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Performing Sahaja Yoga induces 'mental silence,' which calms the mind, fosters better health and wellbeing, a new study says.
Fifty-two percent of study respondents said that they experienced mental silence "several times per day or more" while 32 percent were experiencing it "once or twice per day."
"We focused on meditation as mental silence and surveyed practitioners of Sahaja Yoga who practise a form of meditation aimed at achieving this state rather than relaxation or mindfulness methods that are usually the focus of other forms," said Ramesh Manocha, senior lecturer of psychiatry, University of Sydney Medical School, Australia, who led the research.
"We found that the health and wellbeing profile of people who had meditated for at least two years was significantly higher in the majority of health and wellbeing Etegories when compared to the (general) population," said Manocha, the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports.
The area of greatest difference was in mental health, where long-term meditators, with a minimum of two years of regular practice, were more than 10 percent better off than the general population, said Manocha, according to a Sydney Medical School statement.
"Most markedly there was a robust relationship between the frequency of experiencing mental silence and better mental health. This definition is based on it being the form of meditation practised for centuries," said Manocha, who worked with professor Deborah Black and Leigh Wilson from the faculty of health sciences of the Sydney Medical School.
The national study is the first ever health quality-of-life survey of long-term meditators. More than 350 people who have meditated for at least two years were assessed for the study.
"While we did expect that there would be some differences between the meditators and the general population, we didn't expect the findings to be so pronounced. We repeated large components of the survey several times to confirm our results and got the same outcomes," concluded Manocha.
The meditators were primarily non-smokers and non-drinkers, so to adjust for that potential bias the researchers also compared the meditators to those parts of the general population who did not drink or smoke, and achieved the same results.
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