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Yoga Journal USA - June_2016

practice well MEDITATION

practice well MEDITATION Be part of something bigger Meditation can help us get in touch with the universal life force that connects us all. By Richard Miller, PhD june 2016 yogajournal.com 38 WITHIN EACH OF US is unchanging equanimity, peace, joy, and stillness, no matter what is happening in our lives. It’s just that sometimes tapping into these feelings seems impossible. This is where meditation can help. With a regular practice, you can learn to align with something called the universal life force, or shakti in Sanskrit—a primordial energy that animates every atom throughout your body, and throughout the cosmos. The good news is that this isn’t as unattainable and fantastical as it may sound. Modern neuroscientific research has revealed that meditation turns on and off a variety of pathways, or neural networks—the interconnected webs of neurons transmitting elaborate patterns of electrical signals through your gray matter—and in so doing can help you rewire your brain and gain access to those feelings associated with what yogis call shakti. Research published over the last several years in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience reveals that during meditation, your default network switches off. This is the network that enables you to locate yourself in time and space as an individual with a past, present, and future. While this network shuts down during meditation, three others—your attention, control, and present centered continued on page 4o Meditation opens you up to a world of infinite possibility and insight. ILLUSTRATION: ABIGAIL BIEGERT

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