Did you give meditation a chance and decide it’s not your cup of tea? New research suggests you could be missing out on all the health benefits of meditation by simply starting out with a technique not well matched to your personal tastes.
Adam Burke, director of San Francisco State University’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies, suggests trying another method to see which one is best suited to you.
“If someone is exposed to a particular technique through the media or a health care provider, they might assume because it’s popular, it’s the best for everyone,” he said. “But that’s like saying because a pink dress or a blue sport coat is popular this year, it’s going to look good on everybody. In truth, different people like different things.”
Burke and colleagues recently conducted a study of college students new to meditation and their preferences among four meditation techniques — mantra, mindfulness, zen, and qigong visualization.
The participants learned all four different techniques, with 31 percent rating mantra as their preferred choice and another 31 percent choosing mindfulness. However, 22 percent said zen was their favorite, and 15 percent voted for qigong. Participants who opted for mantra and mindfulness said they thought the techniques were easier to practice, more calming, and less complex.
Partly accounting for the differences in tastes, the researchers note, is age, with older participants opting for zen, while younger participants preferred mindfulness.
The results of the study appear in the July 7 issue of the journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.
Another type of mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (which focuses on breathing and posture awareness) has recently been a hot topic in the media with a new study that found that the technique can have a positive physical effect on the brain, boosting connectivity and efficiency. The study appears in the June issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Our Coaches can assist you with Guided Meditation Practices – Schedule a Session with Torin or Marie (www.theocenter.net).