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Stress-induced disorders such as anxiety represent the leading causes of adult disability worldwide. Previous studies indicate that yoga and other contemplative practices such as pranayama, or controlled yogic breathing techniques, may be effective in the treatment of mood disorders and stress. In this study, 142 individuals (mean age = 43 years; SD = 13.90) participated in a 3-day retreat program during which they learned Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya, which is a yogic practice that includes both deep breathing and meditation techniques. Participants were instructed to practice the kriya each day for 21 minutes. After 6 weeks of daily practice, participants reported subjectively lower levels of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale) and higher levels of general well-being (General Well-Being Scale) compared to baseline. These results support the notion that Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya may represent a natural treatment for stress reduction.
The word biofield is a term that Western scientists have used to describe various aspects of energy and information fields that guide health processes. Similar concepts and descriptions of energy and information patterns exist in various cultures and have guided whole systems of medicine such as Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine. This article describes Vedic, Jain, and Tibetan philosophical and medical systems' concepts of consciousness and subtle energy and their relationships to health processes in order to foster deeper crosscultural dialogue on the nature of the biofield. Similarities and differences within the 3 traditions are noted, and suggestions for considering these concepts to extend current biofield research are discussed.