Mindfulness meditation, a self-awareness practice that comes from the Buddhist tradition, has made its way into the secular fields of psychology and medicine.
Thus, the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits have been well-documented. The list of studies is long and impressive but a few of them reporting specific effects are:
1) increased neuroplasticity (Davidson and Lutz, 2008)
2) strengthening of the immune system (Davidson et al, 2003)
3) improvement in cognition and problem-solving (Zeidan et al, 2010; Ostafin, 2012),
4) reduction of stress and anxiety (Tacon et al, 2003; Tang et al, 2007)
5) improvement in over-all emotional well-being (Nyklíček et al, 2008; Tang et al, 2007)
6) reduction of heart disease (Tacon et al, 2003)
7) improvement in intimate relationships (Wachs and Cordova, 2007)
I bring a simple form of mindfulness into sessions by asking you to turn your attention inside and become aware of what’s happening in your body, mind, and emotions.
For those who want to develop a daily meditation practice, something I highly recommend, I offer a 6-week group for delving deeper. Some of my students have participated in this group for years.
I know many people have tried to meditate and failed, so I want to assure you that I teach an easy, innovative approach that anyone can do! Seriously. So often it’s our ideas about meditation that get in the way.
We idealize certain states and then create tension by striving to achieve them. And then when these perfect states are not attained or able to be sustained, we blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for being a failure! And so often, it is the very effort that is getting in the way.
There is also a discounting of the experience we are having, which is a misunderstanding of what meditation truly is. I teach a gentle, easy, more feminine approach to meditation that supports an exploration of your inner world and increases awareness.
You learn how to allow your unique experience to unfold naturally, not judging anything as unacceptable or mundane.
Meditating in this way, you will find that calm, tranquil states arise without the use of technique, and qualities such as acceptance, compassion, equanimity, patience, honesty, kindness, and friendliness towards self and others are slowly developed over time.
The Group Experience
We sit for 45 minutes, journal afterwards, and then each person has the opportunity to talk about what happened in his or her meditation.
People learn and grow from hearing each other’s experiences and also from my gentle inquiry and teaching. I use my experience both as a therapist and a meditation teacher to guide the development of each person’s meditation practice and personal process.
You may read more about this method in my meditation booklet.
My Experience & Education
Personally, I’ve been meditating on a daily basis since 1988 and practicing Buddhist Vipassana meditation since I did my first retreat in 1995. I’ve sat numerous Vipassana retreats with many different teachers, including two 1-month long retreats.
In 2005 I met and began studying, as well as training to teach, with Jason Siff of the Skillful Mediation Project. I have taken and adapted what I learned from him and been teaching since 2006.
In the last few years I have gotten interested in Integral approaches to meditation and awakening and am currently learning from Thomas Hubl’s Inner Science approach.
I am also participating in Mutual Awakening Practices with the Evolutionary Collective led by Patricia Albere.
Davidson, Richard, Lutz, Antoine; Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation, IEEE Signal Process Mag.(2008), , 25(1): pp 176–174.
Davidson, R.J.; Kabat-Zinn, J.; Schumacher, J.; Rosenkranz, M.; Muller, D.; Santorelli, S.F.; Urbanowski, F.; Harrington, A.; Bonus, K.; Sheridan, J.F.; Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation, Psychosom Medicine (2003) 65(4), pp 564-70.
Nyklíček, Ivan, Kuijpers, Karlijn F.; Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Intervention on Psychological Well-being and Quality of Life: Is Increased Mindfulness Indeed the Mechanism?, Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2008), Volume 35,(3I), pp 331–340.
Ostafin, BD, Kassman ,KT.; Stepping out of history: mindfulness improves insight problem solving, Conscious and Cognition, (2012) , 21(2), pp 1031-6.
Tacón, Anna M. PhD; McComb, Jacalyn PhD; Caldera, Yvonne PhD; Randolph, Patrick PhD; Mindfulness Meditation, Anxiety Reduction, and Heart Disease: A Pilot Study, Family & Community Health (2003) 26:1, pp 25–33.
Tang,Yi-Yuan ; Ma, Yinghua; Wang, Junhong;Fan, Yaxin; Feng, Shigang ; Lu Qilin; Yu, Qingbao; Sui, Danni; Rothbart, Mary K.; Fan, Ming ; and Michael I. Posner; Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2007), 104(43), pp 17152–17156.
Wachs , Karen, Cordova, James V.;Mindful Relating: Exploring Mindfulness and Emotion Repertoires in Intimate Relationships, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (2007), 33, (40), pp 464–481.
Zeidan, Fadel; Johnson, Susan K;, Diamond, Bruce J; and Goolkasian, Paula; Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training, Consciousness and Cognition(2010), 19(2):5 pp 97-605.