Alpha. Research has found that the ideal state for learning is when the brain is in a relaxed, but aware state.
So when we say relaxed, we do not mean asleep. We mean relaxed, focussed and aware.
At this point your brainwaves run at about 8 to 12 cycles per seconds (or hertz).
This is called the ALPHA STATE.
This compares with the 'normal' state of 13-25 hertz which is called the beta state. The beta state is that of most of our waking moments as we go about our daily lives.
At the other end of the spectrum we find, just below the alpha level, the theta state which is even slower than alpha, and an even deeper sense of relaxation.
It is however more difficult to achieve, and really requires one to have the ability to meditate deeply.
It is a highly creative state.
Slower still is the state of sleep which is the
Alpha can be achieved in a number of ways and most of us achieve it at some time during most days. A typical time may be just before one goes to sleep, or as one wakes.
At this time the mind is clear, receptive to information, and rapidly makes 'connections', realisations and joins up thoughts.
Many an 'AHA!' or 'EUREKA' moment comes at these times.
Undoubtedly this was the state that Archimedes was in, when his famous principle dawned on him. He would have been in a nice, relaxed state when he that ancient light-bulb went on and he launched himself out of the bath and down the street in his birthday suit.
The alpha state is also great for releasing stress.
Researchers have found that certain music types ease the brainwaves into the relaxed 'alpha state' that is ideal for Superlearning.
A number of sources provide such recordings which can be great for providing the background for a more effective learning session.
Has your software got it inbuilt?
One form of this superlearning music is the largo movements of certain Baroque composers. The largo movements are around 40 to 60 beats per minute.
The 200 Words a Day excelerated language learning courses (excelerated = excellent accelerated), include such Baroque Superlearning music as part of the programmes.
One can simply select this 'optilearning' or 'superlearning' music by clicking that selection on the Options menu to have one of a choice of Baroque classics playing in the background, while one learns French, German or Spanish vocabulary.
In recent years a number of people have recorded various alpha inducing music recordings which can be downloaded as mp3's or bought on CD's or DVD's. These are a great way to start experimenting with alpha, and because of the way they are recorded get you into alpha more quickly than the old baroque recordings.
Modern recordings are made using binaural beats where the sound of one frequency goes in one ear, and another frequency goes in the other ear. The difference in cycles results in musical beats at alpha pace, and the brain starts to pulse in step with this.
So, for example, when a binaural beats tune is recorded, the recording studio might put music at 60 cycles a second (hertz) into the left ear, and 50 hertz into the right ear. The difference, 10 hertz is what the brain recognizes and resonates with.
There are loads of binaural beats tunes out there nowadays, and you can search the internet for them. I like this guy's stuff - Dr Jonathan Banks of relaxationforme:
Click here for Dr Banks's alpha brainwave entrainment music selection.
Youtube has a large collection of such videos and many are very good. Have a good look around and see what resonates with you.
Meditation is a great way to get to an alpha state.
There are many types of meditation methods including the famed 'Transcendental Meditation'. However these do take some training, practice and self-discipline.
Certain relaxing yoga styles can be affective way to get into the relaxed optilearning state. Again training, patience, self-discipline is required. The binaural beats music is much easier than this or than meditation, but it depends on what each individual likes.
One of the most rapid, and effective methods for getting in to an alpha state is through the use of a floatation tank.
Floating has been done for centuries in the waters of places such as the Dead Sea.
But the modern floating phenomenon was discovered by Dr Lilly who was experimenting with sensory deprivation. Rather than sending him insane, (as was the thinking at the time) floating in a dark environment led him into a deeply relaxed, meditative state.
There are many commercial float centres worldwide where you can float for 40 to 60 minutes and drift in to a deeply relaxed state, perfect for superlearning languages, or any subject.
The float tank is like a very large bath, with a cover. Water comes up to about 50 centimetres and it has about 600 kilograms of Epsom Salts dissolved in it. The salts make the water very dense, so that whole body floats unaided, and without the need to flap or kick.
Stress just melts away.
Many float tanks have audio speakers fitted. These are connected to a sound system and these can can be used to pipe in music or say language learning material into while you float in a relaxed, meditative state. The physical relaxation on the body is also wonderfully de-stressing for the body.
So before you get into your float tank, you put on, or the proprietor may put on some relaxing music for the first 10 minutes, and then you can play your language recordings or other learning material that you are learning or reviewing.
When you come out you will be in a relaxed state and can maintain that state by staying calm, and relaxed when you get out of the tank. After this you can continue or start your study. If reading, post-float you can listen to binaural beats music. Works well.
Many people like to use an inflatable pillow around the neck - like the ones one uses on an aircraft to stop getting a crick in the neck. That way you can better hear the sound, andyour ears don't fill with water.
You could actually read in the float tank but your book / documents would be at risk of getting wet.
Some float tanks have video installed.
Jose Silva developed a method of dynamic meditation which is effective at getting the user in to an alpha state. His book The Silva Mind Control Method of Mental Dynamics which explains his techniques, and his techniques are taught around the world by various practitioners.
Again it requires training, self-control, patience and discipline.
Rhythmic breathing in a relaxed posture and a peaceful environment is important for getting to the alpha state.
Rhythmic breathing techniques are taught by many eastern relaxation disciplines. Yoga, aikido, tai-chi to name a few.
Language learning is enhanced when students are 'fed' new information in regularly timed 'shots' of information. The 200 Words a Day incorporates such a system, giving the student the option to have the 'Excelearning' mode selected.
In this mode, words and 'Memory Triggers' and sent out in timed bursts during which the student is prompted to breathe in, hold the breathe, and then breathe out.
The rhythmic breathing prompts clear the mind, and allows the student to focus and concentrate on the material being learned.
In the 1930's scientists found that strobes tend to cause brainwaves to follow the frequency pattern of the light. They also found that brainwaves follow the pulse of rhythmic sound.
For centuries man has beaten drums around the fireplace to achieve a deeply meditative, hypnotic trance-like state... so there's nothing new there! Throw in a bit of alcohol and that can add to the mood!
Technology has enabled us to harness the two at accurate pulse-rates to effortlessly achieve brainwave synchronization.
There are a number of light and sound machines available which help one get to an alpha state.
Most have a thing that looks like a pair of large sunglasses into which lights are flashed at different frequencies. Different coloured light bulbs allow the machine to vary the colours. Patterns can be varied by varying the inputs between the left and right eye.
You lie on a bed with the 'glasses' on and close your eyes. Switch on for 'instant meditation'.
At the same time you can put on a headset through which rhythmic sounds are sent. The combination puts you into a deeply relaxed state, providing of course you have chosen such a setting.
As described above researchers have found that if you put regularly pulsing sound at the one frequency in one ear, and sound at another frequency in the other ear, your brain will pulse at a frequency equal to the difference between the two frequencies.
...so if you put sound of 100 cycles per second (hertz) in the left ear and 110 hertz in the right ear, your brainwaves will pulse at 10 hertz .... ALPHA!
Of course by combining light and sound, at selected frequency you will understand how easily and effortlessly you can achieve the alpha state with a Brainwave Synchronizer.
There are quite a number of brainwave synchronizers out there in the marketplace. A google search will uncover lots.
Once you are nice and relaxed you can start your study. You can read with the headphones on, or listen to learning material while wearing the glasses. Mix and match to see what you like best, and see what works for you.
Biofeedback is a system of training one's body to respond to various mental commands. There are now a number of machines that can help you with this.
Autogenics is another form of biofeedback. Developed in the 1930's by a Johannes Schultz, it is meant to be a way of influencing your autonomic nervous system.
Dr Herbert Benson explored it in more depth and lays out the details in his book The Relaxation Response.
The system involves getting yourself into a relaxed posture, and 'talking to' various parts of your body, sending those parts 'instructions' on what to feel, and 'telling your body parts' to relax. For example:
One naturally enters the alpha state as one falls asleep, and when one slowly and naturally wakes up. Many people find this a good time to read, or review study material.
How does one harness this 'alpha state' on waking. Simple.
This is particularly easy when you have no pressure to get out of bed, say on a weekend.
Measuring brainwaves is done using an electroencephalogram or EEG which senses the brainwaves and maps them on a computer. Not long ago these were hugely expensive, but with the current advances in technology these are getting better and better and entry level models are getting cheaper and cheaper. Some can be had for less than $1000.
Alpha State - Optimum State for Learning & Super Learning
200 Words a Day! and Exceltra
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