amygdala

It’s Time to Unwind your Mind!

Introduction to Meditation

Here’s the Introductory track on the Unwind your Mind Meditation Instruction CD with transcript below:

Unwind your Mind Meditation CD

Meditation Instruction CD

Unwind your Mind Intro Transcript:

It’s time to unwind your mind.  Find yourself a quiet place to sit while I explain a little about these techniques to clear and open your mind.

We all struggle with stress, more precisely, our response to stress.  Tension, anxiety, short breath, fast heart-rate, raised blood pressure, disrupted digestion, trouble sleeping, the list goes on…and on.

Fortunately for us there are ways of neutralizing the stress response we are experiencing and allowing ourselves to enter a state of calmness and restoration.  As modern research continues to explore meditation as a therapy, we are learning how to apply these ancient techniques to our very busy and stressful modern lives.

The first set of techniques utilizes the breath as a tool to change our physiological patterning from a stress pattern to a rest pattern.  Once you practice them a while and are familiar with how you respond to each technique, they can be done most anywhere and can positively impact your stress response in as little as two minutes, that’s about 10-20 breaths.

*Remember if at any point you start to feel lightheaded while practicing these techniques, immediately return to normal breathing.  It can take some time for your body to re-adjust to what is really a normal level of oxygen.

The basic posture for meditation in a chair is preparation for a longer meditation such as the most basic mindfulness meditation:  Observation of the Breath.  20 minutes of mindful meditation is a very powerful tool for switching your neurological pattern into a restorative state and has been shown to lower cortisol/stress hormone levels for up to 12 hours!

Visualization techniques work through utilizing the power of the mind to conceptualize.  Turtle breathing, is a practice that helps us learn to change mental constructs by switching between opposites.  We can then apply this thought reversal process to more complex, stress induced, thought and feeling patterns.

Sound techniques utilize the physical vibration of sound to impact our physiology in very measurable ways.  Our heart, for instance, beats on average more than 100,000 times per day, reverberating in our chest, triggering cascades of biochemicals.

Movement techniques help us to learn to maintain a calm state of meditation awareness as we are moving, so that we can take this peacefulness with us throughout our day.

sop let’s begin.  This may sound strange our maybe eve a bit corny, but one of the fastest way to reset our mental pattern is to chant the sound OM.  It’s kind of like a shortcut, so let’s try it together for just a few breaths and see how you feel.

Sitting with your spine straight and room for your lungs to expand completely, breathing at your own pace, fill your lungs and exhale making the sound OM.  Like this…….

mommy-and-alvin-sqBy Karah Pino, MAcOM: Meditation Instructor and creator of Unwind your Mind

Meditation Influences Emotional Processing Even When You’re Not Meditating: Study

Meditation may influence the way the brain processes emotions — even when you’re not actually practicing it, a new study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Arizona, Boston University, the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and Emory University found that meditation changes the way the amygdala brain region responds to emotional stimuli — but that this effect on emotional processing takes place even when a person is not in a state of meditation. The amygdala is a brain region involved in emotion and memory processing.

“This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state,” study researcher Gaëlle Desbordes, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University’s Center for Computation Neuroscience and Neural Technology, said in a statement.

Researchers had study participants undergo one of three eight-week courses: one course was on mindful attention meditation, where they were trained to be more attentive and aware of their thinking, feeling and breathing; one course was on compassion meditation, where they were trained to feel compassion and kindness to other people and themselves; and one course just provided general health information.

Then, 12 people from each group underwent fMRI brain scans as they looked at 216 images that were meant to provoke positive, neutral or negative emotions. There was no mention or instruction of meditation while the study participants were undergoing the brain scans, and they were followed up with after to make sure they were not meditating while undergoing the fMRI scans.

The researchers found that the people who took either of the meditation courses experienced decreased activity in the amygdala in response to images that provoked negative emotions — a sign that they were coping well with stress and were experiencing stability of their emotions. But people who only went through the health education class experienced an increase in the amygdala in response to images that provoked negative emotions.

Previously, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found that eight weeks of meditation training was linked with more density of grey matter in the hippocampus brain region (which plays a role in memory and learning), as well as parts of the brain linked with compassion and self-awareness. That research was published last year in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

via Meditation Influences Emotional Processing Even When You’re Not Meditating: Study.