Autonomic changes in Brahmakumaris Raja yoga meditation

Author: Telles S//Desiraju T
Affiliation: Department of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
Conference/Journal: Int J Psychophysiol
Date published: 1993
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 147-52 , Word Count: 247

This report presents the changes in various autonomic and respiratory variables during the practice of Brahmakumaris Raja yoga meditation. This practice requires considerable commitment and involves concentrated thinking. 18 males in the age range of 20 to 52 years (mean 34.1 ± 8.1), with 5-25 years experience in mediation (mean 10.1 ± 6.2), participated in the study. Each subject was assessed in three test sessions which included a period of meditation, and also in three control (non-mediation) sessions, which included a period of random thinking. Group analysis showed that the heart rate during the meditation period was increased compared to the preceding baseline period, as well as compared to the value during the non-meditation period of control sessions. In contrast to the change in the heart rate, there was no significant change during meditation, for the group as a whole, in palmar GSR, finger plethysmogram amplitude, and respiratory rate. On an individual basis, changes which met the following criteria were noted: (1), changes which were greater during meditation (compared to its preceding baseline) than changes during post meditation or non-meditation periods (also compared to their preceding baseline); (2), Changes which occurred consistently during the three repeat sessions of a subject and (3), changes which exceeded arbitrarily-chosen cut-off points (described at length below). This individual level analysis revealed that changes in autonomic variables suggestive of both activation and relaxation occurred simultaneously in different subdivisions of the autonomic nervous system in a subject. Apart from this, there were differences in patterns of change among the subjects who practised the same meditation.