MEDITATION TIP: Think!

Meditation tips

MEDITATION TIP: Thoughts flood the mind. ​Label them as thinking. ​J​ust say, ​”​thinking​”.​ If traumatic events come up it’s not the thoughts of them that are bothersome ​- ​it’s the clinging to the thoughts that are bothersome.​Rest in your thoughts and do not resist them. Rest in the breath ​….as you witness t the thoughts. Let the breath be your anchor​ – ​ let the thoughts be your focus or choose one and Just Go With It. The conflict that usually arises is ​what you need to​ experience​. Then move to Svadhaya…..self study of this conflict, more-so, your attachment to this conflict.​

 

Wherever You Go, There You Are

A popular saying in the 70’s hippy movement. But I don’t think there is ever a truer statement ever made.

Being consciously aware of how you move through life can take a lot of practice. But when we do,

our feet land more solidly and firmly on the ground. We are grounded.

We know that wherever we go, there we are. Nothing has changed but the name of the location. And then it is time to move again, and again, and again. Like a cat chasing its tail, although amusing for a while, we wonder why the story is the same all over

again. Being grounded also means we are there for others that have counted on you and learned from you. Whether its family, friends, partners, children or even my yoga students.

A practice I do with my hiking group is the practice of connecting to the Heart of the Planet. It begins by our own connection of ourselves. Being fully present in the body can take a while, depending on how habitually disconnected and ungrounded a person has been in their life. Many people are chronically partially out of their body due to a variety of conditions, some of which include: unhealed past physical or emotional traumas, living out of contact with the earth (cities, apartments, etc), unwillingness to confront the darker aspects of the subconscious mind, use of alcohol or other drugs (street or prescription) , over-consumption of television and other forms of digital numbing. Hatha yoga classes have a strong purpose of placing you back in touch with your very own flesh and bones.

Take your shoes off.
Take your coat off.
Remove your sunglasses and any baggage you are carrying.
Allow your focus to arrive to the space between the Earth and your feet…be with this for 10-15 minutes and then let them merge together and remain there for as long as you can. Ultimately for hours. Feel one-ness….imagine it then feel it. Sit into that embodiment of warmth, and you’ll not need your coat or sweater on a chilly day. A natural vibration of unfettered energy will embrace you and bring a clam you can call ‘home’. During this practice when even the felt sense disappear, you have permanently arrived home. Welcome.

Once you arrive, share. Stay around, and share. Be that rock that everyone wants to sit on or near. Movement of the mind, brings movement of the body. I must do, be, go…….Be silent, be still. Be at peace to be silent and still. Everything you need is in front of you, behind you, around you and within you.

We need more of you…….lets not perpetuate the widespread of ungrounded energy that has become prevalent in certain pockets of the world, communities and even homes.

Now get outside and practice. Do you dare?

Namaste

 

Harvard Yoga Scientists Share Proof of Meditation Benefit

Meditation Benefits

Makiko Kitamura November 21, 2013

 

A man practices yoga on the waterfront at Nariman Point in Mumbai.

Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries — yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease. John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function. While hundreds of studies have been conducted on the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation, they have tended to rely on blunt tools like participant questionnaires, as well as heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. Only recently have neuro-imaging and genomics technology used in Denninger’s latest studies allowed scientists to measure physiological changes in greater detail. “There is a true biological effect,” said Denninger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.” The government-funded study may persuade more doctors to try an alternative route for tackling the source of a myriad of modern ailments. Stress-induced conditions can include everything from hypertension and infertility to depression and even the aging process. They account for 60 to 90 percent of doctor’s visits in the U.S., according to the Benson-Henry Institute. The World Health Organization estimates stress costs U.S. companies at least $300 billion a year through absenteeism, turn-over and low productivity. Seinfeld, Murdoch The science is advancing alongside a budding “mindfulness” movement, which includes meditation devotees such as Bill George, board member of Goldman Sachs Group and Exxon Mobil Corp., and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch recently revealed on Twitter that he is giving meditation a try. As a psychiatrist specializing in depression, Denninger said he was attracted to mind-body medicine, pioneered in the late 1960s by Harvard professor Herbert Benson, as a possible way to prevent the onset of depression through stress reduction. While treatment with pharmaceuticals is still essential, he sees yoga and meditation as useful additions to his medical arsenal. Exchange Program It’s an interest that dates back to an exchange program he attended in China the summer before entering Harvard as an undergraduate student. At Hangzhou University he trained with a tai chi master every morning for three weeks. “By the end of my time there, I had gotten through my thick teenage skull that there was something very important about the breath and about inhabiting the present moment,” he said. “I’ve carried that with me since then.”

His current study, to conclude in 2015 with about $3.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, tracks 210 healthy subjects with high levels of reported chronic stress for six months. They are divided in three groups. One group with 70 participants perform a form of yoga known as Kundalini, another 70 meditate and the rest listen to stress education audiobooks, all for 20 minutes a day at home. Kundalini is a form of yoga that incorporates meditation, breathing exercises and the singing of mantras in addition to postures. Denninger said it was chosen for the study because of its strong meditation component. Participants come into the lab for weekly instruction for two months, followed by three sessions where they answer questionnaires, give blood samples used for genomic analysis and undergo neuro-imaging tests. ‘Immortality Enzyme’ Unlike earlier studies, this one is the first to focus on participants with high levels of stress. The study published in May in the medical journal PloS One showed that one session of relaxation-response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even among novices who had never practiced before. Harvard isn’t the only place where scientists have started examining the biology behind yoga. In a study published last year, scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn found that 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation for eight weeks increased telomerase activity by 43 percent, suggesting an improvement in stress-induced aging.

Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, shared the Nobel medicine prize in 2009 with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for research on the telomerase “immortality enzyme,” which slows the cellular aging process. Build Resilience Not all patients will be able to stick to a daily regimen of exercise and relaxation. Nor should they have to, according to Denninger and others. Simply knowing breath-management techniques and having a better understanding of stress can help build resilience. “A certain amount of stress can be helpful,” said Sophia Dunn, a clinical psychotherapist who trained at King’s College London. “Yoga and meditation are tools for enabling us to swim in difficult waters.”

Meditation 101: The Neuroscience of Why Meditation Works

Meditation

MEDITATION AT GROUNDED BY YOGA

  • Tuesday Evenings w/Mere 7pm East Bloomfield
  • Wednesday Mornings at 8am East Bloomfield
  • Friday Evening w/ Mere/Sandy 6:30pm at East bloomfield
  • Closed sessions Wed and Thursday evenings – form your group today
  • Private Sessions w/ Sandy or Mere (healing and guided)

As yogis have known for centuries and scientists can now prove, the benefits of meditation are profound.

Meditation is perhaps the most crucial instrument to harness the power of thought, cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness.

Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating a peak performance in any endeavor.

 

Long-time psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander, author of Wise Mind, Open Mind, speaks of MIND STRENGTH, or the resiliency, efficacy and emotional intelligence that arise as we begin the process of controlling the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.

There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency, which activates different centers in the brain.

Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take.

5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works

1. Gamma State: (30 – 100Hz) This is the state of hyperactivity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why educators often have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around — to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information. If over stimulated, it can lead to anxiety.

2. Beta State: (13 – 30Hz) Where we function for most of the day, beta state is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the “working” or “thinking mind” — analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.

3. Alpha State: (9 – 13Hz) Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm, peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).

4. Theta State: (4 – 8Hz) We are able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The theta state is associated visualization.

5. Delta State: (1-3 Hz) Tibetan monks that have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase, but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.

How to Begin to  Meditate:

A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem, so as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to slow down.

To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes and as much as possible eliminate any stimulus that may distract you.

Watch your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in. Flowing out. Don’t try to change it in any way. Just notice.

Silently repeat the statement: “Breathing In. Breathing Out.” As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm.

Consistency is key. Try to do this breath meditation first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. Aim for 5 minutes a day and add 1 minutes each week until you reach 40 minutes