Understanding the Alpha State of Mind for Better Meditation

Knowing the alpha state of mind and being able to detect what this specific brainwave state feels like can help you in a myriad of ways if you are interested in meditation. The knowledge about your brainwave patterns allows you to harness the true potential of your mind because the changes in your brain activity result in a corresponding impact on various different qualities of your mind.

To achieve an optimal meditation experience, you need to have both relaxation as well as heightened focus. This is where aiming for the alpha level of brainwave patterns becomes pivotal, as it enhances the key qualities of your mind that are necessary for a successful meditation session.

We enter this state unknowingly at various times during the day, it is not something that we can achieve only by using a special technique or audio tools, a lot of brainwave entrainment audios are now being promoted by using the promise of helping people reach the alpha level of minds. I am not saying those audio tracks don’t work(I am not in much favor of the binaural beats though) but what I want you to understand is that this state is not new to us, even when we are immersed in a pleasant peaceful music or thoughts of a beautiful vacation our brain generates alpha brainwaves. That’s why I am now going to talk about this mental state in detail so that you will be able to have a better idea about what I am trying to tell you here.

The Alpha State of Mind

The brainwaves generated by our brains can be now measured with the help of EEG i.e. electroencephalography technology and using this neuroimaging technique it can be observed that different brainwaves are associated with different mental activities and states of consciousness. For example, delta waves are associated with deep sleep, and beta waves are generated by our brain during our normal waking consciousness.

Likewise, when we are highly relaxed or when we are in deep meditation the brainwave frequency measurement is said to be around 8-12Hz, This particular phase is known as the alpha state of mind where our mind is not as active as it is during the beta state(when we are awake) nor it is as less active like in theta state where we start to dream.

The most important factor here is our ability to stay conscious when our brainwave slows down. It is easy to maintain consciousness during the beta state because our mind is highly active during that state but as the brainwave frequency lowers it becomes difficult to stay awake. This is why the alpha state of mind happens for a short duration of time after we wake up and before we fall asleep, however, if you actively try to stay conscious during this phase then you can increase this duration. Also, people who are interested in lucid dreaming go to the extent of maintaining conscious awareness even in the dream state. This means that it is also possible to stay awake during the theta state where brainwave frequency is even lower than the alpha state.

How to Recognize the Alpha State of Mind

Now you know that we naturally enter the alpha state of mind many times throughout the day, especially during moments when our thought processes are not as turbulent or chaotic. It could be the 5 -10 minute time duration when you wake up in the morning or a brief moment of daydreaming thought that you engage yourself in during a quick break, whenever you are not having so many thoughts you are entering this state.

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Do you know that your brain might generate alpha brainwave frequency even during that short time period when you are taking a small rest by reclining on your sofa for a while after a busy day of work? The only way to recognize this state is by being aware of your thought process and conscious awareness.

Whenever you find that your mind is relaxed, your conscious awareness is not taken up by the usual mental chatter or thoughts of what’s happening in your life, you have entered the alpha state of mind. Another indication is relaxation in your body, you feel physically relaxed and comfortable during this state. Breathing patterns can also serve as a valuable indicator of your mental state. When your brainwaves reach the alpha frequency range, your breathing naturally slows down, and you begin to take longer, deeper breaths compared to your usual breath rate.

Deepening of the alpha state of mind can take your brainwave frequency from alpha to theta and it is a progression marked by heightened relaxation and, at times, a partial or complete disconnection from your immediate surroundings. A deep alpha state can result in a change in your time perception, so an hour within this state may subjectively feel like a mere 20 minutes. This phenomenon explains why profound meditation sessions may seem shorter in duration than their actual length.

Entering the Alpha State At Will

The concept of “the alpha state” gained widespread recognition through the teachings of Jose Silva in his courses and programs. He dedicated himself to instructing individuals on how to attain this particular state of mind. His goal was to empower people to connect with their subconscious minds while operating within the alpha level of consciousness, ultimately helping them realize their objectives. In modern-day updated versions of his training programs, such as Mindvalley’s Silva Ultramind System, the primary emphasis remains on the manipulation of brainwave frequencies, specifically guiding individuals to attain the alpha and theta states of consciousness. These altered states of mind are necessary because they enhance the effectiveness of the personal development techniques incorporated within the program.

There are numerous methods that can be used to reach the alpha state, each is a kind of relaxation method in one form or the other that is designed to reduce brain activity. Among these techniques, meditation stands out as a particularly effective tool for reaching the alpha level of consciousness when practiced consistently. Additional commonly employed approaches are creative visualization, self-hypnosis, mindfulness exercises, guided hypnosis or meditation sessions, brainwave entrainment audio, etc.

The simplest method to intentionally reach the alpha state of mind is to allow it to happen naturally by making a note of your sleep/wake timing. This is what the concept of Brahma Muhuratha is all about which is an ancient yogic time duration in the early morning hours that is used by many people for meditation, so you can choose the time that is half an hour before the usual time when you wake up naturally or you can simply prefer any time duration during your day when you feel drowsy to practice visualization, positive affirmations or whatever technique you want to use when your mind is in the alpha level.

One of the reasons why the experts often recommend you to perform certain personal development activities before going to bed or in the first few minutes after waking up is due to the fact that our mind goes to alpha level and theta level before entering the deep sleep stage where the brainwaves are at delta level. Similarly, upon waking up, our minds typically transition from theta to alpha levels before reaching the beta state.

Significance of the Alpha State In Meditation

So why is the alpha state of mind so special? Why do people try to reach this state? these are some common questions that may arise in the minds of people who have heard about the brainwave frequency for the first time. See, the discovery of brainwave associations with different states of consciousness has sparked curiosity among individuals interested in personal growth and spirituality. This exploration has led to questions about whether deliberately inducing specific brainwave frequencies can lead to corresponding qualities of consciousness.

For instance, through regular meditation, individuals train their minds to enter the alpha state. So, is it possible for people to employ alternative methods to access the alpha state initially, and then subsequently engage in meditation to transcend the mental turbulence that often hinders their meditation practice beforehand? Indeed, recognizing the significance of the alpha state of mind empowers individuals to optimize the efficiency of techniques designed to unlock their full potential and this could be very useful, especially in meditation.

Even if you have been meditating for years, I know there are days when it becomes very difficult to concentrate due to the restless nature of our mind, and during such times using some other method first to get into the alpha state can come in handy. When you are in the alpha state of mind, you are more focused and the flow of thoughts is slower whereas your conscious awareness is heightened so you can maintain the present moment awareness without being bothered by the usual mind chatter.

Also, in this state, your mind is more creative, so if you are willing to receive inspired ideas or want to make an important decision then you can prefer to meditate after bringing your mind to the alpha level first. Given that meditation’s main objective is to cultivate improved emotional well-being, mental clarity, and a heightened state of conscious presence in the present moment, going into the alpha state before your meditation practice can save you time and energy.


I prefer to use some methods to communicate my intention to the subconscious mind using my favorite methods during the hours I feel drowsy, but I prefer to meditate naturally (maybe because I am a little old-school guy). However, I believe you should prefer whatever is convenient, and helpful for you based on your own experience.

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