Dynamic change of awareness during mind-body techniques: Neural and physiological correlates

Ravinder Jerath, Vernon A. Barnes, David Dillard-Wright, Shivani Jerath, Brittany Markwalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neurological and physiological study of consciousness presents one of the greatest challenges today. This article presents a description of the psychophysiological changes that take place through the practice of mind-body techniques based on empirical research. Neural correlates of expanding awareness during the mind-body response are described as the autonomic nervous system shifts from a sympathetic dominant to a parasympathetic dominant state. The aim of this article is to visually define expansion of awareness during the practice of mind-body techniques such as mindfulness meditation and link it to the Default Mode Network (DMN). Synchronization of the cardiac and respiratory center response during meditation leads to an increase in parasympathetic activity, inhibition of the limbic system, and decrease in activation of the DMN is associated with an increase in cortical functional connectivity. This dynamic modulation of the DMN can be applied to study neural correlates of cognition and consciousness. The article presents a review of current research to illustrate the neural correlates and plasticity of the brain to accommodate such changes in consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberAPRIL 2012
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 2012

Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Consciousness
  • Default Mode Network
  • Endogenous space
  • Meditation
  • Neuroimaging
  • Pranayama

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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