Meditation increases concentration: CBCS study

The Times of India: Parents struggling with the problem of their children lacking concentration have an effective remedy at their disposal. The magic relief comes from the field of meditation, especially practised through sudarshan kriya, mudra pranayam and sahaj samadhi which helps in enhancing the process of attention and concentration in human mind.

The study regarding positive application of these yogic practices is being carried out by Prof Narayanan Srinivasan, head, Centre for Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (CBCS) of Allahabad University and his student, Shruti Baijal.

Srinivasan while talking to TOI explained that Tibetan Buddhist meditators were found to show large increases in duration of perceptual dominance compared to non-meditators. For the purpose of studying the effects of concentrative meditation on MMN, (mismatch negativity, a paradigm), sudarshan kriya yoga was chosen which is associated with mudra pranayam and sahaj samadhi. These forms of yogic meditation focus on specific body rhythms as well as a mantra that brings the mind to a peaceful centred state, he explained.

Srinivasan said that changes in brain electrical activity have been shown with different types of meditation including sudharshan kriya yoga. He further said that the study was carried with 10 sudharshan kriya yoga experts while the brain activity was recorded using a 64 electrode EEG system and the waveforms indicative of automatic change detection was obtained for all the subjects.

The results of these practices show that if the children are asked to practice these kiryas on a regular basis, the results shown in preliminary experiments would surely enhance the concentrative power in such children.

It was found that the magnitude of attention was enhanced in the post-practice sessions. It clearly indicates that the complicated processes working in the human brain, associated with concentration get stimulated following the meditation practices, irrespective of method of meditation that is followed.

Dr Srinivasan said that the meditation processes are equally helpful in cases such as schizophrenia, depression, and social withdrawal. The patients suffering from these disorders would certainly get relief by practising these meditation techniques. After practising these yogic kriyas, the perceptual processing in the minds of these patients is enhanced thereby, providing substantial relief.

The observations show the positive signs of these practices in enhancing the concentration power. He said that information processing in the mind can be divided into pre-attentive processing and attentive processing. Pre-attentive processing is typically processing done in a parallel manner before voluntary attention plays a critical role and the one way pre-attentive processing is studied is using a paradigm called Mismatch Negativity (MMN).

Dr Srinivasan said that this study would also be extended to other forms of concentrative meditation including Buddhist samatha meditation.

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