Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Many people picture yoga as a posturing practice, but it’s necessary to remember that meditation and pranayama are monumental parts of a complete practice. Meditation has been demonstrated to not only decrease stress levels, but also induce changes in brain physiology. Eileen Luders, a researcher in the UCLA School of Medicine, conducted a study in 2009 that compared the MRIs of 22 meditators, with 5-46 years of experience, with 22 non-meditators, and found that meditators had increased gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with attention, regulating emotions, and decision-making. In effect, meditators were more focused and better equipped to deal with negative or stressful situations and make logical, mindful decisions. Similarly, in 2009, Philippe Goldin, a project director in Stanford University, monitored individuals taking an 8-week course on meditation and yoga.