Yogis from around the world are joining together in Occupy Yoga events to peacefully support the Occupy movement. Yogis are gathering together to do yoga, chant and meditate for world peace, compassion and unity. Recent Occupy Yoga events have taken place at Occupy Wall Street on Nov. 11, Occupy San Francisco on Nov. 4 and Occupy Los Angeles on Nov. 1.
An Occupy Yoga Tree of Life Altar has been established at Occupy Wall Street's Zuccotti Park. A sign at the altar proclaims, "Peace In Oneself. Peace In The World." At the eleventh hour on 11.11.11, yogis, conscious activists and others gathered at the Tree of Life to usher in the Aquarian Age of peace, love and enlightenment.
The yogis' intent to promote peace and unity through meditation may have scientific validity. Extensive studies report that large groups of meditators can decrease terrorism and conflicts worldwide. Researchers suggest that positive societal trends may be created in a unified collective consciousness when large groups of people practice meditation.
Meditation Decreases Violent Crime
One scientific study, called Invincible America Assembly, reports that a significant drop in violent crime nationwide may be linked to group meditation. The ongoing project began at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa in July 2006. Each day over 2,000 volunteers gather together to practice group Transcendental Meditation.
Statistical and independent analyses found that violent crime rates have continued to fall nationwide since July 2006.
Meditation Prevents Terrorism
Another study, published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, suggests that group meditation can decrease international terrorism and conflicts. Within a two-year period, groups of more than 7,000 meditators assembled on three different occasions for 8 to 11 days. Statistical and independent analyses were conducted by the Rand Corporation. The scientists predicted that the square root of 1 percent of the world population (about 7,000 people) meditating together would create a worldwide positive effect. The researchers found a 72 percent decrease in worldwide terrorism during the combined three assemblies.
Meditation Positively Changes the Brain
Finding inner peace through meditation may be associated with physiological brain changes. A study published in PLoS One reports that compassion meditation changes the limbic brain region linked with positive emotions. Traditionally practiced by Buddhist monks, compassion meditation promotes empathy and loving-kindness to others.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison took MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans of 32 experienced meditators and nonmeditators before, during and after meditation. The participants were exposed to emotional and neutral sounds during the MRI scans. The experienced meditators were Tibetan monks. The nonmeditators were taught compassion meditation for two weeks.
The researchers found that the experienced meditators had significantly increased limbic brain activation when practicing empathy and exposed to emotional sounds. In addition, limbic brain activation strength was associated with the self-assessed intensity of the participant's meditation.