Kundalini. Zen. Vipassana. Mindfulness. Transcendental. Mantra. Research shows that these different types of meditation benefit mental health. According to a recent study, women may benefit more from mindfulness meditation than men. This study, one of the first to test whether gender can influence someone’s response toward meditation, was described as a pioneering effort. The study’s findings indicate that gender can influence and modify meditation techniques. Some types of meditation may be more beneficial to women than others.
The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology and surveyed 77 Brown University students before and after they completed a 12-week training in meditation. Initial survey data were collected on emotional affect, self-compassion, and mindfulness. The results of the pre-meditation survey showed no gender differences.
The Brown University study used a simple technique for mindfulness meditation. Meditation practices were based on “intentionally, non-judgmentally, directing your attention to the moment at hand, usually by focusing on an important sensation such as breath.”
On average, participants reported meditating 2,495 minutes over 12 weeks. Women reported an improvement in their self-compassion and mindfulness after meditating. Men reported little or no change in negative emotions, self-compassion, or mindfulness.
Men reported no or little change in their negative emotions during the study period, but on average, men meditated for 434 more minutes than women.
In a 2015 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers questioned if differences in brain structure between men and women could explain the varying responses of males to mindfulness meditation. This study examined hippocampal brain dimensions and found that men and women experienced different activations in this area while meditating.
Does this mean that men shouldn’t meditate? Not at all
Iain Grysak is the founder, long-time teacher, and practitioner of Spacious Yoga, an Ashtanga-based yoga shala in Bali. He also pointed out that meditation techniques come in many forms. He said that some meditation styles are masculine while others are feminine. Grysak, who has a background in Vipassana Meditation, describes it as rational, analytical, and masculine.
Grysak, however, believes that Vipassana might not benefit all men. He believes that every person is unique, and both men and women can have masculine and feminine qualities. Grysak believes that a meditation practice that works for a person may be more about finding and balancing their unique personality and less about gender.
Body scan meditation can help you improve your mindfulness. Try a Buddhist meditation on Karuna or compassion. Try practicing a loving-kindness meditation or a gratefulness meditation to cultivate positive feelings. Try out different meditations and see their effect on your mindfulness, compassion, and positive emotions.