The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation
In the first half of this talk, I will present data demonstrating the impact of mindfulness practice on brain structure and function, and how that leads to enhanced cognitive abilities in older adults who regularly practice mindfulness meditation and yoga. I will also discuss how mindfulness can be used to help cope with pain and fear.
- Gard T , Taquet M, Dixit R, Hölzel BK, de Montjoye YA, Brach N, Salat D, Dickerson BC, Gray JR, Lazar SW. Fluid intelligence and brain functional organization in aging yoga and meditation practitioners. Front Aging Neurosci, 2014; 5:76 PMID 24795629
- Gard T, Taquet M, Dixit R, Hölzel BK, Dickerson BC, Lazar SW. Greater widespread functional connectivity of the caudate in older adults who practice kripalu yoga and vipassana meditation than in controls. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience [Internet]. 2015;9 (137).
- Greenberg J, Braun TD, Schneider ML, Finkelstein-Fox L, Conboy LA, Schifano ED, Park C, Lazar SW. Is less more? A randomized comparison of home practice in a mind-body program. Behaviour research and therapy [Internet]. 2018;111 :52-56.
- Hölzel BK , Carmody J, Vangel M, Congleton C,Yerramsetti SM, Gard T, Lazar SW. Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psych Res: Neuroimaging,2011; 191: 36-42. PMID 21071182
- de Jong M, Lazar SW, Hug K, Mehling WE, Hölzel BK, Sack AT, Peeters F, Ashih H, Mischoulon D, Gard T. Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on body awareness in patients with chronic pain and comorbid depression. Front Psychology, 2016; 7:967. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00967 PMID 27445929
About the Speaker:
Dr Sara Lazar
Sara W. Lazar, PhD is an Associate Researcher in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. The focus of her research is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation, both in clinical settings and in healthy individuals. She is a contributing author to Meditation and Psychotherapy (Guilford Press), and has been practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation since 1994. Dr Lazar’s research has been covered by numerous news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and WebMD, and her work has been featured in a display at the Boston Museum of Science.