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A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood in Full-Time Workers

Manocha, Ramesh, et al. "A randomized, controlled trial of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011 (2011).

Abstract

Objective. To assess the effect of meditation on work stress, anxiety and mood in full-time workers. Methods. 178 adult workers participated in an 8-week, 3-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a “mental silence” approach to meditation (n=59) to a “relaxation” active control (n=56) and a wait-list control (n=63). Participants were assessed before and after using Psychological Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), a subscale of the larger Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI), the State component of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI), and the depression-dejection (DD) subscale of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Results. There was a significant improvement for the meditation group compared to both the relaxation control and the wait-list groups the PSQ (P=0.026), and DD (P=0.019). Conclusions. Mental silence-orientated meditation, in this case Sahaja Yoga meditation, is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depressive feelings. The findings suggest that “thought reduction” or “mental silence” may have specific effects relevant to work stress and hence occupational health.

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Changing Definitions of Meditation

Changing Definitions of Meditation- Is there a Physiological Corollary? Skin temperature changes of a mental silence orientated form of meditation compared to rest

Manocha, Ramesh, et al. "Changing Definitions of Meditation-Is there a Physiological Corollary? Skin temperature changes of a mental silence orientated form of meditation compared to rest." Journal of International Society of Life Information Science (ISLIS)–2010 1 (2010): 23-31.

Abstract

Objectives: Until very recently, the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defined meditation as “a conscious mental process that induces a set of integrated physiological changes termed the relaxation response”. Recently the NCCAM appears to have reviewed its understanding of meditation, by including a new central feature: “In meditation, a person learns to focus his attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy the mind”, indicating a shift from a physiological (“relaxation-response”) to an experiential (suspension of thinking activity) definition, more in line with traditional eastern understandings. We explore the physiological implications of this paradigmatic shift.

Design: A controlled, observational study of acute physiological changes. N=26. Participants were asked to either meditate or rest for 10 minutes.

Settings/Location: A temperature controlled room at Swinburne University’s Psychophysiology Laboratory, Melbourne.

Subjects: 16 meditators proficient at a mental silence orientated form of meditation (Sahaja yoga, SYM) and 10 non-meditators with an interest in meditation.

Interventions: A mental silence orientated form of meditation (Sahaja yoga, SYM) was compared to rest

Outcome Measures: Palmar skin temperature and heart rate.

Results: Throughout the meditation period mean ST of the SYM group decreased while that of the Rest group increased. After ten minutes of meditation, 13 of the 16 meditators manifested a reduction in ST compared to baseline whereas 7 of the 10 participants in the control group manifested an increase compared to baseline. Chi-Square tests showed that the difference between the two groups was significant (p=.003). Heart rate changes however did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: The study suggests that the experience of mental silence and rest are not psychophysiologically identical despite the fact that they are overtly similar. Implications of this, and need for further evaluation, are discussed.

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The neurobiology of Meditation

The neurobiology of Meditation and its clinical effectiveness in psychiatric disorders

Rubia, Katya. "The neurobiology of meditation and its clinical effectiveness in psychiatric disorders." Biological psychology 82.1 (2009): 1-11.

Abstract

This paper reviews the evidence for changes of Meditation on body and brain physiology and for clinical effectiveness in disorders of psychiatry. The aim of Meditation is to reduce or eliminate irrelevant thought processes through training of internalised attention, thought to lead to physical and mental relaxation, stress reduction, psycho-emotional stability and enhanced concentration. Physiological evidence shows a reduction with Meditation of stress-related autonomic and endocrine measures, while neuroimaging studies demonstrate the functional up-regulation of brain regions of affect regulation and attention control. Clinical studies show some evidence for the effectiveness of Meditation in disorders of affect, anxiety and attention. The combined evidence from neurobiological and clinical studies seems promising. However, a more thorough understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of action and clinical effectiveness of the different Meditative practices is needed before Meditative practices can be leveraged in the prevention and intervention of mental illness.

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Effect of sahaj yoga on patients suffering from major depression

Effect of sahaj yoga on neuro-cognitive functions in patients suffering from major depression

Sharma, V. K., et al. "Effect of Sahaj Yoga on neuro-cognitive functions in patients suffering from major depression." Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology 50.4 (2006): 375.

Abstract

Cognitive functions are impaired in Major Depression. Studies on the effects of Yoga on cognitive functions have shown improvement in memory, vigilance and anxiety levels. 30 patients suffering from Major depression (age 18 to 45 years) were randomly divided into two groups: Group 1: (10 males and 5 Females) Patients who practised Sahaj Yoga meditation and also received conventional anti-depressant medication. Group 2: (9 males and 6 Females) Patients who only received conventional anti-depressant medication. Group 1 patients were administered Sahaj Yoga practice for 8 weeks. Neuro-cognitive test battery consisting of Letter cancellation test (LCT), Trail making test ‘A’ (TTA), Trail making test ‘B’ (TTB), Ruff figural fluency test (RFFT), Forward digit span (FDS) & Reverse digit span test (RDS) was used to assess following cognitive domains: Attention span, visuo-motor speed, short-term memory, working memory and executive functions. After 8 weeks, both Group 1 and Group 2 subjects showed significant improvement in LCT, TTA & TTB but improvement in LCT was more marked in Group 1 subjects. Also, there was significant improvement in RDS scores in only Group 1 subjects (P<0.05). The results thereby, demonstrate that Sahaj Yoga practice in addition to the improvement in various other cognitive domains seen with conventional anti-depressants, can lead to additional improvement in executive functions like manipulation of information in the verbal working memory and added improvement in attention span and visuo-motor speed of the depressives.

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Reduced functional connectivity between cortical sources in five meditation traditions

Reduced functional connectivity between cortical sources in five meditation traditions detected with lagged coherence using EEG tomography

Lehmann, Dietrich, et al. "Reduced functional connectivity between cortical sources in five meditation traditions detected with lagged coherence using EEG tomography." Neuroimage 60.2 (2012): 1574-1586.

Abstract

Brain functional states are established by functional connectivities between brain regions. In experienced meditators (13 Tibetan Buddhists, 15 QiGong, 14 Sahaja Yoga, 14 Ananda Marga Yoga, 15 Zen), 19-channel EEG was recorded before, during and after that meditation exercise which their respective tradition regards as route to the most desirable meditative state. The head surface EEG data were recomputed (sLORETA) into 19 cortical regional source model time series. All 171 functional connectivities between regions were computed as ‘lagged coherence’ for the eight EEG frequency bands (delta through gamma). This analysis removes ambiguities of localization, volume conduction-induced inflation of coherence, and reference-dependence. All significant differences (corrected for multiple testing) between meditation compared to no-task rest before and after meditation showed lower coherence during meditation, in all five traditions and eight (inhibitory as well as excitatory) frequency bands. Conventional coherence between the original head surface EEG time series very predominantly also showed reduced coherence during meditation. The topography of the functional connectivities was examined via PCA-based computation of principal connectivities. When going into and out of meditation, significantly different connectivities revealed clearly different topographies in the delta frequency band and minor differences in the beta-2 band. The globally reduced functional interdependence between brain regions in meditation suggests that interaction between the self process functions is minimized, and that constraints on the self process by other processes are minimized, thereby leading to the subjective experience of non-involvement, detachment and letting go, as well as of all-oneness and dissolution of ego borders during meditation.

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Monitoring the Neural Activity of the State of Mental Silence While Practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation

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.

Abstract

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.

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Increased Grey Matter Associated with Sahaja Yoga Meditation

Increased Grey Matter Associated with Long-Term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study

Hernández, Sergio Elías, et al. "Increased grey matter associated with long-term sahaja yoga meditation: a voxel-based morphometry study." PloS one 11.3 (2016): e0150757.

Abstract

Objectives

To investigate regional differences in grey matter volume associated with the practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.

Design

Twenty three experienced practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation and twenty three non-meditators matched on age, gender and education level, were scanned using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging and their grey matter volume were compared using Voxel-Based Morphometry.

Results

Grey matter volume was larger in meditators relative to non-meditators across the whole brain. In addition, grey matter volume was larger in several predominantly right hemispheric regions: in insula, ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex, inferior temporal and parietal cortices as well as in left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and left insula. No areas with larger grey matter volume were found in non-meditators relative to meditators.

Conclusions

The study shows that long-term practice of Sahaja Yoga Meditation is associated with larger grey matter volume overall, and with regional enlargement in several right hemispheric cortical and subcortical brain regions that are associated with sustained attention, self-control, compassion and interoceptive perception. The increased grey matter volume in these attention and self-control mediating regions suggests use-dependent enlargement with regular practice of this meditation.

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Gray Matter and Functional Connectivity in Anterior Cingulate Cortex and the State of Mental Silence During Sahaja Yoga Meditation

Gray Matter and Functional Connectivity in Anterior Cingulate Cortex are Associated with the State of Mental Silence During Sahaja Yoga Meditation

Hernández, Sergio Elías, et al. "Gray Matter and Functional Connectivity in Anterior Cingulate Cortex are Associated with the State of Mental Silence During Sahaja Yoga Meditation." Neuroscience 371 (2018): 395-406.

Abstract

Some meditation techniques teach the practitioner to achieve the state of mental silence. The aim of this study was to investigate brain regions that are associated with their volume and functional connectivity (FC) with the depth of mental silence in long-term practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation.

Twenty-three long-term practitioners of this meditation were scanned using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In order to identify the neural correlates of the depth of mental silence, we tested which gray matter volumes (GMV) were correlated with the depth of mental silence and which regions these areas were functionally connected to under a meditation condition.

GMV in medial prefrontal cortex including rostral anterior cingulate cortex were positively correlated with the subjective perception of the depth of mental silence inside the scanner. Furthermore, there was significantly increased FC between this area and bilateral anterior insula/putamen during a meditation-state specifically, while decreased connectivity with the right thalamus/parahippocampal gyrus was present during the meditation-state and the resting-state.

The capacity of long-term meditators to establish a durable state of mental silence inside an MRI scanner was associated with larger gray matter volume in a medial frontal region that is crucial for top-down cognitive, emotion and attention control. This is furthermore corroborated by increased FC of this region during the meditation-state with bilateral anterior insula/putamen, which are important for interoception, emotion, and attention regulation. The findings hence suggest that the depth of mental silence is associated with medial fronto-insular-striatal networks that are crucial for top-down attention and emotional control.

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An ancient path to modern health

Sahaja Yoga: An ancient path to modern health?

Morgan, Adam. "Sahaja Yoga: an ancient path to modern mental health?." (1999).

Abstract

The present study looks to evaluate the effectiveness of the meditative practice of Sahaja Yoga as a treatment for the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whilst there is a small research literature that has investigated the efficacy of meditation (usually based upon the Buddhist Vipassana tradition) for the treatment of such symptoms, and a smaller literature looking at the effectiveness of Sahaja Yoga in the treatment of a number of physical health problems, no published studies have looked at the effectiveness of Sahaja Yoga as a treatment for mental health problems. The present study therefore compared three independent groups, these being a 'waiting list' control group, a cognitive-behavioural (CBT) based stress management group and a Sahaja Yoga meditation group. Both treatment groups consisted of six, two hourly sessions, once per week, with symptom severity being measured at pre- and post-treatment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADs) and the 12 item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Data were analysed using MANOV A and repeated measures AN OVA tests. The results show that, compared to controls, the participants in the Sahaja Yoga group reported significant reductions on all measures of symptomology, however, surprisingly, the CBT based group showed no such reductions. Limitations of the study, barriers to the use of Sahaja Yoga in clinical practice and the need for future research, particularly regarding process, are considered.

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Meditation for Women in Perimenopause

A Pilot Study of a Mental Silence Form of Meditation for Women in Perimenopause

Manocha, Ramesh, Barbara Semmar, and Deborah Black. "A pilot study of a mental silence form of meditation for women in perimenopause." Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 14.3 (2007): 266-273.

Abstract

Menopausal symptoms often feature or are worsened by psychological and psychosomatic factors. As there is limited research into the potential role of psychological interventions, especially meditation, for the treatment of these symptoms the current study adopted an AB case series design with a follow-up phase. Fourteen women who were experiencing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms and receiving no treatment for them attended meditation classes twice weekly for 8 weeks and practiced daily at home. A mental silence orientated technique of meditation called Sahaja Yoga (SYM) was taught. The Hot Flash Diary, Kupperman Index, MENQOL, Greene’s Climacteric Scale and STAI, were administered at baseline, mid treatment (4 weeks), post-treatment (8 weeks) and at 8 weeks follow-up. Substantial improvements in all measures occurred at post treatment. Changes in vasomotor symptoms, especially hot flashes, were most prominent as a significant decrease of 67% at post-treatment and 57% at follow-up (χ2 = 11.7, p < .003) were noted and Kupperman’s Index score decreased by 58% at post-treatment and 40% at follow-up (χ2 = 11.7, p < .005). All other symptom measures improved substantially from baseline to post-treatment, non-parametric analysis indicating that most of these changes were significant. These findings tentatively suggest that menopausal symptoms, especially vasomotor symptoms, and particularly hot flashes, might be substantially improved by using meditation.

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Effect of Sahaja Yoga Meditation on AEP and VCS in Epileptics

Effect of Sahaja Yoga Meditation on Auditory Evoked Potentials (AEP) and Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) in Epileptics

Panjwani, Usha, et al. "Effect of Sahaja yoga meditation on auditory evoked potentials (AEP) and visual contrast sensitivity (VCS) in epileptics." Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 25.1 (2000): 1-12.

Abstract

The effect of Sahaja yoga meditation on 32 patients with primary idiopathic epilepsy on regular and maintained antiepileptic medication was studied. The patients were randomly divided into 3 groups: group I practiced Sahaja Yoga meditation twice daily for 6 months under proper guidance; group II practiced postural exercises mimicking the meditation for the same duration; and group III was the control group. Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS), Auditory Evoked Potentials (AEP), Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEP), and Mid Latency Responses (MLR) were recorded initially (0 month) and at 3 and 6 months for each group. There was a significant improvement in VCS following meditation practice in group I participants. Na, the first prominent negative peak of MLR and Pa, the positive peak following Na did not register changes in latency. The Na-Pa amplitude of MLR also showed a significant increase. There were no significant changes in the absolute and interpeak latencies of BAEP. The reduced level of stress following meditation practice may make patients more responsive to specific stimuli. Sahaja Yoga meditation appears to bring about changes in some of the electrophysiological responses studied in epileptic patients.

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Impact of meditation on EEG activity

Impact of regular meditation practice on EEG activity at rest and during evoked negative emotions

Aftanas, Ljubomir, and Semen Golosheykin. "Impact of regular meditation practice on EEG activity at rest and during evoked negative emotions." International Journal of Neuroscience 115.6 (2005): 893-909.

Abstract

The main objective of the present investigation was to examine how long-term meditation practice is manifested in EEG activity under conditions of non-emotional arousal (eyes-closed and eyes-open periods, viewing emotionally neutral movie clip) and while experiencing experimentally induced negative emotions (viewing aversive movie clip). The 62-channel EEG was recorded in age-matched control individuals (n=25) and Sahaja Yoga meditators (SYM, n=25). Findings from the non-emotional continuum show that at the lowest level of arousal (eyes closed) SYM manifested larger power values in theta-1 (4–6 Hz), theta-2 (6–8 Hz) and alpha-1 (8–10 Hz) frequency bands. Although increasing arousal desynchronized activity in these bands in both groups, the theta-2 and alpha-1 power in the eyes-open period and alpha-1 power while viewing the neutral clip remained still higher in the SYM. During eyes-closed and eyes-open periods the controls were marked by larger right than left hemisphere power, indexing relatively more active left hemisphere parieto-temporal cortex whereas meditators manifested no hemisphere asymmetry. When contrasted with the neutral, the aversive movie clip yielded significant alpha desynchronization in both groups, reflecting arousing nature of emotional induction. In the control group along with alpha desynchronization affective movie clip synchronized gamma power over anterior cortical sites. This was not seen in the SYM. Overall, the presented report emphasizes that the revealed changes in the electrical brain activity associated with regular meditation practice are dynamical by nature and depend on arousal level. The EEG power findings also provide the first empirical proof of a theoretical assumption that meditators have better capabilities to moderate intensity of emotional arousal.

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Complexity of the human EEG during meditation

Non-linear dynamic complexity of the human EEG during meditation

Aftanas, L. I., and S. A. Golocheikine. "Non-linear dynamic complexity of the human EEG during meditation." Neuroscience letters 330.2 (2002): 143-146.

Abstract

We used non-linear analysis to investigate the dynamical properties underlying the EEG in the model of Sahaja Yoga meditation. Non-linear dimensional complexity (DCx) estimates, indicating complexity of neuronal computations, were analyzed in 20 experienced meditators during rest and meditation using 62-channel EEG. When compared to rest, the meditation was accompanied by a focused decrease of DCx estimates over midline frontal and central regions. By contrast, additionally computed linear measures exhibited the opposite direction of changes: power in the theta-1 (4–6 Hz), theta-2 (6–8 Hz) and alpha-1 (8–10 Hz) frequency bands was increased over these regions. The DCx estimates negatively correlated with theta-2 and alpha-1 and positively with beta-3 (22–30 Hz) band power. It is suggested that meditative experience, characterized by less complex dynamics of the EEG, involves ‘switching off’ irrelevant networks for the maintenance of focused internalized attention and inhibition of inappropriate information. Overall, the results point to the idea that dynamically changing inner experience during meditation is better indexed by a combination of non-linear and linear EEG variables.

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Western Science and Eastern Traditions of Meditation

Reconciling Western Science and Eastern Traditions of Meditation

Manocha, Ramesh, et al. "Sahaja yoga." Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis 26.1/2 (2005): 22.

Why is it that meditation is popularly perceived as uniquely beneficial and yet there is no substantive scientific proof for its effectiveness? One explanation is that scientific activity has focused mainly on a Westernised interpretation of meditation as a method of relaxation rather than the traditional Eastern idea of meditation as an experience stemming from mental silence. This argument is supported by a growing number of scientific evaluations of Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM), which uses the mental silence experience. Rigorously designed clinical studies of SYM suggest its effectiveness, while physiological studies of SYM also suggest a fundamental distinction between mental silence and simple relaxation. Population surveys indicate that long term users of SYM experience better mental and physical health scores than the general population, and that these scores are significantly related to the practice of meditation.

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Treatment for Children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Programme for Children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

Harrison, Linda J., Ramesh Manocha, and Katya Rubia. "Sahaja yoga meditation as a family treatment programme for children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder." Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 9.4 (2004): 479-497.

Abstract

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a treatment for children diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is widespread, but little is known on the effectiveness of many such therapies. This study investigated meditation as a family treatment method for children with ADHD, using the techniques of Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM). Parents and children participated in a 6-week programme of twice-weekly clinic sessions and regular meditation at home. Pre- and post-treatment assessments included parent ratings of children’s ADHD symptoms, self-esteem and child–parent relationship quality. Perceptions of the programme were collected via parent questionnaires and child interviews. Results showed improvements in children’s ADHD behaviour, self-esteem and relationship quality. Children described benefits at home (better sleep patterns, less anxiety) and at school (more able to concentrate, less conflict). Parents reported feeling happier, less stressed and more able to manage their child’s behaviour. Indications from this preliminary investigation are that SYM may offer families an effective management tool for family-oriented treatment of childhood ADHD.

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Management of cardiac arrhythmias

Sahaja yoga: A unique adjunctive approach for the management of cardiac arrhythmias?

Yalta, Kenan, Nasir Sivri, and Ertan Yetkin. "Sahaja yoga: A unique adjunctive approach for the management of cardiac arrhythmias?." International journal of cardiology 152.1 (2011): 99-100.

Abstract

Sahaja yoga (SY) is a unique meditative technique that has both spiritual and mundane aspects. Although SY has generally been regarded as a practice of spiritual and mental well-being, it is also closely associated with a variety of subtle influences on some organ systems. SY has been suggested to have some beneficial effects in a variety of psycho-somatic diseases [1]. Besides subtle effects throughout the whole body, sympatho-vagal regulation associated with SY technique has been proposed as the direct evidence of its beneficial effects on some organ systems including cardiovascular system etc.

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High-resolution EEG investigation of meditation

Human anterior and frontal midline theta and lower alpha reflect emotionally positive state and internalized attention: high-resolution EEG investigation of meditation

Aftanas, L. I., and S. A. Golocheikine. "Human anterior and frontal midline theta and lower alpha reflect emotionally positive state and internalized attention: high-resolution EEG investigation of meditation." Neuroscience letters 310.1 (2001): 57-60.

Abstract

EEG spectral power and coherence estimates in the individually defined delta, theta, alpha-1, alpha-2, and alpha-3 bands were used to identify and characterize brain regions involved in meditative states, in which focused internalized attention gives rise to emotionally positive ‘blissful’ experience. Blissful state was accompanied by increased anterior frontal and midline theta synchronization as well as enhanced theta long-distant connectivity between prefrontal and posterior association cortex with distinct ‘center of gravity’ in the left prefrontal region (AF3 site). Subjective scores of emotional experience significantly correlated with theta, whereas scores of internalized attention with both theta and alpha lower synchronization. Our results propose selective associations of theta and alpha oscillating networks activity with states of internalized attention and positive emotional experience.

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Sahaja yoga in the management of asthma

Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomised controlled trial

Manocha, R., et al. "Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomised controlled trial." Thorax 57.2 (2002): 110-115.

Abstract

Background: Sahaja Yoga is a traditional system of meditation based on yogic principles which may be used for therapeutic purposes. A study was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of this therapy as an adjunctive tool in the management of asthma in adult patients who remained symptomatic on moderate to high doses of inhaled steroids.

Methods: A parallel group, double blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted. Subjects were randomly allocated to Sahaja yoga and control intervention groups. Both the yoga and the control interventions required the subjects to attend a 2 hour session once a week for 4 months. Asthma related quality of life (AQLQ, range 0–4), Profile of Mood States (POMS), level of airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (AHR), and a diary card based combined asthma score (CAS, range 0–12) reflecting symptoms, bronchodilator usage, and peak expiratory flow rates were measured at the end of the treatment period and again 2 months later.

Results: Twenty one of 30 subjects randomised to the yoga intervention and 26 of 29 subjects randomised to the control group were available for assessment at the end of treatment. The improvement in AHR at the end of treatment was 1.5 doubling doses (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0 to 2.9, p=0.047) greater in the yoga intervention group than in the control group. Differences in AQLQ score (0.41, 95% CI –0.04 to 0.86) and CAS (0.9, 95% CI –0.9 to 2.7) were not significant (p>0.05). The AQLQ mood subscale did improve more in the yoga group than in the control group (difference 0.63, 95% CI 0.06 to 1.20), as did the summary POMS score (difference 18.4, 95% CI 0.2 to 36.5, p=0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups at the 2 month follow up assessment.

Conclusions: This randomised controlled trial has shown that the practice of Sahaja yoga does have limited beneficial effects on some objective and subjective measures of the impact of asthma. Further work is required to understand the mechanism underlying the observed effects and to establish whether elements of this intervention may be clinically valuable in patients with severe asthma.

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