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Mindful Meditation Increases Brain’s Memory, Reduces Stress in 8 Weeks, Study Says

in Thanks for the tip, YD News

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



10 comments… add one
  • “Enlarge your hippocampus in just 30 minutes a day” makes me giggle. New follower (I’m doing a YTT program at my local studio right now.) Just started meditating. Lurve it!

  • Chris

    I’m starting a meditation class tomorrow. I wish someone could take a before and after scan of my brain!

  • I hate to play devils advocate for something I believe in, but might as well.

    First off enlarging your hippocampus isn’t really a good thing, and meditation wouldn’t do that. Increasing grey matter and density is just an increase in function not size. Your brain is restructuring itself every day. You have over 300 billion neurons each with many connections to deal with.

    Meditation, like sleep, allows for a proper restructuring and function. This would very much effect the hippocampus, which has the very complex function of hormone regulation. Meditation is a life choice, like eating healthy. KEEP IT UP 🙂

  • Very interesting stuff, might have to read a bit more into mindful meditation!

  • That’s amazing that it only takes 8 weeks to destress from this kind of meditation, definitely going to give it a try 🙂

  • Haah! Bigger hippocampus marketing!! I love it. I use both meditation and yoga as cognitive regulators/enhancers. It changes everything. It all comes back to >> having an integrated brain. !!

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