Which Kind Of Meditation Is Better?

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Ooooohhhhmmmm-oh, excuse me! I was just enhancing
my brain… through meditation! Greetings my fellow level-5 laser lotuses,
Julian here for DNews and I have some info for you to reflect upon. A research team from
the University of Singapore announced this week that they have observed actual quantitative
and qualitative physiological effects of meditation. Moreover, the effects are radically different
depending on how meditation is practiced. Maria Kozhevnikov and Dr. Amihai studied four
groups of practiced meditators from Thailand and Nepal; Two groups practiced meditation
from the Theravada schools of Buddhism, the other two were experienced in Vajrayana meditations. The researchers monitored electrocardiographic
(that’s your heart) and electroencephalographic (that’s your brain) responses and also gave
the groups cognitive tasks. What they discovered was the Theravada meditation
had a calming effect, which makes sense. Theravada is the oldest surviving form of Buddhism,
it literally translates to, “The Teachings of the Elders,” and its meditations focus
on tranquility and abstract understanding to be free of suffering and stress. It’s
no coincidence then that EKGs showed an increase in High Frequency activity in the heart when
the subjects were meditating compared to when they were at rest. More High Frequency activity
is associated with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms calms us and stimulates
digestion and sexual arousal. On the other hand, practitioners of the Vajrayana
school saw a decrease of the High frequency component of their heart rate variability
when they were meditating, meaning they had activated the sympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is complementary to the parasympathetic; it stimulates the
flight or flight response by stimulating the release of hormones like norepinephrine and
epinephrine, better known as adrenaline. This challenges the previous notion that meditation
could only be used for relaxation. Even better, the Vajrayana subjects performed
better on the cognitive tasks. And not just a little better; the effect was instant and
dramatic after just one session. Theravada, meanwhile, didn’t improve performance on
the same tasks. The researchers note that Vajrayana takes years of practice, and plan
to study if just using some basic elements from it can have the same effect. So this means if you need to psych yourself
up to do well on a test or job interview, maybe you should meditate? And when you need
to calm down again after, a different kind of meditation can bring you back down again. There are even more benefits of meditation.
Check out Laci breaking it down for you here. Maybe it’ll help you heal now that she’s
no longer on the team. I know, I miss her too. And do you meditate? What have you noticed
from your own experiences? Let us know in the comments. Until then, let’s keep chasing
enlightenment through science, and I’ll see you next time on DNews.

 

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