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Huberman Lab / How Meditation Works & ScienceBased Effective Meditations | Huberman Lab

How Meditation Works & Science-Based Effective Meditations | Huberman Lab

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In this episode of the Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Andrew Huberman explores the fascinating world of meditation and its effects on the brain and body. He discusses different types of meditation practices, their specific benefits, and the scientific understanding of how meditation works. Join Dr. Huberman as he delves into the mechanisms behind meditation and provides insights on how to choose the right practice for your goals and needs.

Main Takeaways

Types of Meditation Practices

  • Meditation encompasses various practices, including sitting, lying down, body scan, and walking.
  • Specific types of meditation can change the brain and body in fundamental ways.
  • It is important to pick the right meditation practice that is directed at your specific goals and needs.

The Science Behind Meditation

  • Meditation has been studied for decades, but only recently has there been a mechanistic understanding of how it works through brain imaging studies and changes in hormones in the body.
  • Different meditation practices have different effects on the brain and body.
  • The prefrontal cortex is an important area of the brain for meditation, particularly the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions and attention.
  • Meditation can manipulate brain activity in specific areas and help us become more aware of our bodily sensations and thoughts, leading to better self-regulation and emotional control.

The Role of Perception in Meditation

  • Perception is like a spotlight that can be broadened or narrowed to specific areas of the body or environment.
  • The left prefrontal cortex is responsible for directing attention and perception.
  • Meditation can help shift our attention from external perception to interoception, which involves the ACC and insula regions of the brain.
  • Interoceptive awareness can be measured by the ability to count heartbeats without touching the pulse.
  • Practicing different types of meditation can train for different types of awareness, allowing individuals to shift between interoceptive and exteroceptive awareness depending on the context.

The Default Mode Network and Mind Wandering

  • The default mode network is a collection of brain areas that are active when the mind is wandering between different time domains.
  • Mind wandering is associated with unhappiness, and being fully engaged in the present moment is the strongest predictor of happiness.
  • Meditation and mindfulness are essential keys to happiness and improved mood.

Choosing the Right Meditation Practice

  • Choosing a meditation practice based on your current environment and mental state can lead to more effective results.
  • Going against your default mode network during meditation can be more effective in invoking neuroplasticity.
  • Expert meditators are better at refocusing quickly and consistently, not just staying in a narrow focus.
  • Regular meditative practice can reduce stress and offset cortisol increases associated with reduced sleep.


The Power of Meditation for Mind and Body

Meditation offers a variety of practices that can have profound effects on the brain and body. By choosing the right meditation practice, individuals can achieve specific goals such as enhanced focus, better sleep, and improved mindfulness. The prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role in meditation, and different practices can manipulate brain activity in specific areas to promote self-regulation and emotional control. Perception and awareness are key components of meditation, with the ability to shift between interoceptive and exteroceptive awareness depending on the context. Mind wandering and the default mode network are also explored, highlighting the importance of being fully present in the moment for happiness and improved mood. By understanding the mechanisms behind meditation and choosing the right practice, individuals can tap into the transformative power of this ancient practice.


Meditation is a powerful tool that can positively impact our mental and physical well-being. By exploring the different types of meditation practices and understanding their effects on the brain and body, we can choose the right practice to achieve our specific goals. Whether it’s enhancing focus, managing emotions, or improving overall happiness, meditation offers a pathway to self-discovery and self-regulation. So take a moment to pause, breathe, and embark on a journey of mindfulness and self-transformation through the practice of meditation.

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