Controlling Hubs Of The Brain
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Yoga for Complete Relaxation - Yoga Nidra.

The various physiological parameters of yoga nidra have been under scientific scrutiny for a long time. In many scientific experiments various aspects of yoga nidra have been highlighted and a lot of pycho-physological features are recognized and studied. Through brain mapping and other techniques it has been proven that the electrical rhythms of brain change during yoga nidra. Also the heart rate decreases and systolic and diastolic blood pressures reduce. The levels of the stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol from the adrenal glands also called the stress hormones change. Also as evident from the galvanic skin resistance (GSR) technique there is decreased activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The psychological tests have revealed reduced neuroticism indices, enhanced concentration capacity and higher levels of mental and physical wellbeing. The increased capacity of the psycho-physiological healing processes of the body is the major point of interest to the scientific community. We shall now see some of the controlling hubs of the brain to understand their role in the process of yoga nidra.

The Hypothalamus:

The hypothalamus is a small area in the lower anterior part of the brain. Physiologically it is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, which is the physiological balance of the fluid content of the body. The vital roles the hypothalamus plays in the psychological system is to integrate the psychosomatic and somatopsychic functions. The hypothalamus receives inputs from the external environment through the sensory or motor areas of the cerebral cortex of the brain. It also receives inputs for its psychic dimension from the other areas of the brain which are known as the silent areas of the brain. The environmental and intrapsychic stimuli that pass through the hypothalamus produce mental and emotional reactions which trigger the autonomic and hormonal responses in all the physiological systems in the human body. The hypothalamus also is a part of the reticular activating system (RAS) which is the part of the brain stem that is responsible for patterns of sleep, arousal and wakefulness. The changes in patterns of sleep during yoga nidra are visible by the studies of the hypothalamus.

The Pitutiary Gland:

The pitutiary gland is a small bi-lobed central outgrowth from the under surface of the brain. It hangs suspended below the hypothalamus by the infundibular stalk. Till the age of eight years the pitutiary gland is under the governance of the pineal gland but after that it assumes the role of the master gland of the body. It controls the entire endocrinal system. The level of mental and emotional activity in the hypothalamus affects the behaviour of pitutiary gland also. The posterior lobe of pitutiary gland receives vital neurosecretions from the hypothalamus through the infundibular stalk. Then it responds by secreting its hormones directly into the blood stream. The pitutiary gland secretes about twenty vital hormones. They are responsible for harmonious functioning of the emotional and instinctive behaviours of the body. These include completely abstract feelings like ideals, wishes, aspirations and desires. These extremely potent neuro-hormones, also known as the releasing factors, travel through the blood stream to other endocrinal glands and control their functioning.

Pitutiary Growth Hormone (GH) controls the physical growth and development of the body. Thyroid Releasing Factor (TRF) is responsible for the metabolic rates of the body. Gonadotrophic Hormones are responsible for sexual and reproductive responses. Prolactin controls childbearing and suckling behaviour. Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH) affects our reactions and responses to the changes in the situations around us. The endorphins and encephalins are involved in the psychic integration of painful perceptions, memories and experiences.

The pitutiary hormones control every aspect of life in the physical self. Kundalini yoga recognizes the functions of pitutiary as controlled by the pineal gland. This is the centre of ajna chakra in the ethereal system. Yoga nidra tremendously benefits the people suffering from endocrinal disorders especially related to the pitutiary gland because yoga nidra is one of the most powerful methods of awakening the ajna chakra and the psychic aspects of the pitutiary gland.

The Command Centre:

Kundalini yoga recognizes the ajna chakra to be the most vital psychic centre of the ethereal system underlying below the physical system. The Sanskrit word ajna means to command. Ajna chakra is also called the command centre or the guru chakra. It integrates all the areas of the mental and the physical actions that are happening all together in a human being.

In the ethereal system the ajna chakra is situated at the top of the spinal chord directly in line with the centre of the eyebrows. In meditation practices with intense concentration and in yoga nidra through the visualization practices this chakra is awakened. This is also called the awakening of the third eye which normally remains closed in human beings. This awakening makes a person very aware and extremely intuitive. He develops great vision, purpose and sense of direction which propels him constantly towards his goal. In yoga nidra this awakening is known as the awakening of the inner guru.

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