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.
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Upcoming at TWU
This episode is sponsored by our upcoming Day on Changing Consciousness, taking place at the University of Greenwich on 26th June, 2022.
This will be The Weekend University’s first ‘in person’ event in over two years, and it’s shaping up to be a special occasion. The lectures will focus on consciousness paradigms that go beyond the brain, how they work, why they matter, and how understanding them can enhance your everyday experience of reality, with talks on:
–> Panpsychism: Is Everything Conscious? – Dr Philip Goff, PhD
–> From Ego-Centric to Eco-Centric: Changing Consciousness through Psychedelics – Dr Sam Gandy, PhD
–> Is Reality an Illusion? – Professor Donald Hoffman, PhD (via live video link)
By attending live, you can interact with the speakers in the Q&A sessions, connect with like-minded participants during the conference, and get CPD certification.
Should you be unable to attend in person, you’ll also be able to tune in from the comfort of home with a “Livestream Pass”.
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