Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts

Will other forms of meditation produce the same results?

"A lot of folks falsely think that nothing really happens when you practice Transcendental Meditation, or even if something does happen there are ten different ways to get there. That's simply not true. It's factually inaccurate. Speaking as a scientist, the amazing thing about Transcendental Meditation is the very well-established research showing that the technique impacts things that we didn't think were changeable."Dr. Mehmet Oz

While there are many venerable forms of meditation, scientific research shows that the various practices produce their own effects and that they do not all yield the same results as one another—nor are they seen to produce the same benefits associated with the Transcendental Meditation technique. Because of the many independent scientific studies showing the TM technique's holistic benefits and unique effectiveness for lowering high blood pressure, it is the only form of meditation recommended by the American Heart Association.

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Different practices, different results: Some meditation practices involve attempts to concentrate or control the mind, to keep it focused on a specific object of meditation (such as a thought, mantra, one's breathing or other sensations). Other approaches might involve contemplation, visualization, watching your thoughts or trying to maintain a passive or non-judgmental attitude—all of which employ varying degrees of effort or sustained attention. Though these various approaches have their benefits, they tend to keep the mind active, engaged or localized, usually within the active realm of thinking.

The Transcendental Meditation technique is unique. It is effortless and involves no attempt to control the mind. The technique allows the mind to systematically transcend all mental activity to experience the deeply settled state of restful alertness or pure awareness. During this process, the brain functions with greater coherence and the body gains profound rest. The holistic benefits associated with TM practice result spontaneously from this experience of effortless transcending. Practices that keep the mind active or engaged on more surface levels have not been found to consistently produce the deep levels of rest or holistic range of benefits known to result from TM practice.


Dr. Vernon Barnes, Medical College of Georgia: "Comparative research has shown that the various forms of meditation do not produce the same effects. Because each kind of meditation practice engages the mind in it’s own way, there’s no reason to expect the same results from the various methods or that scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation program will apply to other practices.

"There have been many studies looking at the effects of the TM technique, Zen, Mindfulness, Tibetan Buddhist and Vipassana meditations, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Benson’s Relaxation Response—examining such factors as brainwave patterns, levels of rest, and benefits for mind and body. While some other forms of meditation have been found to produce good effects in specific areas, these various practices have their own aims and are not necessarily intended to produce the broad range of benefits seen to consistently result from Transcendental Meditation.

"Neural imaging and EEG studies indicate that TM creates a unique brain pattern: it is the only meditation technique known to create widespread brainwave coherence. The TM technique also produces deeper rest than other practices, and studies show the technique to be more effective at reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-actualization."

VERNON BARNES, Ph.D., is a researcher at the Georgia Prevention Institute of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, which has received $1.5 million from the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on African American teens at risk for high blood pressure. 

James Krag, MD, Clinical Psychiatrist, Veterans Administration: “Just as there are many kinds of medication, there are also many approaches that are termed ‘meditation.’ The vast majority of the research on meditation has been on the Transcendental Meditation technique—and the findings clearly indicate that the TM technique works better than other researched mental techniques to promote health. If research shows that a specific medication helps treat a disorder, it would be irresponsible and illogical to conclude that all medications help treat that disorder. In the same way, research on Transcendental Meditation should not be generalized to include other techniques also called ‘meditation.’ We should intelligently choose what works and what is supported by research.”

James Krag, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, recent president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and former president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists. He is currently clinic psychiatrist with the Veterans Administration.

The three categories of meditation practices 

How the TM technique differs from concentration, mindfulness, other mantra practices and everything else 

Short essay: What kind of meditation technique did the Buddha teach?

VIDEO: Quantum Physicist John Hagelin on the variety of meditation techniques and how they differ: "Experiencing the Unified Field"

Video: Maharishi on Yoga and Transcendental Meditation practice

Maharishi on Yoga and Transcendental Meditation practice:  
"Yoga we know is the summation of all the trends of mind - Yoga, Samadhi, Transcendental Consciousness. How it becomes perfected? Yoga becomes perfected when the Yoga state is not disturbed by anything. What could be the disturbing element—because that Yoga state is absolute silence—what could be disturbing to it? Only the activity could be disturbing to it. But when the action does not disturb the silence of the Yoga, then Yoga is perfected. It is a beautiful point." —Maharishi
In the West, yoga has come to mean the physical postures known as asana. But in the tradition that gave us yoga, the term actually refers to an inner experience gained during meditation: yoga means union or the state of unified awareness.

From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

yogaś citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ

"Yoga is the cessation of the thought waves of the mind."

The Transcendental Meditation technique is yoga practice in the purest sense. It is a technique for arriving at the "cessation" of mental activity while maintaining inner wakefulness, the state of pure consciousness or samadhi. This experience is the true state of yoga. (2:46)

Read: The True Nature of Yoga: Stretching the Boundaries of Consciousness

Why pay for TM when I can learn meditation cheaper at the Y or in my yoga class?

Because the TM technique is different. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Scientific studies have found that the many different kinds of practices called 'meditation' do not all produce the same effects as one another or the same holistic benefits associated with the TM technique. 

While almost all meditation practices are beneficial, research comparing the TM technique to concentration practices, mindfulness meditation, contemplation, relaxation techniques, common mantra meditation, Zen, biofeedback and others has found the TM technique more effective at reducing stress and anxiety, lowering high blood pressure, facilitating cognitive growth, decreasing substance abuse, improving psychological health and developing self-actualization. (See comparative studies and reviews:

Also, no other form of meditation has been found in long-term studies to reduce heart attack and stroke (study>). The TM technique is the only meditation practice recommended by the American Heart Association for reduction of hypertension.

The various other methods of meditation engage the mind differently, requiring varying degrees of effort. The TM technique is an effortless process of transcending, allowing the mind to spontaneously settle inward, beyond mental activity, to experience the deepest, most peaceful and revitalizing state of awareness—the state of inner wakefulness or restful alertness, one's inmost Self.

Why pay for TM when other meditations are cheaper or free?

Kulreet Chaudhary

Kulreet Chaudhary, MD: It's great that meditation has become mainstream and so many people want to embrace it and even teach it. However, the Transcendental Meditation technique is not the same kind of meditation that you learn down at the Y or at your yoga class (unless your yoga studio has partnered with a certified TM teacher). Those forms of meditation can be helpful, but they're very different from the TM technique—in practice and results.

The TM technique is not just a practice of watching your breath, concentrating or contemplating. It's an effortless, natural technique for transcending, for going beyond thought to tap your deepest inner reserves of creativity, intelligence and well-being, directly enlivening your body's innate healing mechanisms. It's easy to learn but requires a qualified teacher.

Transcendental Meditation is taught by teachers whose training is as rigorous, committed and specialized as the training I underwent to become a licensed physician. These teachers offer a tested and proven gift of preventive health care, an authentic technology for developing consciousness. I'd say their service to society is at least as valuable as that of doctors or other highly trained professionals.

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is Medical Director of Wellspring Neurology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California.

David Orme-Johnson, PhD: The generic word 'meditation' refers to a general set of practices—many of them only loosely related, if at all—not to an agreed upon practice with recognized industry standards or procedures. As one would expect, there is a great range of results among the various meditation practices. As a researcher, I have seen some programs showing great promise, and others, well, not so much. The truth is, not all meditation practices are equal—at least according to science.

My work has focused primarily on the Transcendental Meditation technique, and we have seen some very exciting results over the past 40 years.

The American Heart Association, for example, recently issued a scientific review for doctors, recommending the TM technique, specifically stating that other practices have not been found to reduce high blood pressure(1).

Recent studies have shown that not all meditation techniques improve PTSD symptoms or depression(2), whereas the TM technique has been found to be highly effective in this area(3,4)  Research shows that certain types of meditation actually worsen the cardiovascular system's reaction to stress(5), whereas the TM technique is found to improve it(6)

There is considerable evidence that TM practice reduces medical care utilization and costs(7,9), and a recent 10-year randomized controlled trial showed that the TM technique decreased heart attacks, strokes, and death by 48% compared to controls(10).  No other meditation technique has been found to show these long-term effects.

After more than four decades of research on different types of meditation, there is now sufficient evidence for health professionals to distinguish between the effectiveness of the various meditation practices, and to truly take an evidence-based approach in prescribing meditation to their patients. 

David Orme-Johnson is one of the principal researchers in the world on meditation and its effects, having published over 100 studies, mostly in peer-reviewed journals. He has been asked to review the meditation research on chronic pain and insomnia by a National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment conference, and has traveled to over 56 countries to speak on meditation research to scientific conferences, the press, program directors, government officials, members of Congress, parliaments, heads of state, and the United Nations. 

REFERENCES: 1. Brook RD, Appel LJ, Rubenfire M, et al. Beyond medications and diet: Alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure : A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association 2013(61).
2. Kearney DJ, McDermott K, Malte C, et al. Effects of participation in a mindfulness program for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized controlled pilot study. J Clin Psychol 2012;69(1):14-27.
3. Brooks JS, Scarano T. Transcendental Meditation and the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. J Couns Dev 1985;64:212-215.
4. Rees B, Travis F, Shapiro D, Chant R. Reduction in post traumatic stress symptoms in Congolese refugees practicing Transcendental Meditation. Journal of Traumatic Stress 2013:1-14.
5. Grant C, Hobkirk A, Persons E, et al. Cardiovascular reactivity to and recovery from stressful tasks following a mindfulness analog in college students with a family history of hypertension. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2012;18:1-6.
6. Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Davis H. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. J Psychosom Res 2001;51(4):597-605.
7. Orme-Johnson DW. Medical care utilization and the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosom Med 1987;49:493-507.
8. Orme-Johnson DW, Herron RE. An innovative approach to reducing medical care utilization and expenditures. The American Journal of Managed Care 1997;3(1):135-144.
9. Herron R, Hillis S. The impact of the Transcendental Meditation program on government payments to physicians in Quebec: An update. Am J Health Promot 2000;14(5):284-293.
10. Schneider RH, Grim CE, Rainforth MA, et al. Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Randomized controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation and health education in Blacks. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2012;2(5).


Why a course fee, anyway — why isn't TM taught for free? >>

10 facts you should know about the Transcendental Meditation program

1. SIMPLE: The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, effortless mental process practiced for 15-20 minutes twice a day, sitting quietly and comfortably in a chair with the eyes closed.
2. EASILY LEARNED: The Transcendental Meditation technique can be easily learned by anyone and is enjoyable to practice.

3. IMMEDIATE BENEFITS: The benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique are immediate and increase over time. The technique’s positive effects—for mind, body and relationships—have been verified by hundreds of research studies conducted at top medical schools and published in over 350 peer-reviewed scientific journals.

4. NO BELIEF REQUIRED: The Transcendental Meditation technique does not involve belief. In fact, you can be thoroughly skeptical and the technique will still be fully effective.

5. DEVELOPS THE TOTAL BRAIN: Brain research shows that the Transcendental Meditation technique develops the total brain, increasing creativity and intelligence and improving decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

6. NOT A LIFESTYLE: The Transcendental Meditation technique is not a religion or philosophy and involves no change in lifestyle.

7. REDUCES STRESS AND PREVENTS HEART DISEASE: Medical school research funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that the Transcendental Meditation technique is the most effective mind-body practice for reducing stress and stress-related disorders, including hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke and atherosclerosis.

8. UNIQUE: The Transcendental Meditation technique is unlike any other form of meditation or self-development—in practice and results. The technique is distinguished by its naturalness, effortlessness and profound effectiveness.

9. SYSTEMATIC INSTRUCTION: The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught by certified teachers through a systematic course of personalized instruction and includes extensive followup and support, ensuring that everyone who learns gains maximum benefit.

10. NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION: The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught through a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization. The organization’s goal is to develop the full potential of the individual, minimize the negative impact of stress, and bring unrestricted and fulfilling progress to all areas of society.

The True Nature of Yoga: Stretching the Boundaries of Consciousness

by Dr. Barbara Steinman

• The state of yoga is accomplished by a meditation technique that transcends physical and mental activity and allows one to experience the state of restful alertness or pure consciousness
• During this state, the body gains deep rest and the brain functions with greater coherence 
• All that's required is correct meditation practice—the technique of effortless transcending

Although yoga is a household word and yoga asanas are practiced by millions, many people are unaware of what yoga really is. The Sanskrit word yoga means 'union' and refers to the union of the individual self (jiva) with the higher Self (Atman) and, ultimately, with the supreme Self—Paramatman, or Brahman. More than simply a path, yoga denotes the goal of spiritual practice: union of the individual with the totality of cosmic existence, union of human life with the totality of Natural Law, or those who prefer religious language might call it the Divine.

Revival of ancient wisdom: Fifty years ago, when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first began traveling around the world teaching his Transcendental Meditation technique, yoga was virtually unknown in the West. Time magazine ascribed the explosion of interest in yoga in the United States to Maharishi’s revival of the ancient Vedic wisdom in this country. In fact, Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation program is deeply rooted in the timeless wisdom of yoga, which is derived from the ancient Vedic literature of India.

To most Americans, yoga means physical postures (asana), which tone the body and promote health and well-being. But this is just a small part of yoga as revealed in the ancient Vedic text, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Maharishi explains that throughout the ages, Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga (literally, 'eight-limbed yoga') has been greatly misunderstood.

While Patanjali clearly speaks of eight limbs of yoga, all interconnected just as the limbs of the body form one whole, commentators in India and the West have interpreted Patanjali’s yoga system as a series of eight stages or steps, culminating in samadhi—the state of yoga, the Atman, the Self. Aspirants were therefore advised to begin at the bottom rung of this imaginary ladder and work their way up, slowly and tediously, until some day the goal of samadhi is attained. Among the eight 'steps' of this viewpoint, asana, or physical postures, has eclipsed the others and come to be known as 'yoga'.

Maharishi’s profound insight into the Vedic wisdom turns this false interpretation of yoga most fittingly on its head! Using the analogy of a table, Maharishi explains that all the limbs of yoga are connected like the legs of a table. When you pull on one leg, the whole table follows. But some legs are easier to pull than others, and if you are wise, you will pull the simplest leg and accomplish the goal in least time and with least effort.

The body is a heavy, somewhat stiff, material object. Bending the body, as in the practice of yoga asanas, requires patient effort and training and may take a lifetime (if you're lucky) to reach the 'superfluid' state of pure consciousness, or samadhi.

The mind, however, is infinitely flexible. We all experience in our thoughts or imagination that we can go anywhere in the twinkling of an eye; we can accomplish anything. The mind is ethereal, without substance. It is therefore very easy to 'bend' the mind in the direction of its source—pure, self-referral consciousness. With its innate flexibility, the mind naturally and instantaneously moves toward samadhi once it has learned the proper technique.

Transcendental Consciousness—the true state of yoga: The Transcendental Meditation technique is such a practice. The TM technique makes use of the mind’s natural tendency to seek greater happiness. The technique effortlessly turns the attention within and gently, systematically leads the mind to quieter, more refined levels of thinking. The meditator transcends even the finest level of thought and reaches a state of absolute silence, peace and inner contentment—a field of unbounded bliss. In this state of samadhi, all the fluctuations and diverse tendencies of the mind merge into unified wholeness, the yoga state of consciousness. Through this effortless, enjoyable practice twice daily, the meditator hits the target and the supreme level of yoga is achieved.


The Eight Limbs: Once yoga (samadhi) has been stabilized through regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, all the other limbs of yoga naturally, spontaneously follow. Just as the legs of a table move in unison, all eight limbs of yoga develop simultaneously through repeated experience of samadhi, the highest or foremost limb. Maharishi likens this to 'capturing the fort:' you capture the fort on top of the hill, and all the riches of the territory automatically belong to you. This principle of the 'highest first' reveals the secret of all success in life: first establish yourself in the state of yoga—Transcendental Consciousness, the Self—and then, functioning from your full creative potential, you have the wherewithal to more effortlessly achieve all that you desire. This is why the Bhagavad Gita, also called the 'text of yoga', advises:

Yogasthah kuru karmani
'Established in yoga, Transcendental Consciousness, perform action.'
Yogah karmasu kaushalam
'Yoga is skill in action.'

The regular alternation of deep silence (meditation) and daily activity stabilizes the awareness in the state of yoga (samadhi), so that throughout all the changing phases of life, one remains unshakably established in the Self. At the same time, Maharishi’s Vedic Science promotes all the limbs of yoga through its specific approaches, including neuromuscular integration (asana); neurorespiratory integration (pranayama); the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs—an advanced Transcendental Meditation practice, which incorporates the three 'highest' limbs of yoga: dharana, dhyana, and samadhi; and, finally, through other approaches of Maharishi’s Vedic Science, which cover the areas corresponding to yama, niyama, and pratyahara. So even as all the limbs are automatically nourished* through one simple practice—the Transcendental Meditation technique—they are further enlivened through the specific approaches that comprise Maharishi’s holistic comprehensive Vedic Science.

The current upswing of yoga around the world testifies to the growing awakening in world consciousness. Whether you are a devout yoga practitioner or an armchair yogi, through the Transcendental Meditation technique you can realize the ultimate goal of yoga—enlightenment.

Maharishi speaks on "the highest yoga" 

Attend an Introductory Lecture and learn how the Transcendental Meditation technique will compliment and enrich your yoga practice. 

Why is it important to learn meditation from a certified teacher?

*Note: As stress and tension dissolve through the practice of the TM technique, the body becomes more flexible and begins to function in an optimal manner. Breathing naturally becomes calm and health improves. The benefits of asana and pranayama thus naturally result from TM practice.

Similarly in the field of behaviour, all the precepts and ideals of yama and niyama come to be spontaneously lived as consciousness expands and the individual grows in enlightenment. Behaviour becomes naturally evolutionary and life-supporting, nourishing and enriching to oneself and one’s surroundings.

As awareness becomes established in the Self, inner bliss and fullness begin to permeate the mind and senses, leading to the spontaneous experience of pratyahara, in which the mind and senses always remain anchored in the bliss of the Self and are no longer bound by outer experience and enjoyment.

As for dharana—steadiness of mind and improved concentration are the natural result of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, rather than a prerequisite to its practice. TM practice itself is the ideal form of dhyana—meditation—which takes the mind from the surface thinking level to the source of thought, Transcendental Consciousness or samadhi.

Why a course fee — can't the TM technique be taught for free?

The Transcendental Meditation technique is not just watching your breath, contemplating, concentrating, or trying to be mindful. It's not guided imagery or common mantra meditation. It's an authentic meditation technique that, when properly learned, is easy to practice, but the technique cannot be learned from a book, website, DVD or download.

Personal instruction: The TM technique can be learned only from a professional teacher who is trained and certified. Learning the TM technique remains a refreshingly human process, and always involves in-person, private instruction and a series of classes with your teacher. 

click image to enlarge
The TM technique is unique, distinguished by its ease of practice, holistic benefits and scientific validation. As science has shown, all meditation techniques are not the same and do not produce the same results—and other forms of meditation have not been found by scientific research to produce the broad range of benefits associated with TM practice. The American Heart Association, after doing its own comparative research, determined that the TM technique is the only form of meditation they can recommend for hypertension.

Rediscovery: This technique of effortless transcending had been long lost to society, even in India, before Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced it to the world in 1955. To maintain the technique's original effectiveness and authenticity, and help ensure that it doesn't get lost again, it is taught in a systematic, standardized way by certified instructors worldwide. After you learn, to help make sure you're practicing correcting and getting the maximum benefit, extensive follow-up with the teachers is available at no charge—for the rest of your life.

The course fee covers your educational expenses of personal instruction and the series of comprehensive classes. The cost for the TM course is determined by what it costs to make the program available—there are no added profit margins. The reason you can learn the TM technique today is because so many others before you have paid to sustain the program.

Non-profit: The TM technique is offered by a non-profit educational organization [501(c)(3)] called Maharishi Foundation USA, which exists solely to bring the benefits of fully effective meditation to people everywhere.

Free lifelong follow-up and support: For everyone who learns the TM technique, personal meditation guidance, continuing follow-up and support are provided by experienced, highly qualified teachers who have thousands of hours of experience with the process of transcending. In addition to personal guidance with your meditation practice, the program includes ongoing advanced classes to deepen your understanding about the full awakening of human consciousness.

Why can't the TM technique be taught for free? Does one really need a trained and certified teacher, personalized instruction, a seven-step course and follow-up to properly learn and correctly practice this meditation technique, and enjoy its full benefits? The experience of thousands of TM teachers providing meditation instruction around the world for the past fifty years—along with hundreds of independent, peer-reviewed scientific research studies verifying the program’s effectiveness—tells us the answer is most definitely yes: this way of teaching is absolutely necessary and works marvelously well.

If learning the TM technique requires personalized instruction, the time of a rigorously trained teacher, a series of classes, an adequate teaching space and support and follow-up, obviously expenses will be incurred—thus the course fee. 

Anyone who wants can learn: There are standard fees for the TM course, with reduced rates for full-time students, couples, families, children and those under financial hardship. There are also payment plans, grants, scholarships and work-study options to help cover the cost. Due to the program's non-profit and non-commercial structure, anyone who wishes to learn the TM technique can learn.

Additionally, when you learn the TM technique you're helping support TM programs for at-risk populations who cannot afford to pay anything—such as inner city youth, military veterans with PTSD, the homeless, Native Americans on reservations, and prison inmates—all of whom typically learn for free. With the help of private benefactors such as the David Lynch Foundation, 300,000 schoolchildren in the U.S. and abroad have learned the TM technique free of charge and practice meditation twice daily during in-school “Quiet Time” programs. 

Tuition, payment plans & scholarships       

• Why pay to learn the TM technique when you can learn other forms of meditation for free?  
• Will other practices give the same results?
• Do authentic meditation teachers ever charge money?  

Dr. Sandeep Chaudhary: When you purchase anything of value, of course, cost is a consideration. But the TM technique is actually inexpensive if you consider what you're getting: a program you'll benefit from every day of your life—a program known to help prevent heart attack and stroke, to help people sleep better, to avert the harmful effects of stress. And those are just side effects. The real benefit is that you enjoy your life so much more.

There's also ongoing follow-up and personal checking of meditation to ensure correct practice, and there's continued knowledge and guidance, if desired, at TM centers everywhere for the rest of your life—and you get all that follow-up for free.

As a physician, I see the TM technique not only as lifesaving but also as a cost-savings tool. We know how much the average American spends on health care in a lifetime. I live with these statistics. And I see the cost of it everyday in human terms.

I've also seen the statistics on how the TM technique reduces health care costs. Let me tell you, anyone who says the TM technique is too expensive, just take a look at how much money America is spending on medical bills and health insurance every year. It's a lame argument.

The Transcendental Meditation program is the most powerful preventive medicine we have. It pays for itself many times over.

Dr. Sandeep Chaudhary is Medical Director of Wellspring Endocrinology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.

TM instructor Robert Roth explains why there's a course fee:

Filmmaker David Lynch answers this question

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