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THE ART & SCIENCE OF MEDITATION. Dr Sudhir Shah MD DM Neurology. Professor of Neurology – K.M.School of PGMR Head, Department of Neurology – VSGH, AHD Director of Neurosciences – Sterling Hospital Consultant Neurologist - Ahmedabad, INDIA. India. 3 rd Jan 2010.

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Dr Sudhir ShahMD DM Neurology

Professor of Neurology – K.M.School of PGMR

Head, Department of Neurology – VSGH, AHD

Director of Neurosciences – Sterling Hospital

Consultant Neurologist - Ahmedabad, INDIA


3rd Jan 2010

We exist in two forms : body and mind.

: exercise.. (essay)

  • At some stage you realize that peace and happiness are not outside.
  • The cause of miseries : thoughts, aspirations, past & present and attitude
  • The quest for the god.
  • All great people have done meditation.
what is meditation
What is meditation
  • Exercise of mind to keep it healthy and clean, as we do for body.
  • A state of altered consciousness.
  • Fourth stage of consciousness.
  • Spiritual ecstasy with neurological manifestation.
  • Not really a Hallucination.
  • Caution.











what is meditation definitions
What is meditation? Definitions
  • Stability of mind
  • Wavering of mind is stopped
  • Concentration on one target
  • Unified thought process
  • Thoughtlessness
  • Introspection
  • Lack of activity
  • To leave, to give away
  • Mental aerobics
  • Intentional self regulation
  • Dedication
  • Stay connected
  • Patanjali
  • Buddha
  • Narad
what is meditation definitions9
What is meditation? Definitions

Definition : Thinking deeply or spiritually about a subject

It is a complex cognitive task

It is more than relaxation, concentration, contemplation or posturing

Frees the mind from distractions and allows for communication with the “Master Within”


meditation advantages
Meditation : advantages
  • Physical, mental and emotional health.
  • Cure / control of psychosomatic disorders including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, DM, asthma, rheumatism etc.
  • Stress relief.
  • Spiritual health.
  • Better concentration and sharpness.
  • Produces relaxation and reduces reactivity.
  • Improves Job performance.
  • Interpersonal relations.
meditation advantages11
Meditation : advantages
  • Brings change of attitude
  • Inner peace, patience and happiness.
  • Cultivates and promotes positive emotions and removes negative thoughts.
  • Helps in controlling anger and conquering fear.
  • Brings control over thought process.
  • Improves quality of life.
  • Intuitive knowledge, healing power, magnetic personality and occult powers.
meditation is an antidote to stress
Meditation is an antidote to stress
  • The neuro chemistry and neuro physiology of meditation is just the reverse of stress. Stress : Over activity of Sympathetic system.
  • Meditation: Over activity of Parasympathetic system.
  • However, it is not a push button system, you need patience. Hence there is a 90 to 95% -drop out rate. You need to have right guide, right method, correct understanding, appropriate place, constant practice, extreme faith and full conviction.
  • Please do not sleep.
  • Meditation industry is at height, because of commercialization, so one should be careful.
  • Not to make comparisons, All systems are great
Meditation is hard work. It demands the highest form of discipline which comes through constant awareness, not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly.

- J. Krishnamurti

the real purpose of meditation
The Real Purpose Of Meditation
  • Elimination of Ego
  • Elimination of Mind
meditation philosophical purpose
  • Philosophical self realization
  • God realization
  • Total bliss (total relief of pain)
  • Total liberation
meditation techniques
Meditation techniques
  • Focus on Breathing
  • Focus on an object, light
  • Focus on a sound
  • Focus on a thought
  • Focus on sensual object
  • Focus on sensory perception
  • Imagery
  • Soul meditation
meditation practice
Meditation Practice
  • Choosing a place and atmosphere
  • Sitting Posture
  • Time of meditation
  • Importance of Consistent Practice
  • 4 purities : Mouth, Body, Place & Clothes
  • Mental attitude –

“bare attention,” or neutral witness

  • Pure moment-to-moment awareness, or mindfulness Non-judgmental inner listening, equanimity


  • Prayer
  • Pranayama……… internet connection……... Broadband
meditation methods
Patanjal Dhyana

Anapan Sati

Smriti Upasthan


Preksha Dhyana

Jain Dhyana

Spand Dhyana

Mantra Dhyana

Nabhi Dhyana

Swapna Dhyana

Nidra Dhyana

Yoga nidra, Nyas

Kriya Yoga

Mrutyu Dhyana

T.S Meditation





Adarshdhyana (mirror)

Swaminarayan Dhyana

Arup Dhyana

Purnayoga Dhyana

Atit Dhyana (past)

Bhavidhyana (future)

Sarpalanchan Dhyana

Samarpana Dhyana


Hoo-Dhyana (Dynamic Meditation)

Sahaj Dhyana

Your own system

Meditation : methods

All methods are great

patanjal raj yoga
  • Yama : Nonviolence, truth, non-stealing

celibacy and aparigriha


  • Niyama : Purity, Penance (Austerity)


Spiritual learning

Worship & dedication

  • Asana :
  • Pranayama :
  • Pratyaahar :
  • Dharna :
  • Dhyana :
  • Samadhi :
Meditation over an

object, place or thought

Chakra, Flame or Photo with eyes open or closed

basic instructions for meditation
Basic Instructions for Meditation

Anapan Sati

  • To bring the attention to the breath, but not to control the breathing. It is not pranayama.
  • Give full attention to the feeling of the breath as it goes in and out.
  • Dwell in the present, moment by moment, breath by breath.
  • Observe your mind with moment-to-moment awareness.

Basic Instructions for Meditation

  • When attention wanders, note it and then gently bring awareness back to the breath.
  • Why breathing ? Truth, vital, secular, always with you, present tense, carrier of mind – Emotions, thoughts, and perversions
  • Continue to watch the breath, accepting each moment as it is for 1 hour. Not to loose single breath

- The power of ‘NOW’

- The concept of ‘VOID’

  • When breathing takes consciousness into each cell, there is a vital dance
meditation techniques24
  • Smriti Upasthan : Observation & awareness of thoughts

Budhha, Krishnamurti

Avoid conflict with mind

The root cause of miseries is thoughts

Study beginning, end, structure &

content of thoughts. Pl. do not criticize

Observe & know your thoughts

Study movement of mind and feel separated

This will lead to detachment with thoughts

Becoming aware of one’s consciousness

Observer will realize that himself is being


  • Purnayoga : Maharishi Aurobindo’s

method of combination Yoga

Empty your thoughts & know your mind

meditation jaindhyana
  • Jain religion is Bhavadharma, so meditation is of utmost importance.
  • Dharmadhyana & shukladhyana…

excellent remedy for all types of health.

  • Several types of meditations.
  • Samayik & kayotsarga are super meditations.
  • Preksha, vipashyana, granthibheda
  • Atmadhyana.
  • Meditating on the soul is one of the best meditations.
  • To remain constantly aware of the soul and its characteristics and its functions. To dissociate soul from the body at every moment and the sentinence – the application of knowledge is the ultimate meditation.
  • Samayam api ma pamayae GOYAMA !
meditation techniques27
  • Prekshadhyana : To see –To observe ( Jain Method-Lord Mahavir)

Acharya Tulsiji – Acharya Mahapragyaji

      • Breathing (Shwas-Preksha)
      • Thoughts (Vichar-Preksha)
      • Body (Sharir-Preksha)
      • Mind (Anupreksha)
      • Leshyadhyana etc.

Prerequisites : Mitahaar, Mitbhashan, Maitri,

Pratikriya - Shunyakriya, Bhavkriya

Truth, Non-violence, non-stealing, celibacy and non-collectiveness

meditation techniques28
  • Vipashyana : To see –To observe ( Buddha)

Goenkaji through mahasi sayado

Breathing : control of emotions & perversions

Thoughts : detachment from thoughts

Body and perception of sensations :

control of Raga and Dwesha


Operation of the mind, by the mind

  • Calm and quiet mind
  • Awake and attentive mind
  • Equanimous mind

The Sound of Om in a Drop of Oil


To do chanting on mantra, its meaning and vibration

mindfulness practice
Mindfulness Practice
  • Observing the body and mind intentionallyLetting experiences unfold from moment to moment and accepting them as they are.
  • Observing thoughts without getting caught up in them.No effort to control anything except the focus and direction of the attention. Not a passive process, yet does not involve trying to get anywhere.
  • Eating meditation, sitting meditation, working meditation and meditation during each act is the goal of mindfulness practice.
rule no 1
Rule No. 1
  • Wherever there is body, mind should also be there without any exception

Rule No. 2

  • Develop wakeful plain observorship (Sakshibhav or Drushtabhav)

Rule No. 3

  • Know your soul with your own soul.
transcendental meditation tm
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
  • Movement founded by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi of India.

Sri Sri Ravishankarji

  • Sudarshan kriya
  • Art of living course has changed thousands of lives
silence contemplation

In the silence of the heart God speaks

Let God fill us, then only we speak.

Do small things with great love.


The fruit of silence… Prayer

The fruit of Prayer….. is Faith

The fruit of Faith…… love

The fruit of Love …….is Service

- Mother Teresa

dhyana yoga
  • Perfect relaxation
  • Observorship
  • Non Decisiveness

Dynamic Meditation






meditation methods43
Patanjal Dhyana

Anapan Sati

Smriti Upasthan


Preksha Dhyana

Jain Dhyana

Spand Dhyana

Mantra Dhyana

Nabhi Dhyana

Swapna Dhyana

Nidra Dhyana

Yoga nidra, Nyas

Kriya Yoga

Mrutyu Dhyana

T.S Meditation





Adarshdhyana (mirror)

Swaminarayan Dhyana

Arup Dhyana

Purnayoga Dhyana

Atit Dhyana (past)

Bhavidhyana (future)

Sarpalanchan Dhyana

Samarpana Dhyana


Hoo-Dhyana (Dynamic Meditation)

Sahaj Dhyana

Your own system

Meditation : methods

All methods are great



First Practice Silence of body, speech and learn to get isolated

Then, chanting, seeing an idol, inner flame, breathing etc.

Benefits of meditation
  • Oxygen consumption is reduced by 16%, even greater than the reduction of 12% in sleep
  • Neural structures that are intimately related to the control of the autonomic nervous system are activated
  • Diurnal, cyclic secretion of stress hormones (adrenocorticotrophic hormone, cortisol and beta-endorphin) is absent
  • Physicians, Psychotherapists, and other Professionals are increasingly adding Meditative Techniques to their practice.
  • Over six thousand Physicians have begun the practice of Transcendental Meditation and regularly recommend the TM technique to their patients.
  • Many Physicians consider Meditation a key element of an Integrated Health Program.
health conditions in which yoga may help heal or treat




Coronary Artery Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Heartburn (GERD)


Tension Headaches and Migraines

PMS and Menstrual Discomfort


Pain of the Back, Hips, Knees

Depression & Anxiety

Substance Abuse

Skin Disorders

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Sleep Problems

Health Conditions in which Yoga may help heal or treat

Medical benefits of meditation

Researching the Benefits of  on Meditation :

  • With 7 weeks of meditation, cancer patients decreased their degree of depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, and chest and stomach symptoms by 50% - and felt more vigor.
  • With 10 weeks of meditation, 2/3’s of chronic pain patients had a 30% reduction in pain, and half had more than a 50% reduction.
  • With 10 weeks of meditation, chronic pain patients had less pain, less mood disturbances, used less pain medication, and could be more active.  The benefits were still present one year later.
  • Three years after an 8-week meditation instruction, patients with anxiety and panic disorders still showed a benefit.
  • All patients with fibromyalgia who meditated for 10 weeks improved, and over half showed moderate to marked improvement in pain, fatigue and quality of sleep.

Medical benefits of meditation

  • Meditation has been found to be quite useful in most of the psychosomatic disorders including asthma, rheumatism, gut problems, blood pressure, diabetes etc.
  • With 6 weeks of meditation irritable bowel syndrome patients had less flatulance, belching, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Even though daily fluctuations in cortisol are unchanged, people who meditate don’t have the daily fluctuations in the cortisol-stimulating hormone (ACTH), or beta-endorphins, suggesting a change in feedback sensitivity.
  • People trained in and performing an imagery-based relaxation prior to injection, had less inflammatory reaction to chili pepper “extract” (capsaicin) injected under the skin.  
  • With 6 months of meditation, athletes had less increase in the CD8+ suppressor T cell response to strenuous physical stress, improving the immune system’s helper to suppressor cell ratio.  It also reduces post-traumatic stress.   

Medical benefits of meditation

  • Patients who meditated during ultraviolet light treatment for psoriasis had quicker clearing of their skin disease.    
  • With 6 months of meditating for 20 minutes twice a day, hypertensive African Americans had a decrease in the carotid artery wall thickness.
  • With 4 years of daily meditation, coronary artery narrowing showed regression rather than progression.
  • Over a 5 year period, people who meditated had over 50% less doctor’s office visits, and an average of  50% less hospital admissions (including a reduction all 17 major treatment categories such as benign and malignant tumors, heart disease, infectious disease, and nervous system disorders).  Only childbirth rates were the unchanged.
Relative contraindications of meditation
  • Psychosis
  • Severe depression
  • Confusional states
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Dementias
physiology of meditation
Physiology of Meditation
  • Meditation produces a specific physiological response pattern that involves various biological systems.
  • Mechanisms producing meditative effects include metabolic, autonomic, endocrine, neurological, and psychological manifestation.
  • Physiological response to meditation occurs on a multidimensional, interactive basis.
neuroelectrical effects
Neuroelectrical Effects
  • Mediation (the Fourth State) was shown to

- increase Alpha (8-13 Hz or cycles per second) production - increase Theta (4-7 Hz) production - increase high Beta (20 - 40 Hz) activity ( with experienced


  • Alpha patterns are associated with calm and focused attention.
  • Theta patterns are associated with reverie, imagery, and creativity.
  • High Beta activity is associated with highly focused concentration
important features of eeg changes related to meditation are
Important features of EEG changes related to meditation are :

Establishing alpha activity in spite of open eyes

  • Increased amplitude of alpha activity
  • Slower frequency of alpha rhythm
  • Rhythmical theta waves
  • Increased synchronization (hypersynchronization)
  • Dissociation of perception from the external sense organs
  • Transcendent signal
  • Occasional fast wave activity

ALPHA brainwaves are the brainwaves of relaxed detached awareness, visualization, sensory imagery and light reverie. Ranging between about 8 cycles per second and 13 cycles per second, alpha is the gateway to meditation and provides a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious mind.


BETA brainwaves are the fastest frequencies ranging from 14 cycles per second up to 38 cycles per second. Beta is your normal thinking state, your active external awareness and thought process. Without beta you would not be able to function in the outside world.


THETA brainwaves are the subconscious mind. Ranging from about 4 cycles per second up to 8 cycles per second, theta is present in dreaming sleep and provides the experience of deep meditation when you meditate. Theta also contains the storehouse of creative inspiration and is where you often have your spiritual connection. Theta provides the peak in the peak experience


The MEDITATION brainwave pattern is a combination of alpha and theta where theta provides the depth and profundity of the meditation experience – the subconscious inner space from which creativity, insight, and healing spring – and alpha provides the bridge, or the link, to the conscious thinking mind so that you can actually remember the contents of your meditation.


DELTA brainwaves are your unconscious mind, the sleep state, ranging from about 4 cycles per second down to 0.5 cycles per second. But when present in combination with other waves in a waking state, Delta acts as a form of radar – seeking out information – reaching out to understand on the deepest unconscious level things that we can't understand through thought process. Delta provides intuition, empathetic attunement, and instinctual insight.

awakened mind brainwave pattern
AWAKENED MIND brainwave pattern

It is a brainwave pattern shared by people in higher states of consciousness regardless of their philosophy, theology or meditation technique. This brainwave pattern can be found during “peak experience” and in all forms of creativity and high performance

permanent eeg changes
Permanent EEG changes

Davidson’s research is consistent with his earlier work that pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex as a brain region associated with happiness and positive thoughts and emotions. Using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) on the meditating monks, Davidson found that their brain activity – as measured by the EEG – was especially high in this area

With chronic meditation, gamma wave activity(high level information processing) is found in many meditators

Evoked potentials & meditation

Meditation sometimes produces altered amplitudes, with practitioners seeming to demonstrate decreased amplitude & latency for sensory EPs & with mindfulness inducing a decrease in habituation

In meditation the usual frameworks of time, space and other aspects of conscious content are absent, although the mind is not asleep
  • Compared to quiet or slow-wave sleep, in which brain blood flow is reduced, meditation shows no reduction in total brain blood circulation or perfusion
  • Regional maps of brain blood flow/perfusion differ among meditation, slow-wave sleep and wakefulness
neurobiology of meditation
Neurobiology of Meditation
  • Imaging, such as rCBF (regional Cerebral Blood Flow), real time MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), MEG (magnetoencephalography), and improved EEG (electoencephalography) allow detailed studies in understanding the effects of meditation on neural behavior.
  • SPECT study shows-Parietal area of the brain is responsible for giving us a sense of our orientation in space and time. By blocking all sensory and cognitive input into this area, meditation results in the sense of no space and no time.



meg -eeg



spatial resolution





temporal resolution


SPECT Images at Baseline and

During Meditation

Prefrontal Cortex

Prefrontal Cortex




SPECT Images at Baseline and

During Meditation




Parietal Lobe


Parietal Lobe


Comparison of Baseline to Prayer : Limbic inhibition

Baseline Scan

Prayer Scan




Part of the Brain


Baseline Mean

Meditation Mean




Anterior Cingulate






Cingulate Body












Inferior Frontal












Orbital Frontal Cortex






Posterior Cingulate


















Results from Meditation SPECT Study

summary of spect findings
Summaryof SPECT findings
  • Increase rCBF in frontal lobe and shut down of rCBF in OAA in parietal lobe is the key finding.
  • This is not hallucination.
  • All Meditators have same findings.
  • Significant signal increases were observed in the dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices, thalamus, hippocampus/parahippocampus, temporal lobe, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, striatum, and pre- and post-central gyri during meditation.
  • This indicates that the practice of meditation activates neural structures involved in attention and control of the autonomic nervous system.
    • Neuroreport. 2000 May 15;11(7):1581-5. Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation. Lazar SW,…, Benson H.

fMRI changes during Meditation

  • PET,SPECT& fMRIallow examination of changes in regional blood flow, metabolism or receptor (sites of neurochemical and drug actions) activation in the brain in response to various tasks
  • Most types of meditation, which involve an initial focusing of attention, are associated with increased regional blood flow or glucose metabolism in the prefrontal and cingulate cortex, areas that are important in selection of a mental task
The frontal lobes, especially the prefrontal regions help to organize, prioritize, plan and focus attention
  • During visualization regional blood flow increases in the “visual cortex” and visual association areas in the occipital lobes
  • In contemplation of “self” the parietal lobes on both sides are activated
Thalamus is a relay station and filtering station for sensory information. Excitation of RN through PFC, decreases activation of PSPL & thereby decreases body awareness & also decreases input to visual centre (GABA)
  • The studies point to prefrontal activation (predominantly right), transient hypofrontality, increased frontal lobe & decreased parietal lobe activity & also to a Deafferentation of the PSPL
  • Functional Deafferentation means a decrease in distracting stimuli to visual cortex & PSPL, hence, increase focus
  • This results in altered perception of self-experience
Activity in Hippocampus is increased in connections with hypothalamus & autonomic nervous system
  • Stimulation of Right amygdala causes stimulation of ventromedial hypothalamus & peripheral parasympathetic system, thereby causing subjective sensation of relaxation & more profound sense of quiescence
Herzog, et al., 1990 – PET, Yoga meditation
  • Jevning, et al., 1996 – Rheoencephalography, TM meditation
  • Lou, et al., 1999 – PET, Yoga Nidra
  • Lazar, et al., 2000 – fMRI, Kundalini Yoga
  • Khushu, et al., 2000 – fMRI, Raja Yoga
  • Baerensten, et al., 2001 – fMRI Onset of meditation
  • Newberg, et al., 2001 – SPECT, Tibetan meditation
  • Azari, et al., 2001 – PET, Psalm 23 recitation
  • Kjaer, et al., 2002 – PET 11C-raclopride binding, Yoga Nidra
  • Newberg, et al., 2003 – SPECT, Franciscan Prayer
  • Lazar, et al., 2003 – fMRI, Mindfulness vs. Kundalini
  • Ritskes, et al., 2003 – fMRI, Zen
  • Lazar, et al., 2005 – MRI, Buddhist Insight Meditation
  • Kakigi, et al., 2005 – fMRI, Noxious LASER stimulation of a Yoga master who claims to feel no pain during meditation
  • Orme-Johnson, et al., 2006 – fMRI, TM effects on brain reactivity to pain
neurochemical changes during meditation
Neurochemical Changes During Meditation
  • Meditation increases Serotonin production, an important neurotransmitter and neuropeptide that influences mood and behavior in many ways. It can stimulate increased production of Acetylcholine, involved in memory mechanisms & attention
  • Meditation has also been associated with increased melatonin availability
Neurochemical changes during meditation
  • During meditation, locus ceruleus activity decreases, thereby decreasing norepinephrine production
  • Relatively greater activity of parasympathetic system causes decreased production of catecholamines, epinephrine & norepinephrine by adrenal medulla


Observed Change

CNS Structure

Arginine Vasopressin


Supraoptic Nucleus



Thalamus, other inhibitory structures



Pineal Gland



Dorsal Raphe



Basal Gangia



Paraventricular Nucleus



Locus Ceruleus


Rhythm changed; levels unaltered

Arcuate Nucleus

Neurochemical Changes During Meditation

meditation and the autonomic nervous system
Meditation and the Autonomic Nervous System
  • An increase in the skin resistance.
  • Galvanic skin responses, showed that meditators recovered from stress more quickly than non-meditators.
  • Decreased limbic arousal in the brain-reduces stress and increases autonomic stability to stress.
  • Reduction in limbic arousal may explain how meditation strengthens and enhances the ability to cope with stress.
meditation and the central nervous system
Meditation and the Central Nervous System
  • The practice of meditation decreases muscle reflex time.
  • Accelerates neural conduction or augments the release of neurotransmitters, thereby decreasing synaptic time, resulting in a change in muscle firing threshold and pattern.
  • By inhibiting the left cortical hemisphere, the sense of time and logic no longer dominate consciousness during meditation.Suppression of Ego faculty and later on Mind.
the plausible hypothesis
The Plausible Hypothesis
  • When meditation acts as a constant repetitive stimulus, certain permanent qualitative and quantitative changes develop in nervous system.
  • Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators may stimulate growth of dormant neurons to develop a centre higher than neocortex- God module.
  • This higher centre will exert inhibitory control over present neocortex and thereby over mind as a whole- thereby suppressing consciousness and all mental activities.
  • Spiritual ascent is from the least evolved state of consciousness to near perfect state with which the mind itself will cease to be and there will remain only non-dual experience.
meditation and the endocrine system
Meditation and the Endocrine System
  • Reduced blood levels of lactate, cortisol, and epinephrine.
  • Reduces sympathetic adrenergic receptor sensitivity, producing a decreased response to stressful situations .
  • Increased levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), melatonin and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.
  • Meditation produces its anxiolytic effects by promoting GABA action in specific areas of the brain.
  • Similar effects can be achieved by Reiki, Acupuncture.
meditation and metabolism
Meditation and Metabolism
  • A wakeful state accompanied by decreased metabolism.
  • Decreased breathing pattern, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure.
  • Blood flow to the kidneys and liver declined in the practitioners, with an increase in cardiac output.
  • Decrease in the level of oxygen utilization and carbon dioxide elimination by muscles.
  • The metabolic changes arise from a natural reduction in metabolic activity at the cellular level, not from a forced reduction of breathing.
  • Longevity and delayed aging !
Meditation & Neuroplasticity
  • A recent MRI study showed that, “brain regions associated with attention, interoception & sensory processing like the PFC & right anterior insula were thicker in meditation practitioners”
  • Meditation probably offsets age-related cortical thinning & thereby suggesting to promote Neuroplasticity
meditation and psychology
Meditation and Psychology
  • Practice of meditation improves cognitive task performance, increases mental concentration, and reduces susceptibility to stress.
  • Both subjective and objective examinations reveal that meditation enhances perceptual sensitivity.
Meditation and Psychology
  • It improves the attitude & personality of a person
  • Improved concentration and attention, allowing for greater productivity, problem-solving, creativity, learning ability and organization of memory.
  • Enhanced self-image
  • Less “catastrophic reaction” to stressful situations, e.g., in survivors of attempted suicide
  • Better sociability, tolerance and compassion
  • Improved mood, sleep & scores on self-actualization
  • “The Longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…….. a church…. a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We can not change our past..... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is to play on the only string we have, and that is our attitude……. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you….. We are in charge of our Attitudes ”.

- Charles Swindoll

Neural correlates of anxiety
  • Factors decreasing anxiety during meditation :
    • Increased parasympathetic acitivity, GABAergic drive, serotonin, endorphins & AVP
    • Decreased LC firing with decreased noradrenaline & decreased levels of stress hormone cortisol


  • Factors contributing antidepressant effect :
    • Increase in serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, endorphin & AVP
    • Decrease in CRH & cortisol
  • A variety of schizophrenic effects can be seen
  • Meditation can induce psychotic states via mechanisms such as :
    • Increased 5HT 2 receptor activation, leading to inhibition of LGB
    • Increased DMT, causing hallucinogenic effects
    • Increase in NAAG, having dissociative hallucinogenic effects
    • Increase in dopamine affecting temporal lobe
Implications for Psychiatry
  • Complementary & alternative medicine
  • ? Alternative to Hypnosis
  • Low cost, with continuation for life
  • Group dynamics & group practice
  • Combination e.g. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Spiritually Augmented CBT
  • Enhancing one’s psychological resources/holistic living/self actualization
  • Meditative state changes may develop into traits
  • Preventive Psychiatry
Unresolved issues – New Frontiers
  • Although we can understand how the various lobes and neurotransmitters function during meditation, how are these actions directed and by whom?
  • What accounts for the actual awareness of the experience and of self and where are they perceived?
  • How do we actually know that something is true and meaningful? What accounts for this conviction?
  • The link with the Master Within and with Cosmic Consciousness has not been explained and cannot be approached from a neuroscience perspective
four way truth
Four way Truth
  • That there is a problem
  • That there is a cause
  • That there is a way
  • If you follow the path, you will get the solution
“Now Monks, I have nothing more to

tell you but all that is composed

will decay. Strive after your own


-Lord Buddha



- Swami Vivekananda

  • Jain Agam
  • Dhyana Dipika, Dhyana Shatak
  • Patanjal Yoga Sutra
  • Holy Vedas, Puranas and Upanishadas
  • Tripitak
  • Dhyana Yoga - Swami Vivekananda
  • Meditation - Osho
  • Dhyana Kumbh - Suresh Vakil
  • Meditations - J.Krishnamurti
  • ‘Why God will not go away’ – Andrew Newberg
  • Medical References from several journals
  • Aries et al;2006, Systematic review of efficacy of meditation techniques, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  • Cahn B.R., Polich J.,(2006), Meditation states and traits:EEG,ERP and neuroimaging studies, Psychol Bull,(2005),Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness,Neuroreport
  • Mohandas E.,(2008) Neurobiology of spirituality, Mens Sena Monograph.
  • Newberg A.B.(2003),The neural basis of the complex mental task of meditation:neurotransmitter and neurochemical consideration,Med Hypotheses.
  • U.S.Department of Health(2007) Meditation Practices for Health:state of the Reasearch