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Brain Waves

On the 28th of December, I posted a page, which began "My goals for the upcoming year include diminishing the waistline and increasing my cognitive abilities. They have more of a relationship, with each other than you may think, and share methods." Many people responded that they wished the same results and wanted details.

When I told one friend that the process consisted of several kundalini kriyas, including bandhas, pranayama, mudras and nadam, plus some dietary methods, I lost him. It became quickly obvious to me that most of my subscribers are unfamiliar with the terms and techniques and that long explanations would be necessary. These long explanations require much thought and organization, which means, in turn, I need to write a new section for

So, I am going to try something new, for these daily pages. Rather than writing about the first thing that comes into my head in the morning(several hours before dawn), I am going to try to write on subjects related to my project of "diminishing the waistline and increasing my cognitive abilities." This process will not be organized or structured into a method but the daily subjects will be related and in the realm of. At some point, I will organize it all into a method.

We'll begin with one of the centers of mind-body-spirit integration and describe one aspect - the brain waves and explain what happens from a Western science point of view..

The brain is powered by electricity. (HINT-> direct current, positive/negative or yin/yang) Each of its billions of individual cells "fires" or electrically discharges at a specific frequency. The electrical activity of the brain can be monitored by placing sensors or electrodes against the scalp, which register the minute electrical signals happening inside the brain, much the way a seismograph can detect tremors taking place inside the earth. These electrical signals are known as the electroencephalogram; the device that registers them is called an electroencephalograph, or EEG. What the EEG reveals to us are not the firings of individual brain cells, but the cooperative or collective electrical patterns of networks or communities of millions of cells firing together--fluctuations of coherent or synchronous energy pulsing through the networks of the brain. These collective energy pulsations are called brain waves.

Since the first EEG was devised early in this century, scientists have found that the brain has a tendency to produce brain waves of four distinct varieties, which they have called beta, alpha, theta and delta.

BETA. The most rapid brain waves, beta waves, range in frequency from about 14 cycles per second (called 14 Hertz, abbreviated Hz) to more than 100 Hz (some scientists now refer to brain waves above 30 Hz as Gamma waves). When we are in a normal waking state, eyes open, focusing on the world outside ourselves, or dealing with concrete, specific problems, beta waves (particularly beta waves between 14 and 40 Hz.) are the most dominant and powerful waves in the brain. Beta waves are associated with alertness, arousal, concentration, cognition and--at excessive levels--anxiety.

ALPHA. As we close our eyes and become more relaxed, passive, or unfocused, brain wave activity slows down, and we produce bursts of alpha waves, which range in frequency from about 8 to 13 Hz. If we become quite relaxed and mentally unfocused, alpha waves become dominant throughout the brain, producing a calm and pleasant sensation called the "alpha state." The alpha state seems to be the brain's "neutral" or idling state, and people who are healthy and not under stress tend to produce a lot of alpha activity. Lack of significant alpha activity can be a sign of anxiety, stress, brain damage or illness.

THETA. As calmness and relaxation deepen into drowsiness, the brain shifts to slower, more powerfully rhythmic theta waves, with a frequency range of about 4 to 8 Hz. Theta has been called the "twilight state," between waking and sleep. It's often accompanied by unexpected, dreamlike mental images. Often these images are accompanied by vivid memories, particularly childhood memories. Theta offers access to unconscious material, reveries, free association, sudden insight, creative ideas. It's a mysterious, elusive state, and for a long time experimenters had a difficult time studying it because it is hard to maintain for any period of time--most people tend to fall asleep as soon as they begin generating large amounts of theta.

DELTA. As we fall asleep the dominant brain waves become delta, which are even slower than theta, in the frequency range below 4 Hz. When most of us are in the delta state we're either asleep or otherwise unconscious. However, there is growing evidence that individuals may maintain consciousness while in a dominant delta state. This seems to be associated with certain deep trance-like, transcendent or "non- physical" states.

Any questions??