Research has been conducted in Sydney examining the effects of Sahaja yoga meditation on mental and physical health. The traditions surrounding this type of meditation are grounded in the age old idea that meditation involves sitting in a space void of thought.
343 long-term Sahaja yoga meditators were surveyed and compared their health to the general population. It was reported that people who practice meditation lead to their mental, emotional and physical health status to be significantly greater when compared to people who do not meditate.
According to ancient texts the purpose of Sahaja yoga meditation is to achieve ‘mental stillness’, the researchers found that this had a significant impact health and wellbeing, it was shown to specifically impact the hippocampus, the part of the brain known to be involved in the processing and storing of memories.
In addition, individuals who had practiced regular meditation for a minimum of two years were found to have considerably less cortisol, the so called stress hormone in their blood. Cortisol is involved in the fight, flight or freeze response. High levels of cortisol have been associated with high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, insomnia and weight gain.
This is one of a number of studies that has reported the scientifically proven health benefits meditation practice.
For an introduction to Mindfulness meditation which involves the direction of attention to the breath rather than mental silence, please view our Introduction to Mindfulness course.