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Yoga and the Neuroscience of self

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BENGALURU: “If a person practices yoga or Buddhist meditation, they can differentiate between optical illusions and reality,” said Dr Naren P Rao Associate Professor of Psychiatry of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) at Teri on January 12, 2017.

Dr Naren P Rao, spoke about “Yoga and the Neuroscience of self”, and said that clinical science can bridge the gap between philosophy and neuroscience. He also spoke about the path where the self lies in the brain.  Can neuroscience answer philosophical questions? And this is a question that neuroscience has to address.


Dr Naren P Rao                                                                                                                     RESHMA

When patients of schizophrenia practice yoga there is an improvement in social cognition and the oxytocin often known as the love hormone is said to increase in level. This in turn increases socialization, bonding and social cognition. It also improves self-reflection. After addressing schizophrenia, he spoke about children with autism who have a problem with social cognition and how yoga improved their imitation skills.

 When asked if yoga can cure diseases without the need of medicines, Dr Naren Rao answered, “As of now we do not have evidence to say that yoga is the only treatment that can cure diseases. We tried to check the recovery rates with yoga and without yoga. And patients who practiced yoga, their attention and concentration improved and the quality of life became better.”

He also opined that yoga may improve social cognition and it may also improve self cognition. Hence, yoga may improve meta-cognition (a combination of both).



  1. B Gourley says:

    That was an interesting talk.

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