Mindfulness and meditation need more rigorous study to identify impacts

October 12, 2017
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Dependable scientific evidence has lagged worrisomely behind the rapid and widespread adoption of mindfulness and meditation for pursuing an array of mental and physical wellness goals, wrote a group of 15 experts in a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The article offers a “critical evaluation and prescriptive agenda” to help the burgeoning mindfulness industry replace ambiguous hype with rigor in its research and clinical implementations.

Recent years have seen a huge surge not only in media and scientific articles about mindfulness and meditation, the authors wrote, but also in the implementation of medical interventions for everything from depression to … Read more »

How meditation and yoga can alter the expression of our genes

June 20, 2017
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Alice G. Walton, Forbes: For those who are still skeptical about whether mind-body practices like meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi actually work, a new study goes further in laying out how they affect us—right down to the level of our genes. The meta-analysis, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, looks back over a number of previous studies on the effects of the different practices on gene expression. It turns out that the practices all seem to have a beneficial effect on the expression of a slew of different genes …

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Mindful eating: ‘Suddenly, you have power over food’

June 15, 2017
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Jacqueline Howard, CNN: Mindful eating is rooted in the idea of mindfulness, an ancient practice that promotes being aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and environment instead of living your life on autopilot.

When applied to diet, mindful eating involves focusing on chewing your food, taking your time, being in tune with when your body signals that you are hungry or full, and being aware of how your food appears, smells and tastes.
“Over time, eating can become habitual. … We don’t even check in to see if we’re hungry. It’s, ‘Oh, …

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Meditation and neuroscience: new wave of breakthroughs in research on meditative practices

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Koyama Tetsuya, Nippon.com: Zen, mindfulness, and meditation in general are believed to promote psychological and physical well-being. But why? An emerging generation of neuroscientists is fast unveiling the hidden workings of meditation.

Legs in tights, extending from leotards and terminating in pointe shoes, briskly cut through the air. Instructions are called out as the dancers, faces aglow, carry their arms in delicate arcs and place their feet in deliberate motions. Leading the ballet class at a dance studio in Tokyo is a 27-year-old woman whom we will call Murano Kozue. The students would …

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Here’s how to find a minute of mindfulness anywhere

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Elisa Boxer, Fast Company: Everyone’s mind wanders.

Mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. So if you’re aware that your mind is wandering, you’re halfway to a successful mindfulness practice.

The other half of mindfulness is gently returning your attention back to the here and now. But this doesn’t mean you have to yank your misbehaving mind back to reality. Instead, think of it as a compassionate return to consciousness. Picture a feather on the ground, lifted up by a gust of wind and then floating back down to rest …

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Nurses get training to cope with stress

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Sylvia Pownall, Irish Mirror: Overworked nurses in danger of burn out are practicing mindfulness to help them cope with the stresses of the job.

Carmel Sheridan’s The Mindful Nurse was published last year and has already been included on nursing training courses in the UK and the US. The Galway-based psychotherapist says she was inspired to write the book when she realized how many people coming to her for help were nurses.

She told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I’ve been teaching mindfulness around the country and more and more healthcare workers were enrolling …

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What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

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Erin Cook, Elle Australia: With everyone from Miranda Kerr to Rachael Finch touting mindfulness and meditation as the solution to, well, everything, you can understand why we’re champing at the bit to get on board.

Although, there’s one problem: We’re not 100 per cent sure what mindfulness is. And—while we’re being honest—our understanding of meditation doesn’t extend much further than sitting on the floor, cross-legged and chanting the word ‘om’ until we run out of breath.

According to Kate Kendall, Co-Founder & Director of Yoga at Flow Athletic, mindfulness is a state of …

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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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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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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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