Category Archives: Meditation

Pyramid Meditation

In today’s world of stress and tension, there are many South Mumbaiites who turn to meditation to help them keep their cool.
But, Shreyans and Pinky Daga of Breach Candy believe that pyramid meditation that is practising meditation under a specially-built pyramid greatly enhances its benefits.

28-year-old Shreyans says, “It’s a scientific fact that the geometric structure of the pyramid collects and radiates energy. So, when one meditates under a pyramid, the energy power of the practitioner increases. Not just that, things kept under a pyramid similarly get energised and their freshness remains for a long time.”

Shreyans and Pinky Daga claim to be the only teachers of this technique in downtown. They have been teaching pyramid meditation from their residence since the last five years. Shreyans is also the founder-president of the Mumbai Pyramid Spiritual Society.

It has recently started the construction of a pyramid in a village near Thane. Pinky delves into the history of pyramid meditation.

“In Greek, pyramid means ‘in the middle of fire’ (pyro= fire, amid= in the middle). Of all the four elements, fire represents universal energy and power. About 10,000 years ago, the Egyptians built the Great Pyramids at Gizeh as store houses of universal energy. The power of the pyramid was obtained through a blending of the radiated cosmic energy with that of the gravitational force of the earth,” she explains.

The Dagas add, “Many believe that the Great Pyramids at Gizeh, one of the seven wonders of the world, was originally built to balance the energies of the earth. It’s located at the exact centre of the earth’s land mass. Scholars have also confirmed that the pyramid was built as an instrument of initiation into altered and higher states of consciousness.”

Today, that same ancient wisdom and science is creating modern-day store houses of energy. “Many people have built pyramids which fit the size of their homes and offices, for meditation purposes. Pyramid meditation has revealed manifold benefits. It’s been proven that it preserves fruits, milk and other perishables. An apple kept under a pyramid will not rot even after 10 days. Used razors and knives get sharpened. Many people have reported using the same blade for over a year when stored under a small pyramid. Pyramid meditation is also supposed to have healing properties. By practising this technique, wounds, boils, and bruises heal quicker; it ensures weight loss, and increases resistance to diseases. It has been known to cure asthma, toothaches, migraine, common cold, high blood pressure, arthritis, epilepsy and insomnia. Drinking pyramid energised water cures conjunctivitis, helps digestion, and gives the skin a healthy glow.

“By meditating under a pyramid, our whole being is revitalised; the mental, intellectual capacities are increased, and the energy centres gets activated easily,” says Pinky.

Pyramid meditation and usage of pyramid power is becoming increasingly common in many places. The Pyramid Spiritual Society has built close to 14 pyramids nationwide, with the largest 1,000-person capacity pyramid being built in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh.

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Source:The  Times Of India.Dec.4.’09

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Compassion Meditation: A Great Stress Buster

Individuals who engage in compassion meditation may benefit by reductions in inflammatory and behavioral responses to psychological stress, a new Compassion  study has found.
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“While much attention has been paid to meditation practices that emphasize calming the mind, improving focused attention or developing mindfulness, less is known about meditation practices designed to specifically foster compassion,” says Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, who designed and taught the meditation program used in the study.

Negi is senior lecturer in the Department of Religion, the co-director of Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies and president and spiritual director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc.

The study focused on the effect of compassion meditation on inflammatory, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress, and evaluated the degree to which engagement in meditation practice influenced stress reactivity.

“Our findings suggest that meditation practices designed to foster compassion may impact physiological pathways that are modulated by stress and are relevant to disease,” said Charles L. Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program, Emory University”s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory School of Medicine, and a lead author on the study.

Sixty-one healthy college students between the ages of 17 and19 participated in the study. Half the participants were randomized to receive six weeks of compassion meditation training and half were randomized to a health discussion control group. Although secular in presentation, the compassion meditation program was based on a thousand-year-old Tibetan Buddhist mind-training practice called “lojong” in Tibetan.

A variety of student participation activities were employed such as mock debates and role-playing. Both groups were required to participate in 12 hours of classes across the study period. Meditators were provided with a meditation compact disc for practice at home. Homework for the control group was a weekly self-improvement paper.

After the study interventions were finished, the students participated in a laboratory stress test designed to investigate how the body”s inflammatory and neuroendocrine systems respond to psychosocial stress.

No differences were seen between students randomized to compassion meditation and the control group, but within the meditation group there was a strong relationship between the time spent practicing meditation and reductions in inflammation and emotional distress in response to the stressor.

Consistent with this, when the meditation group was divided into high and low practice groups, participants in the high practice group showed reductions in inflammation and distress in response to the stressor when compared to the low practice group and the control group.

You may click to see:->

Buddhist Compassion Meditation Techniques
Can We Train Our Brains Through Compassion Meditation?

How to Beat Stress and Angst Through Meditation

Science of Meditation

Source: The Times Of India

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Meditate Your Pain Away

Zen meditation – a centuries-old practice that helps people gain mental, physical and emotional balance – can keep pain at bay
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Universite de Montreal researchers.

According to a Psychosomatic Medicine study, Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity both in and out of a meditative state compared to non-meditators. Along with Pierre Rainville, a professor and researcher at the Université de Montréal, Joshua A. Grant, a doctoral student in the Department of Physiology co-authored the paper.

The main aim of the study was to examine whether trained meditators perceived pain differently than non-meditators. “While previous studies have shown that teaching chronic pain patients to meditate is beneficial, very few studies have looked at pain processing in healthy, highly trained meditators. This study was a first step in determining how or why meditation might influence pain perception,” says Grant.

To reach the conclusion, the scientists recruited 13 Zen meditators with a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice to undergo a pain test and contrasted their reaction with 13 non-meditators. Subjects included 10 women and 16 men between the ages of 22 to 56.

The administered pain test was simple: A thermal heat source, a computer controlled heating plate, was pressed against the calves of subjects intermittently at varying temperatures. Heat levels began at 43 degrees Celsius and went to a maximum of 53 degrees Celsius depending on each participant’s sensitivity. While quite a few of the meditators tolerated the maximum temperature, all control subjects were well below 53 degrees Celsius.

Grant and Rainville noticed a marked difference in how their two test groups reacted to pain testing – Zen meditators had much lower pain sensitivity (even without meditating) compared to non-meditators. During the meditation-like conditions it appeared meditators further reduced their pain partly through slower breathing: 12 breaths per minute versus an average of 15 breaths for non-meditators.

“Slower breathing certainly coincided with reduced pain and may influence pain by keeping the body in a relaxed state. While previous studies have found that the emotional aspects of pain are influenced by meditation, we found that the sensation itself, as well as the emotional response, is different in meditators,” Grant said.

The ultimate result was that Zen meditators experienced an 18 per cent reduction in pain intensity.

Source:The Times Of India

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Walking Can be a Fine Form of Meditation

He talks the walk. Guest Editor Thich Nhat Hanh believes in the practice of mindful walking, and will lead a meditative walk in the Capital today.
walking-meditation
Walking can be a fine form of  Meditation
“Each step you take is in the here and the now. Combine your breath with your step, see the blue of the sky, the green of the grass, appreciate the colours of the flowers and hear the sweet birdsong… acknowledge and enjoy the miracle that is nature,” says the 82-year-old monk.

He adds that walking can be a fine form of meditation. “Leave the past behind with every step you take forward. You are no longer a victim of sorrow and regret or fear and uncertainty. Walk confidently in the present without worrying about being stuck in the past or sucked into the future,” suggests Thay.

The practice of walking silently is about freedom and solidity. “We are present with each step. And, when we wish to talk, we stop our movement and give full attention to the other person, to our words and to listening.” But, before you think walking together for peace is a protest or a demonstration, Thay explains, “The collective energy of a group ensures each step is solid and free. There is no protest here, no banners… just a powerful, noble silence that urges you to rejoice at the miracle of life. Every step on this earth is a miracle, every step in meditation leads to health and happiness. And when people of different faiths enjoy the process of walking together without any agenda, that, in itself, is a great offering.”

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Source: The Times Of India

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Meditation Helps Treat Insomnia

Meditation could prove to be the ideal behavioural intervention to treat insomnia, according to a
study.


The new findings suggest that while practicing meditation, patients experienced improvements in subjective sleep quality and sleep diary parameters.

Meditation even improved sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality, and depression in patients.

Principal investigator Dr. Ramadevi Gourineni, director of the insomnia program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Evanston, Ill., said that insomnia is believed to be a 24-hour problem of hyperarousal, and elevated measures of arousals are seen throughout the day.

“Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night,” said Gourineni.

For their study, the researchers collected data from 11 healthy subjects between the ages of 25 and 45 years with chronic primary insomnia.

They divided the participants into two intervention groups for two months-Kriya Yoga (a form of meditation that is used to focus internalised attention and has been shown to reduce measures of arousal) and health education.

The researchers also gathered subjective measures of sleep and depression at baseline and after the two-month period.

Both groups received sleep hygiene education. Members of the health education group also received information about health-related topics and how to improve health through exercise, nutrition, weight loss and stress management
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The findings of the study will be presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Source: The Times Of India

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Meditation Key to Treat Depression

People with severe and recurrent depression could benefit from a new form of therapy that combines ancient forms of meditation with modern   cognitive behaviour therapy, early-stage research by Oxford University psychologists suggests.

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The results of a small-scale randomised trial of the approach, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), in currently depressed patients are published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy.

In an experiment, 28 people currently suffering from depression, having also had previous episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide, were randomly assigned into two groups.

One group received MBCT in addition to treatment as usual, while the other just received treatment as usual. The result indicated that the number of patients with major depression reduced in the group which received treatment with MBCT while it remained the same in the other group.

The therapy included special classes of meditation learning and advice on how best participants can look after themselves when their feelings threaten to overwhelm them.

Professor Mark Williams, who along with his colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, developed the treatment said, “We are on the brink of discovering really important things about how people can learn to stay well after depression.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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How Meditation Changes Your Brain

There is growing evidence to show that meditation can make people healthier and happier. It may even increase lifespan, alter brain structure and change personality.

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Now, mainstream medicine is beginning to take notice of meditation’s effects. For example, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which is about 80 percent meditation, has been approved in Britain for use with people who have experienced three or more episodes of depression.

MRI scans of long-term meditators have shown greater activity in brain circuits involved in paying attention. Long-term meditation can also cause changes in the actual structure of your cortex, the outer layer of your brain. Brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing have been shown to be thicker in meditators.

Studies suggest that meditation can help you to train your attention and focus, even in the midst of distractions. For instance, when disturbing noises were played to a group of experienced meditators undergoing an MRI, they had little effect on the brain areas involved in emotion and decision-making.

About 10 million people meditate every day in the West, and many more in other parts of the world.

Sources: The London Times March 14, 2008

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Shaking Meditation

It is Ratu Bagus Bio-Energy Meditation.
(Shaking) is a truly life changing practice, made possible by the transmission that comes from the energy master Ratu Bagus. This energy transmission ignites the sacred fire that lies dormant within each of us and calls upon our own energy system, to remember and ‘wake up’ the natural capacity our bodies have for healing, on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.

This energy is complete as it works on many levels, not just the physical, with an emphasis on ‘practice’, rather than theory or technique. Ratu teaches us that greater understanding of ourselves happens not with the mind but when we allow the energy to connect with a much deeper part of ourselves – experientially. Then transformation is allowed to happen spontaneously, removing all blocks that prevent us from achieving our highest potential.

How to Practice?

The practice manifests as shaking, which is both simple and powerful. Many practitioners report life changing results in a very short space of time.

When we tune into Ratu’s energy, the body ‘remembers’ and the energy then begins to shake us. This feels amazing, some describe it as feeling like heat in the body Training in Balior a feeling of electricity or fire inside. Others say, it feels like connecting with their soul, the God inside, their original self.

When we practice, we allow the energy into our bodies and trust that this intelligent energy will give us everything we need. This sacred fire will return us to our natural state of harmony, unity, peace, joy and radiant health. This gift is there for everyone, there’s no age or ability that can’t practise Bio Energy Meditation.


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The Process:
Processing is fundamental to growth in the practice, as the energy becomes stronger in the body, it pushes out anything which is negative. This processing is the body’s natural way of cleaning itself. This physical and emotional release can manifest in many ways, such as, coughing, laughing, shouting, dancing etc.

The more we practice and build a relationship with the divine light within the more it can teach us. The answers to the deep questions we have about ourselves, our life and our purpose become clear. Over time, life regains its magical quality, we feel a greater ability to connect with life, we become healthier, more vibrant and feel a greater sense of freedom and love for ourselves and those around us.

Laughing Medicine - a big part of what Ratu teaches is to be positive no matter what is happening in our lives. During the training people often experience uncontrollable laughter, real laughter that comes from deep within, from the soul. Ratu says that when we experience this laughter it wakes up all of the chakras, enabling the energy to work very well in the body. Laughing is a good connection with the soul, then its easy to take care of the physical body, with this strong connection with the divine we can become free. We can laugh away all attachments, raise our consciousness and find paradise inside.

Ratu always says “Problem — No Problem” when we laugh we encourage this feeling of positive thinking,

“When we practise we learn to love ourselves and then we can go through life with a smile.” – Ratu Bagus

“The technique to get the energy flowing inside our body is to surrender to the energy and accept it with a smile.”- Ratu Bagus.

You may click to see also:->Emma Mahony meditates on a moving experience

Sources:http://www.ratubagus.com/English/Bio+Energy+Meditation.htm

Scientists Probe Meditation Secrets

Scientists are beginning to uncover evidence that meditation has a tangible effect on the brain.

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There is evidence that meditation changes brain structures

Sceptics argue that it is not a practical way to try to deal with the stresses of modern life.

But the long years when adherents were unable to point to hard science to support their belief in the technique may finally be coming to an end.

When Carol Cattley’s husband died it triggered a relapse of the depression which had not plagued her since she was a teenager.

“I instantly felt as if I wanted to die,” she said. “I couldn’t think of what else to do.”

Carol sought medical help and managed to control her depression with a combination of medication and a psychological treatment called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

However, she believes that a new, increasingly popular course called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – which primarily consists of meditation – brought about her full recovery.

It is currently available in every county across the UK, and can be prescribed on the NHS.

One of the pioneers of MBCT is Professor Mark Williams, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.

He helps to lead group courses which take place over a period of eight weeks. He describes the approach as 80% meditation, 20% cognitive therapy.

New perspective

He said: “It teaches a way of looking at problems, observing them clearly but not necessarily trying to fix them or solve them.

“It suggests to people that they begin to see all their thoughts as just thoughts, whether they are positive, negative or neutral.”

MBCT is recommended for people who are not currently depressed, but who have had three or more bouts of depression in their lives.

Trials suggest that the course reduces the likelihood of another attack of depression by over 50%.

Professor Williams believes that more research is still needed.

He said: “It is becoming enormously popular quite quickly and in many ways we now need to collect the evidence to check that it really is being effective.”

However, in the meantime, meditation is being taken seriously as a means of tackling difficult and very modern challenges.

Scientists are beginning to investigate how else meditation could be used, particularly for those at risk of suicide and people struggling with the effects of substance abuse.

What is meditation?

Meditation is difficult to define because it has so many different forms.

Broadly, it can be described as a mental practice in which you focus your attention on a particular subject or object.

It has historically been associated with religion, but it can also be secular, and exactly what you focus your attention on is largely a matter of personal choice.

It may be a mantra (repeated word or phrase), breathing patterns, or simply an awareness of being alive.

Some of the more common forms of meditative practices include Buddhist Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Zen Meditation.

The claims made for meditation range from increasing immunity, improving asthma and increasing fertility through to reducing the effects of aging.

Limited research

Research into the health claims made for meditation has limitations and few conclusions can be reached, partly because meditation is rarely isolated – it is often practised alongside other lifestyle changes such as diet, or exercise, or as part of group therapy.

So should we dismiss it as quackery? Studies from the field of neuroscience suggest not.

It is a new area of research, but indications are intriguing and suggest that meditation may have a measurable impact on the brain.

In Boston, Massachusetts, Dr Sara Lazar has used a technique called MRI scanning to analyse the brains of people who have been meditating for several years.

She compared the brains of these experienced practitioners with people who had never meditated and found that there were differences in the thickness of certain areas of the brain’s cortex, including areas involved in the processing of emotion.

She is continuing research, but she believes that meditation had caused the brain to change physical shape.

Buddhist monks

In Madison, Wisconsin, Dr Richard Davidson has been carrying out studies on Buddhist monks for several years.

His personal belief is that “by meditating, you can become happier, you can concentrate more effectively and you can change your brain in ways that support that.”

In one study he observed the brains of a group of office workers before and after they undertook a course of meditation combined with stress reduction techniques.

At the end of the course the participants’ brains seemed to have altered in the way they functioned.

They showed greater activity in the left-hand side – a characteristic which Davidson has previously linked to happiness and enthusiasm.

This idea that meditation could improve the wellbeing of everyone, even those not struggling with mental illness, is something that is exciting researchers.

Professor Williams believes it has huge potential.

“It involves dealing with expectations, with constantly judging ourselves – feeling we’re not good enough,” he said.

“And, that is something which is so widespread in our communities.

“All of these things are just thoughts. And, they will come up in meditation and learning to recognize what they are as thoughts, and let them go, can be enormously empowering for anybody.”

There is, of course, a distinct possibility that this research will come to nothing and that interest in meditation will turn out to be a passing fad, but for now this ancient discipline is being taken seriously by scientists as a tool with potential to make each one of us happier and more content.

“By meditating, you can become happier, you can concentrate more effectively and you can change your brain in ways that support that” says Dr Richard Davidson.

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Meditation
Sources: BBC NEWS:2nd. April.’08

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Staying Sharp: Meditation – Not Just for Yogis

by Phil Scott

You expect a meditation teacher’s voice to be calm and soothing, and Jim Malloy of the World Wide Online Meditation Center doesn’t disappoint. He sounds reassuring, peaceful – and, dare I say it? – enlightened. For good reason: Malloy first discovered meditation just out of high school, and he’s been teaching it for 33 years now. What he says about it sounds familiar and yet astonishing: Meditation improves heart health and brain functions, makes meditators feel better, and helps them maintain their mental clarity and emotional balance through the day.

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…………….Illustration by Timothy Cook for NRTA Live & Learn.

According to a 1983 Harvard study of Transcendental Meditation, it increases longevity; cognitive, perceptual, and behavioral flexibility; and learning ability in older adults. In a recent study, University of Kentucky researchers tested a group of students before and after 40 minutes of meditation, napping, exercise, or consuming caffeine. The researchers found that the subjects had improved reaction time after meditating. In addition, those who had gone without sleep the prior evening and then meditated in the morning performed better than others who also hadn’t slept but skipped the meditation.

Check your local meditation or yoga centers; many will offer inexpensive or even free workshops.
Meditation can improve physical health, too. “It can boost your immune system, improving influenza immunity and response to the [flu] vaccine,” says Michael R. Irwin, MD, a professor at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “Moving meditation can boost shingles immunity.”

The Meditating Brain
So how does it work? According to Irwin, when you’re excited or upset you experience an increase in the outflow from the sympathetic nervous system, elevating your blood pressure and heart rate. Meditation produces a counteracting increase in the outflow of the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart, constricts the pupils, and dilates blood vessels. “Chanting a mantra alters brain waves because you’re focusing on the same sound,” he continues. “Like when you sing ‘Ave Maria.’ It regulates the breathing and increases the parasympathetic outflow from the brain.”

Meditation doesn’t take special equipment. Unless a mantra counts. “Traditionally in Hindu culture the mantra was passed on from guru to disciple,” Malloy says. But he adds that anything will do in a pinch: concentrating on your breath while saying “Om,” or counting from 1 to 10 over and over. “A mantra is not confined to Hinduism. The Rosary is a mantra; ‘Amen,’ that’s a mantra.” And, apparently, so is ‘Ave Maria.’

Perfect Focus Not Required
After settling on a mantra, sit down and close your eyes. Gently focus your attention on the mantra, your breath. If your attention wanders, to bills, changing your car’s oil, or Dancing with the Stars, just gently bring it back; a wandering mind is a natural part of meditation. “People have misconceptions,” says Malloy. “They think you have to turn off your mind, make it blank. Trying to force your mind to become blank is like trying to force yourself to go to sleep.” But something will happen: Relaxation. Lower blood pressure. Boosted immune system. Malloy recommends meditating for a mere 10 minutes a day. After a month, he says, increase it to 20 minutes, if you feel like it. You’ll begin to reap the benefits right away.

Sources:http://www.aarp.org/learntech/wellbeing/staying_sharp_meditation.html