Researchers from The Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard Medical School studied the stress-reducing effects of a resort vacation, compared to the effects of that same vacation with meditation added. The results show that while both are beneficial, a meditation retreat can offer longer-lasting peace than a vacation without yoga and meditation.
A group of women aged 30-60 were invited to a California resort. The group were “non-meditators,” meaning they had little to no previous meditation experience. Half of this group enjoyed the vacation, while half participated in a program of mantra meditation, yoga, and self-reflection exercises while on the vacation.
Immediately after the vacation, all participants experienced both self-reported stress-reduction, as well as noticeable changes in gene activity. Most importantly, all experienced decreased activity in genes associated with stress response and an increase in expression of genes related to immune function. One month after the vacation, those who participated in the meditation and yoga activities continued to self-report fewer symptoms of depression and less stress than their fellow vacationers.
The researchers did point out that it’s unknown whether the long-lasting effects of the 6-days of meditation and yoga were due to the vacation only, or if the participants continued with these activities after they returned home. In any case, it’s notable that those who participated in the meditation and yoga not only self-reported as FEELING better, but that this change was seen in the expression of their genes as well. We all know that vacation can be great – but meditation and yoga can make a good vacation even better, and the effects longer-lasting!
To read the full study in NATURE, CLICK HERE.
To incorporate meditation and yoga on one of your own vacations, contact us! Join an upcoming group trip, or allow us to customize a vacation for you, your family, your friends.