Member Reviews

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this eARC.

The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation by Brittany Fair is a fascinating exploration into the intricate connections between the ancient practices of yoga and meditation and modern neuroscience. Fair, a science communicator with a rich background in neuroscience, philosophy, and ecology, presents a comprehensive review of scientific research on how these contemplative practices affect the brain.

The book is structured to be accessible to readers with varying levels of familiarity with neurology, from novices to those with a more advanced understanding. Fair’s writing is engaging and thorough, making complex concepts digestible without sacrificing depth. She offers tools for interpreting scientific literature and discusses the current limitations in studying yoga and meditation, which adds a layer of critical thinking to the narrative.

One of the book’s strengths is its practical application. Fair includes examples of meditations and movement routines that activate the brain to decrease stress and improve well-being. This not only provides a theoretical understanding but also a hands-on approach that readers can incorporate into their daily lives.

The illustrations by Bruce Hogarth complement the text beautifully, providing visual representations that enhance the reader’s comprehension of the brain’s anatomy and the physiological effects of yoga and meditation.

In terms of criticism, while the book is a treasure trove of information, some readers might find the depth of scientific detail overwhelming. However, this is a minor point in what is otherwise an enlightening read.

Overall, The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation is a must-have for anyone interested in the mind-body connection. It’s a book that will likely inspire readers to deepen their practice or even begin one, armed with the knowledge of how beneficial these practices can be for the brain and overall health. Fair’s work is a commendable bridge between the realms of science and spirituality, offering evidence-based insights into the transformative power of yoga and meditation.

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This is a book to be savoured and read slowly. The science of what is going on in the body/brain when we meditate is fascinating. If you are interested in mediation and/or yoga you should get this book.

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As a yoga teacher I devour any and everything about the science of yoga. Neuroscience of yoga and why it’s amazing for our brains? Yes, please! I liked that this had the anatomy of the brain and really dove into meditation. There is still so much to be unearthed about the effects of meditation on our brains and mental health. Kudos to this addition to the cannon.

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Thank you Jessica Kingsley and NetGalley for this ARC.
I read quite a few books on meditation and mindfulness but until now hadn’t really read too much specifically on the science / neuroscience of meditation. For me, this was a book to be absorbed, slowly read and enjoyed over a number of weeks / months. I was fascinated by the information presented and this just showed how incredibly impactful and essential meditation is for our bi9logy as well as our minds.
I truly enjoyed this book and return to read bits regularly.

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I do daily meditation and it is very interesting to understand what goes on in the mind while we are doing this. Our minds have a built in defense mechanism to let our bodies know they are safe through breath, but this book breaks down the whys of this. I enjoyed this, and as a yoga teacher it was very helpful.

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The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation is an exceptional resource describing the neurological health benefits of yoga and meditation. The book begins with a chapter preparing the reader to better understand research methodologies and designs, and then it continues with chapters covering the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system and the brain. Building upon the foundation established in the first few chapters, the book continues by explaining the research behind the anatomical, physiological, and mental benefits of yoga and mediation while still noting the gaps and limitations of existing research. The book incorporates helpful diagrams displaying regions of the brain to illustrate various points. In addition, the book provides examples of different types of mediations the reader is welcome to engage. There is also a chapter covering how the health benefits of yoga and mediation differ across stages of life including childhood, adolescence, and late adulthood.

In The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation Brittany Fair throughly presents technical information while still keeping the material concise and accessible. The book covers a lot of ground including the differences among meditation practices and how the health benefits vary among them. While the book ends abruptly without a summarizing chapter or even paragraph, it is a well-researched, insightful resource. Health educators, yoga practitioners, and others who want to better understand the health benefits of yoga and meditation are sure to benefit from reading this book.

Thank you Brittany Fair, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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This book is great for anyone great for anyone who likes to read textbooks, or a student. I happen to fall into the former category. When it comes to the content, this book is solid. Cited sources and everything. I love this content and the way it is conveyed. My only issue is with the formatting of some of the pages. I wish there was more consistency when it came to page layouts, as the text was sometimes hard to follow. I would definitely be interested in seeing the demographics of purchasers of this book.

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The book is called "The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation", but I really think it should be called "The Anatomy of the Brain and Some Random Yoga Poses".

A good book that blends scientific information with something well-known to the public creates a basic background context/knowledge of the neuroscience necessary to understand the point being made. That was not this book. This book took the route of over-explanation to the point of making the reader forget what the book is about and think it is just a Psych 101 or Biology 101 textbook. It would define a part of the brain, then define the elements within that, then define the elements within that, then the elements within that, and on and on until it felt like we were now at the atomic level.

I had to force myself to finish, and as someone that knows the brain's anatomy and how neurotransmitters work, I found myself skipping large portions of the book. I was expecting to learn more about the connection between yoga/meditation and the brain, and I feel like it was a biology lesson with a mention of yoga and a few pages of pictures of random yoga poses.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Such a good, interesting, scientific read on the science behind yoga. This is an interesting read especially if you love reading science-based non-fiction books, as well as learning about the overall science behind the art of yoga.

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The Neuroscience Of Yoga And Meditation by Brittany Fair (Book Review)

This book has the wrong title - it should be called The Biology Of Yoga And Meditation. It provides an incredibly comprehensive guide to what happens in the brain and body during yoga and mediation.

It covers everything from the sensory experience of yoga and meditation and the neurophysiology of the breath through to how it affects stress, chronic pain, aging and more.

To be honest, however, there were very few surprises in this book. Such as the conclusion that yoga, meditation, and yogic breathing activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, and repeated yoga practice is good for awareness of the body’s position and movement (AKA proprioception).

It also covers meditation being an effective treatment for the likes of anxiety, depression, pain and stress levels. One study mentioned even showed that meditation can work just as well as taking the medication for managing anxiety.

What’s more, the author further reports that both yoga and meditation can lead to a reduction of biomarkers in the body for stress and inflammation. And that even one session of meditation can diminish the effects of genes involved with the body’s stress response.

I was also pleased to learn that mindfulness meditation can reduce feelings of pain by redirecting attention, and is especially effective at reducing back pain.

The author also argues that both yoga and meditation can help with treating various types of addiction, and that yoga can improve symptoms of ADHD, including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

The book even claims that yoga and meditation can have a protective effect against aging through regulating the brain’s default mode and protecting the brain from cell death.

I felt that more often than not, the content of the book was rather disjointed. Several paragraphs of neuroscience and diagrams, followed by seemingly almost randomly selected photos of yoga poses, with only the occasional paragraph explaining how this neuroscience relates to the practices of yoga and meditation.

Following a preamble on each chapter’s sub topics, it reads like a list of the abstracts of various studies and reviews of studies. There is no pizazz or rich storytelling to enjoy, making it somewhat dull.

There are occasional meditation and breathing exercises scattered throughout, usually adapted with permission from other sources.

The book begins with an entire chapter dedicated to explaining how science works, which can be skipped entirely by anyone who’s studied science, since it discusses well known scientific terminology such as control groups, sample sizes, the need for studies to be repeatable, correlation is not causation, etc.

At times it felt that the book was going off on tangents, discussing topics such as music, aromatherapy, and taste.

Each chapter features many references that readers can use to find out more about each of the claims made.

It’s potentially a good resource for yoga teachers, since it includes tips for helping people with physical difficulties.

But my conclusion is that while the book shows just how effective yoga and meditation can be for practitioners, it is nowhere near as beneficial as the acts of performing yoga and meditation.

I can recommend it for anyone who’s intrigued by the claims presented in the book and wants to find out more, but unless you’re an actual yoga teacher, you’re unlikely to find it particularly helpful.

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This is a very good overview of basic neuroscience, accessible to a lay person. The photos of yoga poses were nicely interspersed and kept it interesting. I thought some of the analysis could have been improved, e.g. I would take issue with saying x improved y, although it was not a significant difference. It did not lead to an improvement if not significant, that is the point of statistics! This is a lovely book to read otherwise. Thank you so much for the ARC.

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This book is heavy on science (I mean it does say neuroscience on the title) this book takes a deep dive into the science behind the power of yoga. It discusses how your body and brain respond to yoga and the different components of yoga. So if you are interested in the science behind yoga this is a great book for you. It is technical but I did enjoy that there were sections called “main take always” to condense the information. This book reads more like a reference guide and can see myself going back to it over and over.
If you are looking for a book that goes more into the exercise then this book may not be your first choice.

Each chapter is also paired with different poses that correspond to the subject of that chapter or section. There are also meditation scripts throughout this book.

For people who are trauma-informed therapists or practitioners, this book can also be used to provide context for clients who are interested in learning why the brain reacts the way it does.

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This book caught my interest because the author is a Neurologist and studied Yoga and Meditation from the scientific perspective of their effects on the brain. It does start out with a lot about history of Yoga and what I thought was an overlong diatribe on research methods, obviously assuming the reader knows nothing about how medical research is done. Despite this, I persevered to get to the findings.

The second chapter goes into the neural system which I found more interesting. It also offered some information as to why Yoga postures are supposed to affect the nerve impulses and acts about the brain and brainstem. Nearly the first half of the book was effectively a physiology textbook, but then it does get to findings and for those who don't mind a little dry reading, some interesting information.

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This is a scientific reference book on meditation and yoga, standing out from the spiritual ones. It's like a textbook for yoga courses and taught me new insights about the reasons behind various meditation, breathwork, and yoga practices. The inclusion of scientific diagrams, photo's of suggested yoga moves and meditation scripts greatly enhanced its value. It's a handy resource for practitioners and clinicians alike. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book - it's great! I'm a grateful meditator and avid yoga enthusiast working on my own licensed yoga instruction, but I also love neuroscience. I was thrilled to find this work and it is right up my alley - full of scientific evidence and absolutely hitting the right notes at this well-deserved intersection of study. Will easily be returning to this work time and again.

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I was interested to read this as I practice both yoga and meditation. The book was really clear on the neuroscience, although, if you've studied any of that before you may find it a bit basic.
It's clear that there aren't a huge number of reliable studies but those that are available suggest a positive correlation.
I've come away thinking I should increase my practice and make sure it's regular.
Really interesting and clear book which I think most people would find useful.

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This is a really in depth scientific approach to this subject. I really liked the first part explained how research works, I wish a book with those kind of explanations existed when I was at university. There's a broad range of topics from strokes to visually impaired, example meditations and yoga poses. I would think this book would be an excellent read for instructors or psychologists.

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I recently started practicing yoga and meditation so when this book was made available, I jumped on it. I enjoyed Brittany Fair’s writing in this novel. She made the information easy to understand for the reader. I appreciated that. Sometimes novels do like this will not engage the reader but Fair was able to accomplish that with her writing style.

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*Arc Netgalley Review 5+ stars if we could give them

As a student in training to be instructor of yoga, and am also autistic, I highly recommend this book. It was a bit harder to read in the netgalley format all smashed together, but the author was excellent at every aspect she covered including siting references and case studies (first I’ve seen in this style of book to this extent) Bravo. There was no stone unturned in this book, I must have it in print to then reread and annotate it for my classes in the future

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An appropriately detailed and digestible introduction to an uncommonly covered arena; the brain and bodies connection through yoga and meditation. The graphics are supportive and the data is relayed professionally, technically and smartly. The author does not over sell data that doesn’t clinically exist. This book is helpful to read for general brain and body awareness, even without consistent yoga/med practice.

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