Volume : 3
Issue : 3
Online ISSN : 2394-2126
Print ISSN : 2394-2118
Article First Page : 297
Article End Page : 301
Background and Objectives: To investigate if integrated yoga practice affects the cognitive performance of mentally challenged persons.
Materials and Methods: Eighty clinically diagnosed mentally challenged persons aged between 12 - 25 years were randomly allotted to control and study groups. Study group practiced Pranayama (Nadishodhan and Kapalbhati), Aum chanting and Meditation for 30 minutes daily, 6 days in a week for 3 weeks. Control group carried on with their normal school routine. Cognitive Functions Tests (CFT) were performed as per the standard guidelines for the verbal comprehension, under the subcategories of picture vocabulary, verbal analogies and general information. The parameters were measured twice, first before the starting of the intervention and later at the end of the follow-up period.
Results: Both the groups were comparable in their baseline scores of CFT. At follow-up, the scores of picture vocabulary and verbal analogies subcategories were higher in both the groups but the improvement in study group was significantly higher as compared to control group. The general information subcategory showed significant improvement only in study group.
Interpretation and Conclusion: This study demonstrates the beneficial influences of pranayama and meditation on verbal comprehension which requires semantic memory and word processing. Thus we interpret that regular integrated yoga practice has positive influence on the hippocampus, medial temporal lobe and Wernicke’s area which are involved in verbal comprehension. It may further contribute in improvement of overall intelligence of mentally retarded persons.
Keywords: Nadishodhan, Kapalbhati, Aum, Pranayama, Meditation, Mental retardation, Cognitive, Comprehension