Why the Meditation Research Institute?
The Meditation Research Institute at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama ashram was created in 2005 to bring together the ancient wisdom of the Himalayan traditions and contemporary science. It aims to present the former in a way that is appealing and comprehensible to all people today. The main objective is to document the various meditative techniques of these traditions and to test their effectiveness with scientific tools and methods.
We are currently offering programs in the areas of:
* community services
* research; and
The community services program consists of training on biofeedback and testing the meditational state. The list of services with rates is the following:
1. Biofeedback training
· Learning to lower blood pressure by working with the breath (Rs 250 first 30 min session; Rs 100 subsequent 15 min sessions)
· Improving heart rhythm coherence (Rs 500 first 50 min session; Rs 100 subsequent 20 min sessions)
· Improving diaphragmatic breathing (ProComp Infiniti) (Rs 200 per 30-min session)
· Reducing migraines by raising skin temperature (ProComp Infiniti) (Rs 200 per 3 30-min session)
· Managing stress by lowering skin conductance (ProComp Infiniti) (Rs 200 per 30-min session)
· Reducing muscle tension (ProComp Infiniti) (Rs 200 per 30-min session)
* diaphragmatic and chest breathing test (Rs 1,000 for a 1-hr session)
* relaxation test (muscle activity, heart rate, skin conductance, skin temperature, respiration amplitude and rate) (Rs 1,000 for a 1-hr session)
* meditation test
with ProComp Infiniti (Rs 2,000 for a 2-hr session)
· Learning to lower blood pressure by working with the breath
Training to lower blood pressure with the “Resperate” device. In the first half-hour training session there is an explanation on how to use the device. Subsequent daily training sessions of 15 min each (ideally for three to four weeks) are recommended to achieve an effective reduction of one’s blood pressure.
· Improving heart rhythm coherence, which is a key indicator of stress as well as of a wide range of maladies, with the HeartMath’s Freeze-Framer software
The software measures heart rate variability (not just the pulse but also the rhythmic patterns of the heart beat that are more coherent or conducive to one’s own physical and emotional health and harmony) and provides some games to train oneself in high heart coherence. The first session of 50 minutes duration has an explanation on how to use the software. Subsequent daily training sessions of 20 minutes each (as many and for as long as needed) are recommended to achieve heart coherence.
· Improving diaphragmatic breathing
Monitoring of one’s own diaphragmatic breathing to see if it is smooth, without jerks, long, deep, noiseless, and without pauses between the breaths can be done by looking at real-time breath wave graphs. 30-minute sessions are scheduled as needed.
· Reducing migraines by raising skin temperature
This training can help reduce headaches by learning to increase the skin temperature of the hands. 30-minute sessions are scheduled as needed.
· Reducing stress by lowering skin conductance
This training can help managing stress and tension in body and mind by learning to lower electrical conductance in the skin of the hands. 30-minute sessions are scheduled as needed.
· Reducing muscle tension
This training can help reduce muscle tension in any part of the body, especially forehead and chin. 30-minute sessions are scheduled as needed.
· Diaphragmatic (deep) and chest (shallow) breathing test
Diagnostic test to see to what extent one is breathing diaphragmatically and also to check if one’s breath is smooth, without jerks, long, deep, noiseless, and without a pause between the breaths.
· Relaxation test (muscle activity, heart rate, skin conductance, skin temperature, respiration amplitude and rate)
This test checks how deeply one can relax, including the reading of muscle tension or EMG, heart beats per minute, skin conductance or galvanic response, skin temperature, volume of each breath, and number of breaths per minute.
* Meditation test
with ProComp Infiniti (EEG plus five other physiological parameters);
Diagnostic tests prior to and during meditation states that helps one to see one’s own progress during meditation practice (either sitting or lying down, as in yoga nidra). The parameters measured are electroencephalogram (EEG), skin temperature, skin conductance (SC), muscle activity (EMG), heart rate, and diaphragmatic breathing volume and rate.
The EEG test gives the values for Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta waves. Delta value can be a sign of deep relaxation, as in the case of yoga nidra. It most commonly indicates sleep state or that one is shifting to sleep state, with the exception of yoga nidra where it may be indicating meditation in some cases.
Theta value can be a sign of focused concentration, deep meditation, and a feeling of inner bliss (although sometimes it can also indicate drowsiness).
Alpha waves are known to be a sign of alert relaxation, typical of the intermediate stage between waking and sleep states when the person has not yet entered a state of drowsiness and is still alert.
Different ranges of Beta waves may be indicators of a mind busy in thoughts with lack of focus. An increase in both Theta and Alpha waves and decrease in Beta is sometimes considered a possible sign of meditation state.
An increase in Theta and Delta waves, decrease in Alpha, and increase in Beta is usually a sign of drowsiness.
A high EMG reading is usually a sign of tension and a high SC may be indicating stress. Increase in hand skin temperature is usually a sign of vasodilatation of the body’s blood vessels, which itself might indicate that the parasympathetic nervous system is becoming more active, usually an indication of relaxation. Decrease in heart rate is usually a sign that relaxation may be taking place.
In general, when diaphragmatic breathing increases in volume it is because one is taking fuller and deeper breaths, which, in turn might be an indication that one is feeling more deeply relaxed. Fewer breaths per minute usually denote a higher level of relaxation.
The session lasts 2 hrs with the ProComp Infiniti device and 3 hrs with the BioSemi 64+8 channel device. Upon request, we can provide a printed report with an analysis and also give an oral explanation of the results. Normally one session is considered enough but more sessions can be scheduled if needed.
Guidelines for participants
During testing, follow Swami Veda’s Himalayan Tradition instructions on how to sit, breathe, and meditate. In addition, we recommend the following:
- As alternatives to sitting cross-legged, standing, or lying on the floor, we can also provide a chair, bench or Zen stool.
- Have a light meal before the test.
- Have plenty of rest the night before and/or rest after lunch before coming to test.
- Bring your water bottle if you think you may feel thirsty.
- Use the toilet before start testing, if needed (there is a toilet at the lab).
- Dress comfortably for meditation and bring your shawl if you think you may need it.
- If you are taking the EEG, wash your hair before coming to the test or the day before. Do not put any oil, gel, wax, leave-in conditioner or any other product on your hair.
- Keep your schedule free or very loose immediately before and after testing time.
- Your results will be kept confidential, as only a number is used to identify your files.
- The equipment and electrodes used are extremely safe, clean, and non-invasive.
For general information on biofeedback and the Meditation Research Institute and to sign up for a session, either look for our upcoming link at the AHYMSIN, TTP, and other related websites, talk to your group leader or someone at the ashram’s offices, approach one of the Meditation Research Institute’s staff members or go to Meditation Research Institute’s door, where you can read information posted there and also leave a note. We are in Cottage 2, near the main entrance of the Meditation Hall, facing the Yajña Shala (fire offering place).
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama
Virpur Khurd, Virbhadra Road
P.O. Pashulok, Rishikesh