By Atul Vyas
Research shows that stress and adversity can be transmitted through generations. Science also supports the view that adversity experienced early in life can cause heightened stress sensitivity in our brain. This can be transmitted over to the next generations and making them vulnerable to brain and gut disorders. But this negative brain programming due to early stress and trauma can be reversed partially or fully by mind-based therapies. Yoga is one of the most powerful mind-body therapies for such brain-gut disorders.
Yoga does not only affect us psychologically but has a great capacity and ability to impose cortical control over emotional and stress-generating circuits in our brains. Yoga can alter the structure and function of the brain network involved in attention, emotional arousal, and situation assessment by strengthening our brain’s prefrontal cortex. This prefrontal cortex is a very unique part of the brain as it gives us the ability to override the function of the altered brain circuits and learn new behaviors.
The Yogic therapies can actually alter the wiring of our brain, thereby helping the prefrontal cortex exert some control on the overactive emotional brain network easing brain-gut symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome.
One of the yogic approaches to controlling hypersensitive and hyper-responsive gut by activating the pre-frontal cortex is aimed through the Yoga posture called Balasana, the “Child pose”. The pose tells us to become innocent as a fetus. Practicing this pose gives us an opportunity to turn within and restore our energies.
- Sit on your heels
- Lean forward until your forehead touches the floor
- Extend your arms alongside your legs and rest your hands beside your feet, palms facing upwards
- Take at least 10 rhythmic breaths and come back to normal position
- Activates prefrontal lobes of brains as blood rushes to the brain
- Calms down the hypersensitive gut
- Relieves posterior compression in the lumbar area
- Opens lungs and is beneficial for asthma patients
- Massages the abdominal organs such as the stomach, liver, spleen, gall bladder, and intestine
- Calms the mind as it impacts the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
(The author likes to be called a “Yoga Scientist.” He is a celebrity yoga trainer and has trained several top Hollywood and Bollywood stars. He has trained for years under many eminent yoga gurus including his illustrious mother Daya Vyas, the first lady yoga guru of India.)