A consistent mindfulness or meditation practice brings distinct and profound benefits – and modern empirical research provides ample evidence of its broad applications in mental and physical health. Benefits to mindfulness or meditation practices recently confirmed include (but are not limited to): decreasing stress; strengthening the immune system; increasing grey matter in the insula, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex; improving psychological functions like attention, compassion, and empathy; lifting mood; helping with a variety of medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, PMS, type 2 diabetes, and chronic pain; alleviating psychological issues such as insomnia, anxiety, phobias, and eating disorders (for a full reference list, please feel free to contact Jo!). To see some of these benefits illustrated in infographic style, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

While it’s important to note that mindfulness and meditation were originally a part of a spiritual framework of ethics and complementary practices imparted to liberate people of the delusions, attachments, and aversions that create suffering, folks in modern times are often drawn to secular mindfulness and meditation to simply live happier, healthier lives. 

Meditation

In these classes, participants will be welcomed with a short chat about the upcoming meditation. This will be followed by a guided meditation, and an opportunity to share our experiences and ask questions. The amount of time we spend on each part of the class will be customized for your requested class. The forms of meditation taught include:

*Focused attention: concentrating on a word or an object (like the breath); Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of focused attention meditation.

*Open monitoring: focusing on sensory experience and a “choiceless awareness”; this form of meditation is referred to as mindfulness meditation in Buddhism.

*Insight-oriented: using a subject like loving kindness, a mantra, or a koan (a riddle) as a focal point to prompt realization of specific feeling states or insights into meditation.

*Visualization: imagining a sensory experience.

Benefits of a regular meditation practice about, with ample research to prove it these days (just check out the infographics below, for a more visual account of what’s been found so far).  Meditation is accessible and profoundly beneficial, regardless of your experience or background. Please contact Jo if you are interested in a meditation class or series of classes.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to the present with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. It is a formal practice we can engage in, like meditation, and can take the form of many styles and techniques. To practice mindfulness, we may be sitting, walking, standing, or even lying down. While engaged in a mindfulness practice, such as eating a raisin mindfully, we are are participating in an activity that focuses our awareness and trains our minds around the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness: non-judging, patience, a beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. As with meditation, the empirical research on mindfulness in the last thirty years has produced ample evidence of its benefits (the infographics from various sources below do a good job of illustrating some of these findings). Please contact Jo if you are interested in a mindfulness class or series of classes.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

*Another excellent source summarizing findings on mindfulness meditation not mentioned in these infographics is Eberth and Sedlmeier (2012). They performed a meta-analysis on 500 studies to filter down to 38 rigorous controlled studies for adults who were non-clinical (that is, they were not already seeking treatment for a clinically-diagnosed mental health concern).

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