Counting some health benefits of Meditation
Meditation is not for a few but is
necessary for all human beings. The inner self of a person touches the Higher
Self (the Param-Tattwa) during deep sleep daily. This unknown touch recharges
the battery of man.
Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind.
You may focus on a sound, like ‘ooommm’, or on your own breathing, or on nothing
at all. It’s necessary to have 5-20 distraction-free minutes to spend. It’s
helpful to have silence and privacy, but more practiced meditators can do it
anywhere. Many practitioners of meditation attach a spiritual component to it,
but it can also be a secular exercise.
Meditation is to the mind what sleep is for the physical
body—it regenerates you.
types of meditation:
Meditation has evolved out of many different religions and
philosophies, which means there are many different techniques to
Some examples include:
Concentrating on the breath – consciously noticing the
movement of air in and out of your nostrils, or counting the
breath in variety of ways.
Emptying the mind – allowing the mind to clear and
‘float’, gently pushing aside any stray thoughts, or allowing
thoughts to float in and out of awareness.
Looking at an object – focusing your attention, but not
necessarily your thoughts, on the shape, sound and texture of an
object, such as a tree or a candle flame.
Movement – using a physical technique like yoga, Qi
Gong or Tai Chi to still the mind by coordinating the breath and
the body with gentle movement.
Using a mantra – repeating a word or phrase over and
over, either out loud or silently, to focus the attention, perhaps
timed with the breath.
Meditation, if done on a regular basis, can do wonders for you. Here are some
basic benefits which you will draw by regular meditation.
It stabilizes the autonomous nervous system- During
meditation, the brain’s activity alters significantly, as mapped by a device
called an electroencephalograph (EEG). The most well-known brain waves evident
during many kinds of meditation are called alpha waves. These brain waves
accompany relaxation of the entire nervous system. Gamma, delta and theta
brain waves accompany other types of meditation and are associated with
various altered states of consciousness. Scientific studies show that the
regular practice of meditation can be a powerful healing tool.
Meditation increases concentration, self-esteem,
spontaneity, creativity, and depth of awareness- Studies also show that
mediators have warmer interpersonal relationships, less anxiety, increased
self-esteem and self-confidence, increased problem-solving ability and greater
creativity. The individual spontaneously radiates a purifying and nourishing
influence of positivity and harmony in society as a whole.
It reduces the heart beat- The following studies
show a decrease in heart rate during meditation. Bono (1984)
found that the reduction of
heart rate during TM was greater than the
reduction resulting from sitting quietly with eyes closed. Delmonte (1984f)
found that heart rates were slightly lower during meditation than rest for
fifty-two subjects. Holmes et al. (1983),
however, found that while meditators had lower heart rates while practicing
TM, they did not experience lower arousal than control subjects who were
It reduces the speed of breathing-The process of
relaxation, stillness and body awareness automatically reduces the speed
breathing, which, in turn, helps in meditation.
Blood pressure drops drastically - There is strong
evidence that meditation helps lower
blood pressure in people who are normal
or moderately hypertensive. This finding has been replicated by more than
nineteen studies, some of which have shown systolic reductions among their
subjects of 25 mmHg or more. In some studies a combination of meditation with
biofeedback or other relaxation techniques proved to be more effective than
meditation alone for some subjects. Several studies, however, have shown that
relief from high blood pressure diminishes or disappears entirely if
meditation is discontinued, and few people with acute hypertension have
experienced lower blood pressure in experiments of this kind.
Cardiovascular effectively goes up- Evidence
that meditation helps relieve certain forms of cardiovascular disease
generally conforms to assertions that
tai chi, and other
transformational disciplines promote health.
The Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases-
During the practice of meditation, there is a strong increase in the
electrical resistance of the skin (this is known as "Galvanic Skin Response",
or GSR), due to decreased perspiration, which in turn results from a lessening
of anxiety. The resistance increases in only a few minutes, beginning with a
value of less than 100 kOhms and ending with a value in excess of 300 kOhms.
The skin receives more blood- Decreases in renal
(kidney) and hepatic (liver) blood flow during meditation has been
hypothesized as being due to increased muscle, skin, or brain blood-flow
EMG activity increases- Thirty female subjects,
ranging in age from twenty-one to fifty-nine, were randomly assigned to a
patterned biofeedback group, a clinically standardized meditation group, or a
control group, and were seen weekly for seven sessions. The meditation group
showed significantly lower EMG levels than the other groups. No group had
significant temperature increases. The biofeedback group had difficulty
patterning the two feedback signals simultaneously, confirming the difficulty
revealed by other studies in training individuals to gain voluntary control
over more than one physiological modality with biofeedback.
Stomach function and bowel function improve- Deep
breathing and meditation can help relax your abdominal muscles, which
may lead to more-normal bowel activity.
The endocrine function is heightened- A number
of endocrine reactions have been identified in the meditative response
pattern, including reduced blood levels of lactate, cortisol, and epinephrine
(Wallace 1970, Sudsuang et al 1991). The reductions in these blood chemicals
denote a state of decreased tension and anxiety. It has been recently
demonstrated that meditation reduces sympathetic adrenergic receptor
sensitivity, producing a decreased response to stressful situations.
Muscle flexibility increases- Kundalini Yoga
combines posture, movement, stretches, breath, meditation and mantra to carry
us to a deeper awareness of the Authentic Inner Self. Through various sets of
Yoga postures, the chakras (energy centres) are awakened and balanced. Each
Chakra radiates a particular energy important to our health, state of mind,
and general well being. Each chakra is associated with particular aspects of
our physical, emotional and mental being, including our talents and skills.
The spine, ligaments and muscles are strengthened and stretched to develop a
Mobility and flexibility increase- The variety
of stretching and joint isolation exercises helps to increase joint mobility
and flexibility. Since the technique respects each person's body type and
level of flexibility, meditation is ideal for many individuals.
The hand-eye co-ordination increases- Theta
meditation has also been identified as the gateway to learning and
Theta meditation increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces
awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills.
Body posture is improved- When
your body moves properly the muscular tension is eliminated and posture is
improved by standing straight without straining. Exercise with meditation
incorporates the proper alignment of the head with the hips, ankles and feet
which in turn corrects your posture.
Stamina increases- A recent study (Zamarra et al
1996) reveals that meditators have a general increased exercise tolerance and
maximal cardiac workload as compared to non-meditators.
There is a heightened energy level and vitality-
By meditating deeply for even five minutes at the beginning of your day, you
can set the tone or direction of the entire day. You are taking control (the
first step of managing stress) of your thoughts, your life. You can then
become a Master of life, not a Victim of life.
Stability is improved- A number of studies indicate
that meditation can greatly help to reduce stress and stress-related symptoms,
develop internal resources and positive health, prevent ill health (including
cardiovascular disease and the deleterious effects of
aging), improve social
and thereby enhance stability in life.
People's weight is stabilized at an ordinary level-
There are various yoga postures that specifically help in reducing
and restoring healthy conditions of the mind and body. These postures
stimulate certain important glands, in particular the thyroid gland, and help
in hormonal balance. Certain postures such as the
fish posture and
stand, specifically influences the thyroid gland, helping in converting fat to
energy, resulting in increased muscle tone and better vitality. Also postures
such as bending forward, backward twisting, etc., help in toning up the
abdomen, hips and waist. When such postures are practiced several times
regularly, it naturally leads to
The ability to sleep increases and the time people
need to fall asleep decreases- Certain simple stretches and breathing
techniques can help improve the quality of sleep. The yoga postures,
specifically meant for insomnia, are divided into three sequences that help in
unwinding physically and mentally before falling asleep. First being, the use
of breathing techniques that helps in unwinding from regular activities,
performing gentle stretches that are comfortable, for ten minutes and
practicing Yoga Nidra (Breathing Relaxation).
Pain is weakened-Meditative techniques are also a key
element in the Arthritis self-help Course at Stanford University. More than
100,000 people with arthritis have taken the 12-hour course and learned
meditation-style relaxation exercises as part of a comprehensive self-care
program. Graduates report a 15 to 20 percent reduction in pain. In one study
overseen by Dr. Kabat-Zinn, 72 percent of the patients with chronic pain
conditions achieved at least a 33 percent reduction after participating in an
eight-week period of mindful meditation, while 61 -percent of the pain
patients achieved at least a 50 percent reduction. Additionally, these people
perceived their bodies as being 30 percent less problematic, suggesting an
overall improvement in self-esteem and positive views regarding their bodies.
Meditation may not eliminate pain, but it helps people cope more effectively.
There is a heightened degree of relaxation- Going
deeper into relaxation, you enter the elusive and mysterious Theta state where
brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep, but not quite. Theta is the
brain state where magic happens in the crucible of your own neurological
activity. Theta brings forward heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike
imagery, inspiration, and your long-forgotten memories. Theta can bring you
deep states of meditation. A sensation of "floating." And, because it is an
expansive state, in Theta, you may feel your mind expand beyond the boundaries
of your body.
There is a lessened degree of muscle tension- Instead
of feeling like a cork bobbing on the sea, regular practice of the relaxation
response leads to a sense that emotions--and the physiological reactions that
go with them--can be brought under your control.
The production of serotenine increases-
Meditation has been shown to increase serotonin production. Serotonin is an
important neurotransmitter and neuropeptide that influences mood and behavior
in many ways. Its importance is demonstrated by the recent explosion in use of
fluvoxamine, a " selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor" like Prozac, Paxil,
and Zoloftsuch, for treating depression-related emotional disorders. Low
levels of serotonin have been linked to a variety of disorders. For example,
conditions associated with low serotonin levels include:
insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine
Menstruation pains are softened.
The intake of oxygen gets stronger
Depth perception increases
Strength and resistance increase-
Remember, meditation is not an escape from the world and your
responsibilities, but rather a preparation for them.