When in doubt, breathe out – the power of breathing properly

February 24, 2017

woman breathing

Vidyamala’s online course, Mindfulness for Women, starts March 1. Click here for details.

Breathing properly is immediately helpful because the first thing most of us do when experiencing stress and pain – be it mental, emotional or physical – is inhibit our breathing. Try this short exercise:

Make a fist with one hand. Notice what’s happened to your breathing. You’ll probably notice you’re holding it. Now imagine breathing into the fist. What does it want to do? You’ll probably find it wants to release a little.

The fist in this exercise is a metaphor for any kind of discomfort or stress. When we are not aware, we automatically tense against the stresses of life with … Read more »

The power of setting an intention

December 20, 2016
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Set self-compassion as an intention with How To Stop Beating Yourself Up (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Jeena Cho, Above the Law: As we come to the end of 2016, it’s a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and set an intention for 2017. An intention, unlike a goal, isn’t about achieving the next big thing, or moving up the ladder. It’s about how you’re being, in this moment.

My co-author, Karen Gifford, described setting an intention in our book, The Anxious Lawyer:

Setting an intention is a little like setting your compass: it is always there in the background guiding you in a certain direction, even though you …

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Three reasons you can no longer afford to ignore the mindfulness trend

September 20, 2016
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Practice mindfulness using Harnessing the Power of Kindness (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Julia Samton, Inc.: What was once optional has emerged as a unique solution to the demands of the modern workplace.

Everyone from Fortune 500 executives to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are talking about mindfulness. Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when you pay attention to the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. By using the breath or another sensation as an anchor during meditation, diligent practitioners are able to achieve this mind state in everyday life. Research has shown that we perform optimally and feel at our best when we are focused on the …

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“The Kindness Cascade”

July 6, 2016

woman doing yoga

Meditation and mindfulness are frequently in the news, mainly because of the dramatic increase in research projects showing the many benefits these practices bring. In the graph below you’ll see that from around a dozen scientific journal articles on mindfulness being published in the entire decade of the 1980s, there are now several hundred papers being published each year, with the numbers increasing annually.

mindfulness journal publications

Although most of the focus in this research has been on mindfulness, there’s now an increasing emphasis on exploring the benefits lovingkindness (metta) meditation. Lovingkindness is really just the very familiar quality of “kindness.” Kindness is a recognition of ourselves and others as feeling beings — we all want to be … Read more »

What can mindfulness teach the police force?

June 15, 2016
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Mindfulness can help you, too! Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Rachel Pugh, The Guardian: As two young constables dash into the room of silently seated police men and women, making breathless apologies, one of them asks: “Have you started yet? We’ve been out on an eviction but we didn’t want to miss the meditation.”

This is lunchtime in inner-city Salford’s fortress-style Pendleton police station, and the man with a pair of Tibetan chimes facing the group is neighbourhood police officer, PC Ewen Sim, poised to deliver a session of mindfulness.

The bearded 39-year-old is one of 13 Greater Manchester police (GMP) officers …

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Eight common excuses not to meditate & how to overcome them

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Too busy to meditate? Try Guided Meditations for Busy People (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
Kristina Tipton, The Stir: The scientifically proven benefits of meditation are numerous and include everything from stress and anxiety reduction and improved memory function to increased feelings of well-being. If that means I can find my keys and cell phone easier, then sign me up. But while the benefits make meditation seem like a no-brainer, when it comes to actually practicing, it’s easy to turn to excuses.

Here are some of the most common excuses, and how you can overcome them to start reaping the benefits of meditation.

Excuse 1: Meditation is …

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How mindfulness reduces stress and improves health

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Available now: Guided Mindfulness Meditation (Series 1) from Jon Kabat-Zinn
Heather Goldstone, WCAI: In 1971, Jon Kabat-Zinn finished his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Salvador Luria, at M.I.T. Then, he took what might be considered a left turn – he went to study with Buddhist masters. Several years later, he drew on both his training in both biology and Buddhism when he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at U. Mass. Medical School and created the first course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

“It seems like ‘wow, what a gigantic shift from molecular biology to Buddhist meditative practices,'” says Kabat-Zinn. “But it wasn’t so much …

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Why should you meditate?

April 1, 2016
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Click here for Guided Meditations for Calmness, Awareness, and Love (MP3)
Jeena Cho, Huffington Post: Meditation has been gaining incredible momentum in recent years. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to try meditation but feel hesitant. This is understandable considering the fact that we place so much emphasis on producing more, and working more. We often hear from people comments such as, “I’d love to try meditation but I just can’t find the time.”

You are the only one who knows whether meditation is right for you or why you are interested in trying it. Still, it’s interesting to hear why someone might begin a meditation …

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Mindfulness meditation improves chronic low back pain

March 31, 2016
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Kindly Awareness: Managing Pain, Illness, & Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation (MP3)
Thomas G. Ciccone, Practical Pain Management: Mindfulness meditation may offer the drug-free key to pain-free living for patients aged 65 and older, according to the results of new research. The study, recently published in JAMA,1 found when patients meditated for 90 minutes a week over the course of 8 weeks, their pain symptoms, including their most severe pain, decreased significantly—a robust trend that continued for up to 6 months.

“Preserving physical function with aging is critical to maintaining independence, because loss of independence is arguably one of the most feared consequences of aging,” the authors wrote. …

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Why meditation isn’t just another wellness trend

March 22, 2016
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Find Mindfulness of Breathing: Managing Pain, Illness, & Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation here!
Margaret Abrams, The Observer: A new study in The Journal of Neuroscience focuses on mindfulness meditation as a cure for pain relief, similar to opioids.

For those unsure about taking time out of their busy day to simply sit there, when they could be working out, watching Netflix, or consuming cocktails, a new study proves mindfulness isn’t wasting time. The study, in The Journal of Neuroscience‘s March 16 issue, focuses on mindfulness meditation as a cure for pain relief, similar to opioids.

The study said, “Mindfulness meditation activates multiple brain regions that …

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