The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 999: Meditation and Yoga as Tools for Health

Practicing meditation and yoga can provide a wide range of benefits for physical, emotional and spiritual health.
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Meditation and Yoga as Tools for Health

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At one time, most Americans were mystified by meditation and wary of yoga. There is now increasing recognition that both meditation and yoga can have profound health effects.

Meditation and the Brain

How does meditation alter the brain? Our expert guests explain the significant physiological changes that happen at the level of the neurons, genes and telomeres that can help us shape how we manage a host of difficult situations ranging from ADHD to cancer or other chronic conditions.

Find out about the best way to start meditating, the benefits of mindful breathing, and the technology that can help. Learn the difference between yoga and meditation.

Ayurveda and Modern Medicine

We also discuss an Ayurvedic approach to staying healthy. How can this 5,000 year old tradition be integrated with modern medicine?

Science is exploring stress reduction through meditation; get the details.

This Week’s Guests:

Murali Doraiswamy, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Duke University where he is a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. At Duke, he directs a clinical trials unit that has been involved with the development of many products used to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders. Dr. Doraiswamy has also served as an advisor to leading government agencies, healthcare businesses, and patient advocacy groups. The photo is of Dr. Doraiswamy.

Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD, is the founder and president of Gaynor Wellness. Dr. Gaynor is also clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. His new book is The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle. His websites are and

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I have been practicing meditation since 2003. I have experimented with various methods from Vipissana, zen, practicing presence, contemplative prayer, etc.. For all practical purposes they all work equally well. The real point is to get out of the monkey mind and become mentally still and present.

To me meditation is a practice that takes me beyond thought. Thinking rarely ceases but I can reach a point of stillness where I can observe my thoughts coming and going and realize that I am not my thoughts. I am something else. Beyond my thoughts there is an overwhelming sense of peace that I cannot describe or fathom.

I have practiced meditation since 1973, and my appreciation and gratitude for this unique time we call life continues to grow. If more people experienced this natural feeling that exists within, I feel this world would be a nicer place for everyone.

Perhaps this show will lead others to explore what yoga and meditation might mean to them and how they could benefit from these practices. But I was a bit disappointed. The conversation seemed to mystify as much as demystify the subject. What does it mean to say that Ayurveda is 5000 years old? And to generally say that yoga and meditation are not so different from saying “take a pill. Any pill. Many people have benefited from pills.” With countless approaches, methods, theories, and practices, if yoga and meditation, generally, are helpful, then the reason must be something that is more general than either of them. Something along the lines of: move well and enough. Rest well and enough. Eat well and enough. Yoga can potentially help, but not simply because it is an ancient, mystic art/science/religion.

Great conversation. So fascinating that we can heal from the past and heal our ancestors stress essential by bringing our attention and awareness to the present moment through meditation, yoga and mindfulness. Woohoo!

Great show…We should use more mindful health therapy. :-)

Thank you.

(Re: Show 999):
Why was there no mention of Transcendental Meditation which appears to have reached many people around the world with a combined yoga assanas and meditation practice?

We allowed our guest experts to determine the specifics of their answers. Neither of them chose to mention TM.

My form of meditation is to cease thinking. Prior to meditation, my mind is very busy. Churning many thoughts simultaneously. As I relax, I move to a sensing state where I become part of my environment – analyzing temperature, sounds, smells, pressures on my body. Deep meditation is where the thoughts stop and I become an observer. My brain watches the ebb and flow of dopamine in my retina. I watch blue vapors bloom and dissipate without thought or judgement. I started seeing the dopamine many years ago when I started taking Wellbutrin regularly.

This page says I can listen to the podcast of show 999, but I can’t find a place where I can click to listen.

This radio show will air at 7:00 am EDT on Saturday, July 18. You can listen to the audio file starting Monday, July 20, 2015 by returning to this website. Never miss another People’s Pharmacy broadcast by signing up for the free podcast on iTunes.

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