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Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

Black Girls Breathing Founder Jasmine Marie Is Making Meditation Accessible to Heal Her Community – Vogue

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As the fight for racial justice takes place against the backdrop of the global pandemic, the need for regenerative self-care services that center Black women has never been more apparent. Since 2018, Atlanta-based breathwork practitioner Jasmine Marie has been helping Black women heal from the trauma that disproportionately impacts their everyday with Black Girls Breathing, an inclusive wellness platform that provides meditational breathwork classes.

"I wanted to create a space very specific to Black women and their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs," explains Marie. "Black women are dying from chronic stress because it's linked to diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. We're the most affected by these ailments, and not being able to lower our cortisol and reframe our nervous system is killing Black women."

For Marie, a graduate of New York University's Stern Business School, accessibility is just as important as the breathwork itself, especially in these emotionally taxing times. "Weve known the need is there, weve been doing the work, but now more people are recognizing just how important it is," says Marie. Prior to COVID-19, Black Girls Breathing hosted affordable in-person and virtual active breathwork sessions. They toured cities across the countryLos Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlantabuilding a community ranging in age from 18 to over 65. But beginning in May, as the dire consequences of the global pandemic continued to set in, Black Girls Breathing introduced a bi-monthly, virtual breathwork circle series on a sliding scale, with participants able to join for $0-$25. Then, in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, Marie sought to provide even more support by launching a crowdfunding mission to raise funds that will give 100 Black women per session free entry to virtual breathwork circles for one year.

Here, Marie tells Vogue how she came into breathwork, the origins of Black Girls Breathing, and how she's continued adapting in an increasingly challenging time.

When did breathwork first become a part of your life, and what struck you most about its benefits? When I was living in New York City, I was going through a stressful period of personal issues on top of a crazy work schedule. I ended up finding breathwork through the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. The pastor there led in an untraditional way and introduced me to a community center where breathing teacher Kathleen Booker was offering classes for free. I went every week and developed my own practice. For me, it's been a tool post-trauma, not just the general stuff you deal with when you begin to do the work, but personal trauma. After exiting a traumatic situation, when you come back home to yourself, you begin to heal your relationship to your body, intuition, and inner voice. Breathwork just really helped me get out of my mind. Having free access to breathwork not far from where I lived was revolutionary in the sense that it's not a tool you often have in the Black community. And that's why there's an educational aspect to the work we dowere opening up and moving past the stigmas of mental health.

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Black Girls Breathing Founder Jasmine Marie Is Making Meditation Accessible to Heal Her Community - Vogue

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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How to Stop Talking and Focus Quietly! Exploring the Main Types of Meditation – The Great Courses Daily News

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ByPeter M. Vishton, PhD,William & Mary Concentration meditation and mindful meditation both involve sitting quietly in a place thats relatively free of distraction. Photo by milanzeremski / Shutterstock Meditation and Religion

Theres a wealth of evidence that if you spend time in meditation: sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing or on relaxing your body, then your brain will work better. Youll be happier, less subject to stress and anxiety, more creative, and generally healthier. There are different types of meditation, and you can find the one that works best for you.

First, its helpful to understand the history. The art and practice of meditation is older than cognitive neuroscience by many centuries. Indeed, its older than science itself.

Most historians and anthropologists believe that the earliest meditation was associated with religious practice. When you spend an extended period of time engaged in a religious ritual, you are typically engaged in meditation. If its a complex ritual, the process of learning to perform it properly naturally involves a lot of focused mental and physical activity.

The nature of most religious practices is that theyre repeated many times in the same way each time. As you become well-practiced in performing any ritual, it becomes automatic. Your brain can perform it largely on autopilot, leaving your conscious, attentive mind to think about other things, or nothing at all.

Meditation is one of those terms thats a single word but actually captures a broad category of very different activities. If you sit cross-legged in the lotus position chanting a series of mantras, you could describe this as meditating.

Going to church and kneeling quietly could be considered prayerful meditation. If youre trying to solve a hard programming design problem, you might meditate on it for a few minutesor longerbefore you start typing commands on the keyboard. All of these very different practices could be accurately called meditation.

Some researchers have placed the many different types of meditation into two broad categories: concentration meditation and mindful meditation. Both types of meditations typically involve sitting quietly in a place thats relatively free of distraction.

Concentration meditation involves picking something and focusing your mind on that thing as completely as possible. Many concentration meditators focus on keeping their breathing steady and smooth.

One thing you may hear a lot in this domain is the notion that breathing is continuous, progressing smoothly from an exhalation to the next inhalation and so on, without ever completely stopping. Some concentration meditation focuses instead on a particular worda mantrarepeating it over and over in the mind.

I started by suggesting that its helpful to not think for 20 minutes a day, Professor Vishton said. If youre engaged in concentration meditation, it doesnt sound quite right to say that youre not thinking.

On the contrary, you are engaged in thought. However, by focusing your thoughts as completely as possible on that one thingwhatever it isyou stop thinking about all the other things that would normally occupy your mind.

The other category is mindfulness meditation. It is, in some respects, the opposite of concentration meditation.

During mindfulness meditation, one seeks to be aware of ones self and ones surroundings, but without thinking about anything in particular. This notion of not thinking is somewhat foreign to most people.

Our brains naturally tend to wander from thought to another related thought to another one all the time. This flow of ideas is what psychologists have often referred to as our stream of consciousness.

Mindfulness meditation seeks to stop that process. When you sit and dont think for a few moments, especially if you havent practiced this a lot, your brain will naturally, eventually, start to think about something.

Some external thought will intrudesome thought about your plan for the day or some event in the news. When that happens and you become aware of it, you relax and intentionally stop thinking about it.

With practice, most mindfulness meditators report that they can get better and better at this. They go for longer and longer periods in between needing to intentionally interrupt one of those thought processes.

Peter M. Vishton is Associate Professor of Psychology at William & Mary. He earned his PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Cornell University. Before joining the faculty of William & Mary, he taught at Northwestern University and served as the program director for developmental and learning sciences at the National Science Foundation.


How to Stop Talking and Focus Quietly! Exploring the Main Types of Meditation - The Great Courses Daily News

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How to Start Meditating – The New York Times

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From the outside, meditation can look passive. Youre sitting still with your eyes closed, taking deep breaths. But anyone who has spent time meditating knows how active, and how intentional, it can be. In the stillness, your heart rate slows and your levels of cortisol the hormone associated with stress drop. A regular practice can help with depression, chronic pain, anxiety and sleep issues. Its sort of like stretching, but for your mind.

How to get started can be unclear: Should you sit on the floor? Use an app? Chant or even come up with a mantra? And how long is long enough? If you dont read any further than this, the main takeaway from meditation teachers and psychologists is if it works for you, it works. (And if you want more concrete tips on getting going, well, weve got you covered.)

When you think of what meditating looks like, what comes to mind? A lotus position, a yoga mat, a beautiful wood-lined room? If thats how you feel most comfortable practicing, thats great. But some people prefer to lie flat on their back, while others choose to sit on a chair. The key is to find a position where your body can feel strong yet neutral.

Toni Blackman, an artist who puts together hip-hop mixes to shift her mind and energy, was initially hesitant to consider her music-based practice meditation. Theres that stigma, she said. To use the word meditation without using the word prayer can feel airy-fairy.

After long conversations with friends, Ms. Blackman, who is based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, decided to record her own music and lead meditation classes with it.

In hip-hop, its called getting open, she said. To get open means that you are in a trance, you are in a zone, you are in the zone. Your body starts to take over, and you surrender to whatever is going through you. Now, she sees any activity as an opportunity for meditation, from running to cooking.

Its tough for everyone when they begin a practice, Ellie Burrows Gluck, a co-founder and the chief executive of MNDFL, a New York City meditation studio, wrote in an email. Like going to the gym or learning to play an instrument, you cant lose 10 pounds or play Mozart after a single session.

Set up a framework for yourself by first picking a time of day and a place to meditate. You should also start off slowly: If you were training for a marathon, you wouldnt begin with a 10-mile run.

Ten minutes is great. Five minutes is great, said Sara Lazar, the director of the Lazar Lab for Meditation Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Theres no should.

If you have a history of mental illness, or if youre going through a difficult time right now, be cautious. People with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder should work with a meditation guide or teacher, Dr. Lazar said.

In a corner of your home, set up an area dedicated to meditation. Some people call this an altar, and add plants, rocks or candles. If thats your thing, full steam ahead. But if not, just pick a place in your home that is quiet and makes you feel calm.

I dont think that people have to do anything fancy, said Diana Winston, the director of Mindfulness Education at UCLAs Mindful Awareness Research Center and the author of The Little Book of Being.

But a separate space is important, said Tony Lupinacci, a 35-year-old yoga and meditation teacher who leads retreats and trainings around the world. This is not your bed, maybe not even your couch, he said.

This might seem counterintuitive phones are often enemies of calm. But working through your first few meditation sessions with some guidance will help you find your groove. (This same article written a few decades ago would have suggested that you get some good meditation cassette tapes.)

Thats because meditation is not just sitting still for a few minutes. Its part of a broader philosophy, with thousands of years of history and training.

Mr. Lupinacci was against apps for a long time, and still prefers to work directly with his students (and his own teacher). But he really enjoys Calm, which has a seven-day free trial and then a yearly subscription fee of $69.99.

Theres also Insight Timer, which is free and also popular. Or consult Wirecutter, a product recommendation site thats owned by The New York Times, which recently updated its guide to meditation apps. Headspace (which costs $69.99 a year, after a free two-week trial) is ranked first.

Youre doing this for you, so that you feel more settled in yourself and in the world. So, just let yourself sink into whatever your practice is for that day.

If you dont want to use an app, you could try visualization, like picturing yourself somewhere calming and beautiful. Or, just breathe in for six counts and out for six counts. Pay attention to your body where your legs touch the floor, how your spine feels and listen to yourself.

Chris Toulson, a 35-year-old meditation specialist who runs the @meditation_and_mindfulness Instagram account, cautioned not to expect too much from any one session. Every day is just going to be different, because youve gone through different things in that day, he said.

Its not so much emptying the mind, because that is impossible, he continued. Our brain is not wired to be empty. We cant control what comes into our heads. What we can control is how we deal with it.

Mr. Toulson, who lives outside London, suggests treating your thoughts and emotions as clouds: When youre meditating, imagine youre looking up at the sky. Sometimes, clouds are bright, fluffy. Sometimes, theyre dark. Either way, youre below, observing them, feeling the grass beneath your fingers and watching the world go by.

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How to Start Meditating - The New York Times

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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Global Meditation Software Market 2020 Report With Segmentation, Analysis On Trends, Growth, Opportunities and Forecast Till 2025 – Apsters News

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The global Meditation Software market size is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025, with a CAGR of xx%% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025 and will expected to reach USD xx million by 2025, from USD xx million in 2019.

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The Global Meditation Software Market report provides a detailed analysis of global market size, regional and country-level market size, segmentation market growth, market share, competitive Landscape, sales analysis, impact of domestic and Global Meditation Software Market players, value chain optimization, trade regulations, recent developments, opportunities analysis, strategic market growth analysis, product launches, area marketplace expanding, and technological innovations.

Key vendor/manufacturers in the market:

The major players covered in Meditation Software are: Deep Relax Ten Percent Happier Committee for Children Smiling Mind Mindfulness Everywhere Ltd. Inner Explorer, Inc. Insights Network, Inc. The Mindfulness App Stop, Breathe, & Think PBC Breethe Simple Habit, Inc. Headspace, Inc., Inc. Meditation Moments B.V.

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Market segmentation Meditation Software market is split by Type and by Application. For the period 2015-2025, the growth among segments provide accurate calculations and forecasts for sales by Type and by Application in terms of volume and value. This analysis can help you expand your business by targeting qualified niche markets.

Global Meditation Software Market By Type:

By Type, Meditation Software market has been segmented into: IOS Android

Competitive Landscape and Global Meditation Software Market Share Analysis Global Meditation Software Market competitive landscape provides details by vendors, including company overview, company total revenue (financials), market potential, global presence, Meditation Software sales and revenue generated, market share, price, production sites and facilities, SWOT analysis, product launch. For the period 2015-2020, this study provides the Meditation Software sales, revenue and market share for each player covered in this report.

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Global Meditation Software Market 2020 Report With Segmentation, Analysis On Trends, Growth, Opportunities and Forecast Till 2025 - Apsters News

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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Vipassana Meditation: The Details Of This Extreme (And Effective) Practice –

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Technique is integral in Vipassana meditation. Vipassana is a practice of self-observation, and the technique helps you to cultivate a sense of equanimity. It is understood that the root of all suffering is the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. As you learn to cultivate equanimity through this technique, you free yourself from the cycle of craving and aversion.

Vipassana is not actually taught until the fourth day of the retreat. The first three days are about mastering the mind by observing the dynamic nature of reality through the breath. Everything is always changing, including the breath, so the technique practiced on Days 1 to 3 is one where you focus all of your attention on the area just below the nostrils and concentrate on the breath as it graces this one spot just above the upper lip.

After three days of this, the mind is calm and students are taught Vipassana. Vipassana meditation is the practice of observing the subtle sensations throughout the body without reacting to them. You scan the body with your attention, noticing the sensations arise and simply watching them. If a sensation is pleasurable, you observe it and let it pass. If it's uncomfortable, you observe it and watch it pass. Neither is superior, and both are impermanent.

If you can cultivate this understanding in meditation, you can apply it to your whole life.Vipassana is taught to be shared with all beings everywhere, so on the final day of the course, a lovingkindness meditation is shared.

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Vipassana Meditation: The Details Of This Extreme (And Effective) Practice -

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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Core review: The best meditation gadget money can buy right now – Mashable

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The Core trainer: A whole new way to meditate.

Image: chris taylor / mashable

Imagine the sensation of holding a small but nicely solid wooden teacup in your hands. Now imagine that cup can purr like a large cat; if you match your breath to the rhythm of the purring, you could either be calmed down or energized, depending on your preference. Further imagine that this cup is taking a key measure of your cardiovascular health, and can help you improve it in the space of a few minutes every day.

That describes my experience of using the Core meditation trainer. It's a curious $169 rosewood orb that measures your heart rate via your thumbs and pairs with a phone app containing a raft of meditation classes and breath training sessions. Team Mashable first tried the Core during CES in January. But as it turns out, there's a world of difference between getting a demo of a meditation device on a crowded show floor and using it for a month at home while combating the anxiety of coronavirus quarantine.

The former experience left me underwhelmed; the latter convinced me that the Core is probably the best meditation gadget money can buy right now.

This is not a pronouncement I make lightly. I'm a big fan of the Muse meditation headband in all its forms (original, Muse 2, and Muse S, a softer headband designed for sleep). The Muse's EEG technology detects how active your brain is during meditation; its app gives you audio feedback accordingly. I was so taken with the possibilities of that meditation technology that I invented a whole contest around it, March Mindfulness.

But the Muse's achilles heel has always been its calibration process, which invariably involves minutes of futzing with the headband so the app can pick up signals from all its sensors. Users with longer hair report problems with the behind-the-ear sensors, on the new Muse S especially and as my own hair became longer in these haircut-free months of 2020, I experienced the same frustration.

I began to do my meditation practice via the Apple Watch's Breathe app, which sends calming vibrations to your wrist to match a customizable number of breaths (between four and 10 breaths per minute, for a maximum of 5 minutes per session). But this is a pretty basic meditation experience. I longed for an app that could help practice the many, surprisingly different kinds of breath, as outlined in Andrew Weil's excellent audiobook Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing.

Then along came the Core meditation trainer, which is what you might get if you crossed the Muse's EEG technology with a physical manifestation of the Apple Watch's Breathe app. There's no calibration necessary with the Core; you open the app, you pick it up and you're good to go. While there is a dizzying array of meditations to choose from if you dig in, the app's algorithm selects one for you on its home screen so you can start right way.

I wasn't always impressed with its homescreen choices (why recommended a "sleep preparation" meditation at noon, Core?) but often appreciated having the tyranny of choice taken away from me. This forced me to experience many kinds of guided meditation I wouldn't normally choose.

Core's strongest offerings, in my experience, were under the "Breath training" tab. Here are four energizing kinds of breath, including a super-fast inhale-exhale named "coffee" and "box breath," the official breathing technique of the Navy SEALs. Then there are three "stress relief" forms of breathing (named "whiskey," "water," and "reset") and two more unusual breath patterns under the heading of "transform." I did each one once with the three-minute guided introduction voice, then practiced each for up to 10 minutes at a time with one of the six ambient soundtracks provided.

Practice breathwork meditation from sources such as Weil's audiobook, and you'll find yourself doing a lot of counting in your head or forgetting how many seconds you're supposed to hold your breath in any given form. Core makes it easy because you can both see (via a circle of lights that appear in the middle of the Core's white top) and feel (via vibrations) how you're supposed to breathe.

Just as addictive as the breathing meditations were the results you get at the end of every Core session. Core uses two measurements from your thumbs: your heart rate, and your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). The latter is an important measure of heart health that is little used outside hospitals. You shouldn't read too much into the Core HRV score as the app points out, it can vary depending on your age, genetics and a variety of circumstances.

But each Core session contributes to your HRV average. If you can increase that score over time, it's an indicator that you are getting less anxious and more resilient; multiple studies have found a higher HRV indicative of reduced stress and improved mental and cardiological health. I am now hooked on improving my HRV.

Most impressive of all was the Core's battery life. I got through around 10 days of using it twice daily before I had to recharge the thing via its micro-USB cradle. The need for this white plastic cradle was a minor annoyance why can't we just plug the device in directly? But the need to charge up came so infrequently that I was able to just throw the Core in my bag, confident I could use it outside in a variety of sun-drenched, socially-distant locations.

Version 1.0 of any device is rarely perfect, and the Core is no exception. I appreciate its design, and that the Core gives you something to do with your hands, which are often restless during meditation. But my hands felt just a touch too large for the orb, with my pinky fingers having to wrap around each other. Your mileage will vary, of course but for the record, my hands are the same length as the average male's, 7.6 inches. It would be great to see the company produce a slightly larger version for half its potential user base.

That purring vibration, meanwhile, can sometimes feel too strong less like a cat and more like someone revving the engine of a sports car. Also, bafflingly, many of the Core app's meditations don't use the vibration to signify breathing. They just rev up and down in what feels like random patterns, no matter what the teacher is telling you. Which often served to increase my anxiety rather than lowering it. (This was particularly true on the days when I had a few bouts of vertigo for unrelated health reasons; picking up the Core in hopes of centering and calming myself ended up making me more dizzy than before.)

Core offers a $10-a-month (or $60 a year) premium service called Core Studio, and I wish I could recommend that. However, I found its content to be almost unusably haphazard. In addition to the vibration problem, these sessions varied wildly in volume; some were too quiet, some too loud, and no instructor was telling me anything I hadn't already picked up from the app's free guided meditations. (One instructor lazily suggested checking in with my feet, my hands and the top of my head all at the same time: Really?) If users want more free content from Core, they can also check out the live practices the company is screening on Instagram TV while its San Francisco meditation studio is closed.

Core has engaged a handful of prominent DJs to produce ambient music for meditation. I almost couldn't find the first one, from a DJ named ESTA, as it was hidden under the generic title "Core Studio Sessions: Breathe" rather than where you might expect it, the app's "Sound & Music" tab. In any case, I doubt the value of anything more involved than an ambient soundscape in this setting. Does a DJ's "self-expression" really add anything to a session where you're supposed to be mindful of everything going on in your mental and physical experience, or does it distract?

I understand that such subscription services are where the money is supposed to be, and this likely forms a big part of the business plan behind Core's $4 million in seed funding. Muse, meanwhile, is also trying to reinvent itself as a subscription service. But the world is full of meditation subscription services, a field dominated by Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, and about a dozen other services. The market is simply saturated.

Before reinventing the wheel, then, Core should focus on improving its, um, core offering. His and hers versions, direct USB charging, more chill vibration technology, and more breath training meditations would be most welcome. With just a few minor tweaks, this little orb could rule the meditation world.

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Core review: The best meditation gadget money can buy right now - Mashable

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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Zen on Zoom: Community meditation moves online – The Japan Times

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When Soin Satoshi Fujio, head priest of Dokuonji temple in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, attended his first Zoom meeting in February 2019 between Buddhist priests in Japan and India, he got an idea.

Fujio, who works with local community officials on suicide prevention and with those in hospice care, realized Zoom was a way to meet with people who couldnt get to his temple. Many have serious diseases or are hospitalized, Fujio says, and it can be difficult for them to come here.

Then COVID-19 hit Japan. After canceling the March zazenkai (meditation meeting), participants soon asked about April. He decided to try online zazen (meditation), and with the help of Daigo Ozawa, chief abbott at Tokozenji temple in Yokohama, Fujio held his first session on April 4. Nearly 80 people joined. I was really surprised, he says, not only at the turnout but because so many people came from around the world.

Ozawa and other Zen Buddhist priests, including Takafumi Kawakami of Shunkoin and Toryo Ito of Ryosokuin, both deputy head priests at temples in Kyoto, also began offering online zazen in April. Held weekly, these sessions replace the pre-COVID-19 in-person monthly meetings at their temples, offering relief from the stress, grief and isolation of the pandemic. Participants from places such as the United States, Europe and Japan gather via Zoom for bilingual sessions that run from 30 to 90 minutes and include a meditation session, a short talk, and a chance to speak with the priest and other attendees.

Elizabeth Little, who has been joining Ozawa and Fujios sessions from her home in California, says, The simple knowledge that we are all together in this pandemic experience reduces my sense of isolation. The weekly practices have given me something to look forward to, which has helped break the monotony of life in isolation.

Zazen or seated meditation, a cornerstone of Zen Buddhism, arrived in Japan with the religion itself in the seventh century. For over 1,200 years, practitioners have sat on a cushion or chair, straightened their spines, focused on their breath, and let thoughts come and go. One result, Ozawa says, is relaxation, but the larger goal is a better understanding of the self, which is helpful in a crisis.

During this pandemic we face questions such as What was wrong with the way we used to live or the way society was built? Whats going to happen next? How should we live from now on?, and it can be scary, Ozawa explains. Zazen helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses. You keep searching for your true self within your mind, always asking What am I? Where do I stand? What should I really do?

Grappling with such big questions can be challenging, Kawakami advises, but necessary. Tremendous stress makes us fixate on certain things and stop seeing the whole picture, he says. Meditation is about seeing how our surroundings influence our concept of actuality and vice versa. It can be uncomfortable, but we may discover something.

Questions and discovery are integral to Itos Cloud Sitting sessions. Every 90 seconds, he poses a question to practitioners on topics such as confidence or belief that are meant to carry into the rest of the day or week.

I try to offer various aspects of each word or idea, Ito says. Gradually, participants become familiar with the concept and see it in themselves. They realize they possess more qualities and capabilities than they realized. In this way, zazen makes us stronger when a big shock comes.

According to Dr. Richard J. Davidson, neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, meditation can improve the function of certain systems in the brain, particularly those that help regulate emotion.

Introspection: Daigo Ozawa, chief abbott at Tokozenji temple in Yokohama, says the larger goal of zazen (seated meditation) is a better understanding of the self. | Courtesy of Daigo Ozawa

This is essentially related to resilience, Davidson says, or the rapidity with which you recover from adversity. We cant buffer ourselves from stressful life events, but research shows that meditation can strengthen these emotion regulation circuits in the brain and improve our capacity to recover. All of this suggests a whole pattern of response which can be improved through meditation that can help us deal with the kind of uncertainty the whole world is faced with today.

While some of meditations effects, like relaxation, can be immediate, it also has long-term impacts, like resilience. If practitioners stick with it, that is.

Its like physical exercise, Davidson says. No one thinks that they can work out with a trainer for several weeks then stop exercising and expect those benefits to endure. The same is true with meditation. With continued practice, these changes can endure.

The goal, Davidson continues, is not to produce some pleasant or unusual experience during meditation. We practice because of the impact it has on our everyday life.

Marko Stoic, currently living in Ibaraki Prefecture and a regular attendee of Ozawas sessions, agrees. Regular practice eliminates those emotional surges we sometimes experience when unforeseen situations occur, he says. When I realized I could become calm much faster with daily meditation, I accepted things as they were and continued with my daily life to the best of my abilities.

For now, all four priests plan to continue offering online sessions. They have found an expansion of their communities and a simple way to safely offer their services in a time of social distancing, ongoing uncertainty and unrest.

Especially now, everyone keeps changing and their surroundings keep changing, Kawakami observes. But its also about having community, practicing together, creating a safe place and being authentic. This is a tremendous learning opportunity.

Cloud Sitting: Days and times for the 45-minute sessions vary; suggested donation from 1,000. Register via Online Zazen: Every Saturday, 8-9:30 p.m; free. Register by contacting Fujio directly at Online Zen Meditation and Dharma Talk: Days and times for Japanese and English sessions vary; suggested donations from 1,000 to 10,000 (free for doctors and medical workers fighting COVID-19). Register via Zazen Session Online: Every Wednesday, 9-10 p.m; free. Register via

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Zen on Zoom: Community meditation moves online - The Japan Times

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June 30th, 2020 at 1:42 am

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Improving balance and reducing risk of chronic illness: Learn walking meditation and its health ben… – Hindustan Times

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Meditation is not half as daunting as it sounds. Nor does it require decades of disciple to practice. (Representational Image)(Unsplash )

Meditation is not half as daunting as it sounds. Nor does it require decades of disciple to practice. It is the simple practice of mindfulness and situational awareness that can have tremendous benefits for the body and mind. You do not need any special equipment or spend hours sitting in the same position to achieve a meditative state. There are various other forms of meditation that you can practice which do not require you to sit still. Walking meditation is one practice perfectly suited for even beginners as walking is a part of our day to day.

Religions like Buddhism and Hinduism have pilgrimages to sacred places and these essentially serve as guided meditation walks, where throughout your journey you focus is on the spirituality of the religion and the very physical act of walking. Nimish Dayalu, a yoga practitioner and teacher, talks about how the objective for all meditation is to take your energy or focus which is outside the body and bring it back inside. This is achieved through walking meditation as it focusses your concentration on movement and breathing.


This form is meditation in motion is different from simply walking around. All forms of meditation require continuous mindfulness, that is to be in a state where you are aware of all the sensations and thoughts that your body is experiencing. The application of meditation remains the same no matter which physical manner you choose to practice it in.

How to practice walking meditation:

The first thing to note is that walking meditation is different from mindful walking. A stroll around the neighbourhood with your thoughts will not count as deliberate meditation. To practice this requires a precise technique which is easy to do once you take out time for it.

The first step it to chart out a line that you are going to walk on. The length is no issue, it can be 50 metres or 10. The path should be clear of obstructions. The location is also up to your choosing, it can be in a forest, park or even indoors.

While walking, the next step is to observe each step while you are taking it. There should be no purpose behind the walking apart from focusing on the movement on each step. It should be slow and deliberate.

As you walk, observe the movement of your feet, how you lift your foot and place it back on the ground. The key is to complete one step in its entirety before starting the next.

Walk the line back and forth as slowly as possible for about 10 minutes.

If your mind begins to wander, acknowledge whatever thoughts are coming to your mind and come back to focussing on your movement.

The time duration for practice is up to your convenience but this is not something that can be done while listening to music or while taking a walk with a friend. Each movement has to be slow and deliberate and should have your undivided attention.

Health Benefits

Meditation and walking individually have various benefits for the mind and the body. When combined, it can have many more benefits.

Due to the deliberate concentration on each step, walking meditation can help in improving the overall balance of the body. As you ground yourself before taking each step, this practice helps you understand the movement of your body and how best to stabilise it.

As you slowly increase the duration of your practice, walking meditation also has positive effects on the mind, increases the strength of your legs, regulates your heart rate. Yoga expert Nimish Dayalu, who is also a mountaineer, talks about how he spends months in the Himalayas by himself, trekking through the mountains in a meditative state, which have benefitted his health immensely.

All forms of meditation have immense benefits for mental health. While talking about the benefits of walking meditation, the Yoga expert adds, When my concentration and focus go inward, what happens is that I become more grounded in the moment. As a result of being grounded, I am not anxious about the future events and neither am I upset or depressed about the past events.

This being in the moment can help relieve stress and focus on things that you can change in the present.

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Improving balance and reducing risk of chronic illness: Learn walking meditation and its health ben... - Hindustan Times

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Emily Tuttle, of Wilton, is launching an on-line guided meditations program. Friday, June 5, 2020, in Schenck's Island Park, Wilton, Conn.

Emily Tuttle, of Wilton, is launching an on-line guided meditations program. Friday, June 5, 2020, in Schenck's Island Park, Wilton, Conn.

Photo: H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

Emily Tuttle, of Wilton, is launching an on-line guided meditations program. Friday, June 5, 2020, in Schenck's Island Park, Wilton, Conn.

Emily Tuttle, of Wilton, is launching an on-line guided meditations program. Friday, June 5, 2020, in Schenck's Island Park, Wilton, Conn.

Responding to reality: Wilton woman adjusts to coronavirus to keep meditations program alive

WILTON Mindfulness savante Emily Tuttle swore she would never bring her meditations online, where that in-person connection can be lost.

But when the coronavirus hit, her thinking had to shift.

This year, the Wilton resident was preparing to launch a venture called Pause + Purpose: A way for people to participate in guided meditations with friends and without the intimidation of wondering, Am I doing this meditation thing right?

With shelter-in-place laws in effect, Tuttle thought she would have to pause her program, like she had to for the many weddings she was scheduled to photograph.

But her communications director, Alexa Ramirez, told her this pandemic, when people need a positive outlet more than ever, might be the perfect time to release a series of guided meditations. She and her team would have to adapt and make the best of the coronavirus.

Its been an interesting exercise in responding to reality of situation, versus lamenting what isnt, she said.

Launching Pause + Purpose during stay-at-home orders seemed to contradict her vision for something offline, in-person and community-oriented. The series of exercises in set locations would connect people with meditations in the community, and allow groups and businesses to meditate and discuss deeper topics together.

These are happening, but with a twist. There is no Pause + Purpose location right now, and instead, people are hosting sessions in-person among close friends, or over Zoom, like Ashley Scavotto.

Scavotto sets aside her Monday nights for a Zoom call and guided meditation with her four mom-friends. All cozied up in pajamas with wine or tea, they talk through the discussion and finish with the meditation.

When she initially pitched the idea to the group, Scavotto worried her friends, who all have different tastes and temperaments, would not bite. Even though none had experience with meditation, they agreed to start.

It became the thing we were looking forward to, she said. It was so wonderful that because were meeting together holds you accountable.

Otherwise, after a long day, collapsing on the couch and not thinking is more tempting, she said.

The accountability of meeting with others is a hallmark of Pause + Purpose. These interactions break the addictive cycle of having 24/7 access to devices for work and for pleasure, which ultimately leaves people feeling anonymous, isolated, drained and not like themselves, Tuttle said.

In creating something structured in real time with real people you know thats either outdoors or on a Zoom call, youre focusing your energy on something really positive that you cant look away from, she said.

Scavottos pajamas and wine meditation show how these sessions dont have to seem intimidating, Tuttle said.

And, Scavotto said, it holds more power than other forms of self-care that women seek out, such as getting their nails done.

You uncover stuff and it has you thinking and processing, she said. I think its special. It brings communities together.

Tuttle is opening an online shop this month for people to buy memberships. Like Audible for audiobooks, monthly or yearly memberships grant members access to guides created by different professionals in the mental health and mindfulness world.

Tuttle said these memberships are helpful for people looking to host at home or with their businesses, and are great for social workers, fitness instructors, and anyone who does mental health work with clients or in the community. But anyone from a basketball coach to a religious group could benefit, she said.

When the Pause + Purpose team heard some summer camps were canceled, they knew they had to expand their reach to children, too.

So Susan Verde, a New York Times best-selling childrens author, is holding a childrens mindfulness session. It can supplement what parents or educators do with kids this summer, and it could be an antidote to all the online enrichment out there, Tuttle said.

Parents can feel like theyre doing something enriching thats not just staring at a Zoom call, she said.

Other guides are written by Aimee Elsner, of Stamford Power Yoga, and Westport-based psychotherapist Merritt Juliano. Elsner will guide men and women in a meditation that hones in on values, so practitioners can determine what they want in life through meditation and discussion. Julianos aims to connect practitioners with nature.

Verde and Elsners mindfulness guides will be released in July, and Julianos comes out in August.

The other resolution Tuttle softened on is launching an app.

Meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm help people who need meditations in the moment, but there is little-to-no personal engagement and if users have questions about if they are doing it right, they do not have anyone to turn to in real time, she said.

Tuttle said she is trying to make the anti-meditation app. A developer is working with her to make an online shop that is automated and seamless so people are not spammed with extra information. And maybe an app could be a nice companion to this in the future.

I want to make something that supports this and makes it seamless for people to use so that it doesnt feel like the tech is getting in the way and disturbing you, she said.

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Gareth Fox: Meditation Just as important as the gym – Gaelic Life

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The definition of stress is a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

In the hustle and bustle of 21st century living, demanding circumstances are a dime a dozen. Bills, jobs, neighbours, family, friends they all provide their demands. And each one adds its own little portion of stress, each one provides its own dilemma and unpredictable outcome.

Consciously, we might be able to assign to each stresser an order of merit, from most stressful to least but inside, the mind doesnt care. For every different exterior situation, the same interior reaction. The primitive nervous system (fight or flight mode) is turned on the body immobilises enormous amounts of energy and resources to be able to deal with the perceived threat in the environment.

We begin to use up the bodys vital resources so that we can survive the condition in the outer world. Our pupils dilate, our salivary juices shut down this is why we get a dry mouth our heart rate increases, our breathing rate increases, blood is shut down from going to our organs and is sent directly to our muscles. Its time to run or fight.

The stresses in our environment cause the same reaction in our bodies as in the body of a zebra being attacked by a lion in fact, for us it is the exact same thing, our body thinks its life or death.

If the zebra outruns the lion, the zebra needs time to rest and repair before the stress response is switched off and the body returns back to balance.

Blood is sent back to the vital organs, the immune system returns to function normally and the zebra can begin to eat again.

In the sporting world, this same exact stress response is set off by a number of familiar things both on and off the field; the fear of losing, of missing a shot, of giving a bad pass, of our man scoring, of making a mistake, of dropping the ball, of being taken off. And so, these constant stresses dont really allow for the stress response system to be switched off.

If you think the wrong kind of thoughts before a game, it goes into your body, changing your chemical composition, which then affects how you perform. Your thoughts create physiological changes, your muscles tighten, your breathing is shallower, your hands and feet become cold as the blood leaves the extremities.

Tighter muscles increase the chances of injury, foot speed is decreased, reaction time slows down and your reach is shortened. With faster breathing you tire faster. With cold extremities you drop the ball, and your ability to have clean contact when kicking is decreased. Quite literally, your thoughts (how you perceive your environment) can radically decrease your performance.

Logically, the answer to this would be to make a change in the way you think. Turn stress emotions like anger, frustration, aggression, competition, fear and hatred into elevated, heartfelt emotions like gratitude, appreciation, kindness, love, joy.

These emotions tell your body that it is not in a dangerous environment, and so the stress response remains switched off and the body can continue to repair and regrow.

However, it is not always easy to feel gratitude when your manager is criticising you. But there is something else you can do.

There are many different techniques and definitions for meditation. But no matter your technique or definition of choice, it does the same thing.

It creates a state of homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is the bodys base line status it is self-repair.

The cells repair and regrow and everything in your body works at optimal level.

The fundamental idea behind all meditation is to create inner silence. Quite simply what this means is to have no thoughts.

And the easiest way to have no thoughts is to concentrate on one thing your breathing.

Watch LeBron James during timeouts, his eyes are closed as he follows his breath. He is removing all negative chemicals from his body.

If your mind is solely focused on inhale/exhale, then it isnt thinking about missing a pass, losing a game, playing poorly.

As I said earlier, stress is caused by perceived danger in your environment, which is created by your thoughts.

If you arent having any thoughts, then naturally there will be no stress response and your body can focus solely on repair and regrowth, allowing you to perform at your optimum.

It may sound easy, but in practice it is extremely difficult. 99% of people who try meditation give up within the first month. It has to be learnt, the meditation muscle has to be given time to grow. What I recommend is starting with a beginners guided meditation of only five minutes.

Take your time and learn how to focus on your breath. Breathe in and breathe out.

A guided mediation will tell you what to do when naturally thoughts of the outside world start to enter into your mind.

Practice every day, and over time you will get better. Slow down the daily thoughts which are quite literally causing poor performance. Meditation is vital for playing well and maintaining a healthy body.

Gareth Fox is a qualified RTT Hypnotherapist and Peak Performance Coach who works with inter-county footballers. In this new monthly column, he will provide advice on the difficulties of confinement and offer ways to improve peak mental performance. For more information visit or

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Gareth Fox: Meditation Just as important as the gym - Gaelic Life

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