Meditation is one of the most crucial aspects to cultivate more peace and happiness in life. It is literally the first thing I recommend to all my students and clients to build self-esteem and intuition, hear your truth, make wise, skillful choices, improve communication, increase creativity and productivity and let go.
We can be in one of two states – either the mind is running us or we are running our mind.
My mentor, Dr. Ron Alexander, speaks of MIND STRENGTH and the changes that can occur as we begin the process of training the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.
Here’s the breakdown of how meditation works.
There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities we do. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency and calm the mind.
Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in.
1. Gamma State – In the Gamma state, the brain waves are at frequencies ranging from approximately 30 – 100Hz. This is the state of hyperactivity in the brain and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why Tony Robbins and other educators have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around – to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information and lasting change in one’s “state”.
If overstimulated, it can lead to anxiety.
2. Beta State – The Beta state, which is where we function for most of the day, is associated with the alert mindstate of the prefrontal cortex. Brain wave frequencies in this state range from 13 – 30Hz and this is a state of the “working” or ‘thinking mind’: analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.
3. Alpha State – Brain waves in the Alpha state range from 9 – 13Hz. This is the state where brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We become more calm, peaceful and anchored. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a thorough yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness and at peace. This is often accompanied by an inner and/or outer glow – sometimes felt as “spacey”. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).
4. Theta State – When brain waves range from 4 – 8Hz in the Theta state, we are able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The Theta state is associated with the 6th Chakra (3rd eye), so in this state we are able to practice visualization.
5. Delta State – The final state is the Delta state, where brain waves range from 1 – 3 Hz. Tibetan monks that have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem, so as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to calm and slow down.
Please share with us:
Wow. I’ve been doing meditation (or, more like, used to do it) for many years. And I’ve heard the names of these states, but never explained so in-depth. Very, very interesting to hear how the states connect to the different ways of using our brains. Very, very cool, Ashley.
Appreciating the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you provide.
It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material.
Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding
your RSS feeds to my Google account.
I have been doing 5 day yoga I’m started to gain weight which is not good. I’m not as flexible as you are been doing for 3 weeks now. I need lose weight. I have worked before to plates and many other workouts. They made me lose weight. I’m being serious any suggestions to yoga that we’ll melt away the pounds. Have a good day. Christie
I just started a mindfulness course and this gave me some useful background information. I will spread the good news about your site to my classmates!
Thank you for keeping it simple. I am new to mediation and am truly inspired. Peace from the other Coast!
Thank you Amy! 🙂 xo, Ashley
Very insightful! I am taking a Russian class and I think I am going to change the way I study based on this information and try for a little more a Gamma State before walking into class. I was doing it exactly backwards!
Awesome! Let me know how it goes Amanda! xo, Ashley