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Jan 18, 2012

Meditation Found To Increase Brain Size - By Sara W. Lazar at Harvard

TALKING POINT: Meditation Found To Increase Brain Size – Dr. Sara Lazar (Psychologist at Harvard Medical School)

What Yogi’s always knew since Vedic time (Almost 4500 Years ago), scientists are acknowledging it now. In a landmark study, Dr. Sara Lazar with team of researchers at Harvard Medical School agrees that Meditation Practice can help our brains to better cognitive and emotional processing and increase our well-being.

“Meditation, it seems, is very effective at controlling the stress response. At Harvard University, Dr Herbert Benson and Dr Sarah Lazar are trying to find out why. Using an MRI scanner they are looking inside the meditating brain and discovering that meditation not only controls our heart and breathing rates but allows us to become more alert.
- BBC Exploration on “Dealing with stress

Here is an excerpt from the study by Dr. Sara Lazar as reported by William J. Cromie of Harvard News Office.


People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don’t.

Sara Lazar (center) talks to research assistant Michael
Treadway and technologist Shruthi Chakrapami
Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditator boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.

“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.”

Those most deeply involved in the meditation showed the greatest changes in brain structure. “This strongly suggests,” Lazar concludes, “that the differences in brain structure were caused by the meditation, rather than that differences in brain thickness got them into meditation in the first place.”

Lazar took up meditation about 10 years ago and now practices insight meditation about three times a week. At first she was not sure it would work. But “I have definitely experienced beneficial changes,” she says. “It reduces stress [and] increases my clarity of thought and my tolerance for staying focused in difficult situations.”

TEXT Curtsey
By William J. Cromie
Harvard News Office
To read the full article, Click here...

Now here is a video from Profound Meditation Program at You Tube, which gives a little bit more info on Meditation and The Brain. Have a look...

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Om Namah Shivaya

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