Sara Lazar: The Effects of Meditation and Yoga on Brain Structure

December 13, 2010

Mediation and yoga have long been associated with stress reduction and stress management. But even as scientists establish their therapeutic value, less is known about how they actually work and exactly what parts of the brain they affect.

In this podcast, we speak with Dr. Sara Lazar from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Lazar used advanced neuroimaging studies to demonstrate that mindful meditation actually increased the concentration of gray matter in the brains of people who engaged in this practice over an 8-week period. And this gray matter growth took place in specific areas of the brain thought to be associated with stress, memory, and empathy.

Be sure to listen in as we discuss the neural mechanisms of stress and how meditation and yoga might actually be modifying these structures within the human brain.