What is transcendental meditation, and how does it work? – Medical News Today


Transcendental meditation is a type of meditation during which a person repeats a Sanskrit mantra, or saying, in their mind. It is a secular practice that requires a person to take lessons from an instructor.

The Hindu monk Swami Brahmananda Saraswati first popularized transcendental meditation in the United States through his follower, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Some studies suggest that transcendental meditation may ease stress, reduce anxiety, and help with professional challenges, such as compassion fatigue and low resilience.

However, these benefits are not unique to transcendental meditation. Data suggest that other types of meditation have similar effects.

In this article, we provide more detail on transcendental meditation, including the benefits and risks and how it compares with other types of meditation. We also explain how beginners can get started with this practice.

Meditation is a practice that typically involves sitting quietly for some time to benefit the mind, spirit, body, or all of these. The method and purpose of meditation can vary depending on the type someone practices.

In transcendental meditation, the purpose is to reach a state of peace or “pure consciousness.” It involves someone saying a mantra, which is a saying that has a special significance to them, repeatedly in their head. The traditional language for this mantra is Sanskrit.

In the mid-20th century, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, also known as Guru Dev, began promoting transcendental meditation. He drew upon Hindu principles to create a nonreligious alternative to religious meditative practices.

In the U.S., his disciple Maharishi Mahesh Yogi promoted transcendental meditation as part of his Spiritual Regeneration Movement.

Transcendental meditation involves silently repeating a Sanskrit mantra to oneself for brief periods on a regular basis. Usually, a person will do this twice a day.

Transcendental Meditation, the organization that teaches the practice, says that a person must learn through a teacher. It charges a fee to teach the practice, and a meditation teacher provides the mantra.

This type of meditation does not require special equipment, breathing, or movement. Unlike other types of meditation, it also does not require someone to try to control or monitor their thoughts. They simply focus on the mantra.

A person does not have to have any specific belief system or lifestyle to practice transcendental meditation. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that some people adopt other practices alongside it, such as Ayurveda, a traditional form of Indian medicine.

Many studies look at the benefits of meditation in general, but few specifically focus on transcendental meditation.

The research looking at meditation more generally suggests that some of the potential benefits include:

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