Researchers are telling us more about the mind/body connection and how you can put it to work with yoga and meditation.
It’s really ‘mind bending’ research.
Harvard Medical School neuroscientist and psychologist, Sara Lazar demonstrated that “Regular yoga and meditation increases cortical thickness in as little as eight weeks.”
Lazar studied spots affected in the brain saying, “With meditation, the hippocampus is particularly affected, which matched up with reports of decreased stress; parts of the insular cortex are involved in sensory awareness, and parts of the prefrontal cortex are associated with attention control and self-judgment. Just a few short weeks of experience correlated with increased feelings of happiness, well being and composure.”
So what happens on that yoga mat?
The meditative yoga pose is shown here, inviting you to follow Professor Lazar’s lead and let meditation and yoga help you decrease stress, become more aware of your world, and achieve greater attention control and self judgment.
Here you can learn to meditate and breathe deeply letting oxygen flow through your body. You will experience a gentle stretching of the body that brings fluidness and ease of movement. Your muscles will grow stronger with weight-supporting poses.
Students of all ages say, “Yoga puts me back in touch with my body. The minute I drop onto that Yoga mat I am at peace with the world. For an hour the world just drops away.”
There are many kinds of yoga and a tour of a local yoga studio, a review of community classes, or a visit to your local gym can get you started. If the yoga mat is already a favorite spot you can just keep refining your choices. There are many versions to sample and you should keep looking until you find the one that fits.
Arizona Foothill magazine describes a few of the many yoga options: “Slow and gentle Hatha yoga offers an easy pace. Chakra-freeing Kundalini yoga releases energy inside. Vigorous Vinyasa yoga warms you up for intense stretching. Prop-using lyengar yoga helps align your body correctly. Hot Bikram yoga makes it easier to move and stretch. “
So what’s the bottom line here? We see mental stress takes us in the wrong direction, harming physical health. And we know physical exercise can often bring us back with peace of mind. Do you see possibilities here? Picture a life of muscled strength, easy centeredness, and keen mental awareness all working together. As always, If you have health issues, check with your doctor first, just as you should for any new exercise routine. And of course, begin slowly!
Image Credit: http://bleepitsoftly.blogspot.com/2012/06/still-on-yoga.html