the creative ability that are latent within human body.
All the worries and tension are not capable of
functioning on their own. They are guided and
controlled by the mind. Maharshi Patanjali 5,000 yrs
ago has given the secret to controlling the mind in his
Yoga-sutra Yogaschittavrittinirodhah. That is yoga is
to control the wayward flow of tendencies of Chitta
(mind). In other words, to become fully involved in
the task at hand is yoga.
Practice of Pranakarshan pranayama (derived by
Sriram Sharma Acharya) is one of the wonderful
practices to controlling the mind through conserving
pranic energy from cosmos. Practice of yoga nidra is
one of the most powerful and well-known technique
of physical mental and emotional relaxation. Both the
practice has the impact on our physiology and
psychology. The study was carried out to know the
effect of above mentioned practices on Alpha EEG
and GSR. Alpha is a common state for the brain and
occurs whenever a person is alert (it is a marker for
alertness and sleep), but not actively processing
information. They are strongest over the occipital
(back of the head) cortex and also over frontal cortex.
Alpha has been linked to extroversion
(introverts show less), creativity (creative subjects
show alpha when listening and coming to a solution
for creative problems), and mental work. The
electroencephalograph measures brain waves of
different frequencies within the brain. Electrodes are
placed on specific sites on the scalp to detect and
record the electrical impulses within the brain. Alpha
waves are those between 7.5 and 13(Hz) and peak
around 10Hz. Good healthy alpha production
promotes mental resourcefulness, aids in the ability to
mentally coordinate, and enhances overall sense of
relaxation and fatigue. In this state one can move
quickly and efficiently to accomplish the task. When
alpha predominates, most people feel at ease and
calm. Galvanic skin response (GSR), a change in the
electrical properties of the skin in response to stress or
anxiety can be measured either by recording the
electrical resistance of the skin or by recording weak
currents generated by the body. It can also be
understand as a drop in the electrical resistance of the
skin, widely used as an index of autonomic reaction.
The practice of yoga nidra brings alpha dominance
in the brain, which is characterized by mental
relaxation1. A significant decrease was observed in
breath rate after isometric relaxation technique and
________________
*Corresponding author
INDIAN J TRADITONAL KNOWLEDGE,VOL 8, No.3 JULY 2009
454
reduction in some physiological signs of anxiety2. In
other study, initial EEG showed beta activity
prominently with intermittent alpha activity3. With the
advancement of Yoga nidra, beta activity was slowly
replaced by alpha activity and still further by smooth
well formed alpha activity. After 30 sessions of Yoga
nidra, gain of alpha activity was better and with
further advancement of yoga nidra intermittent. After
a six months study on the higher class students,
practice of yoga nidra reduced the stress and anxiety
as well as improved the general well being4. The
study was conducted to asses the effect of yoga nidra
and Pranakarshan pranayama on alpha EEG level of
the subjects.
Methodology
The study was conducted to observe the effect of
yogic practices. Forty students of 18-25 yrs age
groups were selected through quota sampling
technique from MBPG College Haldwani, Nainital,
Uttarakhand. A package of yoga nidra practice and
Pranakarshan pranayama was given to them for
40 days regularly, accept Sundays and holidays for
30 and 15 minutes, respectively. The effects on the
alpha electroencephalograph (EEG) and galvanic skin
resistance (GSR) level were studied. To assess the
impact of yoga nidra parameters alpha EEG and GSR
biofeedback were taken.
Results and discussion
Hypothesis 1— There is a significant relationship
between practice of yoga and the alpha EEG of the
subjects:
Table 1 shows the pre- and post mean values of
alpha EEG of the students, the hypothesis 1 has been
proved on 0.01 level of confidence and 39 degree of
freedom.
Hypothesis 2— There is a significant relationship
between practice of yoga and the GSR of the subjects:
Table 2 shows the pre- and post mean values of
GSR of the students, the hypothesis 2 has been proved
on 0.01 level of confidence and 39 degree of freedom.
The study shows a significant change in Alpha EEG
level as EEG measures minute electrical activity in
the brain in the form of waves. The frequency of brain
activity waves has been shown to alter according to
the state of consciousness and state of mind of the
subject. Beta activity is normally noted in the awake
working state. With physical relaxation, beta activity
is taken up by alpha activity and as the person goes
into different stages of sleep the activity changes to
theta and also may exhibit delta activity in deep sleep.
The practice of yoga nidra has been reported to bring
alpha dominance in the brain, which is characterized
by mental relaxation1. A significant change was also
observed in the study in the GSR level of the subjects.
GSR is a change in the electrical properties of the skin
in response to stress or anxiety, can be measured
either by recording the electrical resistance of the skin
or by recording weak currents generated by the body.
It can also be understand as a drop in the electrical
resistance of the skin, widely used as an index of
autonomic reaction. A direct connection between the
nervous and immune system has been reported5. It has
been reported that stress leads to a build up of a
hormone that inhibits the body’s ability to fight off
bacteria and viruses. Since practice of Pranakarshan
pranayama has a powerful technique to improve the
pranic energy level as conserved from cosmos, it
improves the GSR of the subjects.
References
1 Mangalteertham Sannyasi, Yoga nidra-altered state of
consciousness, In: Yoga Nidra, edited by Swami Satyananda,
6th edition, (Bihar School of Yoga, Munger), 1998.
2 Vempati RP & Telles, Shirley, Yoga based Isometric
relaxation versus supine rest: a study of oxygen
consumption, breath rate and volume and auditory measure,
J Indian Psychol, 17 (2), (1999).
3 Roney SM Dougal, Altered states of consciousness and yogic
attainment in relation to awareness of precognitive and
clairvoyant targets, (Psi Research Centre), 2001.
4 Kumar Kamakhya, Yoga nidra and its impact on student’s
well being, Yoga Mimamsha, 36 (1 & 2) (2004).
5 Macey Jennifer, J Exptl Med, 2005.
Table – 1(Alpha EEG)
Mean sd
Pre 21 3.46
Post 29.5 4.2
“t”value
4.41
significant level
at 0.01
Table – 2 (GSR)
Mean sd “t” value significant level
Pre 24.5 7.2
Post 28.5 8.1
3.42 at 0.01
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