Depression and anxiety can make everyday life hard for sufferers. Research has shown that physical exercise and mediation can help with depression and anxiety. Used as a form of intervention to improve mental health, meditation is becoming a focus of scientific attention. Combined with yoga, research shows that Sahaja Yoga meditation has a positive effect on anxiety.
Meditation has been practiced all over the world for thousands of years. It is part of religions such as Christianity, Judaism and is often associated with Eastern religions, traditions and philosophies such as Yoga, Buddhism and Taoism. Meditation has a range of techniques aimed at calming the mind.
Awakening the primal energy
With the coming of the flower power movement in the late sixties, Eastern philosophies and meditation became known to the general public, in particular Transcendental Meditation.
In a recently published review article in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, the researchers reviewed published studies to determine the efficacy of Sahaja yoga on mental health among clinical and healthy people. Sahaja yoga is a form of meditation that awakens the Kundalini, or the primal energy located at the base of the spine. By awakening the Kundalini, it is believed a person can enter into a state of thoughtless awareness, or mental silence.
The authors found significant findings on the following outcomes: depression, anxiety, stress, subjective well-being and psychological well-being.
Bringing the body and mind together
Yoga originated from the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. Over the centuries, it was developed in the East into several forms, which lead to the creation of what is known today in the West as Hatha Yoga. Research has shown practising the different techniques of yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, practising yoga can help treat depression and anxiety by balancing and harmonising the body and mind.
Sahaja Yoga increases well-being
After reviewing the articles and taking the various quality of the studies into account, the authors concluded that Sahaja yoga may reduce depression and possibly anxiety. In addition, the practice of Sahaja Yoga is also associated with increased subjective wellbeing and psychological well-being.
However, due to the limited number of publications, definite conclusions on the effects of Sahaja Yoga cannot be made and more high quality randomized studies are needed to justify any firm conclusions on the beneficial effects of Sahaja Yoga on mental health.
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