While meditation is known to have many benefits, one of the very important ones that practically everyone needs is better concentration—whether it a school student or a corporate at work. A study (Concentrative meditation enhances pre-attentive processing: a mismatch negativity study)conducted in 2007 at the University of Allahabad, India, has discovered conclusively that Sahaj Samadhi meditation can improve one's concentration.
Sahaj Samadhi Meditation is form of meditation where attention is focused on the breath and on a mantrathat is taken during the meditation.
According to the research, 20 minutes of daily meditation can improve a person's mental ability tohave better attention during day-to-day activities.
The mismatch negativity (MMN) paradigm, which is typically the brain's response to a sequence of sensory stimuli(typically in the auditory domain) and is an indicator of pre-attentive processing, was used to study the effects of meditation.
The study was conducted on a group of 20 people (1o meditators and 10 non-meditators) in a sound-proof, dimly lit room, conducive for the group to meditate. The meditators were regular practitioners of meditation from three to seven years, while the non-meditator group had no experience in meditation.
The meditators were required to do Sudarshan Kriya, which is a rhythmic breathing process (10-12 minutes), followed by Sahaj Samadhi Meditation (8-10 minutes). Correspondingly, the non-meditator group was asked to relax for durations that approximately matched with those of meditators. As a relaxation activity, this group was asked to read a book provided to them by the experimenter.
The MMN was recorded for each of the groups pre and post Sudarshan Kriya and meditation for meditators and correspondingly before and after the relaxation exercise for the non-meditators.
The study showed that the MMN amplitudes in non-meditators remained constant across all conditions. However, in meditators, the MMN amplitudes increased after Sahaj Samadhi Meditation. Meditators also had increased fronto central coherence, suggesting that they have higher information-processing ability.
With the above study, researchers concluded that withthe regular practice of meditation, one gains the ability to better control one's attention and is thus ableto concentrate better.
Written by Divya Sachdev