Tag Archives: mindfulness

Are You Tired of the “Happy Birthday” Song?

Recite the Metta Meditation as You Wash Your Hands

If you are tired of singing the Happy Birthday song as you practice good handwashing technique, use that time for a short meditation break.

Metta Meditation

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be free from suffering.
May all beings be at peace.

Repeat the meditation twice slowly and mindfully. (If you are inclined to rush, repeat it three times.)

The Benefits

In addition to the benefits of good handwashing, using the Metta Meditation calms and refocuses mind and body.  It sends positive energy into a world that desperately needs it.

The Research

Namaste

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters—
Can Living in the Moment Improve Your Health?

January 2012

At some point in your life, someone probably told you: “Enjoy every moment. Life is short.” Maybe you’ve smiled and rolled your eyes at this well-intentioned relative or co-worker. But the fact is, there’s something to it. Trying to enjoy each moment may actually be good for your health.

The idea is called mindfulness. This ancient practice is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present—of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. It means not living your life on “autopilot.” Instead, you experience life as it unfolds moment to moment, good and bad, and without judgment or preconceived notions.

“Many of us go through our lives without really being present in the moment,” says Dr. Margaret Chesney of the University of California, San Francisco. She’s studying how mindfulness affects health. “What is valuable about mindfulness is that it is accessible and can be helpful to so many people.”

Studies suggest that mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.

One NIH-supported study found a link between mindfulness meditation and measurable changes in the brain regions involved in memory, learning and emotion. Another NIH-funded researcher reported that mindfulness practices may reduce anxiety and hostility among urban youth and lead to reduced stress, fewer fights and better relationships.

A major benefit of mindfulness is that it encourages you to pay attention to your thoughts, your actions and your body. For example, studies have shown that mindfulness can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight. “It is so common for people to watch TV and eat snack food out of the box without really attending to how much they are eating,” says Chesney. “With mindful eating, you eat when you’re hungry, focus on each bite, enjoy your food more and stop when you’re full.”

Finding time for mindfulness in our culture, however, can be a challenge. We tend to place great value on how much we can do at once and how fast. Still, being more mindful is within anyone’s reach.

You can practice mindfulness throughout the day, even while answering e-mails, sitting in traffic or waiting in line. All you have to do is become more aware—of your breath, of your feet on the ground, of your fingers typing, of the people and voices around you.

Chesney notes that as people start to learn how to be more mindful, it’s common and normal to realize how much your mind races and focuses on the past and future. You can just notice those thoughts and then return to the present moment. It is these little, regular steps that add up and start to create a more mindful, healthy life.

So, before you roll your eyes again, take a moment and consider mindfulness.

FROM: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Jan2012/Feature2

Jane Fonda on the “Third Act” of Life

On my way to a yoga class last week, I caught a few minutes of an interview with Jane Fonda on the Diane Rehm Show (from WAMU).


In the interview, they discuss Fonda’s new book, Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit–making the most of all of your life.

To hear the complete interview or read the transcript go to» http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-08-11/jane-fonda-prime-time

REHM: But it does seem to me that for a great many people, getting older is tough. There are illnesses. There are problems with family. There is loss of a job. There’s lack of money. People have tons of problems to get through. But you have lots of advantages. You’re healthy. You’re athletic. You’ve kept your body strong. You’ve kept your mind going and you’ve got plenty of money.

FONDA: Let me say two things about that, Diane. That is all true and yet there’s been studies done. There was one, a very large study done of 350,000 Americans from very young age to very old age and what it showed is that most people over 50 tend to be happier, less hostile, less stressed, less anxious. The scientists don’t entirely understand why, but they postulate certain things that make sense to me.

 

 
Fonda also uses a metaphor from Mary Catherine Bateson’s recent book Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom. “We have not added decades to life expectancy by simply extending old age; instead, we have opened up a new space partway through the life course, a second and different kind of adulthood that precedes old age, and as a result every stage of life is undergoing change.”

Attached to Your Practice—Or Just Disciplined?

The Sacred Cow Blog

By Karen Macklin on July 16th, 2011


We practice yoga and meditation for many reasons, one of which is to let go of our attachments to emotions, relationships, and habitual patterns and addictions. But what if we start to develop an attachment to our practice? And how do we know if it’s an attachment—or if it’s discipline?

Read More on Pranamaya’s The Sacred Cow Blog »»

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Coming to Our Senses

While looking online for some information on Mindfulness Meditation, I came across the video of a wonderful 2005 lecture by Jon Kabat-Zinn that I wanted to share.

Renowned mindfulness meditation teacher and best-selling author Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks at UCSD Medical Center in 2005 on the topic of “Coming to Our Senses”, which is also the name of his book, subtitled “Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”. A pioneer in the application of ancient Buddhist practices to healing in modern medical settings, Kabat-Zinn expounds upon the value of “resting in awareness” not only to facilitate clarity in ourselves, but also as a means of relating to and healing the “dis-ease” in politics, society and the world.

First Aired on UCSD Television: 4/28/2005

Is Yoga Hindu?

The question comes up regularly – in classes and in the media. Is yoga a religion? Is yoga Hindu?

Swami Nirmalananda, the founder of Svaroopa® yoga, recently posted a blog entry which may help answer that question.

“… there’s a lot of difference between Hinduism and yoga, which is completely dependent on your purpose:  if you are practicing it (yoga or Hinduism) for the purpose of being prettier, younger, stronger, healthier, happier, wealthier, smarter, etc – it’s religion, or worse – just another way of trying to manipulate your body and your life.  If you are practicing it (yoga or Hinduism) for the purpose of knowing Truth / God / Reality within yourself, it’s yoga.”

“… at the same time there is very little difference between yoga and Hinduism.  They use common terminology (Sanskrit terms), are based in shared texts, are looking at the same realities, and have the same foundational understanding…”

Read Swamiji’s complete commentary on the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram blog»

Mindful Eating May Help with Weight Loss

A small yet growing body of research suggests that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and maybe steer some people away from processed food and unhealthy choices.

This alternative approach has been dubbed “mindful eating.” It’s based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment.

Read the article Mindful eating may help with weight loss – Harvard Health Publications