I came across an interesting study from a researcher named Eileen Luders, who is affiliated with UCLA.
Her team had been studying the brains of people who meditate regularly.
She used MRI scans to collect data on the participants. Her various studies showed meditation has a remarkable impact on the brain.
What’s interesting about this research is how several meditation techniques were represented, such as Zen, Vipassana, Raja yoga meditation, and Tibetan meditation.
And then Eileen had an idea!
She got her team to create an algorithm that would “guess” the age of a brain based on an MRI scan.
The algorithm was accurate. If you fed the MRI scan of an average brain into it, the program would “guess” the age of the brain correctly.
But something interesting happened when she fed the MRI scans of meditators brains into it.
The algorithm would “guess” incorrectly. It would give a much younger age prediction for those brains.
Mantra meditation is known by various names in the West, like Transcendental meditation (TM), Vedic meditation, Deep meditation or Himalayan meditation for instance.
Mindfulness can also be known by other names, such as Vipassana or insight meditation.
Mantra meditation is a classic style of practice from India, usually taught by a teacher who guides practitioners to use the mantra in a very specific way during classes spread over a few days.
Mindfulness is more widespread and is often found in yoga studios and on the majority of meditation apps.
Typically in mantra meditation you sit comfortably in a normal chair with the back supported. You hold a mantra (given to you by a teacher) delicately in your mind in such a way that mental activity decreases and the body relaxes.
Mindfulness practice usually involves sitting upright with no back support observing things like breath, body sensations, sounds, thoughts or emotions (and...