Self-Transformation Through Mindfulness | Dr. David Vago | TEDxNashville

Cognitive Neuroscientist, David Vago demonstrates that a systematic form of mental training involving meditation and mindful awareness has the potential to transform our self and our mental habits in a positive way. Learn more about how every moment is an opportunity to change our brain and strongly influence our health & longevity at both conscious and non-conscious levels.

Public Talks, Press, and Interviews


Vago talks to Thrive Global about the effectiveness of mindfulness for workplace stress


Research on mindfulness in the workplace shows, mindfulness reduces stress, worry, and emotional reactivity, whilst increasing working memory, cognitive flexibility, self-awareness, ethical behaviour, relationship satisfaction and well-being.

Dr. Vago participates in Immersion 2019


Dr. Vago participated in a free, online meditation retreat April 10th - 14th, 2019. It' was hosted by Unified Mindfulness, and this first-of-its-kind event is actually two unique events in one.  The Immersion Summit hosted over 70 presenters sharing their direct, personal experience with mindfulness meditation - what led them to make it a life-long practice, or devote their entire lives to it, and how this very powerful practice has transformed their personal and professional lives. Running simultaneously with the Summit was  the Immersion Retreat, a full 5-day meditation retreat, live-streamed via interactive video conferencing.

Dr. Vago speaks with Scott Kaufman on his podcast about the latest science of mindfulness


Drs. Vago  and Kaufman discuss:

  • What is contemplative science?
  • History of the idea of “contemplation”
  • The aim of mindfulness
  • What do we know after 25 years of mindfulness research?
  • The link between mindfulness and how we cope with pain
  • The link between mindfulness and reducing anxiety
  • The link between mindfulness and improving depression



This year’s program is the first of three scheduled annual programs to revolve around topics central to the body, breath and mind. These themes will be further developed over the next two years for programs in spring 2020 and 2021. Each program will be held at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center and will be available via live-streaming for those who cannot join in person. Dr. Vago will be presenting with Dr. Wolever on a model developed by Dr. Schoenberg and himself on states and stages of contemplative practice.

Contemplative Sciences Center at UVA - April 12, 2019


Dr. Vago  presented models underlying specific meditative practices, the underlying neurobiological and psychosocial processes supporting those practices, and data from his lab and others in support of short- and long-term changes—from clinical outcomes to unified compassion.

1/18/2019 - Mind Body Medicine Day at Northwestern University Medical Center


Dr. Vago speaking on "Mapping the Meditative Mind" along with a number of colleagues from integrative medicine, including Peter Wayne, PhD and David Victorson, PhD

Dr. Vago talks with Community health matters about Mindfulness and Integrative Medicine from Nashville News Channel 5 in January, 2019



Dr. Vago talks to Self Magazine on "What Meditation Can and Can't Do for your Health"

Mindfulness meditation is one wellness trend that shows no signs of disappearing. But what does the science say?


Mind the Hype


Mindfulness and cultivating it may be a good thing, but operationalizing it as a singular construct has proven difficult and research that claims to capture ‘It’ as a state or trait remain confusing. 'Mindfulness' has been getting oversold by much of the news media relative to available scientific evidence for supporting its benefits;   So much so that Dr. Vago and 14 of his colleagues wrote a critical evaluation of the extant literature and prescriptive agenda for future research with the hopes of tempering some of the hype and pointing out some of the limitations 

Uplift Podcast - Vago


Dr. Vago discusses his work studying the effects of mindfulness for nearly two decades. He says we all fall into the trap of defining ourselves by the emotions that we feel. Through Mindfulness, he describes how we change our thoughts, mind and behaviour.  Listen here for Dr. Vago’s strategies for everyday mindfulness and the research on the practice. 

Mindfulness experts call for more scientific rigor, less hype


David Vago, Ph.D., is one of the principal authors of a “Mind the Hype” article in Perspectives on Psychological Science that calls for more scientific evaluation, circumspect reporting and uniform treatment standards for mindfulness and meditation. Basically, the article raises a red flag about the media hype on mindfulness and meditation getting ahead of the scientific rigor.

Dr. Vago teams up with Deepak Chopra to discuss importance of inflammation as a target for integrati


Dr. Vago co-wrote a piece on the importance of inflammation in disease with Deepak Chopra, William C Bushell, PhD, Ryan Castle, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.  

Research by Dr. Vago and colleagues delves into mental states of self-transcendent experiences


In an article published recently in the Review of General Psychology, David Vago, Ph.D., director of research at the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Vanderbilt, and colleagues explore the mechanisms behind self-transcendent experiences and their positive effect on wellbeing.

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Episode 32| Radical Mindfulness with David Vago Ph.D.

David Vago Answers…

What is mindfulness?
What do you think about society and its state of unhappiness?
What is the role of compassion in this framework?


Dr. Vago talks to Channel 5 Boston on the benefits of mindfulness for stress.



Dr. Vago speaks with the Boston Globe on Stress

Dr. Vago was interviewed in a piece on the benefits of yoga for stress in the Boston Globe. This interview cites a new publication where Dr. Vago is a principle author describing the mechanisms by which yoga facilitates self-regulation. That paper can be found [HERE]


Dr. Vago and Scott Carney speak about Meditation at the Rubin Museum Brainwave Series

[Link] Dr. Vago took part in the BrainWave series at the Rubin museum in a discussion with Scott Carney concerning his new book, A Death on Diamond Mountain. The talk went into depth on ideas and experience of spiritual bypassing, spiritual materialism, obsession with spirituality.


Redesign My Brain

[Link] Dr. Vago and Dr. Fadel Zeidan are interviewed about the benefits of meditation in the context of pain and managing stress by Todd Sampson for the Discovery Channel series – Redesign My Brain.


Dr. Vago's work on Interoception is mentioned in April, 2015

This piece was on "Is it possible to heal depression and anxiety with yoga?". It spoke with yoga teacher and collaborator, Bo Forbes concerning the benefits of yoga for symptoms of anxiety and depression through body awareness (interoception). 


Dr. Vago dialogued with Russel Simmons at the Rubin Museum on the Science of Meditation and its benefits as part of the BrainWave series. Russell Simmons, the entrepreneur and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and Def Comedy Jam, claims meditation can help you live a calmer, healthier, more mindful, spiritual and successful life. [Link] to the event. [Facebook] and [Link] to the pictures.

Dr. Vago and colleague, Jake Davis spoke with Vincent Horn of Buddhist Geeks on the Neuroscience of Enlightenment. Here is the [LINK] (part I) and [LINK] (part II) with transcript


Now and Zen: How mindfulness can change your brain and improve your health

A few Harvard scientists, including Dr. Vago, have been first  to better understand the impact of meditation on health. Their findings were presented to this packed audience and live stream as part of the Longwood Seminars at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Vago Presents to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Listen to Mind & Life XXIV from 2012: Latest Findings in Contemplative Science with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dr. Vago was one of 5 emerging contemplative scientists chosen to present his research directly to His Holiness.



Dr. Zeidan and Dr. Vago talk about Mindfulness and Pain

Fadel Zeidan and David Vago participated in a discussion on National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Charlotte, NC – WFAE 90.7 discussing the effects of meditation and contemplative practice on pain. Listen HERE. Charlotte Blogs about it HERE.




Sustainable Happiness with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche - Part I/II

Dr. Vago participated in a dialogue with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, and Dr. Robert Roeser, developmental psychologist and educator entitled, “Sustainable Happiness: A dialogue between science and contemplative wisdom” at Portland State University, sponsored by Tergar International. 


Sustainable Happiness - Part II

Sustainable Happiness: A Dialogue between Science and Contemplative Wisdom - Part II of II

Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, developmental psychologist Dr. Robert W. Roeser from Portland State University, and cognitive neuroscientist Dr. David R. Vago from Harvard Medical School participate in an evening dialogue that explores the concept of sustainable happiness from modern scientific, contemplative and practical perspectives.

What is sustainable happiness? Is sustainable happiness possible in this life? How might it be cultivated through contemplative practices like meditation? What does scientific research tell us about how meditation affects health and happiness? How might sustainable happiness be linked to the broader concept of ecological sustainability?

Dr. Vago participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Happiness and the Brain” on the Toronto-based television program, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin.”The discussion included coverage of affective neuroscience, the neural correlates of happiness and the benefits of Buddhist mental training exercises such as mindfulness meditation.