Meditation training gains
Types of breathing & meditation practices
Paced breathing & resonance breathing: Breathing practices involve deliberate changes in the rate, pattern, and quality of respiration. Many Eastern traditions consider breath practices to be fundamental to physical,
emotional, and spiritual development. Paced breathing requires controlling the respiratory rate and the relative length of the in-hold-out-hold phases of the breath cycle. In coherent or resonance breathing, the length of inhalation and exhalation are equal with only a slight pause between, such that the phase of breathing synchronizes with the phase of heart rate variability (HRV).
Focused attention meditation: This involves sustaining selective attention moment by moment on a chosen object, such the sensations of breathing or the sound of a metronome, or even the sensations of walking in a walking meditation.
Open-monitoring meditation: Open monitoring 'mindfulness' is a way of paying attention to the present moment characterized by a receptive and non-judgmental attitude - an awareness of one's thoughts, sensations, emotions, actions or surroundings as they exist at any given moment with acceptance and reduction of emotional avoidance.
Health benefits of breathing
- Specific breath practices have been shown to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder.
Health benefits of meditation
- Decreased anxiety,
- Decreased depressive symptoms and relapses
- Higher tolerance of various types of chronic pain
- Reduction in chronic stress
- Reduced blood pressure
Cognitive benefits of meditation
- Improved attention control and executive function
"Even a moderately brief mindfulness training such as an 8 week meditation program or a short term intensive retreat could improve sustained and particularly selective and executive attention in subjects with no prior meditation experience."
- Improved working memory
- Increased cognitive resilience to stress
- Increased memory specificity (a psychological marker of mental well-being)
- Reduced hippocampal (brain) cell death after neurogenesis
- Increased creativity (divergent thinking) with OM meditation