Impact of Yoga on Psychophysiological Changes

Research project proposal

Cognitive Evolution by Psychophysiological Methods in Practice of Yoga and Meditation: Computational Approach

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Introduction:

This study suggests about Psychophysiological changes generated in human body due to the effect of yoga and meditation. Yoga is a commonly known generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India. Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind and/or induces a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit, although it can be argued meditation is a goal in and of itself.

Cognitive evolution may be defined as the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement or augmentation of internal or external information processing systems. As cognitive neuroscience has advanced the range of potential internal Evolution treatments have increased, as well as the availability and power of external hardware/software support.

There are various physiological (Biomedical) signals like EEG, ECG; GSR etc. are used in various studies for cognitive evolution.

Meditation:

By simple definition, meditation is engagement in contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature. To elaborate further, meditation is an attempt to concentrate mind on a single form or an idea or an aspect of divinity at the exclusion of all other forms, thoughts, and ideas. The mind is focused inwards, and this effort of concentration acts as a stimulus to gain access to knowledge of object of meditation. The aspirant makes an attempt to minimize perceptions through senses – inputs through special senses like touch, sight, hearing, etc. by detaching mind from sense organs in the brain. This helps in controlling restlessness of mind, in favor of inner contemplation.

Meditation enhances skills important in academic education, e.g. concentration, cognitive flexibility, attention, as well as skills important for life, e.g. emotional and social intelligence, empathy, self-awareness. Meditation also showed significant decrease in stress and increase in compassion. (Shapiro, Brown, Biegel, 2007). Meditation shows tremendous effect in health care (Ong, Shapiro, & Manber, 2008; Shapiro, Brown, & Biegel, 2007; Shapiro,et al., 2005; Shapiro, et al., 2003; Shapiro, et al., 2001).

Brain Waves and Electroencephalogram Techniques:

The brain is the most complex part of the human body. This three pound organ is the seat of intelligence, interpreter of the senses, initiator of body movement, and controller of behavior.

EEG is defined as electroencephalogram and most useful technique to investigate different cognitive parametric variations in terms of EEG parameters. It is a medical imaging practice that monitors the activity of the brain from the electrodes placed on the scalp. On the whole, EEG is characterized as a neurological examination that uses an electronic monitoring device to measure and keep track of the electrical activities in the brain. In view of technology, EEG can be recorded from different regions and channels of brain cortex. Four specific areas of the cortex, called lobes, are responsible for different tasks-

The frontal lobe is responsible for initiating and coordinating motor movements and higher cognitive skills, such as problem solving and thinking.
The parietal lobe processes sensory information from the whole body–for example, information about pain, touch, and pressure.
The occipital lobe processes visual information coming into the brain.
The temporal lobe is in charge of making sense of the auditory information from the environment.

The EEG signals are characterized in different bands for easy analysis and manipulation of statistical and computational approaches-

Alpha Rhythms: When people are awake, primary sensory or motor cortical areas often display 8-13 Hz EEG activity when they are engaged in processing sensory input or producing motor output.

Beta Rhythms: Beta rhythms are associated with Alpha rhythms. Beta rhythms are between 18-26 Hz and some Beta rhythms are harmonics of Alpha rhythms.

Delta and Theta Rhythms: Delta rhythm occupies a bandwidth of 0.5 – 4 Hz and Theta rhythms occupy a bandwidth of 4-8 Hz. These rhythms basically reflect the EEG activity in sleeping infants and adults respectively.

Gamma Rhythms: Normally Gamma rhythms are occupies 30 Hz+ values and extensively used to measure consciousness.

Hypothesis:

The important changes related to EEG signal over meditation are-

Increased amplitude of alpha activity
Slower frequency of alpha rhythm
Rhythmical theta waves
Increased synchronization (hypersynchronization)
Dissociation of perception from the external sense organs
Transcendent signal
Occasional fast wave activity

Objectives:

To develop an EEG computational theory on meditation using recent and ancient technologies (Wired and Wireless Device).
To propagate the traditional knowledge of meditation and yoga among the society.
To provide other effects of mediation on health of human beings and to develop healthcare system dedicated to meditational effects.
To propagate awareness among researchers and society in order to generate and improve employment in the field of meditation and yoga.

Methodology:

SN

Task

Time allotment

Remark

1

Background Survey Phase

2

Data Acquisition Phase

3

Data Analysis Phase

4

Result Validation

5

Evaluation of Project

There are two methods can be utilized to perform the tasks

Direct effect of meditation: In this case a definite length of EEG data is recorded in different situations as per research protocol (such as before, during and after meditation) and analyzed to compare.
Meditation as an intervention to measure other cognitive parameters: In this case a definite length of EEG is recorded during neurophysiologic cognitive tests (for example to test the working memory, learning capacity, stress, mental workload etc.) before and after meditation, through this method we are able to investigate the cognitive changes in terms of technical parameters (root mean square value, power spectral density, frequency weighted energy, energy of signal etc.) of EEG waves.

The phase wise illustration is-

Background Survey Phase: In survey phase we will cover some aspects of mediation and studies on learners and expert mediators. Also we will cover the computational methods to apply effectiveness and accuracy.
Data Acquisition Phase: Meanwhile with the help of the available team, the EEG data will be acquired from meditators as per decided by the research protocol by means of a wireless and comfortable EEG device to increase the validity.
Data Analysis Phase: In this phase the acquired data is subjected to analysis on different EEG parameters such as energy, root mean square value, power etc. Also we will develop some dedicated computational theories with the help of researchers using different softwares C/C++, MATLAB, Octave etc.
Result Validation Phase: This will be a serious exercise to validate the effect of mediation on brain waves and health.
Evaluation of Project: This is a most important part as it will be based on the various inputs, feedbacks from the meditators and technical outputs. This will includes the realistic evaluation of the overall practice, removal of some errors as based on queries and finally handing over to the funding agency.

Deliverables:

Dedicated system and methods development.
Dedicated computational theory for meditation.
Social awareness towards meditation.

Future scope:

The developed computational theory can be surely utilized to develop a dedicated system development for meditation and yoga.

Benefits for the Society:

The objective of the project is to develop new scientific validation about the benefits of yoga and meditation by analyzing the various cognitive parameters. The developed results will be used to propagate the said benefits of yoga and meditations in the society for awareness and strengthening the people for performing yoga.

The outcome of the project may be used by the doctors who are treating their patients for mental disorders, psychological disorders, neural disorders etc. The developed results may be further utilized for optimizing the performance of the employees of public, corporate and government sector by treating the work stress and workload situations.

Implementation and testing:

The detailed phase-wise implementation of the project has been given in the methodology section. The testing will be carried out on our all stakeholders including students, faculty and other members of the organization with prior permission.

Budget:

A detailed overview:

SN

Name of Resource

Description

Cost

Total Cost

1

Software Cost

MATLAB Licensed

MS Office Licensed

Cognitive Test Battery Licensed

2

Hardware

Wireless EEG Headset (Emotive or B-Alert X-10)

3 Laptops, 1 Desktop

Printer/Copier

3

Human resource

4

Institutional Overhead

10% of total budget

5

Contingency

Total 20 %

6

Travel expenses

7

Consumable

8

Data collection Charges

9

Consultation fees

Total expenses:

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