Meditation is definitely having a moment, but one technique in particular has attracted plenty of celebrity attention: transcendental meditation.
Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Paul McCarntney, Hugh Jackman, Stevie Wonder and Naomi Watts all swear by the activity, with Winfrey calling it “one of the most life-enhancing things I ever did”.
The 65-year-old former television host has been perfecting her technique for almost 10 years.
In a 2011 interview on The Dr Oz Show, Winfrey said she paid for a transcendental meditation course for all her 400 employees.
“9:00 in the morning, and 4:30 in the afternoon – no matter what is going on – we stop and we meditate,” Winfrey said.
”And you can’t imagine what has happened in the company, people who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better, they are having better relationships and they are interacting with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”
Popstar Lady Gaga told Winfrey that famous transcendental meditation teacher, Bob Roth, taught her the practice.
“I do that, and when I slip up on it it’s not the best, because it’s better when I do. Sometimes I can be in a tonne of pain, and meditate, and it goes away. It’s amazing.”
What is transcendental meditation?
According to the transcendental meditation website, the practice is a “simple, natural, effortless technique practised 20 minutes twice a day while sitting comfortably”.
The method was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and teaches you to achieve “deep inner silence”.
It is taught one-on-one by instructors trained and licensed by the Maharishi Foundation, so if you want to try it, you’ll have to find a certified instructor.
It involves repeating a mantra during the 20-minute session in a bid to settle the mind, but not quiet it completely.
According to an expert in the practice, the meditation isn’t supposed to empty the mind of all thoughts, but rather let the thoughts come and go, and act as an observer.
Does it actually work?
According to a study of transcendental meditation practitioners with established coronary heart disease, those who practiced the technique were 48 per cent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than subjects in the control group.
Another study found military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder found significant relief from their symptoms when they practiced the meditation technique.
Students aged 11 to 14 with an ADHD diagnosis who practiced the technique also reported they felt less stress and anxiety within three months, another study found.
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