Though still small, research has been growing to study and measure the effects of yoga nidra, meditation and mindfulness practices on the brain and body. I will continue to add articles about these and yoga research articles as I find them.
By far, Richard Miller has done the most extensive studies on yoga nidra and its effects on the mind and body. Click on the link above to see how iRest Yoga Nidra (developed by Dr. Miller), as well as other yoga nidra studies are bringing attention to how the brain works.
Pictures of the Brain’s Activity During Yoga Nidra (Nilsson, Robert. Bindu. July 2013)
“We had not expected the meditators to be able to control their consciousness to such an extent.” (Brain researcher Troels Kjær, The Kennedy Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density (Hölzel, Britta K., et al, March 2010)
Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation (Richard J. Davison, PHD et. al., 2003, Psychosomatic Medicine)
“Focusing on the present rather than letting the mind drift may help to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol…”
Mindfulness from Meditation Associated with Lower Stress Hormone (Jacobs, Tonya Ph.D., et al. 2013. UC Davis)
Research Is In: Meditation Is Good For Cellular Health (Jacobs, Tonya Ph.d., et al. UC Davis)
“The take-home message from this work is not that meditation directly increases telomerase activity and therefore a person’s health and longevity,” Saron said. “Rather, meditation may improve a person’s psychological well-being and in turn these changes are related to telomerase activity in immune cells, which has the potential to promote longevity in those cells. Activities that increase a person’s sense of well-being may have a profound effect on the most fundamental aspects of their physiology.”
Shamatha Project. Center for Mind and Brain, University of California at Davis. Recently accessed 31 March 2015. http://mindbrain.ucdavis.edu/labs/Saron/lab-news/The%20Shamatha%20Project.pdf
Mindfulness for Teachers: A Pilot Study to Assess Effects on Stress, Burnout, and Teaching Efficacy (University of Wisconsin)
The Relaxed State and Science (Nilsson, Robert. Bindu. July 2013)
In the Journals: Mindfulness Meditation Practice Changes the Brain (Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, April 1, 2001)
Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: a randomized controlled trial. Duke Integrative Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27710, USA. (Wolever, Ruth, et. al., February 2012 ).
McGreevey, Sue. Eight weeks to a better brain: Meditation study shows changes associated with awareness, stress. Harvard Gazette. 21/January/2011.
Additional Studies by Sue Lazar, Harvard University.