The Scientific Benefits Of Meditation as we have mentioned, meditation offers many health benefits.
Did you know it physically and mentality alters your brain for the better?
A growing body of research on scientific benefits of meditation and meditation as part of a yoga practice has demonstrated some very clear physical changes.
One study showed that meditation produced denser gray matter in the hippocampus in the brain, the seat of memory, learning, self-awareness, and compassion.
Another study has shown it can improve the health of the caudate nucleus, a part of the brain that controls both motor functions such as breathing and movement, and non-motor functions, including certain forms of learning.
Those with Parkinson’s disease have issues with this part of the brain, and could, therefore, benefit from meditation. Meditation also improves connectivity of the caudate with other parts of the brain when done in conjunction with yoga.
Dr. Oz Shares The Benefits of Meditation
Dr. Oz explains how you can reduce stress and anxiety by taking a few minutes each day to concentrate on your breath.
Proven scientific benefits of meditation can prevent age-related cognitive decline and alters alpha waves in the brain, for better mental function. It changes cortical thickness, resulting in improved attention and a clearer perception of one’s own body. Meditation improves breathing and makes the body less sensitive to pain.
Scientific benefits of meditation and brain mapping with MRI has shown significant structural changes in the brain after only a few weeks of meditation for less than 30 minutes per day.
Since we know scientifically that something is being profoundly altered within the body as we map the brain, it will come as no surprise that those who meditate report observing or experiencing certain things they feel to be unusual.
Some say their head feels cooler, lighter. Others report that their body feels as though it’s floating. Many people feel energized, and/or as if their breathing is more effortless and fills their lungs and body with enriching oxygen.
Some report headaches after meditation, or too much meditation. Some report meditating with a hat or other head covering like a bandana or shawl can help. Others report a sore back or stiffness. It will depend on how you sit, and for how long. Generally speaking, stretching a little bit and keeping warm, but not too hot, can eliminate these issues. A shawl, light-weight jacket, or blanket can help.
Some scientific benefits of meditation studies have reported a change of perspective, such as viewing themselves as if they were outside of their body. Others have seen flashing lights, colors or patterns. Some people have reported sudden recollections from their past, or even from past lives.
Hindus and Buddhists believe in reincarnation, that is, that what they term your continually residing mind moves from body to body as we would move from house to house.
When you die, your root mind, as it is called, transfers to another living being at the moment of conception. If we are lucky, we get a precious human life. If we are unlucky, we might end up in the animal realm as a pig or cow, destined for only a short, brutish life before death and rebirth all over again.
Reincarnation may be a strange concept for Westerns and completely rejected by people who follow religion like Christianity and Judaism, but if we meditate about it, it may not seem so unlikely, and that people can, therefore, remember experiences from one or more past lives.
For example, when you were 10 years old, your body and mind were derived from the body and mind you had when you were 9. The body and mind you have at 9 years of age are derived from the body and mind you had at 8, 7, 6, 5 and so on, down to infancy, and even prior to your birth. Studies have shown that babies can even hear sounds and listen to music while they are still inside their mother.
If you have ever had any dealings with a newborn baby or puppy, you will know that they have a ‘personality’ of their very own from the moment they are born. Where do John or Mary’s likes and dislikes come from? A tendency in a past life.
Why do some dogs love to play ball, and others can’t be bothered? A tendency in a past life. This is an important point because it can also help you to explain the very strange thoughts that might pop into your head as you are meditating, things you can’t even imagine ever having thought. There is no reason to be ashamed of them.
They arise because of tendencies in previous lives. It is a question of what you do with the precious human life you have now that can help cut the cycle of suffering and negative thoughts and replace them with a positive, peaceful mind that will benefit all.
A positive, peaceful mind is the main goal of all meditation, but there are different types of mediation that strive to attain different ultimate goals. Let’s look briefly at some of the most common meditations you are likely to encounter, and the ultimate goal of each in the next lesson.