The two practices reduce inflammation markers within three months, which suggests they are boosting the immune system. They also appear to improve brain health, and make you more alert and awake.
Researchers from the University of Southern California monitored a group of participants who took part in a three-month yoga intensive, which included daily meditation, Isha Yoga and eating a vegetarian diet. The researchers took brain scans and blood samples at the beginning and end of the retreat.
Brain markers for processes that help regulate learning and memory increased, as did those for mood and stress responses. Most significantly, bio-markers for inflammation and immunity also improved.
Overall, the two practices were good for wellbeing, say the researchers. Because similar results have been recorded by others, the researchers are confident the improvements are the result of meditation, rather than the yoga and vegetarian diet.