The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way.
Studies related to meditation in education were evaluated by to determine how it effects middle school, high school, and college students regarding academic achievement and well-being. also compared the effectiveness of different forms of meditative programs on student outcomes. Research indicates that meditation programs have significant effects on well-being and social competence.
Various postures are taken up in some meditation techniques. Sitting, supine, and standing postures are used. Popular in Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism are the full-lotus, half-lotus, Burmese, Seiza, and kneeling positions. Meditation is sometimes done while walking, known as kinhin, or while doing a simple task mindfully, known as samu.
To evaluate how meditation affects university students’ cognitive abilities, incorporated meditation training in a sociology class. Students were encouraged to practice at least five to ten minutes a day and asked to record their activity in a journal. They were given pretests in two executive function measures. Although no statistical significance was found, the data did show that higher reported meditation practice was associated with a more significant change in executive function abilities when pre and post-test were compared.
This study highlights that there are research limitations and that more research is necessary to provide a better understanding about how meditation impacts cognitive functions. To further explore questions related to the effectiveness of meditation in education, a sample of studies were evaluated to examine how graduation rates, academic achievement, stress reduction, and cognitive enhancement were influenced by meditation.
In the West, meditation is sometimes thought of in two broad categories: concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation. These two categories are discussed in the following two paragraphs, with concentrative meditation being used interchangeably with focused attention and mindfulness meditation being used interchangeably with open monitoring.
Stress is often associated with lower academic achievement and overall well-being of students. Importantly, a study of ethnic minority high school students with exposure to high levels of violence and pressure to acculturate finds that TM is an effective way to reduce psychological distress and anxiety. The study focused on 106 students from four public high schools throughout the US and was composed of 87% minority students.
Ornstein noted that “Most techniques of meditation do not exist as solitary practices but are only artificially separable from an entire system of practice and belief. “This means that, for instance, while monks engage in meditation as a part of their everyday lives, they also engage the codified rules and live together in monasteries in specific cultural settings that go along with their meditative practices.