Effects of Sahaja Yoga Meditation on brain chemistry

There is evidence that meditation experiences are related to limbic brain activation. Several studies have shown changes in neurochemicals that are released by limbic brain regions and mediate positive emotions. For example, a study conducted by Prof Ram Mishra at the McMaster’s University in Toronto, showed that Sahaja Yoga meditation compared to rest elicited a significant increase of 70% in beta-endorphins as measured in the blood in males.

Beta-endorphins are neuro-hormones, endogenous opioids that are released from the pituitary gland in the hypothalamus and have been associated to feelings of positive affect such as happiness and euphoria. They are also released during high performance sports and when people are in love.They are thought to play an important role in homeostatic mechanisms, pain reduction and may even affect the immune system.A strengthening of the immune system through meditation could explain why some people improve in severe illnesses such as cancer with meditation.

Mishra R, Barlas C, Barone D. (1993): Plasma beta endorphin levels in humans: effect of Sahaja Yoga. Paper presented at the “Medical Aspects of Sahaja Yoga”, Medical conference, held in New Delhi India, 1993.