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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 students 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 decisionmaking,
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. Here you will find
on-line 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://bellarmine.lmu.edu/yoga, 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.


In the meantime, be sure to check out our 600+ online yoga classes already available on our site!