Benefits of Meditation | Shambhavi Mahamudra - Sadhguru

Meditation is a powerful tool for spiritual growth. Scientific studies have also examined many physiological and psychological benefits of meditation.
sadhguru wisdom article | benefits of meditation shambavi mahamudra

Meditation is a powerful tool for spiritual growth, and is essentially a process to take one beyond the limitations of body and mind. Teachers and practitioners of these “inner technologies” have also experienced the many physical and mental benefits of meditation and yoga. In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies and research on meditation have corroborated these experiences.


Isha’s introductory practice is the Shambhavi Mahamudra, an ancient kriya that has millions of dedicated practitioners who aver that they experience greater emotional balance, concentration, focus, stability and better health with regular practice of the meditation. In fact, there have been several scientific studies that measure the various benefits of practicing the kriya regularly – both with regard to brain activity during the kriya, as well as statistical research of how it affects people’s health and well-being.

How does the Kriya Work?

The reason why most people are unhappy or unhealthy is that the physical, the mental and the “pranic” body are not in alignment.

Sadhguru says, "There is a certain way to engineer our system, to make this body, to make this mind… the very chemistry within us the way we want it.” Traditionally, yoga sees the human being as five layers of body: the physical body, the mental body, the pranic energy body, the etheric body and the bliss body. The reason why most people are unhappy or unhealthy is that the physical, the mental and the “pranic” body are not in alignment. Sadhguru explains, “If they are properly aligned, a natural expression, an overwhelming expression of joyfulness will naturally happen within a human being. Now, we are looking at the technology of keeping these three bodies constantly aligned so that joyfulness is not an accidental happening; joyfulness becomes a normal condition, a natural way of living for you."

Studies on Shambhavi Mahamudra

Studies on Shambhavi Mahamudra have been varied: some have examined its impact on disease status and medicine usage, some have looked specifically at menstrual disorders, while others have studied the benefits of this meditation on sleep, heart rate variability, brain activity, etc. Other studies have researched general well-being and improved attention spans among regular meditators.

Let’s take a look at the results of some of the key studies.

Benefits of meditation #1: Improved cardiac health

Two studies published in 2008 and 2012 examined how Shambhavi Mahamudra supported cardiac health. The studies showed that participants had a more well-balanced Cardiac Autonomic Nervous System and an overall increase in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) during the practice. A higher HRV has been linked to better immunity to stressful situations, and is said to bestow a greater survival advantage on individuals. A lower HRV on the other hand has been linked to various heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, chronic heart failure and myocardial infarction. The researchers conclude that practitioners of the Shambhavi Mahamudra and other Isha Yoga practices have higher exercise tolerance, better cardiac response to stressful situation, lower probability of undergoing hypertension of cardiac troubles such as ischemia or infarction.

Benefits of meditation #2: Greater coherence within the brain

A study from the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, IIT Delhi, looked at EEG (Electroencephalography) data from practitioner’s brains before, during and after practicing the kriya. The results show that practitioners experienced a greater level of coherence between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. EEG coherence is known to be a measure of how well connected various regions of the brain are. Higher coherence indicates greater exchange of information between various regions, as well as improved functional coupling and coordination. Higher levels of coherence are also correlated to higher scores on IQ and creativity tests, as well emotional stability and cognitive flexibility.

The researchers also measured signals at various prominent EEG spectral bands known as the alpha, beta, delta and theta. Shambhavi practitioners were seen to have higher alpha band power in general, indicating that they experienced lower stress levels. There was a high increase in delta band power and theta band and a notable reduction in beta band power. A reduction in beta band power indicates reduced susceptibility to mental tension, excitement and anxiety. Higher theta and delta activity have been noted in previous research as indicative of conscious access to deeper states of meditation. “Delta rhythms combined with alpha are known to reflect an inner intuitive empathetic radar, a kind of sixth sense” the researchers note.

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Benefits of meditation #3: Improved sleep

A study presented at the 20th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society, Lisbon, Portugal compared the sleep patterns of 15 male meditators with a control group of 15 age and education-matched, male non-meditators. Participants were aged between 25 and 55 years. The meditators had practiced Shambhavi Mahamudra as well as other Isha Yoga practices.

Whole-night polysomnographic measures were recorded in participants and EEG data was recorded, along with other parameters. The results showed that the percentage of REM sleep, sleep efficiency and total sleep time of meditators was significantly higher as compared to the control group of non-meditators. Meditators also experienced better sleep quality as evidenced by fewer awakenings after sleep onset.
The study concludes that consistent practice of the Shambhavi meditation has a positive impact on quality of sleep.

Benefits of meditation #4: Improved attention and focus

A study, published in the journal Perception, looked at how 89 participants performed in the Stroop task and attentional blink task before and after a 3-month Isha Yoga meditation retreat. The Stroop task looks at interference in the reaction time of a task. For example, when the name of a color is printed in some other color (for example, “red” is printed in black), respondents can make errors in identifying the printing color. Participants of the study were prone to fewer errors after the retreat than before it.
Similarly, the attentional blink task involves participants identifying various visual stimuli presented to them within extremely short durations. Participants showed 58% correct detection during pre-retreat tests and 69% correct detection in post-retreat tests. The researchers conclude that “the hypothesis that meditation tends to improve allocation of attentional resources.”

A similar study by a team from the Université de Toulouse, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, UC Irvine and the Indiana University School of Medicine looked at how Isha Yoga practices improve performance in attentional tasks due to better allocation of attentional resources, an ability to sustain attention and focus, faster re-allocation of attentional resources, greater cognitive flexibility and a reduction in automatic response. The study observes that these improvements are likely due to structural, anatomical and functional changes in meditators’ cognitive systems as compared to control groups drawn from the general population.

Benefits of meditation #5: Reduced menstrual disorders

75% of women are thought to experience problems related to menstruation, which has a huge physical, psychological, social and economic impact on their life. The primary means of treatment for such issues are known to offer less than satisfactory relief, even when patients choose surgery as a last resort. Currently, Yoga has become very popular as one of the mainstay alternate treatments for many disorders. The benefits of meditation and yoga in relation with such ailments have been under study for a while and show great promise.
A team from the Poole Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, conducted a questionnaire survey of 128 female practitioners of the Shambhavi Mahamudra between the age group of 14 and 55 years, from the USA, UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Lebanon. 72% of the respondents practiced every day and the rest practiced 1-3 times in a week.

The questionnaire asked respondents about the prevalence and impact of various menstrual disorders before they began the kriya and after they had practiced it for at least six months. Disorders covered included Dysmennorhea, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, heaviness of menstrual flow, irregularity of menstrual cycle, the need for medical or surgical intervention for disorders, and the impairment of work during the menstrual period.

The results showed a 57% decrease in the impact of Dysmennorhea, a 72% decrease in psychological symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, crying spells, depression and arguments, a 40% decrease in breast swelling and tenderness, and a 50% decrease in bloating and weight gain. There was an 87% decrease in the incidence of severe menstrual flow and an 80% decrease in the irregularity of the cycle. There was a 63% reduction in the need for medical or surgical interventions, and an 83% reduction in the number of instances of impairment at work.
The authors conclude that the kriya “can be considered as an adjunct therapy for menstrual disorders given the improved symptoms in all the parameters.”

Other benefits of meditation

In a questionnaire asking about improvements in life experienced from practicing the Shambhavi Mahamudra, 536 respondents indicated how the kriya had helped reduce medication and eliminate problems such as depression, allergies, asthma and other ailments. 91% reported greater inner peace, 87% reported improved emotional balance, 80% experienced greater mental clarity, 79% experienced increased energy levels, 74% reported improved self confidence and 70% reported better concentration and higher productivity.

Among meditators who had been suffering depression, 87% reported improvement, 25% reduced their medication, and 50% were able to stop their medication. Similarly, for those suffering anxiety, 86% reported improvement, 28% reduced their medication, and 50% were able to stop their medication. Among those with insomnia, 73% reported improvement, 40% reduced their medication, and 30% were able to stop their medication. Similar improvements were seen for those with poor resistance to colds and flu, those who had suffered from headaches, asthma, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorder, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and a range of other chronic ailments.

In brief

Taken together, all these results support a drop in stress and anxiety, a boost in mental alertness and focus, and an increase in self-awareness due to practicing the Shambhavi Mahamudra. It is also clear that regular practice benefits cardiac health and either leads to a stop in the use of medication or at least reduces it considerably for a range of ailments including hypertension, depression and menstrual issues.

Try it out!

The beauty of the Shambhavi Mahamudra is that it takes a mere 21 minutes of your day. The kriya is a part of the Inner Engineering program, Isha’s flagship course. A large part of the course can be taken in the comfort of your home, through Inner Engineering Online, and initiations into Shambhavi are offered around the world at regular intervals.

Another option is the Isha Kriya guided meditation. Isha Kriya is a powerful 12-18 minute practice that is offered online as a free guided meditation. For those who would like a taste of what meditation has to offer, this would be a great start. Try it at

Editor's Note: Find out more about Inner Engineering, including upcoming program dates and venues.

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7 years 5 months ago

Namaskaram Murali,

Great to know that your experience of life has changed after practicing Shambhavi Mahamudra. However we may not really know how shambhavi maha mudra functions and to my understanding only Sadhguru know it.

Also this cannot be taught and only poured into you as sadhguru mentions. So I request you not to share such a steps or instructions to anyone. Because the practice is quite powerful which would cause bad indigestion to the people to who try to attempt it without proper initiation.

Thanks for your understanding!

4 years 2 months ago

I have learnt AOL Sudarshan kriya, Padma sadhana &
meditation since I could not attend isha program. After listening sadhguru talks in youtube I am more inclined towards isha programs hence I want to do inner engineering learn shambhavi maha mudra and experience the same.Could you please tell how different inner engineering as compared to AOL programs ?
Whether I can do both if time permits or focus on one methodology (either isha or AOL)
How to decide which is the best one ?

6 years 9 months ago

That's the main problem, Isha does have any program in kolkata. I wanted a friend of mine to do it. I am fortunate enough to addend it as I stay in Delhi. Yupieee....

3 years 5 months ago

Namaskaram Levi Lasry, Thanks for writing to us. We have an Isha Yoga Center at Lebanon, which is nearby to Israel.They conduct regular Shambhavi and Hatha Yoga classes. There is also an active Isha Meditator base in UAE. You can also reach out to them. Please find the contact details below:
00974-3384-0201, 00974-3306-1596



+968 96331505

7 years 5 months ago

can u tell me isha institue in secbad

5 years 9 months ago

I have attended this program, is there any video or audio available to play background like in the program, Sadhguru dictated what next when need to do?

7 years 5 months ago

What is this indescribable feeling?

Am feeling full with no wants

a knowing that am not alone

a presence at times so strong, I just turn to see if He is around.

what have I done to get this blessing?

Yes, my life was in shambles

One crazy roller coaster ride with the ropes given in to my madness

Ever since his presence came like a blessing from above

I am even thankful to the sufferings I bore

Cause only in pain, did I lift my hand and reach out to him.

He was always there waiting for me.

Life is still a roller coaster ride, but the control strongly in me

To enjoy this ride and to get off it

Oh Sadhguru, please see me through J

3 years 9 months ago

Hi Im 18.When i sit in sukhasana and with an upturned face I feel pain in my neck and I cannot concentrate on my breath.Please help.

7 years 5 months ago


6 years 8 months ago

Hi uthya! :) If u remember it very well, u can start it back again!! but since it is a long gap for u, it ll be better for u to attend the sathsang and continue dem!! u can clarify all ur doubts regarding shambavhi in satsang and start it back!! :)

7 years 5 months ago

Isha Yoga Center,
Building: Music Arts Dance Paatsaala society,
D.No: 8-2-293/82, plot No: 291,

Block No. III, Road No. 78, Jubliee Hills,
Padmalaya Studio Road, Hyderabad - 500033
PH: 9989800031

5 years 4 months ago

Hi All,

The tumultuous experience was a part of my journey that drove me to realize new forms of learning. I formulated my thoughts and ideas with grace and conviction. The search for my truth revealed an inner invulnerable strength of spirit which was at first, incomprehensible even to myself. From where was my courage to stand against the oppression coming from? Realizing the inner being is neither an easy, nor a light hearted exercise, although it does have its lighter moments, as one realizes that we give tyrants more credit than they deserve in oppressing us! We allow ourselves to be oppressed as we are passive in our acceptance of their ill-deserved authority. If we lose our sense of the inner being, we are likely to succumb to a tyrant’s will.

Autonomy of ones’ spiritual inner self is imperative to realize true freedom. New meditations on ones inner being is the way to inner peace, I realized in the depths of my loneliness during my tribulations. Under house arrest and detention, I gave pause to redouble my efforts at realizing my inner being. This learning experience taught much to my untrained inner being as I endeavored to re-learn and reevaluated the purpose of my life to discover the true self as I spoke without fear and with strong conviction and belief in defense of freedom. I was heartened and enamored by with the discovery that others’ were equally strong in their convictions and open to my idea of freedom as we learn to speak with a new voice that is both strong as well as tolerant of others; that is humble, yet knowing of others’ weaknesses. Detachment from the ignorance of others allows us to delve deeply into our inner capacity to define and experience our inner blissful state in self-realization. Renewal of spirit comes alive in our search as we discover who we really are.

Have a good day!

7 years 5 months ago

My eyes have been closed; but i am awaken: I mean I am aware of 100% .. with very comfortable alive... with happy .... which i didn't experienced ever before.. How this amazing thing happens to me.... All by Sadguru's well planned Shambavi Mahamudra..... Thanks Sadguru and the teacher taught me that viddhai....

3 years 9 months ago

Maybe you'r lifting your head too much. Tilt your head up a little bit only.

7 years 5 months ago

Best of scientific explanation given, thank you Guru

6 years 6 months ago

Hi Uthya,
I had the same problem. Did the Inner engineering course and practiced it regularly for 6 months. I used to drive from Bangalore to Mangalore, The tiredness used to vanish when I did the Kriya in the evening. Had amazing experience, but stopped with due to trouble at house for almost 4 years. Deep down my heart I always believed I would start it again and Shambhavi initiation was gift given by Sadguru. With my devine Guru's blessing, I started the Kriya again last October. And was surprised to see I did not miss any steps. I did speak to my friend in Bangalore who did advanced courses of Isha for guidance. Just speak to someone you know who is practicing, clear your doubts and just start it. I always feel Sadguru's presence while doing the Kriya and I am sure you too would feel the same. Good wishes from me Uthya :)

5 years 2 months ago

Very well explained in the language of our time. I wud love to practice kriya yoga for my well being and for the planet at large.

7 years 5 months ago

there really is something about doing meditation that can really change lives for the better. but i really believe that more than taking in other people's testimonials and even reading about it, there still is a big difference when you are able to experience it for yourself.

3 years 8 months ago

The book is not a replacement for the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya. You need to attend the program in order to learn it.

7 years 5 months ago

TRY it, to experience..
I do.

6 years 6 months ago


personal experience with sambhavi mahamudra: regular menstrual cycle, increase in attention skill (i used to play brain games, now my attention skill is increased which i got to know thru the score).Advanced programs help me to be maintain emotional stability and calmness.

3 years 2 months ago

If you have trouble sitting in the posture for Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, then you can do more of preparatory steps. Please consult a Isha Yoga Teacher near you for detailed corrections with your practice. All Isha Office locations can be found here:

7 years 5 months ago

Does it lead to enlightenment

5 years 2 months ago

Can u tell me d nearest Isha Yoga training centre near Mohali or Chandigarh or Panchkula? I will be grateful to you.. With lots of thanks rashmee.

7 years 4 months ago

This is true. Practising Shambhavi not only cures menstrual disorders, skin problems and other ailments, my whole family now sees a dramatic change in our health. For the last two years we don't really get sick with flu or common cold when there is a 'season change'every 2-3 months.

3 years 8 months ago

Can i lean on any support during sukhasana? as i am not able to sit straight for more than 10min.

7 years 5 months ago

I stopped smoking after 4 days of practicing Shambhavi. Now living with peace and happiness always.

6 years 4 months ago

what is the difference between sambavi and soonya. i have done sambavi. i feel great. i like like to learn more and to expereience more. so is soonya more powerful than sambhavi or both technique are same,. can anybody advise men , which is more powerful. thank you

7 years 5 months ago

plz try to understand ..such a live process thing should be always taught by the guru himself ..its not a practice to teach u..u need to be initiated into it

5 years 2 months ago

God only knows what he is talking about. May be he is referring to Bandas. Dont listen to others and only check this with specially training teachers at ISHA as it can be quite dangerous if not done properly.

7 years 4 months ago

I also attended last month in Hyd. It was wonderful. I have been practicing regularly. But I may be missing one part - BOND. What is that? Can you please remind me? Email me at Thanks.

3 years 7 months ago

you can have a back rest, but no head rest.

7 years 5 months ago

Its a live experience for me...since the time I started doing shambavi I never used any medicine... I lost unnecessary weight... Well balanced emotion even in worst of situation...and much more. Jai shambavi :) Pranams sadhguru!

6 years 1 month ago

i was fortunate enough to learn shambhavi mahamudra direct from sadhguru in one of the programmes conducted by him in Hotel Residency, Coimbatore sometime in the year 2003 or 2004. it was one of best things that happened in my life. i practiced it regularly for several years. it had a calming effect on me. however, i discontinued regular practice a couple of years back and shall restart now. it is a great practice.

7 years 5 months ago

the only way to learn it is direct from Sadhguru or a teacher he has trained; it is too powerful to be safe to 'learn' otherwise.

4 years 10 months ago

Found this article by googling shambhavi maha mudra and came to this page via Facebook post. I wanted to refer this article to some one new but, the url says "why shambhavi" but the title and the article refer to Meditation. This would be confusing to people who have not done any Isha Programs. Is there a better intro page for Shambhavi ? Please help. Thanks.

7 years 4 months ago

where can I learn shambhavi mahamudra in Kolkata?

7 years 5 months ago

how to practice shambhavi mahamudra....what is the sequnece of steps to do..can any body help me

6 years 1 month ago

I am practicing it for 3 months. my fitness level improved.
Thanks sadhguru for this Gift.

7 years 5 months ago

you are the one, not any technique.

4 years 8 months ago

I would be really grateful if you could please send me the links to the papers of the studies mentioned here. I saw some some videos of Sadguru Jaggi Maharaj today and found him very inspiring, would love to see the demonstrated effectiveness of ancient methods re-popularised by him.

7 years ago

Hi everyone,

I'm from Gudalur, Tamilnadu. I have learnt shambhavi mahamudra from a teacher by attending the 7 day yoga classes in coimbatore in 2009. The feel i experienced during the classes was amazing that i cant express in words. I went to isha yoga center stayed there for two days. I started practicing shambhavi everyday. Right from my childhood i use to get cold and cough when season changes and it will be horrible. Medicine are of less useful. But after practicing shambhavi i was not getting cold or cough even when i was in ooty. My parents was really surprised to see my enthu and energy. But i was not able to continue doing yoga as i have to come to north for the job. Now i'm feeling too frustrated due to work tension which make me worse physically and mentally. I have decided to start doing shambhavi again. I do remember the steps taught to me. But my question is this can i start doing shambhavi after a long gap without attending the 7 day yoga class. Please help me on this...

3 years 5 months ago

Please do not feel so depressed and dis-heartened. Why don't you give the Inner Engineering Program a try and see what it can do for you?

7 years 5 months ago

Can you tell me how to practice it...

6 years 1 month ago

Hello, I learned Shabhavi in 2009 and practising irregularly. Where can I get the clarifications of my practice ? Please guide

7 years 5 months ago

No one should imagine that these words are proper instruction in this simple but powerful kriya. You MUST learn it only from a master if you want beneficial effects.

4 years 7 months ago

In the year 2012, I attended this program in Bangalore. I was initiated by one of Sadhguru's disciples Maa Dakshina. I practiced it for a while but I am not totally out of touch. Though I remember the sequence of steps, I am not confident about doing it correctly. Now I want to start it all over again regularly, this time. What should I do? Can I start doing it as I am already initiated? Please help.

Also, does anybody in this group know Maa Dakshina... I used to have her phone number but I seem to have misplaced it now. Please pass me her contact number if any one has, so I can talk to her and get her advise directly.

6 years 11 months ago

Isha Kriya and shambhavi mahamudra are the same or they are different practice? Please reply.

3 years 5 months ago

Yes, you can do AUM chanting for 20 minutes daily.

5 years 11 months ago

Citation please!

7 years 5 months ago

Thank you very much for passing this divine grace Sadhguru. It cannot be explained, but only be received. No amount of years of mediation is able achieve what direct path you have passed to seekers beloved teacher. Million thanks and deepest gratitude to teacher.

4 years 7 months ago

hi what is the different between shabhavi mahamudra and shabhavi mudra. i have isha yoga tool app. there sadhguru teach shabhavi mudra . shall i practise that . is it power as like as shabhavi mahamudra . pls help with this

6 years 10 months ago

They both are different. Isha kriya is offered as a free meditation technic. You will find it in the website.

To learn Shambhavi, you must be initiated into it by Sadhguru. There is also Inner Engineering online and initiation will be done in a live class conducted by Sadhguru

7 years 5 months ago

You can do Inner Engineering course conducted by ISHA on regular basis at various locations. You will find the details at Isha website.

5 years 9 months ago

I have been doing Isha practices since 2009 my thyroid problems have not gone away

7 years 5 months ago

you can see it as a step towards that

4 years 6 months ago

I have been suffering from intense anxiety and depression for a year now. I will be attending the Inner Engineering program in February 2016. I would like to ask people whether this course is worth it or am I just wasting my money and my time.?

6 years 10 months ago

difference between shambhavi and isha kriya

3 years 5 months ago

There is no difference.

7 years 5 months ago


Recent i attend in the jagadguru inner enginerring class at hyd.. while
gurudev teach about shambhavi to us .. we done shambhavi perfectly .
with the shambhavi our body will be become very freely. we will become a
very happily mood and joyfull . our mind be refreshment there is no
body pain no angry no nothing in wil be come again in you . for doing
shambhavi.. excellent shambavi mudra.with these my angry was gone.. my dirty toughts have gone . now iam fully happy to talk everyone with peace of mind. i really thank u jagadguru.. steps was 1. patanga asanam( butterfly) 2. sheshupala asanam baby shake 3. cat 5. anlom vilom .. ineer exercular .. air from nose. 6. ohm 21 tymes 7. be concentra on our air excular & inner on mind. keep our head upstairs.

“Just 1% of the population, if you make them meditative, you
will have a different kind of world to live “ –sadguru.

5 years 9 months ago

is there any isha meditation center in nepal?