Pranayama is a set of techniques for controlling the breath, and a new randomized controlled trial from Brazilian doctors showed that this yoga breathwork led to significantly decreased anxiety and negative affect. It’s the first study to show how it impacts the brain: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they found that Pranayama exercises led to changes in areas of the brain implicated in emotional regulation, including the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.

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