Cognitive Processing

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 31–38 | Cite as

Theta activity and meditative states: spectral changes during concentrative meditation

Research Report

Abstract

Brain oscillatory activity is associated with different cognitive processes and plays a critical role in meditation. In this study, we investigated the temporal dynamics of oscillatory changes during Sahaj Samadhi meditation (a concentrative form of meditation that is part of Sudarshan Kriya yoga). EEG was recorded during Sudarshan Kriya yoga meditation for meditators and relaxation for controls. Spectral and coherence analysis was performed for the whole duration as well as specific blocks extracted from the initial, middle, and end portions of Sahaj Samadhi meditation or relaxation. The generation of distinct meditative states of consciousness was marked by distinct changes in spectral powers especially enhanced theta band activity during deep meditation in the frontal areas. Meditators also exhibited increased theta coherence compared to controls. The emergence of the slow frequency waves in the attention-related frontal regions provides strong support to the existing claims of frontal theta in producing meditative states along with trait effects in attentional processing. Interestingly, increased frontal theta activity was accompanied reduced activity (deactivation) in parietal–occipital areas signifying reduction in processing associated with self, space and, time.

Keywords

Meditation EEG Theta oscillations Spectral analysis Coherence 

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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Behavioral and Cognitive SciencesUniversity of AllahabadAllahabadIndia

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