Another instance of You Know How We Know Yoga’s Cool?: A study says it AND it’s featured on Gawker! Right? The study is specific to meditation, but naturally, we’ll consider this a boon to yoga as well.
A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital just released results from an 8-week study on the effects of mindful meditation. Turns out, a regular practice produces “measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.” Huzzah!
A group of 16 participants had pre-meditation MRI’s of stressed out pre-meditation brain. During the course of 8 weeks they practiced about 30 minutes a day of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, focusing on “nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.” They were also provided audio recordings for guided meditation practice at home and asked to record the amount of time they spent each day. Post-meditation MRI’s were positivity pie.
The analysis of MR images…found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.
None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.
Love it! Maybe these hyped up yoga marketing messages should be brainier? Enlarge Your Hippocampus In Just 30 Minutes a Day! Has an interesting ring to it.
Related: Start small…Do Nothing For Two Minutes
- Your Brain on Yoga: New Studies in Neuroscience Show Meditation Positively Changes Your Brain
- Are You Happy? Don’t Worry, Be Present! New Study Says