Improved meditation - being able to intuitively 'know'
when you are producing brainwaves such as Theta and Alpha, enriches
the time spent practicing attaining these states. Yoga, TM, classical
music / Baroque - test out how these affect your brain with IBVA biofeedback
With IBVA Coherence the phase coherence can become more
frequent, displaying both hemispheres' brainwaves are in 'phase synchrony'.
Trancendental Meditation and states achieved by zen buddhist monks are
profoundly different to what an unpracticed user can produce. Like muscle
power from training or the gym, you can't fake this. IBVA reveals the
state of your internal brain waves, here is a client producing great
Here is a Flash movie of the Alpha entrainment
EEG Studies on Yogis and Zen Meditations:
Yogis practicing Raja-Yoga claim that during the
state of samadhi they are oblivious to the internal and external stimuli,
and they enjoy a calm ecstasy during that state. A study was undertaken
to record the electrical activity of their brain during this state by
means of a regular and useful test known as electroencephalography EEG.
Physiological and experimental studies have demonstrated that the basis
of conscious state of brain, among other things, is due to activation
of "reticular system" in the brain-stem in response to internal
and external stimuli. These stimuli bring about various changes during
sleeping and wakeful states of the organism and these can be studied
The study was carried out on four subjects during the state of concentration
and meditation. Effects of external stimuli, like a loud gong, strong
light, thermal simulation, and vibrations were studied. The results
were compiled and analyzed. It was observed that two Yogis could keep
their hands immersed in extremely cold water for about 50 minutes (raised
pain threshold). During state of meditation, all of them showed persistent
"alpha activity" in their EEG with increased amplitude wave
pattern, both during 'eyes closed' and 'eyes open' recording. It was
observed that these alpha activities could not be blocked by various
sensory stimuli during meditation. It was also observed that those,
who had well-marked "alpha activity" in their resting EEG
showed greater aptitude and zeal for maintaining the practice of Yoga. Similar observations and results were obtained
when EEGs were recorded in persons adept in Zen Meditative technique.
In the 1970's J.P. Banquet studied twelve TM practitioners
and twelve controls who were about to learn TM. He found that
subjects practicing TM had distinctive EEG changes, including slow high-amplitude
alpha activity extending to anterior channels, theta activity different
from sleep, rhythmic amplitude-modulated beta waves present over the
whole scalp, and synchronization of anterior and posterior channels.
Studies of Zen Buddhist Monks
In a study that attracted much attention among meditation
and biofeedback researchers during the 1960s, Akira Kasamatsu and Tomio
Hirai, physicians at the University of Tokyo, studied the EEG changes
exhibited during meditation by Zen teachers and their disciples (forty-eight
in all) from Soto and Rinzai centers in Japan. For experimental control,
they studied the EEGs of twenty-two subjects with no experience at meditation.
They made EEG recordings; recorded their subjects' pulse rates, respiration,
and galvanic skin response; and tested their responses to sensory stimuli
during meditation. The recordings on the Zen monks were made during
a weeklong retreat, or sesshin, at a Zendo, except for a few tests at
the experimenters' laboratory. The Zen teachers and their most experienced
students exhibited a typical progression of brain-wave activity during
meditation, which Kasamatsu and Hirai divided into four stages:
* Stage 1: Appearance of alpha waves in spite of opened eyes.
* Stage 2: Increase in amplitude of persistent alpha waves.
* Stage 3: Decrease in alpha frequency.
* Stage 4: Appearance of rhythmical theta trains (Kasamatsu and Hirai,1966)
Not all four stages were evident in every Zen practitioner, nor in any
of the controls, but a strong correlation existed between the number
of stages a given student exhibited and that student's length of time
in Zen training. This correlation was supported by a Zen teacher's evaluation
of each student's proficiency. The teacher ranked the students in three
levels, without seeing their EEG records, and his rankings correlated
well with Kasamatsu and Hirai's assessment of their EEGs.
The Kasamatsu-Hirai study also revealed significant differences between
four Zen masters and four control subjects in their response to repetitive
click stimuli. Like the Zen masters, the controls exhibited a blocking
of alpha when a click sound first occurred, but they gradually became
habituated to such stimuli so that their brain-wave activity no longer
responded when a click was made. The Zen masters, however, did not become
habituated, but continued to exhibit blocking as long as the stimuli
continued. This finding indicates that Zen practice promotes a serene,
alert awareness that is consistently responsive to both external and
internal stimuli (Kasamatsu et al., 1957; Hirai, 1960; and Kasamatsu
and Hirai, 1963).
The Medline database contains reports that have
been published in recognized research magazines, more than 27,000 reports
on relaxation, yoga and meditation published over the last twenty years.
It becomes apparent some of the researchers regard meditation as an
unalterable quantity. Therefore they cannot understand why there is
a discrepancy in their research. The fact is that the results largely
depend on which meditation technique is used.
In some meditations you learn to withdraw the senses; in others you
are more present in your senses. There are meditations where you learn
to make your mind one-pointed, and meditations without a focal point,
which are based on the ability to experience the totality in and around
oneself. It should also be added that some methods give only a light
relaxed state, while others produce very clear changes in your general
state. Certain Tantric meditations, for example Inner Silence, are constructed
as a developing sequence containing a whole array of the mentioned methods
- it spans the spectrum from outer awareness to deep inner rest in oneself.