Welcome to ‘Spring Into Mindfulness! A Beginners Guide to Mindful Meditation’.
Mindfulness is bringing our attention to the present moment with openness and curiosity and a kind willingness to be with what is. In these meditations you will learn how to practice mindfulness, cultivate focus, equanimity, compassion and gain a greater sense of happiness. If you are fairly new to meditation you might want to begin with the shorter practices and stay with them for a while. As you feel more comfortable with these you can begin to explore the longer selections.
Allowing yourself to learn, practice and grow through this experience is one of the healthiest choices you can make for your physical, emotional and mental health! Mindfulness is accessible to anyone! All you need is the willingness to be present with yourself in the moment and allow the process to unfold.
Mindfulness has proven to benefit our mental, emotional and physical health. The latest studies in neuroscience have shown that mindfulness can lower blood pressure and stress hormones, such as cortisol, it can increase the quality of sleep and boost the immune system. When implemented in schools, mindfulness has shown to improve test scores and student’s grades, as well as increasing the ability to focus and regulate emotions. The participants also experienced decreases in anxiety and depression.
According to Dr. Michael Irwin, Director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA, it has these effects because it “changes how the brain regulates the stress pathways from the brain to the body.” Recent studies have shown significant changes in brain density in those attending an eight-week mindfulness course. MRI scans of the brain revealed that the amygdala, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, decreased in density while the pre-frontal cortex, known to deal with executive brain functioning such as awareness, concentration and decision making, increased in density. It was found that mindfulness affects the way these two regions interact with other parts of the brain: the “functional connectivity” between the amygdala and the rest of the brain decreased in strength while the connections between the pre-fontal cortex and the rest of the brain grew stronger.
As you practice the mindful meditations in this series, you will begin to experience increased calm and heightened awareness of your reactions and surroundings. Over time, you will be able to regulate your reactivity and emotions with finer ease and control. You might become more aware of your thoughts and how they affect your sense of being thereby increasing your ability to choose what you decide to focus on.
Over all, I hope you experience a greater sense of vitality, peace and well-being as we travel this journey together.
To learn more about mindfulness practices and its applications, please visit the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA : http://marc.ucla.edu Here you will find online mindful meditation classes as well the latest neuroscience relating to mindfulness practices.
Visit Diana Winston, Director of Education at MARC at http://www.dianawinston.com and Dr. Chris Chapple, Navin and Pratima Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at Loyola Marymount University at http://tinyurl.com/q8w5obc, for valuable information.
For more information on Jahna and her Mindful and Music projects, such as ‘M2
Project: A Mindful Music Experience’ seen at UCLA, Fowler Museum and Loyola
Marymount University, please visit jahnamusic.com.