Dr. Sara Lazar from the Harvard Medical School has found evidence to support what meditation experts have been claiming for years: people are not only healthier and happier when they meditate, but they will slow down their biological clocks as well!
Watch this great video lecture by brain researcher Dr. Lazar:
An experiment with novice jugglers
led to a study with meditators
“What neuroplasticity means is that your brain is ’plastic’ – the neurons in the brain can change how they talk to each other with experience. We can actually detect this with machines like MRI scanners,“ explains Sara Lazar.
And as a path-breaking experiment with juggling proved, these changes in the gray matter of our brains can become visible very quickly.
“The experminet with juggling led me to thinking: If such a relatively simple pattern can cause these kind of changes, then meditation, surely, must have a similar effect?“ tells Lazar.
“So in the first study we did, we recruited a bunch of ordinary folks – no monks, no nuns, no meditation teachers – from the Boston area. However, all these people had been regularly practicing meditation for several years.
“We put them in the brain scanner, and compared their brain images to people who were demographically matched but who did not practice meditation.”
Meditation slows down the effects of old age
“We found that there were, indeed, a few brain areas where the meditators had significantly more gray matter than the controls,“ says Sara Lazar.
“One of such regions is in the front of the brain and it’s important for working memory and executive decision making.
And when we plotted the data vs the ages of the subjects, we found something extremely interesting. Normally, when we get older, the cortex region of our brain shrinks – that’s the reason why it becomes increasingly harder to figure things out and to remember things as we get older.
However, our data showed clearly that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of neurological matter as 25-year-olds!“
Most of Dr. Lazar’s research is based on variations of what is known in the West as “mindfulness meditation”. To see brain research based specifically on the Transcendental Meditation technique, please see these articles here: