Research & Science

Connecting the dots between body, mind and spirit

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 mind is calm and happy, everything else falls into place. To reach the mind we can hack into our immune system and consciously influence our stress response. 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 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
— Meditation improves outcomes in multiple domains (e.g. chronic pain, depression)
— Meditation and positive psychological change have physiological impact on cell level
— Kapalbhati Pranayama strengthens respiratory muscles and improves respiratory flow
— Kapalbhati Pranayama reduces BMI and abdominal skinfold thickness

Barefoot Running & Functional Footwear
— Applications to Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear, Harvard University
— Working memory is better after a barefoot run, University of North Florida
— Earthing or being barefoot outdoors has profound positive impact on health
— Barefoot running leads to better hip kinematics, lowering chances of knee injuries
— Forefoot strike results in consistent reductions in Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome
— The effects of habitual footwear use: foot shape and function in native barefoot walkers

Nature & Natural Movement
— Forest environments lower stress hormones, boost immunity and mood, EHPM Japan
— Nature reduces rumination and prefrontal cortex activation, Stanford University
— 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
— Movement-oriented exercise programs benefit occupational athletes most

Cold Training
— 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
— Hersenen bepalen via bruin vet hoe lichaam vetten verwerkt, LUMC (Dutch)

Wim Hof Method
— Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system
— The Influence of Concentration/Meditation on Autonomic Nervous System Activity

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.

Influencing nervous system

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.