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Void of Course Moons - March 2014

The Seattle Seahawks Had an Edge - Yoga and Meditation

Football yogaSeahawks head coach Pete Carroll is a huge proponent of having his players work out their minds as well as their muscles and he encourages his players to meditate daily to improve their focus and attitude during games, according to abcnews.com. Carroll also makes yoga a regular component of the team's strength-training workouts, which also scores mind-body benefits, ABC News reported.

Did meditation give the Seahawks the edge? Research released this month in JAMA Internal Medicine reviewed previous studies and found that regular meditation offers relief from anxiety and help coping with pain. Other studies have shown that meditation jacks resilience and brings your brain to the present, rather than ruminating in the past.

Meditation has many benefits. According to Women's Heath Magazine, meditation helps with all of the following:

Research shows that meditation can increase alpha and theta brainwave activity, which is linked to relaxation. What's more, practicing meditation every day for two months can physically beef up some parts of your gray matter!

Slipping into a meditative state can light up the area of your noggin that controls complex thoughts and positive emotions. Some kinds of meditation can also build mental muscle in the brain's other hubs for compassion, empathy, and fear, allowing you greater mastery over your emotions and helping you feel closer to others.

Lungs and Heart
Meditation increases activity in your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your rest-and-digest functions (the flip side of your fight-or-flight response). Reflexively, your lungs begin to draw deeper breaths. And your heart begins to beat more slowly, causing your blood vessels to relax. In fact, regular meditation can drop your blood pressure by up to four points, lowering your risk for heart disease.

Meanwhile, your adrenal glands dial back production of the stress hormone cortisol. And meditation increases blood flow to your brain, which may help lower anxiety. (The enhanced blood flow may also improve your memory.)

It sounds too good to be true, but practicing daily meditation can lower your blood sugar levels (high ones can lead to diabetes) and may cut cravings for salty foods.

Immune System
One theory: Meditation helps nix the mental negativity that may dampen immune response. Another thought: Meditation can prompt your body to step up its antibody production. Whatever the biology, research shows meditators may be more able to fight off infections. They may also have better pain control when injured.

Don't know where to start? Check out these items to get all the benefits of meditation


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