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Meditation 101: The Neuroscience of Why Meditation Works 

Meditation 101: The Neuroscience of Why Meditation Works 
As yogis have known for centuries and scientists can now prove, the benefits of meditation are profound. Meditation is perhaps the most crucial instrument to harness the power of thought, cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness. Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating a peak performance in any endeavor. Long-time psychotherapist Dr. There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take. 5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. How to Meditate: A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Watch your breath. Silently repeat the mantra: "Breathing In. Consistency is key.

Related:  Neuroscience & the Benefits of Meditationmeditationmeditation

A Neuroscientist Explains How Meditation Changes Your Brain Do you struggle, like me, with monkey-mind? Is your brain also a little unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, or uncontrollable? That’s the definition of “monkey mind” I’ve been given! If you need more motivation to take up this transformative practice, neuroscience research has shown that meditation and mindfulness training can cause neuroplastic changes to the gray matter of your brain. A group of Harvard neuroscientists interested in mindfulness meditation have reported that brain structures change after only eight weeks of meditation practice. Sara Lazar, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, said in a press release, “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.” Britta Hölzel, the lead author on the paper says, Sarah Lazar also noted,

Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation (Dec. 4 Dec. 4, 2013 With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. Richard J. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. The results show a down-regulation of genes that have been implicated in inflammation.

Greater Happiness in 5 Minutes a Day Might be that sitting with your legs crossed repeating stuff like “May all beings be free from suffering,” is a little too far-out for you. I’m a scientist for crying out loud, so you can imagine how I might feel meditating while surrounded by prominent neuroscientists, which I once did on a seven day silent meditation retreat. Except that I actually didn’t feel silly. Why? Because research demonstrates the incredible power of loving-kindness meditation. Here’s How to Do It The general idea is to sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and imagine what you wish for your life. May I be healthy and strong. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. In this 3-minute video, Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job, teaches how to do this. Here’s What You Get When You Send Love Loving-kindness meditation does far more than produce momentary good feelings. Over a nine week period, research showed that this type of meditation increased people’s experiences of positive emotions. Photo courtesy of D.

What Tibetan Buddhism Can Teach Us About Happiness One of the most geographically isolated cultures in the world may contain the secrets to happiness that the rest of us have been looking for. Perhaps in part because of the country's remote location, the Tibetans have become the guardians of a deep, well-preserved wisdom tradition that modern science is only now catching up to. But with the "mindful revolution" spreading in the West and a growing amount of research funding being dedicated to the study of contemplative practices and the science of compassion and altruism, the secrets of this ancient tradition are finally being recognized globally. "Tibet has probably the greatest treasure trove of ancient contemplative knowledge, science and wisdom about how to influence the mind from the inside out," Joe Loizzo, founder of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, told The Huffington Post. "The Tibetans have an unbroken lineage of oral knowledge and technical expertise ... both in medicine and in psychology."

Meditation and Neuroplasticity: Five key articles | Meditation Research Meditation not only changes our mind but also our brain – this is what more and more neuroscientific research suggests. Neuroplasticity – the change of brain structures as a result of experience – is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of neuroscience. Over the last 10 years evidence has been growing that not only the acquisition of navigational knowledge by London Taxi drivers (see video) or learning a new motor task like juggling (see article), but also meditation practice can lead to significant changes to brain structures. Here I respond to a recent request and list five key articles on that topic. Article 1: Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness To my knowledge this is the first study showing differences in brain structure between meditators and non-meditators. Lazar, S. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000186598.66243.19 Article 2: Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem Luders, E., Toga, A.

How meditation might ward off the effects of ageing High in the mountains of northern Colorado, a 100-foot tall tower reaches up through the pinetops. Brightly coloured and strung with garlands, its ornate gold leaf glints in the sun. With a shape that symbolises a giant seated Buddha, this lofty stupa is intended to inspire those on the path to enlightenment. Visitors here to the Shambhala Mountain Centre meditate in silence for up to 10 hours every day, emulating the lifestyle that monks have chosen for centuries in mountain refuges from India to Japan. After several years of number-crunching, data from the so-called Shamatha project is finally starting to be published. It's the kind of claim more often associated with pseudoscience. But a new generation of brain-imaging studies and robust clinical trials is helping to change that. "You pay attention to your own breath," explains Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist who studies the effects of meditation at Massachusetts general hospital in Boston. It's not just an abstract concept.

Mindfulness Meditation: 8 Quick Exercises That Easily Fit into Your Day You can fit these mindfulness exercises into your life while walking, brushing your teeth and just listening. Although mindfulness meditation is all the rage nowadays, most people have little time for formal practice. That’s a pity since studies have found mindfulness meditation has many benefits, including reducing depression and pain, accelerating cognition, increasing creativity, debiasing the mind and much more. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add a little mindfulness meditation to your day without formal practice, then these mindfulness exercises are for you. They mindfulness exercises can mostly be slotted in while you go about your everyday business, without the need for a formal sit-down meditation session. 1. If you do any period of undisturbed walking during the day — at least ten or fifteen minutes — then you can do a little walking mindfulness meditation. It’ll be easiest if done somewhere with fewer distractions, but try it anywhere and see what happens. 2. 3. 4.

Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate? - Amanda Machado Each year, meditation becomes more of a trend. Celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Goldie Hawn, businessmen like Bill George of Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil, and News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, have publicly discussed practicing it. Techies and others in the corporate world have begun using mindfulness, a type of meditation, to combat the stress and overstimulation of their jobs. Even the Marines have used it to “improve mental performance under the stress and strain from war.” At the same time, more and more studies are showing direct links between meditation and health benefits. Schools have also begun experimenting with the practice and discovering that its techniques can help its students. These results did not surprise me. Meanwhile, my students seemed just as anxious as I was. Months after leaving the profession (partially due to its stress), I attended a ten-day beginner meditation retreat. “I had an experience in that very first class,” Ghannam said.

Expanded Consciousness: The Six Phase Guided Meditation Part of our #PurposeFairyMeditation – Saturday, here is your Six Phase Guided Meditation by the wonderful Vishen Lakhiani. This is by far one of the most beautiful and most powerful meditations ever. I did a 30 day challenge once with this meditation. That’s how much I love it Remember to first, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the next 16 minutes. P.S. 1. With all my love, Like this post?

untitled The 5 R’s of Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness into everyday life Studies show the practice of mindfulness can improve your health and grow your brain! Posted on June 23, 2014 by Karen Pace, Michigan State University Extension Use the Five R’s of Mindfulness to remember and practice mindfulness in your everyday life. Research shows the benefits of social and emotional learning for both youth and adults. One way for children, youth and adults to develop self-awareness and the ability to cope with and navigate feelings of stress is through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness educator, Chris Frasz of northern Michigan, recently presented a session for health educators at a Michigan State University Extension conference. Recognize: Be aware of yourself. Relax: Explore ways to slow down, connect with your breath and relax your mind and body. Review: Gently review your options and ways that you might respond to a difficult situation. A growing body of research shows the benefits of mindfulness to our physical, mental and emotional lives.

Research Shows Meditation Curbed PTSD In African Refugees Here's even more proof that mindfulness really can make a difference -- and in this specific case, among African war refugees. Col. Brian Rees, a physician with the Veterans Administration, joined HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss research showing the effects of transcendental meditation on 42 Congolese refugees living in or near Kampala, Uganda. The refugees' stress and PTSD symptoms were assessed using the PCL checklist, a method for discerning the impact of high-pressure life events. The lowest possible score is 17 while the highest is 85 (indicating the most stress). Among the refugees who were taught to meditate, the improvement was incredible: 90 percent of them saw improvement in their symptoms, and by the end of the study, a total of 95 percent of the refugees who were meditating had become non-symptomatic of PTSD. Find out more about the amazing effects of meditation on African refugees in the full HuffPost Live conversation below.

Think That Meditation Is A Waste Of Time? Watch This! Meditation has quickly become one of the most talked about and used conscious practices in the modern world. Various religious leaders, spiritual gurus, professional athletes, celebrity figures and probably a number of your family and/or friends all swear by it to being a key part in their lives. As a person who practices meditation somewhat regularly, I can personally understand not only its benefit but also why it continues to grow and be adopted by more and more people worldwide. Despite its continued growth and popularity, meditation -like so many other practices -is not without ridicule, as a large portion of the world’s population are still happy to classify it as pseudoscientific, or a waste of time. The other element that the video offers, that I particularly enjoy, is a reminder about the many misconceptions that surround what meditation should entail for it to be legitimate -misconceptions that I believe play a big part in turning a lot of people away from trying it out.