You may have seen people doing yoga or meditation and asked, “Does that really work?”  

According to research, the answer is “yes.”

It appears that yoga and meditation are very beneficial for both the mind and body. Specifically, as it pertains to the use of controlled breathing.

Yoga and meditation, in general, can be very helpful when it comes to coping with stress and even when dealing with cognitive issues related to aging. In fact, 25 minutes of yoga or meditation is all that is needed to see results.

In one study, researchers from Ireland studied how controlled breathing, and an important part of meditation and yoga, could help the brain. They discovered that controlled breathing has an impact on noradrenaline. This is a neurotransmitter and a stress hormone. It causes your heart rate to go up and pupil dilation when you become stressed. If you become stressed, your brain makes too much noradrenaline. In turn, you have trouble focusing.

However, there is what’s considered an ideal balance of noradrenaline. In the right amount, it actually has a benefit for thinking and processing, memory, and our emotions. It also helps with creating new connections between the cells in your brain. The researchers examined the locus coeruleus of the brain.  

Breathing and Attention

The researchers found that when participants in the study used focused breathing there was increased activity in the locus coeruleus. They did this by measuring pupil dilation and examining neuroimaging while participants completed tasks that needed a lot of focus. They also looked at breathing rates too. Those who had better focus had a connection between breathing and attention.

Thus, it’s possible that by using focused breathing you could improve our attention. This research could be helpful for those who struggle with maintaining focus, such as those diagnosed with ADHD.

Want to learn more about how controlled breathing can help you? Read the full post here:  Why Mindful Breathing Keeps Your Brain Healthy and Young.