Meditation and Your Brain

“Extensive practice involving sustained attention can lead to changes in brain structure. Here, we report evidence of structural differences in the lower brainstem of participants engaged in the long-term practice of meditation. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we observed higher gray matter density in lower brain stem regions of experienced meditators compared with age-matched nonmeditators. Our findings show that long-term practitioners of meditation have structural differences in brainstem regions concerned with cardiorespiratory control. This could account for some of the cardiorespiratory parasympathetic effects and traits, as well as the cognitive, emotional, and immunoreactive impact reported in several studies of different meditation practices.” – NeuroReport

(Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem

Peter Vestergaard-Poulsena, Martijn van Beekc, Joshua Skewesa, Carsten R. Bjarkamb, Michael Stubberupd, Jes Bertelsend

and Andreas Roepstorff)

A little bit about the brain and mediation, skimming the surface.
I find this fascinating, yet not surprising at all.

There is a growing amount of research supporting that meditation can actually change the brain.

Change? What do you mean by that?

(I would write it all here, but that would take a while and I have some very necessary studying to do)

Below is a link to an interesting article from 1984 to start you off.

The Clinical Use of Mindfulness Meditation for the Self-Regulation of Chronic Pain

Practicing mindful meditation reduces stress on the entire body, effects brain wave patterns, effective in pain management  and even presents beneficial structural changes.

that’s super cool.

Infograph: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves
Infographic authored by Synchronicity Foundation for Modern Spirituality. To view the original post, Free Infographic: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves.
I love that I am taking my yoga teacher training in the midst of a Neuroscience grad program. I love what I’m learning and it is coming at what seems the perfect timing…24 years old.
 meditationbrainwaves
I graduate from both programs on the same weekend, also a couple weeks before my 25th birthday.
I guess my gift to myself this year is doing something to help my development the best that I can before the “window of opportunity “closes (You know that window between 12-25 that people say is crucial, like if you don’t mature by then you’re going to be a weirdo for the rest of your life…right?)
Totally not true, but I used to have that fear.
The fear that I would miss out on the opportunity to become my best self.
I realize now how silly that was.
I’ve moved past that and I truly think I’m at a point where I’m enjoying the journey.
Meditation is helping me focus on the present, and in that place you have the power to always be your best self.
“And if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again” – Aaliyah
(totally applicable to my attempt at teaching Sun Salutation today lol)
Namaste,
Tavia Rahki

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