Meditation states and traits in Australian Yoga practitioners: the effect of proficiency and practice on “sense of self”

Thomas, J 2012, Meditation states and traits in Australian Yoga practitioners: the effect of proficiency and practice on “sense of self”, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Meditation states and traits in Australian Yoga practitioners: the effect of proficiency and practice on “sense of self”
Author(s) Thomas, J
Year 2012
Abstract The effects of meditation practice can be divided into changes occurring during the practice (state changes) and those persisting beyond the practice (trait changes), making permanent changes in self-perception and one’s ‘sense of self’. This project investigated both effects of Yoga meditation in ‘advanced’ Yoga teachers and students with ‘short-term’ experience from two Yoga traditions practised in Australia, Satyananda Yoga and Yoga in Daily Life. A qualitative study charted the personal journey of Australian Yoga practitioners in coming to meditation, their experiences in meditation and its effects on their daily life. Exact low resolution tomography (eLORETA) analysis of participants’ EEG data measured the location and frequency of brain activity during meditation and a calculation control condition. The major finding was a proficiency-related difference in location and frequency between the Satyananda teacher and student groups. The teacher group showed higher gamma band activity predominantly in the right temporal and right ventral prefrontal cortex, while the student group showed higher alpha1 band activity in the right somatosensory and right premotor cortex. These regions have been linked to alterations in one’s ‘sense of self’ derived from awareness of the body’s internal space. This is the first study to show enhanced gamma band activation in Western Yoga practitioners, converging with similar evidence from advanced Buddhist practitioners. The brain activity differences between the student and teacher groups were interpreted as reflecting the traditional Yoga stages of pratyahara and dharana, a difference also evident in the groups’ subjective descriptions of their meditation experiences. The results are interpreted as evidence of changes in meditation states and traits with increasing proficiency, leading alterations in one’s ‘sense of self’.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) Meditation
EEG
Satyananda Yoga
Yoga in Daily Life
state
trait
qualitative
eLORETA
brain tomography
sense of self
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Created: Wed, 27 Mar 2013, 14:32:12 EST by Keely Chapman
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