This popped up in my inbox this week from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a US organisation, part of NIH, National Institutes of Health (hence American spelling).

Yogic Breathing Affects Cerebrospinal Fluid Dynamics During Breathing Practice

It is a write up of some research done around cerebrospinal fluid movement.  CSF movement has a different rhythm during deep sleep, which is believed to correlate with removing cellular waste from the brain.  The cellular waste is linked to some dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative conditions which negatively effect the health of the brain and nervous system.

The hypothesis was that Yogic breathing may create similar changes in CSF movement.  Tentatively this was found to be the case, and whilst it is certainly precipitous to say that Yogic breathing is a preventative measure for these conditions, certainly the evidence points to Yogic breathing having a beneficial effect on brain and nervous system health.

It is likely that Yogic breathing is only part of the story in improving the health of our nervous systems, and regular practice would be needed over a period as part of a holistic approach to well-being.  As part of a bigger picture, these are, of course, positive findings and point to the benefit of a nurturing and supportive Yoga practice over a period of time.