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Trinidad and Tobago to Host Activities to Mark International Yoga Day on June 21

High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey said yoga is over 6,000 years old and an invaluable part of Indian ancient tradition

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Vastu Shastra is a traditional Hindu system of design based on directional alignments. Wikimedia
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June 8, 2017: The Indian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago has announced 12-days of activities to mark International Yoga Day on June 21.

Addressing the media, High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey said yoga is over 6,000 years old and an invaluable part of Indian ancient tradition.

The activities will begin on June 15, which coincides with Corpus Christi, a public holiday. On June 15, Yoga Meditation Society will organise ‘108 Surya Namashkar’ at the National Council of Indian Culture’s (NCIC) Divali Nagar.

From June 17 to 26, schools will organise a yoga awareness campaign. On June 18, yoga exercise will be held at the Board Walk Chaguaramas and on June 25, a yoga fest will be organised at Divali Nagar from 9.30 a.m.

Dey said that this year’s programme is organised by the High Commission of India with the United Nations, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and the International Day of Yoga Committee.

Dey recalled that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014, had urged the world community to adopt an International Yoga Day saying ‘yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition’.

On December 11, 2004, 193 members of the United Nations passed a resolution declaring June 21 as International Day of Yoga.

‘In essence, yoga is a process of creating a body and mind that are stepping stones, not hurdles to an exuberant and fulfilling life,’ Dey said.

He added that yoga is essentially a path to liberation from all bondage. ‘Medical research in recent years has uncovered many physical and mental benefits that yoga offers, corroborating the experiences of millions of practitioners.’ (IANS)

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New Study Shows Link Between Meditation And Greater Focus

Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size.

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Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health.

Pranayamic breathing – an important part of yoga and meditation – has a unique ability to strengthen our focus and a new study by Trinity College Dublin has unlocked its secret. The researchers note that pranayamic breathing affects the levels of a natural chemical in the brain called noradrenaline. The latter is released when we are challenged, curious, focused, or emotionally excited. When present at the right levels, noradrenaline helps the brain grow new connections and helps us concentrate better on important tasks.

The old masters were on the right track

The researchers noted: “Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. We looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims.” The researchers did so by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where noradrenaline is made. Noradrenaline is affected by stress; when we are worried or anxious we produce too much, and cannot concentrate. When we feel lazy, on the other hand, we produce too little and once again, focus is lost. One way to boost levels is through yoga; another method which can complement the latter is the consumption of medical grade focus supplements, which contain compounds such as octopamine (which has a similar effect to noradrenaline).

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Conversely, those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain. Pixabay

Pranayamic breathing aces the right balance

In the above study, researchers noted that brain activity in the part of the brain where noradrenaline is produced raises slightly when we inhale and drops slightly as we exhale. Thus, balance is achieved and we can focus on what we have set out to do. Pranayama not only boosts concentration but also produces “changes in arousal, attention, and emotional control that can be of great benefit to the meditator.”

What is Pranayamic breathing?

Pranayamic breathing involves controlling and extending breath, with a view to manipulating your vital energy, battling stress, and improving your mood. It is often used in meditation and yoga and interestingly, many yoga experts rank pranayama as even more important than asanas (the postures performed in a yoga session). In yogic tradition, breath is said to carry a person’s life force. Interestingly, scientific studies back this assertion to the extent that pranayamic breathing is able to boost brain function and change the actual structure of the brain. In recent studies, pranayamic breathing has been found to lower or stabilize blood pressure, lower stress, and reduce anxiety and depression.

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In order to comprehend better the Indian seers constructed the special “BOAT” – named Yoga/Meditation.

Implications of the study for aging

The researchers are excited that their findings could signal a way to prevent brain aging. They stated that if brains typically lose mass as we age, practices such as pranayamic breathing greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, thus potentially helping keep dementia and related diseases at bay. Because keeping noradrenaline levels at an optimal level can help the brain grow new connections, meditation is an ideal activity to pursue.

Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health. Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size. To make the most of the effect of breathing on focus, consider joining a yoga class or learning the essence of pranayamic breathing online or through an app like Prana Breath or Universal Breathing.