Written by Manoj Dash,BHMS,DYT,Ph.D.

Perception is sensation with added complexity due to factors such as memories and emotions. Yoga practice influences perception in three ways: (1) by increasing perceptual sensitivity, (2) by selectively `shutting out’ undesirable stimuli, and (3) by changing distorted perception, which occurs in schizophrenia. Practicing yoga improved auditory and visual perception, by increasing sensitivity to various characteristics ofrepparttar stimuli (e.g., intensity, frequency). Also, electrophysiological studies using evoked potentials have shown that during yoga practicerepparttar 126115 transmission of sensory information is facilitated. These studies suggest several applications of yoga practice, in activities ranging from aviation to art. Interestingly, other studies suggest that yoga practice can also help to `shut off’ undesirable external stimuli, which is possibly due to cortical feedback connections torepparttar 126116 sensory pathway. It is also possible that through changes in cognitive factors yoga influences perception, so that even thoughrepparttar 126117 stimulus is `sensed’ it is not disturbing. This concept has been studied using yoga to help persons with chronic pain to willfully ignore it. Finally, preliminary studies have shown that yoga practice may modify distorted perception in conditions such as schizophrenia. Hence, there is sufficient research to supportrepparttar 126118 idea that yoga practice influences perception in different ways, with varied applications. Perception isrepparttar 126119 process of interpretation, organization, and elaboratingrepparttar 126120 `raw materials’ of sensation (1). Sensation involves sensory receptors and pathways, whereas perception is a cognitive process. The actual perception of a sensation depends on factors such as what has been learned, memories, and emotions. It is also important to remember that while perception usually refers to sensory stimuli, this definition can be extended to includerepparttar 126121 perception of situations. Recordings of middle latency auditory evoked potentials (AEP-MLRs) have shown thatrepparttar 126122 practice of ujjayi pranayama modifiesrepparttar 126123 AEP-MLRs components in two ways. A specific component (the Na wave) has reduced latency and increased amplitude during pranayama practice (2). These results suggest that this practice facilitatesrepparttar 126124 processing of auditory information at mesencephalic and diencephalic levels. A similar result was also seen duringrepparttar 126125 practice of meditation onrepparttar 126126 syllable Om (3), where subjects who had more than ten years of meditation experience, showed an increase inrepparttar 126127 Na wave amplitude and a decrease in its’ latency while mentally repeating (Om). No such effect was seen whenrepparttar 126128 same subjects mentally repeated `one’, during a control session, for comparison. These electrophysiological data are corroborated by neuropsychological studies. Previous studies on meditation have shown significant changes in perception, attention and cognition (4). Brown and Engler in 1980 (5), reported that meditators were found to be more sensitive to subtle aspects of color and shading ofrepparttar 126129 Rorschach test inkblots, than they had been before meditation. Two studies onrepparttar 126130 Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency have shown that perceptual sensitivity is not restricted to subtle aspects ofrepparttar 126131 stimulus alone, as detection of a high frequency flickering stimulus was found to improve following yoga training (6,7). A study onrepparttar 126132 degree of a visual geometric illusion, based on Müller-Lyer lines showed that a combination of focusing and defocusing yoga visual exercises reduces optical illusion more than focusing alone (8). These studies were conducted on adult subjects with varying durations of yoga training. It was reported in a recent study on Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency and optical illusion on children who practiced yoga for a shorter duration of 10 days that there was also a significant improvement followingrepparttar 126133 practice of yoga (9). To perceive an optical illusion with minimal error and for accurate depth perceptionrepparttar 126134 spatial component of visual perception is necessary (10). The decrease inrepparttar 126135 degree of optical illusion perceived over a short period would be mainly due to cognitive judgmental factors, but not retinal or cortical factors as generally understood (11). The cognitive judgmental factors involverepparttar 126136 way in whichrepparttar 126137 subject interprets incoming visual information based on experience, hypothesis and strategies of judgment. Hencerepparttar 126138 training through yoga to focus and defocus might have influencedrepparttar 126139 cognitive judgmental factors ofrepparttar 126140 subjects, to significantly reducerepparttar 126141 degree of optical illusion perceived. Critical flicker fusion frequency (CFF), onrepparttar 126142 other hand, assessesrepparttar 126143 temporal component of perception of a visual stimulus (12). The increase in CFF following yoga could be attributed torepparttar 126144 effects of yoga reducing physiological signs of stress, as CFF was found to be lower during specific stressors, such as food and water deprivation (13). This showed that both spatial and temporal components of visual perception are modified following yoga practices.

9 Ways to Nurture Your Emotional Health

Written by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

I think we need to break Chinese medicine's wisdom down into bite-sized, practical pieces. Though I think they are rather cliché and simplistic,repparttar popular magazine style, "5 Tips to Make Your Life Perfect in 5 Minutes Without Lifting a Finger!" piquesrepparttar 126114 curiosity, and gets in our heads. If we can pick up one useful thing, we've learned and can live better. Onrepparttar 126115 other hand, it does no good to overwhelm people with something they can't digest or use.

Nine Ways to Nurture Your Emotional Well Being

This list is based on Chinese medicine advice forrepparttar 126116 emotions throughrepparttar 126117 centuries. The how-to's and benefits are mostly my ideas. The daily blueprint comes fromrepparttar 126118 book, "The Power of Focus". You can find other self-examination and spiritual tools in a wide range of books.

1. Be Grateful: Recognize what you've achieved, and enjoy it. Once you've reached a goal, celebrate. Otherwise you get stuck inrepparttar 126119 'never enough' trap.

How: Make a weekly list ofrepparttar 126120 things in your life for which you are grateful. Review both new and perpetual reasons for gratitude.

Benefit: You can't be grateful and hateful atrepparttar 126121 same time, sorepparttar 126122 more grateful you are,repparttar 126123 happier you'll be.

2. Choose Achievable Goals: Avoid overly ambitious goals, because foiled plans lead to frustration, with-drawal, and depression.

How: Review your plans and dreams, and then break them down into subtasks you can definitely finish (this is called a critical path). Set realistic dates for each task. If you run into an impasse, then reassess your path, or your goal.

Benefit: You'll achieve more, and feel more capable and successful.

3. Live Moderately: Work and live moderately. Balance means not overworking and not being lazy.

How: Make a blueprint for each day that allocates specific times for action, learning, exercise, review, relaxation, and family. Seerepparttar 126124 book, The Power of Focus.

Benefit: Stay well and avoidrepparttar 126125 diseases that come from overwork. Feel fulfilled and avoid guilt, which drains your energy. Sharpen your saw. Improve your effectiveness and understanding. Feel satis-fied you're available to loved ones.

4. Be Regular: Keep a consistent routine in work, meals, exercise, and rest. Regularity is easier on your nervous system, so your body will know what to expect.

How: Userepparttar 126126 daily blueprint tool from #3.

Benefit: You experience less stress and have more vitality.

5. Eat and Sleep Sensibly: Quality sleep and a normal appetite arerepparttar 126127 best signs of health, and everything else depends on them. If you want to get or stay well, take care of these two aspects of your health.

How: Seerepparttar 126128 healthful eating tips in chapter 33 andrepparttar 126129 sleep tips in chapter 56.

Benefit: Natural, deep sleep renews and refreshes your mind and heals your body. Proper eating and digestion optimize your immune system and prev-ent sickness.

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