The Physiological Correlates of Kundalini Yoga Meditation: A Study of a Yoga Master

Abstract

This study explores the physiological correlates of a highly practiced Kundalini Yoga meditator. Thoracic and abdominal breathing patterns, heart rate (HR), occipital parietal electroencephalograph (EEG), skin conductance level (SCL), and blood volume pulse (BVP) were monitored during prebaseline, meditation, and postbaseline periods. Visual analyses of the data showed a decrease in respiration rate during the meditation from a mean of 11 breaths/min for the pre- and 13 breaths/min for the postbaseline to a mean of 5 breaths/min during the meditation, with a predominance of abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing. There was also more alpha EEG activity during the meditation (M = 1.71 μV) compared to the pre- (M = .47 μV) and postbaseline (M = .78 μV) periods, and an increase in theta EEG activity immediately following the meditation (M = .62 μV) compared to the pre-baseline and meditative periods (each with M = .26 μV). These findings suggest that a shift in breathing patterns may contribute to the development of alpha EEG, and those patterns need to be investigated further.

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Arambula, P., Peper, E., Kawakami, M. et al. The Physiological Correlates of Kundalini Yoga Meditation: A Study of a Yoga Master. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 26, 147–153 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011343307783

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  • meditation
  • EEG
  • alpha
  • respiration
  • breathing