Monkey mind, ganja, inflammation, and commuting

News reporting on meditation is always going to be a mixed bag, with practical and serious articles interspersed with pieces in a more flippant mood. The latter style is perfectly exemplified by an extraordinarily silly column by Denise Malloy of Montana’s Bozeman Chronicle. In “Monkeying Around with Meditation” Malloy tells us that five minutes of meditation (done by following instructions from a book) was enough to make her skeptical about the proven health benefits of meditation, as well as its potential to bring about inner peace. To be fair, the writer’s tone tends more toward self-mockery than to mockery of meditation itself. But her article made me want to send her a meditation CD.

And then there are the stories that are serious but cover subject that are “out there.” David Silverberg of Toronto’s Globe and Mail writes about “Ganja Yoga.” This is new to me, but apparently some people believe that a toke of marijuana before a yoga session will help you stretch, open up to new philosophical perspectives, and even, according to one class participant, “Marijuana quells those voices in your mind.”

Representing the “serious article on a serious topic,” Live Science reports on a study showing that women who had practiced yoga regularly for at least two years had lower levels of inflammation in their bodies than did women who only recently took up the activity. And all without the aid of inhaled substances. The mechanisms that reduce inflammation may include deep breathing (which reduces stress), greater awareness of one’s feelings, and also the fact of exercising, which has been shown to reduce inflammation.

Finally, Brian Glaser of Baristanet (a news publication we’d hitherto been unaware of) has a nice piece on using the morning commute as an opportunity to meditation. Meditation teacher Susan Morton is quoted as saying,

“When your train or bus get stuck, the first thing that arises is that the mind makes judgments and you have frustrations. You can take the opportunity to observe how stressed out you become through the stories your mind tells you about what’s happening.”

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