UBC Theses and Dissertations
Effects of yoga experience compared to exercise on functional connectivity in distributed brain networks Sande, Peder
Introduction: During a difficult life event, such as dealing with a chronic health condition, practicing acceptance of the difficulty alters the context in which a person views that difficulty. Acceptance of that difficulty reduces negative avoidant emotions that are key aspects of anxiety and depression. Acceptance is a central training feature of many contemplative practices, such as yoga. However, we lack a complete understanding of the underlying mechanisms that successfully train acceptance, and methods for validating their successful transfer ‘off the matt’ in order to benefit the general public in their everyday lives. Method: During rest, functional magnetic imaging was used in yoga practitioners (YP) and recreational athletes (RA) to determine how practice of these activities induces lasting functional connectivity changes. In a previous study, the right Supramarginal gyrus (rSMG) was shown to be active during emotionally eliciting video clips in YP when compared to RA (Wadden et al., 2015). We examined both whole brain resting state, independent component analysis (ICA) of the rSMG as a region of interest (ROI), and cortical thickness. Results: Whole brain resting state analysis showed YP group activated clusters of voxels in the L Preceneus and R Superior Frontal Gyrus and RA group activated clusters of voxels in the Left Frontal Pole and R MFG. The rSMG ROI formed a network with YP group activated clusters of voxels in the L Superior ii Frontal Gyrus, R Precentral Gyrus, and R Precuneus and RA group activated clusters of voxels in the R Superior Medial Gyrus, R Lingual Gyrus, and L Thalamus. Conclusions: During whole brain resting state and ROI rSMG analysis YP compared to RA showed integration with the Precuneus, a region typically implicated in the default mode network (DMN), and the LDLPFC and the rSMG, both parts of the Frontoparietal network (FPN). This greater integration within and between networks indicates a relationship between individuals who practice habitual attentional training practices and typical anticorrelated systems of attention and the narrative self.
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