Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL JUNE 12 Contents The national study is a world-first
health quality-of-life survey of long-term
meditators. It used the same measure-
ment instruments as the one used by the
federal government's National Health and
"We focused on the definition of
meditation as mental silence and survey-
ed practitioners of Sahaja Yoga meditat-
ion who practise a form of meditation
aimed at achieving this state rather than
relax-ation or mindfulness methods that
are usually the focus of other forms,"
Dr Manocha said.
The meditators were asked how often
they experienced 'mental silence' for
more than a few minutes at any one
Fifty two percent of respondents said
that they experienced mental silence
"several times per day or more" while
thirty two percent were experiencing it
"once or twice per day". "Our analysis
showed very little relationship at all
between how often the person who
meditated physically sat down to medi-
tate and mental health scores. However
the relationship was clearly apparent in
relation to how often they experienced
the state of mental silence.
"The health advantage appears to be
connected to this aspect more than any
other feature of the meditation lifestyle.
In other words it is quality over quantity."
"While we did expect that there
would be some differences between the
© NOVA JUNE 2012
meditators and the general population
we didn't expect the findings to be so
pronounced. We repeated large com-
ponents of the survey several times to
confirm our results and got the same
The Australian government survey
give a numerical score to each facet of
mental and physical health and because
it has been applied as a national measure
for the past 10 years in studies around
the world involving millions of people.
It allowed the researchers to accurately
compare the health profile of the
meditators surveyed with the general
The meditators were primarily non-
smokers and non-drinkers, so to adjust
for that potential bias the researchers
also compared the meditators to those
parts of the Australian population who
did not drink or smoke, and achieved
the same results.
"This is one of the first studies to
assess the long term health impacts of
meditation on health and wellbeing.
When we take the evidence of this
study, along with the results of our other
clinical trials, it makes a strong case for
the use of meditation as a primary
prevention strategy, especially in mental
health," Dr Manocha said.
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"While we did expect that there would be some differences
between the meditators and the general population we didn't
expect the findings to be so pronounced."
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