Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Anapanasati Meditation Technique through Electrophotonic Imaging Parameters: A Pilot Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Anapanasati Meditation Technique through Electrophotonic Imaging Parameters: A Pilot Study

Article excerpt

Byline: Guru. Deo, R. Itagi, M. Thaiyar, Kushwah. Kuldeep

Background: Mindfulness along with breathing is a well-established meditation technique. Breathing is an exquisite tool for exploring subtle awareness of mind and life itself. Aim: This study aimed at measuring changes in the different parameters of electrophotonic imaging (EPI) in anapanasati meditators. Materials and Methods : To carry out this study, 51 subjects comprising 32 males and 19 females of age 18 years and above (mean age 45.64 [+ or -] 14.43) were recruited voluntarily with informed consent attending Karnataka Dhyana Mahachakra-1 at Pyramid Valley International, Bengaluru, India. The design was a single group pre- post and data collected by EPI device before and after 5 days of intensive meditation. Results: Results show significant changes in EPI parameter integral area with filter (physiological) in both right and left side, which reflects the availability of high functional energy reserve in meditators. The researchers observed similar trends without filter (psycho-physiological) indicating high reserves of energy at psycho-physiological level also. Activation coefficient, another parameter of EPI, reduced showing more relaxed state than earlier, possibly due to parasympathetic dominance. Integral entropy decreased in the case of psycho-physiological parameters left-side without filter, which indicates less disorder after meditation, but these changes were not significant. The study showed a reversed change in integral entropy in the right side without filter; however, the values on both sides with filter increased, which indicates disorder. Conclusion: The study suggests that EPI can be used in the recording functional physiological and psychophysiological status of meditators at a subtle level.

INTRODUCTION

Meditation is one of the well-known practices which bestows increased attention and deep internal relaxation. [sup][1] There are different techniques of meditation to practice. Since 1960s several researches have been performed to observe the effect of meditation in practitioners versus nonpractitioners. [sup][2],[3] Anapanasati meditation is one of the meditation techniques discussed in Theravada School of Buddhism. [sup][4] It is an initial part of Vipassana (psycho-physiological) meditation. It is a meditation in which one obtains mastery over one's unruly mind through objective observation of one's own natural and normal breath. In Pali literature, it is known as "anapanasati," which means awareness of one's own respiration. This practice of anapanasati meditation helps to sharpen the mind and to induce peace of mind to participants for the next step of Vipasana meditation. Vipassana means to observe things as they really are in their natural and true characteristics of impermanence. [sup][5] Anapanasati meditation comes under the focused meditation category. In focused attention or concentrative styles of meditation, voluntary sustained attention is maintained on a given object, and attention is brought back to the object of attention when the mind wanders. [sup][6],[7] Meditator controls the contents of attention. In focused attention, the object of experience is sustained in awareness. Though the subject (experiencer) and object co-exists independently, they interact. Focused attention meditations when practiced over a prolonged period of time leads to "effortless" concentration. This automaticity results from long practice. [sup][8] The practice of anapanasati meditation is based upon the great discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness (Maha Satipatthana Sutta), which includes contemplation of the body, contemplation of feelings, contemplation of the mind, and contemplation of mental objects. [sup][9]

Electrophotonic imaging

The measurement of electrophotonic imaging (EPI) is based on the electrical activity of the human organism. This activity is quite different in diseased condition of a human body as compared to the activity in a healthy body. …

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