With International yoga day fast approaching, this new study has created quite a stir. Do you think the art of sitting quietly with eyes closed and focused concentration on your inner breath, beauty, and peace - in short meditation - will give your ego a kick? Think again!
Yoga and Meditation
What is the power of yoga?
Is meditation narcissistic?
Meditation dates back to as early as 5000 BC. Although mediation is associated with some religions and philosophies, it is practiced as a secular, stress-relieving activity. Studies also say that practising meditation can decrease the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce the stress, anxiety and depression levels. Leading a healthy life and practicing meditation can ward off many illnesses.
But, now the question is - Is Meditation narcissistic?
The research contradicts
A recently published psychological study contradicts the whole approach and suggests meditation and yoga do not quiet the ego, instead they boost self-enhancement. This contradicts the whole belief that yoga and meditation make people selfless.
The researchers from the University of Southampton analysed and evaluated the sense of self-enhancement of 93 yoga students over 15 weeks regularly. Different approaches were used to analyse the students.
The participants were asked to complete a survey.
- To analyse the self-enhancement level, the participants were asked how they compared to the average yoga student in their class.
- To evaluate the narcissistic tendencies they were next asked deep phrases like 'I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done'.
- To administer the self-esteem scale, they were asked statements like 'at the moment, I have high self-esteem'.
The second study
The second part of the experiment analysed 162 people who were recruited through Facebook groups devoted to meditation for over four weeks. The participants were asked to evaluate themselves based on the statements like 'in comparison to the average participant of this study, I am free from bias'.
The results showed that the participants had higher self-enhancement in the hour just after their meditation practices.
The findings of the experiment were published in the journal Psychological Science.
The researchers evaluated the participants based on two measures, the satisfaction with life scale and eudaimonic well-being measure.
These measures help evaluate the satisfaction with
- Environmental mastery
- Positive relations with others
- Personal growth
- The purpose in life.
It was found that the well-being increased along with self-enhancement, which only suggests that self-enhancement is linked with an increased sense of well-being which comes ultimately from meditation.
At its Buddhist and Hindu roots, yoga is focused on conquering the self and quieting the ego. The study seems to support some critics of Western-style yoga suspect that modern yoga has lost its way and no longer true to its heritage!
So if your yoga-loving friends think they are a little holier than thou, they might be right. Remember, it is only because their yoga class isn't helping them deflate their egos like it should!