Dr. Avnish Jolly, Winnipeg Canada December 20, 2014 : Santa Claus is coming to your town, is throwing a Yoga Christmas Party for kids of all ages! Come do some yoga with Santa, Yes Santa does yoga regularly! How do you think he manages HIS Christmas stress and have milk, cookies, and a frolicking good time?
“Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind. Then there is abiding in the Seer’s own form.” ― Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Yoga might have started as part of religious practice, but meditation has become a secular way to improve the way we work, think and learn. I am involved in practicing Yoga from my childhood, my grandfather taught me to practice different postures of yoga in daily life. I admit that I’m biased toward the benefits of meditation. During my college days after teaching me importance of Fasting and Meditation in daily life of Ayurvedic Practitioners by Vaid H.D. Shastri, I started doing yoga nidra, or “sleep meditation,” a program initiated by Balwinder Kumar, Yoga Teacher of my college to decrease stress of the people of all ages. My logic was that if it can help people suffer from the stress and memories of lavish days, then it can certainly help me through the exams. Not only was I right, but it also released the physical ailments those days. But meditation goes further than just decreasing stress, I realised after following it regularly.
Many researchers advocate the same thought time to time; Sara Lazar presents a TED talk on meditation’s impact on the brain. Sara Lazar, Associate Research Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and also Assistant Professor, Harvard University, found that meditation affects the brain’s capability to focus by changing its biological composition — particularly in the hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC).
In 2011, Lazar’s studies looked at the brain composition of people who had never meditated before and how it changed after they had gone through an 8-week practice. The final pictures showed more gray matter — functional brain material — in the hippocampus and PCC. Sometimes in brain structure, more structure means more activity, and sometimes it means less activity, Lazar said. The more PCC structure means there are more inhibitory neurons turning it off.
Meditators have an easier time focusing on their work thanks to more neurons acting as PCC Police. They also make better learners because of the increased activity in the hippocampus, which means the brain remembers associations better, also known as learning. Although there’s not a clear reason why meditation has these influences on brain structure, Lazar offered this explanation: “So many people think mediation means sitting there and not doing anything. It’s not just relaxation. It’s an active process that’s engaging certain circuits, and those circuits are changing as a result of practice.”
How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011 [youtube width=”600″ height=”420″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rRzTtP7Tc[/youtube]
After meditating regularly I realised Positive attitude plays important role in daily life A Canadian study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.29063/full) has provided further proof in the power of positive thinking. This study is by far not the first to suggest that mindfulness and positive thinking has an effect on an individual’s health. However, the proof that these researchers have presented to support their theory is compelling. Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation. Tolemeres are the stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes. Their main purpose is to prevent our precious chromosomes from deteriorating. In an analysis of the blood from the previous “world’s oldest woman,” Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, scientists discovered that at the end of her life the telomeres on van Andel-Schipper’s white blood cells were drastically worn down, such as a burnt out wick on a candle. This led to the remarkable discovery that, what we refer to as “death from natural old age” is actually due to stem-cell exhaustion caused by the shortening of the telomeres, Medical Daily (http://www.medicaldaily.com/blood-oldest-woman-world-reveals-secrets-longevity-suggests-we-can-live-longer-278614) reported. It is also advocated Premature shortening of telomeres is associated with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high stress levels, Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/changing-our-dna-through-mind-control/).
This study consisted of 88 distressed female breast cancer survivors divided into different groups. Scientific American reported that the first group was assigned to eight weeks of mindfulness meditation and yoga, the second group assigned to 12 weeks of group therapy in which they shared difficult emotions and fostered social support, and the third group received only one six-hour stress management course. The women had their telomeres measured both before and after the programs. Results showed that telomeres stayed the same length in the first two groups but appeared to be shortened in the third group.
“Psychosocial interventions providing stress reduction and emotional support resulted in trends toward TL maintenance in distressed breast cancer survivors, compared with decreases in usual care,” wrote the authors. Mindfulness meditation is an adaptation of Buddhist meditation, where practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way. This involves ignoring past grudges and future concerns and deliberatively paying more attention to what’s going on at the moment. In earlier studies, Carlson found that this particular type of meditation was associated with healthier levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreases in compounds that promote inflammation. Source: Carlson LE, Beattie TL, Giese-Davis J, et al. Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors. Cancer. 2014.
Perhaps one of the most enduring legacies are the ancient texts of this culture. The sacred traditions of the Vedas and still earlier spiritual processes constantly resonate in today’s life. The Vedas, the Upanishads, the epics and the many non-sectarian practical volumes that were penned by the learned men of the past are still a matter of study today. The Gita presents a religious, philosophic and ethical system of unparalleled depth. Like the sun, it carries a message of new life, infusing and stimulating the body, mind and soul with its transformative verses.
The scriptures in Hinduism are thus a multifarious collection representing the mundane and the esoteric, the everyday and the mystical. They form a perennial source of wisdom for Hindus today, who unknowingly draw on them through the cultural thread embedded in their psyche and way of life. Through these scriptures and the colorful tapestry that is Indian culture, the ancient sages of the past, whether the Buddha, Kautilya, Patanjali or Panini are living influences even today, Mind Science Kept Hidden Documentary is one of the most informative documentary advocating role of Meditation.
Mind Science Kept Hidden Documentary.WE ARE VIBRATIONAL BEINGS.Law of attraction/vibes [youtube width=”600″ height=”420″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjpCKZ7cEoY[/youtube]
“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ― Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali