Meditation Is Not An Act, It Is A Quality
Sadhguru explains that meditation is not an act, it is a quality that naturally manifests if we cultivate the right kind of inner situation. [powerpress url=”http://sadhguru.podomatic.com/enclosure/2016-02-26T16_00_00-08_00.mp3″]
Sadhguru explains that meditation is not an act, it is a quality that naturally manifests if we cultivate the right kind of inner situation.
What is the Purpose of Meditation?
Sadhguru looks at how the purpose of meditation is not just to make one ecstatic, it is to create a "space" between you and what is your body and mind. Once this happens, this is the end of suffering.
Sadhguru looks at how the purpose of meditation is not just to make one ecstatic , it is to create a "space" between you and what is your body and mind. Once this happens, this is the end of suffering.
Meditation: Going Beyond Logic
Sadhguru elaborates that logic, while useful for handling external circumstances, will not enhance the quality of life. To still be effective and go beyond the rigors of logic, is the essence of meditation. Sadhguru: The mind is always about the past that you have accumulated; it is never about what is happening now. It is [...]
Sadhguru elaborates that logic, while useful for handling external circumstances, will not enhance the quality of life. To still be effective and go beyond the rigors of logic, is the essence of meditation.
Sadhguru:The mind is always about the past that you have accumulated; it is never about what is happening now. It is a useful tool to handle the materialistic aspect of life but if you employ it to handle your whole life, then it’s a total mess. If you look at it logically, even getting out of bed in the morning will look like a huge feat. Then you have to brush your teeth, eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep; again tomorrow morning the same thing. For the rest of your life you have to do the same thing over and over again. Logically is it worthwhile? Not at all, isn't it? If you look at your life’s experience, maybe you saw the sunrise and it’s worthwhile. Maybe you saw the birds in the sky, the flowers blooming in your garden or your child’s face, then maybe it's worthwhile. But if you look at it logically, moments of extreme logic are moments of suicide.
Sadhana is aimed at ironing out the logical mind, so that you become like a piece of mirror.
If you become extremely logical you will become depressed and self-destructive. Right now with a logical mind you are trying to perceive the nature of life. You can try as hard as you want, it is not going to happen. If you want to perceive the nature of your life, you must be willing to look beyond the limitations of the logical mind. Otherwise it is going to be one long, endless, fruitless struggle. It can never get you to a solution. It can only increase the complexity of the problem.
This logical mind which is the fundamental instrument through which you are trying to do everything is only equipped to handle the duality of the existence. If you as a being become dual, you become a constant struggle. Once you create this tension, and the more you logically think about it, the more tense you become.
All the sadhana, all the meditativeness that is prescribed on the spiritual path is fundamentally to handle this logical mind which is building up a certain level of tension within you. If it is constantly strung tight, then the very life energy in you will become weak and lose its intensity and vibrancy over a period of time.
If you become extremely logical, you become horribly argumentative about everything in your life. So meditation is a way of unstringing this.
There is a very beautiful incident in the life of Aesop, the fable writer. He was actually the slave of a Greek king and one day he was playing bow and an arrow with a few children. Aesop just loved to play with children. A serious looking wise man looked at this and said, “What a waste of time for a grown up man to be playing with children like this! What is the purpose of wasting your life playing with children?” Aesop wanted to convey the message, so he took a bow which was strung, unstrung it, put it on the floor and said, “This is the purpose.” The wise man said, “I don’t get your message.” So Aesop said, “If you keep your bow constantly strung, over a period of time it loses its strength and intensity and then it will be a no-good bow. If you want to retain the strength and intensity of your bow, you must unstring it sometimes. Only then it will be ready for use when you want it.” So that’s all it is. That’s mediation, to unstring yourself.
Unstringing yourself of the tension the logic is creating within you. Every kind of logic builds a certain tension. Once there is logic, there is room for argument, isn't it? If you become extremely logical, you become horribly argumentative about everything in your life. So meditation is a way of unstringing this. Letting the mind just be there without employing the logical distortion. If your mind learns to just simply be there, it becomes like the piece of a mirror. The beauty of the mirror is, a mirror has no face of its own. Logic has a face of its own. Everybody has their own kind of logic. Why two people can argue endlessly about the same issue, simply because everybody’s logic has its own face. However, a mirror has no face, in this little piece of mirror, you can reflect the whole mountain. You can contain the whole mountain in a tiny mirror; you can contain the sun in the little mirror. Once the mind goes beyond the duality of logic, it becomes like a mirror which can contain the whole existence; the creation and the creator. All the sadhana is just towards this.
Fundamentally all sadhana is aimed at ironing out the logical mind, so that you become like a piece of mirror. Once you become a piece of a mirror, you can reflect anything. If God comes here, he can also be contained in you. The sun comes here, it can also be contained in you. Anything can be contained in you because you have no face of your own. Spiritual sadhana does not mean you making yourself into something other than what you are. Spiritual sadhana simply means erasing the false faces that you have created for yourself, so the mind becomes like a plain mirror which reflects everything just the way it is, without any distortions.
How To Control Your Thoughts During Meditation? Mind Your Garbage!
You complain about a new possibility that has arisen within you, a possibility that an ape, a monkey, or any other creature does not have.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru, answers a question on how to control your thoughts during meditation. He banishes several myths about controlling your thoughts and explores how we can take the mind from being a compulsive process to an entirely conscious process.
Question: Namaskaram. During the practice of kriyas, there is always this challenge of thoughts entering my mind. I’m trying hard to keep them away and focus on the kriya, but this doesn’t really work. How to control your thoughts during meditation or kriyas?
Sadhguru: You are focusing hard and trying to banish the thoughts, and they are not going away. This is the nature of the mind, but it looks like you are very prejudiced against your mind. When you are doing your kriya or your meditation, you don’t mind if your kidneys or your lungs are functioning or if your heart is beating. You don’t mind all the other processes in the body – only your brain should not function! The notion that if you do something spiritual, your brain should stop working is simply wrong.
Your thoughts are just the smells – either fragrance or stink – of the stuff that you carry within you. Nothing new arises. If you don’t let the stuff that you have gathered go into your brain, your brain will work in phenomenal ways. It can do things that you have not imagined possible. But it is full of your own rubbish right now – that is the struggle; that is why you want it to stop. Instead of the brain being the crown of your life, it has become the garbage bin of your life. Physically, it is the crown. In the symbolism of yoga, Sahasrar is a lotus with one thousand petals – “one thousand” not as a literal number, but as something innumerable. If your brain was rooted in the existential process, innumerable possibilities would open up. But right now, your brain is only rooted in the mental process.
Now you may say, “Sadhguru, that’s exactly what I am saying – how to control thoughts?” No, that is not what you are saying. You don’t want your thoughts to interfere with your illusory idea of enlightenment. Illusory because enlightenment is not something that you cause. You don’t cause light, but you see light. When the sun rises in the morning, you do not cause the light, but you are able to see it if your eyes are open. If you cause light – let’s say with a torch or by any other means – you always have to keep it up, and there will always be the fear that it will go out.
The difference between education and enlightenment is just this – you can educate yourself with 1, 10, or 1000 books, but still you will run out of material at some point. Enlightenment means you did not educate yourself with books – you are simply there; it is an endless process. Is there something particular that an enlightened person knows that you do not know? No. Is there something particular that an enlightened person does not know? No. I am not playing with words. This is the nature of existence.
An Inefficient Mind
What is happening in your liver and kidneys is a lot more complex than the thoughts that you generate. If the activity of your organs does not disturb you, why do your thoughts disturb you? Because you think you are your thoughts. When you think, you don’t see it as “my thoughts” – you say, “I think so.” Because you are deeply identified with your thought process, it is bothering you. You are not identified with your kidneys unless you have a kidney problem. If they function normally, most people do not even feel if they have kidneys or not. Kidneys are a device – they are functioning so efficiently we can forget about them.
The notion that if you do something spiritual, your brain should stop working is simply wrong.
You are always conscious of that which does not function efficiently. You know, I am making a statement about your brain. If it was functioning smoothly, you would not notice your brain, like you do not notice your kidneys or liver. If you were not identified with it, you would not notice it. If you are identified with it, it is a big deal. You are not your thought. You are identified with something that you are not. Once you are identified with something that you are not, you cannot stop the mental process – it will just go on endlessly. It is like when you have eaten bad food, gas will develop. You cannot stop it with a wine cork. You just have to stop eating bad food.
The bad food for you is right now, you believe yourself to be things that you are not. The moment you identify yourself with your body, your thoughts, your emotions, and many other things around you, the thought process will be endless. People think that is how the mind is. That is not how mind is, or rather, that it is not how it is supposed to be. If you constantly had a stomach ache, you would think that is how the stomach is.
The Human Possibility
The brain is much more sensitive than other organs. All other organs have specific functions, but the brain has a few specific functions, and the rest is left open. This is the problem of being human. Any other creature has specific goals, nothing more. They must eat well, grow well, reproduce well, and die one day – everything is set. Only a human being is wondering, “Why am I here? What is the nature of my life? Where do I come from? Where do I go?” All these questions only come up when you are human. The difference between a human being and any other creature is that in human beings, the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain have flowered.
You complain about a new possibility that has arisen within you, a possibility that an ape, a monkey, or any other creature does not have. Do not treat a possibility as a problem. It is not a problem – it is a possibility that you can sit here and think of something that is 1000 miles away, 1000 years ago, 1000 years later, or whatever else. It has become a problem for a lot of people because they have never looked at the user manual.
First stop giving the brain bad food – feed it with Truth, not untruth. We are in the hands of Truth. We don’t have Truth in our hands. We have a complex bunch of lies in our hands. If you keep down all the things that you believe, all the things that you have made up, you will see, if you sit here, your mind could be simply empty. If it is empty, what is the use? The use is it can reflect the whole cosmos. Otherwise, it is quite comic. This is the choice – you can make your mind into a comical place or a cosmic space. For it to become a cosmic space, you must keep all the lies down – then Truth will flourish by its own nature. The absence of falsehood is Truth.
Only a fool will talk about what Truth is. One who knows will only talk around it, because you cannot talk about it. You can only define and describe that which has some kind of substance, that which has measurable parameters, or boundaries. If something has no boundaries and no parameters, you cannot talk about it. The whole work is about clearing the mess you have created, not about establishing Truth. There is no need to establish Truth. It is in the lap of Truth that all of us exist.
I will not ask you to confess what thoughts you are getting while doing your kriya. Do not be concerned about your thoughts. Above all, do not try to stop them. Let them happen like the activity of your kidneys is happening. Not everything in your kidneys is clean. Not everything in your brain is clean either – what is your problem?
Good Thoughts and Bad Thoughts
Do not discriminate between good and bad thoughts. There are no good and bad thoughts – there are just thoughts. Your thoughts depend upon what kind of garbage you have – that kind of smell will emanate. Today’s smell depends on yesterday’s garbage. It depends on what you threw into the bin. If you watched a movie yesterday or something else happened, today, that will come back to you again. Do not judge your thoughts – it is just rubbish. First of all, they are not even real. A thought means that it is not real. The largest part of who you are is unconscious right now. You are making things up all the time. If you want to know the nature of creation and the Creator, it is important that you do not make things up, which is what you are trying to do right now. Trying to make things up is a hopeless method.
If you try to maintain a continuous stream of thoughts while doing your kriya, suddenly, they will not come. Suddenly, you will get constipated in the head. Do not bother about your thoughts or about how to control your thoughts. Depending upon what is there inside today, thoughts will flow. There is no significance or consequence to this. You just need to do the kriya – do not do the thoughts. Whether you try to remove them or to have continuous thoughts or 108 sacred thoughts during meditation, you are still trying to do the thoughts. The kidneys will do their own thing; the liver will do its own thing; the brain will do its own thing; you do the kriya – that is all.
What, me meditate?
A lot of people think meditation is tough. Well, Isha Kriya is one of those effortless processes that makes one naturally meditative. When many people hear the word meditation, they think, “That’s not for me!” Let’s demystify meditation a little. The most basic mistake people make is that they try to meditate, fail, and then [...]
A lot of people think meditation is tough. Well, Isha Kriya is one of those effortless processes that makes one naturally meditative.
When many people hear the word meditation, they think, “That’s not for me!”
Let’s demystify meditation a little. The most basic mistake people make is that they try to meditate, fail, and then say that meditation is difficult. Meditation is not something that you can do.
“What do you mean? Don’t I have to sit cross-legged and cross-eyed?” Thank goodness, no.
You can never do meditation, but you can become meditative, you can become meditation. Meditation is a quality. If you create a certain atmosphere, meditation will happen. It’s just like gardening. You can’t make plants grow; but if you create the right conditions for a seedling – soil, sunlight, and fresh air – flowers will blossom. If you create the necessary atmosphere in your body, mind, emotion, and energy, meditation has to blossom. But just sitting and trying to meditate – it ain’t gonna happen!
Meditation is not about going somewhere, it is a homecoming. It is a most natural state if only you set the right conditions for it.
So what’s the point of meditating anyway? Well, first, if you really want a competitive edge, it is a way to get back in touch with the intrinsic intelligence of your original nature. And the result? Instead of living on the surface, you can go deep into the core of anything you wish to explore.
Isha Kriya is a simple but very potent meditation available to anyone who can invest 12 minutes of their day! Don’t worry about the how & what. This is an effortless meditation!
Try Isha Kriya Today
Why should I do Isha Kriya ?
“Isha” refers to that which is the source of creation; “kriya” literally means “internal action”. The purpose of Isha Kriya is to help an individual get in touch with the source of his existence and create life according to his own wish and vision. Daily practice of Isha Kriya brings health, dynamism, peace and wellbeing. It is a powerful tool to cope with the hectic pace of modern life.
Isha Kriya is free, simple, and easy to practice in the comfort of your own home. It has the potential to transform the life of anyone who is willing to invest just a few minutes a day.
"I just practiced the Isha Kriya meditation and was surprised how powerful this meditation with Sadhguru is – even through an online video! I certainly felt a sense of inner peace, balance and a separation from attachment." – Olga Avila, Holland
The Side-Effects of Meditation & Why They Don’t Matter Much!
Q: Sadhguru, if someone decided to commit to meditation, how does that person know when things are moving in the right direction? Is there any psychological or physiological manifestation of this? Sadhguru: Physical manifestations are probably always the most tangible. There are many physical and psychological manifestations and there are many other manifestations which are beyond [...]
Q:Sadhguru, if someone decided to commit to meditation, how does that person know when things are moving in the right direction? Is there any psychological or physiological manifestation of this?
Sadhguru: Physical manifestations are probably always the most tangible. There are many physical and psychological manifestations and there are many other manifestations which are beyond physical and psychological. All these things can be questioned, but by whom? People who know only the physical and psychological, people who rely more on machines, who believe that machines are more reliable than the human beings who built them, those type of people question it all the time.
Dead or Brain-dead?!
Let me tell you something that happened a few years ago. I went to a certain place where they were doing all kinds of experiments on yoga and yogis. They thought I was a good subject – a guinea pig. I normally would not subject myself to these indignities, but it was a moment of obligation, so I said yes.
Your ability to function in the world can be greatly enhanced – almost super-enhanced. Physically and mentally, it will set you apart in any crowd of people if you give yourself to the practice sufficiently.
They said they want to check the gamma waves in my brain. I did not know I even had such waves! They put fourteen electrodes in different places on my body and mainly in the head region, and told me, “Now meditate.” I said, “I don't know any meditation.” They said, “No, no, you are teaching meditation to everybody.” “I teach meditation to people because they can't sit in one place. You have to teach them something to make them sit.” Then they asked, “Okay, what can you do?” I said, “If you want, I will simply sit still.” They said, “Okay, do that.” So I sat.
After about fifteen to twenty minutes, I felt somebody hitting my knee with some metallic object. Then they began hitting my elbow and my ankle – in all the most painful places. I did not know what their interest in my joints was. It became very persistent and then they touched my back. My spine is always super-sensitive and once they touched my back, I thought maybe it is time to tell them. If they want me to come out, if they would have just said, “Come out,” I would have taken a minute and come out. Why all this tapping?
When I opened my eyes, they were giving me a weird look. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked. They said, “No, our machine says you are dead.” I said, “Okay, that’s a great diagnosis.” Then they discussed amongst themselves and said, “Either you are dead or your brain is dead.” I said, “The second diagnosis is too insulting. I will take the first one. You say what you want. I am alive, it is fine with me. Brain-dead is not a good certificate to have.”
When you go about checking out life like this from bits and pieces of information and knowledge that you have, you will obviously come to wrong conclusions. But anyway, it is important because the world happens that way today. Because I was not willing to subject myself again, I asked some of our meditators to allow their brains to be scanned. It was processed in a premier institute in the country and what they found was that there is a phenomenal coherence [pdf] between the right and left brain. The people who looked at it said, “We have never seen anything like this.” This is for people who have done these practices for just three months or a little more.
Right & Left Brain Coherence
What this means in terms of translating it into life is, whatever information you receive and process through the five sense organs generally goes to the left brain. Whatever information that is perceived through the rest of the body, which is not logical, which is not piecemeal, which is more homogeneous information that is most essential for your life, is processed in your right brain which is not logical. You may not be conscious of it but you are always using this information. Otherwise you could not be here. Unless there is an active coherence between the left brain and right brain, you cannot access this information consciously. Consciously being able to access that part of life within you, that part of information and knowing within you can take you places that you have not imagined. What you have been doing in your life with great effort, you could just do it like that.
For any number of people, it has translated into their lives in terms of action and how they live. I would say, if you are doing a particular kind of activity, let us say today’s software engineers, what they are doing in thirty days, probably very effortlessly, within six months of practice they could do it in a much shorter time. But if they are stretching it for contract purposes, that is left to them; that is not my business! Your ability to function in the world can be greatly enhanced – almost super-enhanced. Physically and mentally, it will set you apart in any crowd of people if you give yourself to the practice sufficiently. And health-wise, there is any amount of medical research today to tell you that it does miraculous things to you.
The Real Thing Is Slowly Building Up
But all these benefits – physical health, mental capabilities, being able to handle life with ease – these are just side-effects. The real thing is slowly building up. That, you will know only when it flowers. Till then, you think nothing is happening. It is like you planted a flowering tree in your house. As it grows, only leaves keep coming. Your neighbour comes and tells you, “This is no good. You said flowers would come but only leaves are coming. Let us chop it and make firewood out of it.” You said, “Let me see. Maybe tomorrow morning it will work.” Tomorrow morning – nothing. Again you said, “Let me see, one more day,” One more day, one more day… years passed. If you do not know how long it takes for this tree to flower, you would probably have chopped it a hundred times over. But if you keep nurturing it, one day when it flowers, when it is in full bloom, then you realize this plant was not about leaves, this was not about shade, this was not about a little bit of oxygen. This, when it flowers, is incredibly beautiful.
Editor’s Note:Here’s a list of the “side-benefits” as per medical research on the Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya offered by Isha Foundation. You can also try out these free 5-minute Upa-Yoga practices.
Benefits of Meditation | Shambhavi Mahamudra – Sadhguru
Meditation is a powerful tool for spiritual growth, and is essentially a process to take one beyond the limitations of body and mind. Teachers and practitioners of these “inner technologies” have also experienced the many physical and mental benefits of meditation and yoga. In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies and research on [...]
Meditation is a powerful tool for spiritual growth, and is essentially a process to take one beyond the limitations of body and mind. Teachers and practitioners of these “inner technologies” have also experienced the many physical and mental benefits of meditation and yoga. In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies and research on meditation have corroborated these experiences.
Isha’s introductory practice is the Shambhavi Mahamudra, an ancient kriya that has millions of dedicated practitioners who aver that they experience greater emotional balance, concentration, focus, stability and better health with regular practice of the meditation. In fact, there have been several scientific studies that measure the various benefits of practicing the kriya regularly – both with regard to brain activity during the kriya, as well as statistical research of how it affects people’s health and well-being.
How does the Kriya Work?
The reason why most people are unhappy or unhealthy is that the physical, the mental and the “pranic” body are not in alignment.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Sadhguru says, "There is a certain way to engineer our system, to make this body, to make this mind… the very chemistry within us the way we want it.” Traditionally, yoga sees the human being as five layers of body: the physical body, the mental body, the pranic energy body, the etheric body and the bliss body. The reason why most people are unhappy or unhealthy is that the physical, the mental and the “pranic” body are not in alignment. Sadhguru explains, “If they are properly aligned, a natural expression, an overwhelming expression of joyfulness will naturally happen within a human being. Now, we are looking at the technology of keeping these three bodies constantly aligned so that joyfulness is not an accidental happening; joyfulness becomes a normal condition, a natural way of living for you."
Studies on Shambhavi Mahamudra
Studies on Shambhavi Mahamudra have been varied: some have examined its impact on disease status and medicine usage, some have looked specifically at menstrual disorders, while others have studied the benefits of this meditation on sleep, heart rate variability, brain activity, etc. Other studies have researched general well-being and improved attention spans among regular meditators.
Let’s take a look at the results of some of the key studies.
Benefits of meditation #1: Improved cardiac health
Two studies published in 2008 and 2012 examined how Shambhavi Mahamudra supported cardiac health. The studies showed that participants had a more well-balanced Cardiac Autonomic Nervous System and an overall increase in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) during the practice. A higher HRV has been linked to better immunity to stressful situations, and is said to bestow a greater survival advantage on individuals. A lower HRV on the other hand has been linked to various heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, chronic heart failure and myocardial infarction.
The researchers conclude that practitioners of the Shambhavi Mahamudra and other Isha Yoga practices have higher exercise tolerance, better cardiac response to stressful situation, lower probability of undergoing hypertension of cardiac troubles such as ischemia or infarction.
Benefits of meditation #2: Greater coherence within the brain
A study from the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, IIT Delhi, looked at EEG (Electroencephalography) data from practitioner’s brains before, during and after practicing the kriya. The results show that practitioners experienced a greater level of coherence between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. EEG coherence is known to be a measure of how well connected various regions of the brain are. Higher coherence indicates greater exchange of information between various regions, as well as improved functional coupling and coordination. Higher levels of coherence are also correlated to higher scores on IQ and creativity tests, as well emotional stability and cognitive flexibility.
The researchers also measured signals at various prominent EEG spectral bands known as the alpha, beta, delta and theta. Shambhavi practitioners were seen to have higher alpha band power in general, indicating that they experienced lower stress levels. There was a high increase in delta band power and theta band and a notable reduction in beta band power. A reduction in beta band power indicates reduced susceptibility to mental tension, excitement and anxiety. Higher theta and delta activity have been noted in previous research as indicative of conscious access to deeper states of meditation. “Delta rhythms combined with alpha are known to reflect an inner intuitive empathetic radar, a kind of sixth sense” the researchers note.
Benefits of meditation #3: Improved sleep
A study presented at the 20th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society, Lisbon, Portugal compared the sleep patterns of 15 male meditators with a control group of 15 age and education-matched, male non-meditators. Participants were aged between 25 and 55 years. The meditators had practiced Shambhavi Mahamudra as well as other Isha Yoga practices.
Whole-night polysomnographic measures were recorded in participants and EEG data was recorded, along with other parameters. The results showed that the percentage of REM sleep, sleep efficiency and total sleep time of meditators was significantly higher as compared to the control group of non-meditators. Meditators also experienced better sleep quality as evidenced by fewer awakenings after sleep onset. The study concludes that consistent practice of the Shambhavi meditation has a positive impact on quality of sleep.
Benefits of meditation #4: Improved attention and focus
A study, published in the journal Perception, looked at how 89 participants performed in the Stroop task and attentional blink task before and after a 3-month Isha Yoga meditation retreat. The Stroop task looks at interference in the reaction time of a task. For example, when the name of a color is printed in some other color (for example, “red” is printed in black), respondents can make errors in identifying the printing color. Participants of the study were prone to fewer errors after the retreat than before it.
Similarly, the attentional blink task involves participants identifying various visual stimuli presented to them within extremely short durations. Participants showed 58% correct detection during pre-retreat tests and 69% correct detection in post-retreat tests. The researchers conclude that “the hypothesis that meditation tends to improve allocation of attentional resources.”
A similar study by a team from the Université de Toulouse, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, UC Irvine and the Indiana University School of Medicine looked at how Isha Yoga practices improve performance in attentional tasks due to better allocation of attentional resources, an ability to sustain attention and focus, faster re-allocation of attentional resources, greater cognitive flexibility and a reduction in automatic response. The study observes that these improvements are likely due to structural, anatomical and functional changes in meditators’ cognitive systems as compared to control groups drawn from the general population.
Benefits of meditation #5: Reduced menstrual disorders
75% of women are thought to experience problems related to menstruation, which has a huge physical, psychological, social and economic impact on their life. The primary means of treatment for such issues are known to offer less than satisfactory relief, even when patients choose surgery as a last resort. Currently, Yoga has become very popular as one of the mainstay alternate treatments for many disorders. The benefits of meditation and yoga in relation with such ailments have been under study for a while and show great promise. A team from the Poole Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, conducted a questionnaire survey of 128 female practitioners of the Shambhavi Mahamudra between the age group of 14 and 55 years, from the USA, UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Lebanon. 72% of the respondents practiced every day and the rest practiced 1-3 times in a week.
The questionnaire asked respondents about the prevalence and impact of various menstrual disorders before they began the kriya and after they had practiced it for at least six months. Disorders covered included Dysmennorhea, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, heaviness of menstrual flow, irregularity of menstrual cycle, the need for medical or surgical intervention for disorders, and the impairment of work during the menstrual period.
The results showed a 57% decrease in the impact of Dysmennorhea, a 72% decrease in psychological symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, crying spells, depression and arguments, a 40% decrease in breast swelling and tenderness, and a 50% decrease in bloating and weight gain. There was an 87% decrease in the incidence of severe menstrual flow and an 80% decrease in the irregularity of the cycle. There was a 63% reduction in the need for medical or surgical interventions, and an 83% reduction in the number of instances of impairment at work. The authors conclude that the kriya “can be considered as an adjunct therapy for menstrual disorders given the improved symptoms in all the parameters.”
Other benefits of meditation
In a questionnaire asking about improvements in life experienced from practicing the Shambhavi Mahamudra, 536 respondents indicated how the kriya had helped reduce medication and eliminate problems such as depression, allergies, asthma and other ailments. 91% reported greater inner peace, 87% reported improved emotional balance, 80% experienced greater mental clarity, 79% experienced increased energy levels, 74% reported improved self confidence and 70% reported better concentration and higher productivity.
Among meditators who had been suffering depression, 87% reported improvement, 25% reduced their medication, and 50% were able to stop their medication. Similarly, for those suffering anxiety, 86% reported improvement, 28% reduced their medication, and 50% were able to stop their medication. Among those with insomnia, 73% reported improvement, 40% reduced their medication, and 30% were able to stop their medication. Similar improvements were seen for those with poor resistance to colds and flu, those who had suffered from headaches, asthma, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorder, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and a range of other chronic ailments.
Taken together, all these results support a drop in stress and anxiety, a boost in mental alertness and focus, and an increase in self-awareness due to practicing the Shambhavi Mahamudra. It is also clear that regular practice benefits cardiac health and either leads to a stop in the use of medication or at least reduces it considerably for a range of ailments including hypertension, depression and menstrual issues.