I have done transcendental meditation for many years. For those who don't know about it, transcendental meditation (TM) is a technique which the meditator repeats a mantra silently for 20 minutes twice a day. It is a very different meditation and your mind feels as it is slowing down and you are going deeper. I had the privilege to learn this technique from Dr. Gyanendra Mahapatra. Dr. Mahapatra was the vice chancelor of Maharishi Vedic University. Dr Mahapatra also taught advanced Sidhi technique, including yogic flying (they actually don't fly but Hop) as the Siddhi Admistrator at the Maharishi Univeristy. He learned the meditation from the founder of TM technique, Maharishi and served him as a doctor and travelled with him. I did this meditation for about 2 hours a day for about 3-4 years. Honestly, I think it is cool and it helped with stress a little but I do not think it is what it's claimed to be. I even completed most of of the Advanced Sidhi Program and the only remaining part of the program was the yogic flying that I not get to complete. The whole yogic flying thing is just yogis hoping around in mattresses which actually looks mad silly.
Before the transcendental meditation, I did study other types of Buddhist mindfulness meditations for years so I had quite a lot of knowledge going in to the Trancendental meditation. At the time I learned the TM technique, the cost to learn it was $2,500. I would never pay this amount of cash for a meditation and a friend actually had Dr. Mahapatra over at his house for a free session so I did not have to pay anything. I had nothing to lose so kept an open mind and gave it a try. I believe the cost is $960 to learn the technique. I was told by the instructor that the advanced Sidhi program would cost $20,000 if I had to pay for it. Dr. Mahapatra was a really nice guy and I admire him for devoting his life to teaching meditation for world peace but I was not too impressed with the whole TM technique. I believe it definitely is not worth what the TM centers are charging for it. There are many other alternative meditations that have been practiced much longer than TM that can provide amazing benefits.
Through out my meditation practices, I came across a very interesting person in the name of Wim Hof (Also known as the Iceman) and his breathing/meditation exercise which I did find quite beneficial and I always recommended to my family friends to give it a try. Wim Hoff is a physically and mentally tough guy and is known for climbing mountain Everest and Kilimanjaro in nothing but shorts, fastest climb of mountain Kilimanjaro, being able to immerse himself in blocks of ice for 1 hour, 52 minutes, 42 seconds in Manhattan's Bryant Park, running in Nambian desert without any water. Wim is a complete badass and he holds a total of 21 Guinness world records overall.
Wim states that his breathing technique is what was able to help with accomplishing all of his feats. He believes his breathing technique enables him to control his autonomic nervous system and immune system. According to science autonomic nervous system of our body is a system one has no control over but looks like Wim might have figured out a way to control this system.
Wim claims that any disease that can be cured, and what impressed me most is that he participated in a research study where they injected him with bacterium that causes violent nausea, vomiting, and fever for many days but he did not show any symptoms. Later, he also trained a group of 12 in one week and they went through the same procedure and the worst symptom was a mild headache. To me, this is a scientific breakthrough and it absolutely blew me away. I truly enjoy the Wim Hof Breathing technique/ meditation. I read his book and the one thing I want to point out is that breath holding phase should not be forced. Wim can't emphasize this enough in his book.
Additional to the breathing technique/meditation Wim also exposes him self to cold. As I mentioned in other articles, this improves the production of brown fat cells which are super important for immunity and metabolism. This might be an area where two findings from two different researches overlap. Please check out videos below for the Wim Hof bacteria injection study and the meditation technique. Enjoy!!!