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A variety of people practicing yoga, meditation has grown over the last six years

THURSDAY 8th November 2018 – If you all know you are trying yoga or meditation, you may be right. A new government survey shows that the number of Americans practicing "mindfulness" techniques has increased in recent years.

In 2017, over 14% of US adults said they practiced yoga in the past year – from 9.5% in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of meditation professionals has tripled – from 4% to 14%.

Even children get attention. In 2017, according to the study, more than 8% of children aged 4 to 17 practiced yoga in the past year – from 3% five years earlier, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.

While few children took time to meditate in 2012 (less than 1%), more than 5% did in 2017.

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The survey did not ask people why they had followed these ancient practices. It is not clear, therefore, what is the rise of popularity, said researcher Lindsey Black of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

He said it was unclear how many Americans could have turned to yoga or meditation to manage health conditions or simply "general wellbeing." Nor did the survey ask people whether they were practicing regularly or had just taken care of the techniques.

"We just know that these practices are becoming more and more popular," said Black.

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According to marketing claims, belly breathing, tree positions and other timelessly honed techniques can help children suffer from stress, browse social clips, and even avoid flu.

Adults say they will develop a better outlook, better posture, better sleep and more if they use yoga tools.

Focus on the media could enhance the popularity of yoga and attention, said Ted Meissner, of the Center for the Awareness of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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The University is the birthplace of Reduced Pressure Based on Awareness (MBSR), a program guide combining specific meditation techniques and gentle yoga. It is considered the technique of "gold standard" in scientific research.

In recent years, Meissner has said that there have been "sharp spikes" in studies that examine the effects of various awareness-raising approaches – such as whether they can help address various forms of health such as chronic pain, heart disease, memory problems, anxiety, depression and addiction.

This comes with an explosion in media coverage, Meissner said.

But much of this research has had significant limitations, he added. For one, most studies lack "control groups" where people get some other intervention to compare.

The media have also paid great attention to studies showing that when people are meditating, their brain activity is changing. But the significance of these findings in everyday life is unknown, Meissner said.

What is Attention? The Awareness Center offers this definition: the intention to pay attention to every moment of our lives without judgment.

But when it comes to research, there is not even a universally accepted definition of the term, Meissner said. It is much less simple than the study of a drug, he noted.

At the moment, Meissner suggested that if people are interested in meditation or yoga, go with reasonable expectations. If you're looking to get rid of stress, he said, the practices may not be for you.

"Care is not a panacea," said Meissner.

Also advised to do your work before investing in lessons or lessons. There are various forms of yoga and meditation – understand the type you are writing for. And, he said, check the teacher's credentials, including whether he was trained with a trusted program.

Even something as safe as meditation has the potential to cause harm, Meissner said, if, for example, he is touted as a replacement for the usual anxiety or depression therapies.

More information
The US National Supplemental and Integrated Health Center has more for meditation and health.

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