Neuroplasticity & Meditation: Cures for Mental & Physical Illness


Persian Kriya Yoga meditation master, Kambiz Naficy will be visiting Minnesota for the second time this June, conducting Level I and Level II Joy of Life meditation retreats. Kambiz is founder of Joy of Life, an international wellness and meditation organization with branches in the U.S., India, Sri Lanka and Iran. Kambiz integrates the wisdom of ancient Kriya Yoga teachings with modern holistic sciences, such as quantum physics and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Through Kriya yoga practices, including energetic breathing and meditation, Kambiz promotes self-exploration and empowerment while helping people reach their full potential.

This interview was conducted with Kambiz Naficy.

Kambiz, during your previous visit, you introduced a variety of very useful psychological and spiritual topics. What is your main message on this trip?
One of the reasons I am here is to tell my friends about the brain’s ability to regenerate and renew itself through mental exercises such as meditation, solving puzzles and creative visualization. The brain’s ability to renew and regenerate itself, and for certain parts of the brain to switch functions, even at a very old age, is a recent discovery called neuroplasticity.

When was this discovered and which scientists were behind these discoveries?
A group of about a dozen top Western scientists, many of whom are neurological researchers, have gathered around the Dalai Lama and formed the Mind and Life Institute in the U.S. One of the leading scientists behind these discoveries is Chilean-born Francisco J. Varela.

What these scientists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, through dozens of scientific experiments, is that certain mental exercises such as meditation and creative visualization actually strengthen certain parts of the brain by generating fresh brain cells, neurons and synapses (connections between the cells). For example, repeated experiments show that simply visualizing that you are playing the piano leads to a detectable and measurable change in the motor cortex of the brain as neurons and synapses form in response to creative visualization.

The scientific discovery that mere thought can alter physical brain matter is in line with the ancient Buddhist and Vedantic philosophies of mind over matter.

Are you saying that our thoughts and the mental environment that we place ourselves in physically change us?
Exactly. Not only can you generate neurons and form new synapses through mental exercises like meditation, personality-wise you also become who you think you are, through repetitious positive affirmations and visualizations.

Finally, quantum physics experiments now prove that your focused and persistent thoughts influence the dance of the atom and its electrons, and since all of the physical world is made up of atoms, your thoughts create your daily circumstances in this physical world.

Kambiz, what about mental and physical diseases? Can mental exercises such as meditation and visualization cure such diseases?
Buddhism and Yoga have known this fact for thousands of years, and over the last 25 years, scientific evidence leads to the same conclusion.

Meditation, especially forms of meditation that employ breathing like Kriya Yoga, produce unique states of relaxation that decrease stress. The unique aspect about Kriya Yoga is that these breathing practices change the blood composition so that acidic blood turns alkaline. When alkaline (acid-free) blood circulates in the brain, brain-wave activity immediately calms down and with a still and centered mind, our blood pressure, muscle-tension and stress quickly decrease.

The National Institutes of Health have gathered more than 600 studies scientifically verifying that meditation eliminates hypertension (high blood pressure) and various forms of heart disease. Medical science has shown for the last 20 years that more than 70 percent of modern diseases are somehow related to stress and that any practice that reduces stress levels improves health, prevents illness, and in many cases, eliminates disease.

I want to cite two particular illnesses, amongst many, that patients can cure and prevent through meditation and creative visualization. These are depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

In the early 1990s, UCLA’s Jeffery Schwartz and University of Massachusetts’ Jon Kabat-Zinn conducted experiments with OCD and depressed patients practicing mindfulness meditation. The volunteers were taught to witness and observe their mental agitation like movie-watchers, without physically responding to their thoughts. Volunteers learned to view their obsessive and depressive thoughts as random misfirings of their brains rather than objective reality. By mindfully and objectively witnessing negative thoughts without reacting, all groups of volunteers showed significant and long-lasting improvement.

Kambiz, is mindfulness what you will be teaching at the Joy of Life retreats in Minnesota?
Yes, that plus knowledge about eliminating childhood wounds, roots of low self-esteem, creating a strong inner-world and personal boundaries, creative visualization, healthy breathing through Kriya Yoga, and finally, how to manifest your own destiny through concentration and mind-power.

The Level I Retreat is open to all individuals who would like to achieve greater joy and peace in their daily lives. No previous experience with Kriya Yoga or meditation is necessary. This retreat will be held June 26-28 at WomanWell, 1784 LaCrosse Ave., in St. Paul. For more information and registration, call 952.594.4346 or visit



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