Neurophysiological, Psychological, Sport and Health dimensions of three meditation techniques
The aim of this study was to record experiences of three meditation conditions: Ratio Breathing, Transcendental Meditation and Zazen, with special reference to sport, health, neuro-physiology and sense of coherence. The participants (N=9), seven males and two females were all British, actively competing across a range of individual and team sports, with no experience of using meditation techniques or practices in their sporting or daily lives. Their mean age was 31.56 years with an age range of 22 to 44 years. The study employed a within-subjects, repeated measures design, with each participant practising each meditation condition in a randomly counterbalanced order. Integrative findings support the value of all three meditation conditions for health and to a lesser extent for sport, especially with regard to their effect on focus. All three meditation conditions were associated with a decrease in respiration. The differential effect of the meditations was apparent. Participants valued Ratio breathing for its effect on concentration, Transcendental Meditation for its depth of meditation and Zazen for its effect on self and removal of external distractions. These qualitative findings were associated with differentially significant quantitative effects on lowered respiration rate in the Ratio Breathing group, increased physical relaxation and alpha activity in the Transcendental Meditation group, and increases in both alpha and theta activity in the Zazen group.
Key words: Ratio Breathing; Transcendental Meditation; Zazen; Consciousness; Phenomenological.