In the West we find it hard to believe in anything if it’s not proven in research. Science makes things real. So here you go. Scientists agree: exercise, yoga, breathing techniques, cold immersion and natural movement lead to a healthy brain and a balanced body. When the brain is calm and happy, everything else falls into place. To reach the brain we can hack into our immune system and consciously influence our fight/flight-system. Your tool? Your body! It’s not magic. It’s science.
Research and publications:
Meditation, Yoga & Pranayama
— Meditation and aerobic exercise as treatment for depression, Rutgers University
— Meditation literally rebuilds the brains grey matter in just eight weeks, Harvard University
— Yoga, breathing and meditation techniques improve brain activity and mood, UCLA
— Yoga/Meditation-based lifestyle modification reverse markers of aging, AIIMS
— Yoga, Tai Chi, physical activity, and meditation improve symptoms of ADHD among children
— Meditation and positive psychological change have physiological impact on cell level
— Kapalbhati Pranayama strengthens respiratory muscles and improves peak respiratory flow
— Kapalbhati Pranayama reduces BMI and abdominal skinfold thickness
Nature & Natural Movement
— Forest environments lower stress hormones, boost immunity and mood, EHPM Japan
— Nature experience reduces rumination and prefrontal cortex activation, Stanford University
— Applications to Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear, Harvard University
— Earthing or being barefoot outdoors has profound positive impact on health
— Direct contact with the earth’s surface improves inflammation and blood flow
— Walking in urban green space has a restorative effect on the aging older brain
— Short stress from Cold Water Immersion may benefit the immune system
— Winter swimming improves general wellbeing
— The effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work, AMC
— Lichaam maakt extra bruin vet in de kou, Maastricht UMC (Dutch)
— Hersenen bepalen via bruin vet hoe lichaam vetten verwerkt, LUMC (Dutch)
— Lichaamstemperatuur opstoken door bruin vet en ademhaling, Maastricht UMC (Dutch)
Sports and Self-Transcendence
“Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others, we do not compete with the rest of the world. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.” — Sri Chinmoy
Eat, Fast, live longer
(Medical) Journalist Michael Mosley researched the effects of fasting on the human body in a Horizon BBC documentary. Besides finding many physiological health benefits, it’s also proven to be beneficial for the mind. Watch it here.
About the science of observation
What can you learn from Buddha the scientist and his 6 year long lasting study? Documentary film maker Eilona Ariel shares the story of Buddha’s meditation technique called Vipassana. Her film about prisoners practicing Vipassana in the Indian prison Tihar is available on Youtube.
Autonomic nervous system can be influenced
Research from Radboud UMC shows the autonomic nervous system and immune system can be influenced voluntarily. After training with Wim Hof, 12 young men were injected with bacteria that would normally make you ill. Remarkably these men showed no symptoms of illness.