Monitoring the Neural Activity of the State of Mental Silence While Practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation
Hernández, Sergio E., et al. "Monitoring the neural activity of the state of mental silence while practicing Sahaja yoga meditation." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 21.3 (2015): 175-179.
Objective: To identify the neural correlates of the state of mental silence as experienced through Sahaja yoga meditation.
Design: Nineteen experienced meditators underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during three short consecutive meditation periods, contrasted with a control relaxation condition.
Results: Relative to baseline, at the beginning of the meditation sessions there was a significant increase of activation in bilateral inferior frontal and temporal regions. Activation became progressively more reduced with deeper meditation stages and in the last meditation session it became localized to the right inferior frontal cortex/ right insula and right middle/superior temporal cortex. Furthermore, right inferior frontal activation was directly associated with the subjective depth of the mental silence experience.
Conclusions: Meditators appear to pass through an initial intense neural self-control process necessary to silence their mind. After this they experience relatively reduced brain activation concomitant with the deepening of the state of mental silence over right inferior frontal cortex, probably reflecting an effortless process of attentional contemplation associated with this state.