Science and meditation: integrating a first-person experience into the scientific process

December 31, 2015
wildmind meditation news
The Enlightened Brain: The Neuroscience of Awakening, by Rick Hanson (7 CDs)
Marjorie Woollacott, Huffington Post: As a long time meditator and neuroscientist, my interest in the effect of meditation on brain function is both personal and professional. The benefits meditation has brought to my life mirror first-person accounts of other meditation practitioners–basically, a sense of greater peace and more joy.

In addition to being even-minded in the midst of life’s challenges, many meditators describe having experiences that might be called mystical–and not just in the state of meditation but also after their session of meditation has ended. Some individuals say that their …

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Optimizing your brain for happiness and effectiveness

December 23, 2015

Buddha portrait isolated on white

A huge amount of research over the last few years has shown more clearly what happens in the brain when we meditate, and how meditation benefits us. Meditation, for example,

  • Helps to slow down aging of the brain
  • Increases thickness in parts of the brain to do with memory and learning
  • Reduces mind-wandering and unhappiness
  • Increases the thickness of parts of the brain connected with emotional regulation
  • Improves concentration
  • Reduces our susceptibility to anxiety and depression
  • Helps us tolerate pain
  • Reduces feelings of isolation

It may seem rather staggering that one activity, or collection of related activities, can lead to such a varied range of benefits. It is clear in fact that meditation has not … Read more »

How meditation can reshape our brains

November 11, 2015

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Sara’s team at Harvard University uses neuroimaging techniques to study neurological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. They also incorporate measures of peripheral physiology (breathing, heart beat) in order to understand how meditation practice influences the brain-body interaction.

Science shows what meditation really does to your brain

wildmind meditation newsJon Levine, Science.Mic: Meditation, according to its spiritual gurus, is a universal panacea. Enthusiasts have long preached its benefits, which include its ability to lower anxiety, improve concentration, help treat those with HIV and even extend one’s life expectancy.

While it’s undeniable meditation contributes to a sense of inner piece, its physiological benefits remain less certain. That is, until a team of researchers confirmed them. What they uncovered is more than surprising.

“We found several brain regions that had changed,” Sara Lazar, an associate research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Mic. Lazar conducted a major study on meditation in 2011 and was one …

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Meditation optimizes adaptive behavior

wildmind meditation newsNews-Medical: Certain meditation techniques can promote behavior to vary adaptively from moment to moment depending on current goals, rather than remaining rigid and inflexible. This is the outcome of a study by Lorenza Colzato and Iliana Samara from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition at Leiden University, published in Consciousness and Cognition.

Different meditation types, different effects

Colzato and her fellow researchers were the first to investigate if meditation has an immediate effect on behavior, even in people who have never meditated before. “There are two fundamental types of meditation that affect us …

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How does meditation make you smarter?

wildmind meditation newsViatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD, BrainBlogger: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t need to be told about the relaxing effects of meditation. The practitioners vouch for it; and those who don’t, do not dispute it either. Those in the Far East have known for centuries that meditating brings mental peace and spiritual bliss. Now scientists claim that meditation can even alter the brain’s chemistry and functionality.

Over the years, neuroscientists have carried out brain imaging tests on long-term practitioners of meditation, including several Tibetan …

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Science assesses benefits of mindfulness

April 3, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditations to Change Your Brain, by Rick Hanson PhD & Richard Mendius (3CDs) Gary Robbins, U-T San Diego: Researchers have an intriguing but incomplete picture of what’s going on.

Jeff Lee says he can sum up much of what’s wrong with modern society in five words: Stress, anxiety, anger, sadness and depression.

“We’ve got to get these things under control,” says Lee, co-owner of “Buddha For You,” a meditation studio and store near San Diego State University. “This is what’s really hurting people.”

Consumers agree. Over the past few years, classes have steadily grown bigger at “Buddha,” just as …

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Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the relevance of science as a tool for meditators

March 27, 2015

News iconThe Enlightened Brain: The Neuroscience of Awakening, by Rick Hanson (7 CDs) Tricycle Magazine: Born in Nepal in 1975, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is the youngest son of the eminent meditation master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and received the same kind of rigorous training associated with previous generations of Tibetan adepts. In his new book, The Joy of Living (Harmony Books), Mingyur Rinpoche recounts how he used meditation to outgrow a childhood beset by fears and extreme panic attacks. From a very young age, he also displayed a keen interest in science; he has pursued this curiosity and how it relates to Buddhist …

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Power of meditation as therapy explored in research

March 26, 2015

wildmind meditation newsTrue Meditation, by Adyashanti (3CDs) Wayne Mogielnicki, Pocono Record: When Rebecca Erwin was a varsity rower at the University of North Carolina, the coach had the team’s members take a yoga and meditation class.

It had an impact.

“My teammates and I noticed that yoga and meditation improved our flexibility and focus, but also made us feel better, not just when we were rowing but in our everyday lives,” she recalled. “I wondered if yoga and meditation really have scientific benefits, especially if they have specific effects on the brain, and if so, how that works.”

Since becoming Dr. …

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Science confirms benefits of meditation

March 25, 2015

wildmind meditation newsHow to Meditate with Pema Chödrön: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind Papiya Bhattacharya, The New Indian Express: Research at Nimhans on the benefits of yoga and meditation has found validation in an unrelated study in the US.

A Harvard study recently found that people asked to practise meditation show actual structural changes taking place in the brain.

These changes are responsible for calmer emotions, better memory, and lower stress. It is the first study to actually document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter.

People who participated in an …

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