When it comes to the health benefits of meditation, heart health is high on the list—follow this path to a happy, healthy heart. Research out of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, TM’s hub, showed that practicing TM reduced risk of death, heart attack, and stroke among African Americans with existing heart disease—a group at high-risk for bad outcomes. These men and women’s were able to cut risk by close to 50 percent; they also lowered their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading), when compared to their counterparts who received health education that did not include meditation.TM is a very specific type of meditation that requires training by a certified teacher.
Practitioners must sit comfortably and close their eyes for 20 minutes, twice a day, while repeating a personalized mantra. Cost of the class is based on a sliding scale, and financial aid is available. ‘There is a huge body of research showing the benefits of TM on the heart and heart disease risk factors like blood pressure,’ says John Butler, a certified TM teacher at the TM Center in midtown Manhattan. ‘We get really profound rest when we transcend through meditation, and this allows the body to rectify, heal, and normalize whatever is off,’ he says. There can be dramatic results after just a few meditations. ‘When we give our nervous system the rest it needs, it starts to deal with the imbalances such as blood pressure or anything else that is off track.’