We've all heard how yoga and meditation can help us feel calmer, and less stressed.
Now, scientists say both may actually alter your brain.
A new study reports that people who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for just 8 weeks, had measurable changes in the areas of their brains associated with memory, empathy, and stress.
Researchers studied MRI brain images of 16 volunteers two weeks before and after they took part in a meditation-type stress reduction program. They compared those brain images to a control group of non-mediators.
During meditation, participants were told to focus on non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind. They listened to audio recordings for guided meditation practice and kept track of how much time they practiced each day.
The results? The group who meditated had increases in density in areas of the brain having to do with
having to do with learning, memory, self-awareness and compassion.
Decreased density was seen in the amygdala -- an area linked to anxiety -- in volunteers reporting less stress. None of the changes were seen in the control group.