Meditation activity draws concern

April 11, 2011

Lawerence Synett: Students in a freshman honors English class at Prairie Ridge High School were asked to assume certain positions, chant and lie on the floor as part of an activity connected to reading the novel “The Alchemist,” drawing a complaint from a father who is a minister and thought the exercise had religious overtones.

Teacher Christine Wascher let students opt out if they felt uncomfortable, but now has stopped what was intended as a new way to relate to the book.

“What she had them do was a mind-clearing visualization exercise that a parent felt was transcendental meditation,” Superintendent Jill Hawk said. “It was an activity to engage them in a part of the … Read more »

Minding mindfulness can ease anxiety, depression

April 11, 2011

Helen Adamopoulos: First, get into a comfortable position. Keep your spine erect, but don’t get tense. Close your eyes. Now breathe. Concentrate on the air filling your lungs.

If your mind wanders, note the thought (with a label such as “last night’s dinner”) and then return your focus to your breathing.

That is how to practice basic mindfulness, a meditation technique that can help people cope with conditions including depression, anxiety and chronic pain, according to Chicago social worker Georgia Jones.

She teaches clinicians the fundamentals of mindfulness and its relevance to psychotherapy and covered the basics at a lecture Wednesday at Chicago Lakeshore Hospital.

Jones works for the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago and … Read more »

Meditative channel added to TV choices at Illinois medical center

April 1, 2011

Patients watching television in their rooms at Springfield, Illinois, Memorial Medical Center now can turn on a channel that features instrumental music and soothing nature scenes.

The CARE Channel was added to the hospital’s TV lineup a few months ago, Memorial spokesman Michael Leathers said.

CARE, which stands for “Continuous Ambient Relaxation Environment,” is provided through a 19-year-old company in Reno, Nev., called Healing Healthcare Systems.

A news release from Memorial said the channel is designed “to enhance and promote healing.”

Susan Mazer, chief executive officer of Healing Healthcare Systems, said Wednesday the channel’s videos of waterfalls, mountain ranges, wildlife and flowers are not repetitive and have original music playing in the background.

“It’s kind … Read more »

Patch portrait: meditate on this

March 29, 2011

Holding a little bell in one hand, Dr. Om Johari instructed the eight meditation students before him in a Niles classroom to focus on breathing in and breathing out.

As they focused, he occasionally tapped the bell, producing a chime that reminded them to bring their attention back to their breathing.

“His meditation techniques have helped me so much,” said one of the class members, who didn’t want her name used. “It helps me not to worry about things as much as I used to.”

That’s exactly why Johari, 70, facilitates the meditation classes, as well as teaching laughter meditation, sudoku and a certified driving course for people age 50-plus that can get them a … Read more »