Tuesday, June 26, 2012


http://psychcentral.com - When caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s use yoga to engage in very brief, easy daily meditations, they lower levels of depression, improve cognitive functioning and reduce stress-induced cellular aging, says a new UCLA study. Currently, at least five million Americans care for someone with dementia. Over the next two decades, the frequency of dementia and the number of family caregivers who provide support to these loved ones will increase dramatically. The extreme burden on caregivers can be severe. “We know that chronic stress places caregivers at a higher risk for developing depression. On average, the incidence and prevalence of clinical depression in family dementia caregivers approaches 50 percent. 
Caregivers are also twice as likely to report high levels of emotional distress,” said Dr. Helen Lavretsky, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Furthermore, many caregivers tend to be older themselves, leading to what Lavretsky calls an ‘impaired resilience’ to stress and a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

“Although the relation between mental and physical health has been previously documented, the mechanistic links are beginning to be understood at the cellular level,” said Lavretsky. For the study, researchers recruited 49 caregivers who were taking care of a relative with dementia. The volunteers were randomly placed in one of two groups. The meditation group engaged in a brief, 12-minute yogic chanting meditation called Kirtan Kriya.  This was performed every day at the same time for 8 weeks. The other group relaxed in a quiet place by closing their eyes and listening to instrumental music on a relaxation CD, also for 12 minutes every day at the same time for eight weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, the meditation group had significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and greater improvement in mental health and cognitive functioning, compared with the relaxation group. The pilot results were “striking,” said Lavretsky, given that improvements were witnessed in mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity over eight short weeks in only 12 minutes a day. “We found that the effects on cognitive and mental functioning and telomerase activity were specific to the Kirtan Kriya,” she said.

A new study at UCLA involving family caregivers and late-life depression revealed that yoga meditation helped reduce the symptoms of depression while showing improvement in overall mental health of participants. “Because Kirtan Kriya had several elements of using chanting (kirtan), mudras (finger poses) and visualization, there was a ‘brain fitness’ effect in addition to stress-reduction that contributed to the overall effect of the meditation,” said Dr. Lavretsky. The combination of kirtan along with mudras increases blood flow to the motor-sensory area of the brain.

Meditation is the art and technique of experiencing divine power within. In Hindu theology, meditation is closely associated with God; thus was born the sacred Hinduism. ... The art and science of Raja Yoga, or meditation yoga, is closely associated with the awakening of the chakras in tune with various breathing exercises (pranayamas). There have been many different techniques, such as Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Siddha Yoga, Nirvana-Sahasrara, and Sudarshan Yoga, with some variations. 
In many religious centers, the meditation aspects of yoga are more emphasized. Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Chakra, Siddha Yoga, and a few more are essentially variants of the meditation Raja Yoga. With these types, the physical aspect of Hatha yoga may be less conspicuous. The combination of the secular and the spiritual is met with in many other places. Even though Yoga is a child of Hinduism, it has now grown its own strong wings. It has made its mark, beyond the confines of any one religion. Yoga has truly become a citizen of the world!

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 44 - “Meditation: The Spiritual Practice”
Chapter 45 - “Yoga: Union with the Divine”

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"


Meditation Center Hicksville said...

Meditation keeps your mind stress free and it contributes a lot to live a peaceful life.

wellness said...

Buddhism and yoga teaches that meditation and yoga poses, are the pathway to health and deeper awareness of self. It’s more than just the candles or the breathing. It is a belief and a religion.

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meditation benefits said...

Meditation is a blend of physical postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama).

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