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How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains

Sara Lazar | 8:35


Good morning. So when I was in graduate school, I was a runner and a friend, and I decided that we were gonna run the Boston Marathon. And so we started training and we overtrained and I developed knee and back problems. So I went to see a physical therapist and they told me that I had to stop running and instead I should just stretch.

As I was leaving the therapist's office, the physical therapist's office, um, I saw an ad for a vigorous yoga class that promised not only to promote flexibility, but also to promote strength and, um, cardio respiratory fitness. So I thought, oh, well, this is a great way that I can stretch, but also remain in shape and maybe I could even still run the Boston Marathon.

So I went to the yoga. and, um, I really enjoyed it except for when the teacher would make all sorts of claims, you know, all sorts of medical claims, but also all sorts of, you know, claims about Oh yes, it'll help you, you know, increase your compassion and open your heart. And it's just like, you know, my eyes would roll and, uh, yeah, I think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I'm here for, you know, to stretch. But was . Yeah. But what's interesting was that after a couple weeks I started noticing some of these changes. I started noticing that I was calmer and I was better able to handle difficult situations. And that indeed I was feeling more compassionate and openhearted towards other people.

And I was better able to see things from other people's point of view. And um, you know, I was like, Hmm, you know, how could this be? How could this,  and, um, I thought, well, maybe, you know, it's just a placebo response, right? She told me I was gonna feel this, so maybe that's, that's why I was feeling it. So I decided to do a literature search to see if there's any research on this.

And lo and behold, there was quite a bit showing. Um, both yoga and meditation are extremely effective for decreasing stress. They're also very good for reducing symptoms associated with numerous diseases, including depression, anxiety, pain, and inso. . They also, um, there's a couple of very good studies demonstrating it can actually improve your ability to pay attention.

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