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Nonlinear Dynamical Characterization of Heart Rate Variability Time Series of Meditation

Authors: B. S. Raghavendra, D. Narayana Dutt


Many recent electrophysiological studies have revealed the importance of investigating meditation state in order to achieve an increased understanding of autonomous control of cardiovascular functions. In this paper, we characterize heart rate variability (HRV) time series acquired during meditation using nonlinear dynamical parameters. We have computed minimum embedding dimension (MED), correlation dimension (CD), largest Lyapunov exponent (LLE), and nonlinearity scores (NLS) from HRV time series of eight Chi and four Kundalini meditation practitioners. The pre-meditation state has been used as a baseline (control) state to compare the estimated parameters. The chaotic nature of HRV during both pre-meditation and meditation is confirmed by MED. The meditation state showed a significant decrease in the value of CD and increase in the value of LLE of HRV, in comparison with premeditation state, indicating a less complex and less predictable nature of HRV. In addition, it was shown that the HRV of meditation state is having highest NLS than pre-meditation state. The study indicated highly nonlinear dynamic nature of cardiac states as revealed by HRV during meditation state, rather considering it as a quiescent state.

Keywords: Meditation, correlation dimension, Embedding dimension, Heartrate variability, Largest Lyapunov exponent, Nonlinearity score

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