Want To Improve Your Focus & Self-Control? Try Sahaja Yoga Meditation
Wouldn't it be nice to reduce mental chatter or the so-called monkey mind that runs all day with incessant thoughts? According to research published in the journal Frontiers this March, there's a specific type of meditation1 that seems to help do just that—while strengthening focus and control. Here's the scoop:
A closer look at Sahaja Yoga meditation:
By this point, it's well known that meditation can improve many people's quality of life and can even result in structural brain changes. For this study, a team of researchers from universities in the United States, Spain, and England investigated the structural and functional benefits of Sahaja Yoga meditation in particular.
This kind of meditation is all about helping people achieve a state of mental stillness, or "no thought." It's closely related to the ideas of Kundalini energy, self-realization, and the chakras. In Sahaja Yoga meditation, part of the practice involves repeating affirming statements and placing your hand on different energy centers in the body.
The researchers studied 23 Sahaja Yoga meditation experts, looking at everything from the functional connectivity in their brains to tests related to their self-control and impulsiveness. Their results were compared against 23 participants with no meditation experience.
What they found.
Based on the findings, the study suggests long-term practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation may actually result in positive changes to brain structure and behavior.
As the study authors note, "long-term meditation practice increases direct functional connectivity between ventral and dorsal frontal regions within brain networks related to attention and cognitive control and decreases function connectivity between regions of these networks and areas of the default mode network." The "default mode network," is basically the monkey mind, or the fuel behind mental chatter that is all too often negative2.
In simple terms, this study found that this meditation can strengthen the connection between areas of the brain related to attention and control and makes the areas of the brain related to mental wandering weaker. Practitioners also had better scores when it came to impulsiveness and self-control. A win-win for the practitioners and their brains!
Of course, this is just one study, but it bodes well for this method of meditation.
We could all use a break from incessant thoughts, and while quieting the mind may seem like an impossible feat, meditation—specifically Sahaja Yoga meditation—could be just the thing to help you do so. While there are plenty of different meditation styles out there, if focus and self-control are what you're after, this might be a good one to try.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.