Archive for the 'meditation' Category

Apr 22 2015

Meditation study shows changes associated with awareness, stress

Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.

For the current study, magnetic resonance (MR) images were taken of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation — which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind — participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day. A set of MR brain images was also taken of a control group of nonmeditators over a similar time interval.

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Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.

Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. Although no change was seen in a self-awareness-associated structure called the insula, which had been identified in earlier studies, the authors suggest that longer-term meditation practice might be needed to produce changes in that area. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. “Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”

Amishi Jha, a University of Miami neuroscientist who investigates mindfulness-training’s effects on individuals in high-stress situations, says, “These results shed light on the mechanisms of action of mindfulness-based training. They demonstrate that the first-person experience of stress can not only be reduced with an eight-week mindfulness training program but that this experiential change corresponds with structural changes in the amygdala, a finding that opens doors to many possibilities for further research on MBSR’s potential to protect against stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.” Jha was not one of the study investigators.

James Carmody of the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the co-authors of the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the British Broadcasting Company, and the Mind and Life Institute. For more information on the work of Lazar’s team.

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Apr 21 2015

Meditation produces cerebral cortex growth

Published by under meditation

The results showed that daily meditation practice caused growth of the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain associated with memory, language and higher-level perceptions.

“This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

It seems simple, and in fact everyone can meditate. But for many, being shown how to do it, and encouraged to try, can be the only way to get started. And in today’s fast-paced world it is more relevant than ever.

Rebecca Barry Hill recently argued in the New Zealand Herald that the average amount of time we spend at the office has not increased. Rather, more people are more busy because of better communications technology; today work is more likely to follow you home.

“There is a way out of the busy trap. We all know the benefits of exercise when it comes to combating stress. But meditation and, in particular, mindfulness meditation, is an extremely effective tool. Mindfulness is about accepting life as it is, observing things in a kind and non-judgmental way and keeping your attention in the now, not the past or future and what could go wrong.”

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Apr 21 2015

Meditation improves memory

Published by under Meditation

A recent study from the US also points towards meditation as boosting short-term memory capacity, based on better exam scores in a reading-comprehension test.

“Since the strong focus of attention (on an object, idea, or activity) is one of the central aims of meditation, it’s not so surprising that meditation should help people’s cognitive skills on the job, too – but it’s nice to have science confirm it. And everyone can use a little extra assistance on standardized tests.”

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Aug 11 2009

Few Different And Important Types Of Yoga And Meditation

Published by under breathing techniques,meditation

Meditation is a universally-accepted process of cleansing, healing and restoring the mind, body and the spirit practiced not just in today’s modern world, but in ancient cultures. Yogis, or people trained with the ancient art of meditating, proclaim meditation as the highest state of mind, where clarity and self-awareness is achieved, producing a kind of mystical peace and tranquility.

Meditation and yoga, which is a highly structured mental and physical meditation, are propagated by many schools of thoughts. As such, there are various meditation and yoga principles from the Eastern to the Western cultures and from spiritually-evolved cultures like Oriental, Indian, Tibetan and Grecian. Though they have different names for the types of meditation and yoga they are propagating, these techniques often possess similar objectives and steps.

Here are a few different and important types of yoga and meditation which was practiced in the ancient world but still survives and given some modern twists today.
Prayer Meditation is considered one of the oldest and most effective types of yoga or meditation, not to mention the most basic process of connecting within one’s inner self as well as the surrounding, and the relationship between the two. This is not surprising since all religions in the world have embraced some form of meditation as a major process in the understanding and attaining of their spiritual goals. Whether it is a simple prayer, a chant or a mantra, prayer is the simplest, easiest and most accessible yoga and meditation one can perform at any time.

One of the most popular types of meditation and yoga is Mindfulness Meditation. It is a meditation technique where one focuses on the field or background and embrace all the perception around that field. In mindfulness meditation, the person is trained to have an open focus of all the inter-related senses coming from the immediate environment while concentrating on a unifying object or a foundation from which to channel all the other senses that is being absorbed or experienced.

In contrast to mindfulness meditation is Concentration Meditation, where one channels all the energy and focus on one specific object or subject, blocking all distractions around. In concentration meditation, the person holds attention on a single specific focus of thought, which could be a prayer bead, or a thought-based anchor for concentration like a mantra or repetitive prayer.

While concentration meditation trains the mind to withdraw all attachment beyond the self to develop full self-awareness, mindfulness meditation encourages the mind to recognize elements beyond the self to be able to know the whole self as a constitution of all the other elements.

By: Arlene Myers

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Jul 16 2009


Published by under meditation

Z meditation offering its meditation courses with the name of meditation_retreats, meditation India, retreats India, retreats in India etc. meditation retreats is the process of silencing mental agitations. When the mind is stilled, there occurs an experience of Identity Shift. One realizes that one’s true identity is not a body-mind complex. It is rather an eternally blissful awareness. One experiences that one’s real self is a divine light. One was all along living in a state of ignorance of this truth. The Self is the core of one’s being. The mind is waved out of it and it also dissolves in it. Mental formations – including perspectives, ego, decisions etc. – are just transient formations arising and dissolving in the eternal expanse of the Self.


To realize who one is. This is the main goal of meditation. But, as there is extreme turbulence and suffering in most of the minds, the first motivating factor can be the cessation of agitation and pain. It is only when one understands that happiness and fulfilment are a state of being independent of external factors that one can learn to outgrow suffering and turmoil. When the mind is able to remain unconditionally peaceful vis a vis the external situations, there occurs the possibility of meditation. So the first reason that one should learn and practice meditation is the cessation of turbulence.

The Solution: Detachment from one’s own mind

It is not only the suffering, but even the apparently harmless agitations of mind have their roots in illusory conditionings. If one wants to experience true peace and happiness, one will have to understand and detach from these unconscious stories. The best deConditioning happens through deep contemplation. The best way of doing deep contemplation is in a peaceful and solitary place. Doing a retreat is always helpful, but it might not be feasible for one and all. There can be exigencies, beyond one’s control, which don’t allow one to live in a retreat environment.
Five Principles of Z Meditation:
It is very important that the principles of any mind work are clear and rational. These are the principles of Z Meditation that have been used to device Deep Inquiry, Radiant Mantras and the entire retreat structure:
No proof, No Belief
All belief should be scientifically substantiated. One should be able to experience one’s beliefs.
No Concepts, No Peace
There is zero possibility of suppressing the turbulence of the mind by mechanical means. For lasting peace, the concepts must be understood clearly.
No Mother-tongue, No Understanding
One thinks best in one’s own language. Without deep thinking, one cannot integrate the knowledge with one’s life.
No Tuning, No Music
Meditation does not mean torturing the body or the mind. It is an enjoyable and radiant way to clear the mind of turmoil and see things in the Truth-Light. The middle path is the best path. If you are into self affliction, you cannot think clearly. Without clear thinking, you cannot detach from your age-old conditionings.
No Integration, No Dance
Meditation is a way of life and not just a routine. If the rest of the day is not lived in conformity with what one practices in one’s meditation, one cannot make progress just by doing some monotonous motorized exercises.

These are revolutionary principles of meditation. Integrating them with one’s practice, one can make speedy and enduring progress in this beautiful mind-elevation game.

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By: z meditation

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