Brittany Fair—The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation

Cover of the book The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation by Brittany Fair, with a royal purple background and an image of a stylized brain featuring red, green, and yellow lines representing multiple nerve pathways and connections.

Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation

Brittany Fair
Handspring Publishing & Singing Dragon, July 21, 2023, $50
ISBN 13: 9781913426439

Fair reports:

As a science writer and longtime yoga instructor and student, I grew tired of attending classes where I was told to stand on my head to increase blood flow to my brain or given other misinformation about the brain.

Equipped with a graduate degree in neuroscience, I wrote The Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation to provide a guide for those interested in learning about the intersection between contemplative practices, like yoga and meditation, and the brain. I hope this book acts as a resource for yoga instructors and therapists who want to learn more about how to use contemplative practices to improve health and well-being.

Portrait photo of Brittany Fair

Brittany Fair
Photo by Chris Keeney

In this book, I present a review of the scientific research on the effects of yoga and meditation on the brain and discuss shortcomings of current research in the field. The book is packed with colorful illustrations by Bruce Hogarth and includes examples of meditations and movement routines that activate the brain to decrease stress and improve well-being.

The process of writing this book started when I was reviewing a book proposal for Handspring Publishing. The publisher, seeing that I had a background in neuroscience and a passion for yoga and meditation research, asked if I would be interested in writing a book. I had been pondering this idea for several years. I jumped at the opportunity and submitted a formal proposal.

I accepted the book deal two weeks before giving birth to my twin boys in 2021. Accepting a book deal while anticipating taking care of newborn twins was an idiotic decision, but I couldn’t say no. I wrote most of the book while on maternity leave from my job as a science communicator at the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA, in-between breastfeeding, changing diapers, and barely getting enough sleep. I was so passionate about this project, I had to see it to fruition.

My book is now published, and my twins are two years old! My advice to aspiring science writers is to choose a topic you’re passionate about. That passion can help guide you through challenging moments in writing.

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Banner image adapted from original photo by Brittany Fair.

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Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

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