When Science Meets Mindfulness

Intriguing article from the Harvard Gazzette

Researchers study how it seems to change the brain in depressed patients

BY Alvin PowellHarvard Staff Writer

DATEApril 9, 2018SHARE 

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First of two parts

In 2015, 16.1 million Americans reported experiencing major depression during the previous year, often struggling to function while grappling with crippling darkness and despair.

There’s an arsenal of treatments at hand, including talk therapy and antidepressant medications, but what’s depressing in itself is that they don’t work for every patient.

“Many people don’t respond to the frontline interventions,” said Benjamin Shapero, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Depression Clinical and Research Program. “Individual cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for many people; antidepressant medications help many people. But it’s also the case that many people don’t benefit from them as well. There’s a great need for alternative approaches.”

Shapero is working with Gaëlle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at HMS and a neuroscientist at MGH’s Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, to explore one alternative approach: mindfulness-based meditation.

In recent decades, public interest in mindfulness meditation has soared. Paralleling, and perhaps feeding, the growing popular acceptance has been rising scientific attention. The number of randomized controlled trials — the gold standard for clinical study — involving mindfulness has jumped from one in the period from 1995‒1997 to 11 from 2004‒2006, to a whopping 216 from 2013‒2015, according to a recent article summarizing scientific findings on the subject.

Studies have shown benefits against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some of those findings have been called into question because studies had small sample sizes or problematic experimental designs. Still, there are a handful of key areas — including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety — in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments.

“There are a few applications where the evidence is believable. But the effects are by no means earth-shattering,” Desbordes said. “We’re talking about moderate effect size, on par with other treatments, not better.

Continued….

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

Your Daily Buddha

You are posed for flight! The actions you take begin with the thoughts that you make. Using intention in your daily practice helps guide your projectory and helps you find your power and balance. It is an ongoing process that can begin on the mat and then taken into your day.

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365 Yoga (Meditations)

Your Daily Buddha

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The Buddha (also known as Siddhartha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama) was a philosopher, mendicant, meditator, spiritual teacher, and religious leader who lived in Ancient India (c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism, and worshiped by most Buddhist schools as the Enlightened One who has transcended Karma and escaped the cycle of birth and rebirth. He taught for around 45 years and built a large following, both monastic and lay. (wiki)

To learn more:

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation 

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Bump up you energy with Camel Pose

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Ustrasana is a deep backward bend from a kneeling position. The completed pose has the hands on the heels.  The backs of the feet may be flat on the floor, or the toes may be tucked under for a slightly less strong backbend.

Ustrasana works subtlyto improve conditions of the digestive, respiratory, endocrine, lymphatic, skeletal, and circulatory systems.

In addition to boosting energy, some of the many benefits include:

  • Relieving back pain
  • Helps with posture
  • May improve confidence
  • Can counteract slouching and kyphosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) 
  • Stretches your abdomen, chest, shoulders, front of your hips (hip flexors), and front of your thighs (quadriceps) 
  • Strengthens your back muscles and back of your thighs
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Science of Yoga

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Energy Medicine 

Your Daily Buddha – Deep Dive into Tree Pose

The name comes from the Sanskrit words vṛkṣa (वृक्ष) meaning “tree”, and āsana (आसन) meaning “posture”.

History of Tree Pose

A 7th-century stone carving in Mahabalipuram appears to contain a figure standing on one leg, perhaps indicating that a pose similar to vrikshasana was in use at that time. It is said that sadhus disciplined themselves by choosing to meditate in the pose.

The pose is described in the 17th century Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā.

Description of Tree Pose

From Tadasana, weight is shifted to one leg, for example, starting with the left leg. The entire sole of the foot remains in contact with the floor. The right knee is bent and the right foot placed on the left inner thigh, or in half lotus position. In either foot placement, the hips should be open, with the bent knee pointing towards the side. With the toes of the right foot pointing directly down, the left foot, center of the pelvis, shoulders and head are all vertically aligned. Hands are typically held above the head either pointed directly upwards and unclasped, or clasped together in anjali mudra. The asana is typically held for 20 to 60 seconds, returning to tadasana while exhaling, then repeating standing on the opposite leg.

Benefits of Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

  • Improves balance and stability in the legs.
  • Strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet.
  • Strengthens and tones the entire standing leg, up to the buttocks.
  • Assists the body in establishing pelvic stability.
  • Strengthen the bones of the hips and legs due to the weight-bearing nature of the pose.

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Science of Yoga

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Energy Medicine 

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Vitamin B Complex – Vegetarian

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Vitamin D – Non GMO and Gluten Free

Eat Pray Love….by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Chakra Healing 

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Boho Yoga Pants

Daily Buddha

PEACEFUL WARRIOR POSE (VIPARITA VIRANHADRASANA)

Finding space is not always easy – sometimes you have to strive for it like a warrior. Standing steadily in Viparita Viranhasrasana, the sanskrit name for Peaceful Warrior Pose or Reverse Warrior Pose, your legs are spread apart with your front knee bent and your back foot fully rooted to the ground. Arch your torso back fully extending one arm and resting your other hand on your back leg. With your lower body leaning forward while your upper body leans back, you embody the physical process of give and take – of balance seeking. Finding peace often entails finding a balance the aggressive and receptive parts of ourselves. Be a warrior for peace. Be firm in your resolve and open to receive.

from Yoga 365, Daily Wisdom for Life, On and Off the Mat

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Yoga 365

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Yoga Starter Kit

Today’s Focus – Camel Pose

Open those shoulder with Camel Pose

Ustrasana is a deep backward bend from a kneeling position; the completed pose has the hands on the heels. The backs of the feet may be flat on the floor, or the toes may be tucked under for a slightly less strong backbend.

Your Daily Buddha

Connect with cosmic energy with Lord of the Dance Pose. Lord of the Dance Pose or Dancer Pose  is a standing, balancing, back-bending asana in modern yoga as exercise. It is derived from a pose in the classical Indian dance form Bharatnatyam, which is depicted in temple statues in the Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram.

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15 MINUTE YOGA STRETCH

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365 DAYS OF AYURVEDA

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