Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Yoga Nidra’ Category

Yoga Nidra is being taught at the Benson Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. These are Satyananda-based Yoga Nidras. The hospital is also a center for MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) programs established by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn. As I am doing the Teaching Company’s Mind Body Medicine Guide by Dr. Jason Satterfield at the Unitarian Society, it has become yet another affirmation of the dovetail complement of the bio-pyscho-social model of medicine with the meditation philosophies/practices. Viewers can download free tracks from www.mahasriyoga.com/meditation that brings over 35 years of experience with Yoga Nidra and refer to the book review of Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda. Benson’s research started with Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Benson writes in his book [The Relaxation Response}, “We claim no innovation but simply a scientific validation of age-old wisdom”.[3]

The Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital teaches how to elicit the response in nine steps. Benson’s website and his book describe four steps.[5] Two of those steps are essential: a mental device (a simple word, phrase or activity to repeat to keep the mind from wandering) and a passive attitude.[5][6] The goal is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes humans to relax.

Benson developed the idea of the response, which counters the fight-or-flight response described during the 1920s by Walter Bradford Cannon at the Harvard Medical School.[7] According to Benson more than 60 percent of all visits to healthcare providers are related to stress. It causes the “fight or flight” hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, to secrete into the bloodstream. This incites or exacerbates a number of conditions. They include hypertension, headaches, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic low back pain, as well as heart disease, stroke and cancer.[8]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Relaxation_Response

The core belief of the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) – that teaching patients mind body approach like meditation and yoga can reduce their stress and improve overall physical health – was proven correct in a preliminary study published this fall in the journal PLOS ONE.  The study found that patients who participated in BHI programs reduced their medical visits on average by 43% in the year after taking part.

Source: http://www.bensonhenryinstitute.org/


		
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The 80-minute guided meditation CD Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear is now available at Whole Foods Princeton, Ridgewood, and most other Whole Foods stores in New Jersey, lower Connecticut, and Long Island. It is also on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon (see links on Mahasri Yoga). The CD includes some core personal teachings of Swami Buddhananda Saraswati who was a key, well-loved Australian teacher (especially for yoga nidras and kriya yoga!) at the Bihar School of Yoga. He is the author of Moola Bandha:The Master Key.

Read Full Post »

Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear is now available for downloads on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Read Full Post »

breathe-fully

The guided meditation CD, Breathe Fully Live Free: Meditations to Release Anxiety and Fear, is ready at last and available on www.cdbaby.com/cd/meenamodi2.  It is a recorded adaptation, in response to all the feedback, of the BVMI fundraiser “Yoga for Fear and Anxiety” we did last July. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes will have it in a week or two–will post links. New Jersey Whole Foods stores will carry it but this is a longer process and will take more time.

The 80-minute audio guided meditation CD combines wisdom from the East and West, science and contemplative traditions, clinical research and psychotherapy, talk and practice. For 2014, the profits will be given to charities that fight human trafficking and care for the victims.

Read Full Post »

Being in Flow: Meditations for Peace, Insight, Clarity and Focus, the best-selling CD at Whole Body Ridgewood is now featured at Whole Body Edgewater, NJ. The CD is also available at Whole Body Princeton and several stores in New York and New Jersey.

All profits, 100 percent, are donated to charities. Mahasri Yoga supports charities that provide free meals, education, and medical care to the poor around the world.

Being in Flow transforms stress to rest. The guided flow of awareness clears the mind and improves focus. A still body and a clear mind become a powerful force of attention. When directed to look within, the attention reveals insight into problems. Grounding the awareness in the sound of silence within is a solid foundation to peace.

The numerous benefits of meditation are well documented: reduce stress, reduce blood pressure, anger management, improve relationships, pain management, improve attention span, improve memory, increase creativity, improve test scores.

Guided meditation is one of the easiest and effective forms of meditation. The mind is kept focused without boredom. Over time, it helps solve issues by exposing the root cause.

Read Full Post »

It is so difficult to let go of that which tortures us, to let go of our pain. Why do so many feed and nurture and grow the pain? Often, we do not even know the real cause of suffering in our lives as it is so deeply embedded. I see people clinging to the very things that drive them insane, unable to let it go, to free themselves. No space is allowed to live with joy, to live free. This is where numerous studies support meditation. There are so many meditation techniques and they all have varying effects so it is important to distinguish between methods instead of having the generic term “meditation” or “Yoga”.

One of the most effective practices is Satyananda Yoga Nidra–there are many who have “borrowed” this practice without giving the source due credit. We suggest going to the original source and reading Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda. There are several transcripts in the book.

Satyananda Yoga Nidra is a the modern adaptation of the tantric practice of nyasa which works at five levels or bodies–physical, energy body, emotional, mind, and spirit. Repressed emotions manifest themselves at all levels as they are an intricate web and not distinct. The practice is ingeniously simple on the surface and safely allows emotions to surface. They are witnessed with awareness, not judgment or reaction. This process saps the emotion of energy and it is free to dissipate. The emotion no longer has the powerful grip over the mind and no longer consumes the person.

Yoga Nidra is a pratyahara (sense withdrawal) method in the eight limbs of Patanjali Yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi--see What is Yoga). Disturbances from the mind, and by implication the unresolved issues of life, must be settled before dhyana can begin.

Experience beats theory and so readers are invited to try out the Yoga Nidras from Mahari Yoga–they are all free on-line tracks. Begin with the first one and then gradually work your way up. These are shared freely with all who seek peace within themselves.

Being a Witness

In this practice, we will learn to be a witness, a neutral spectator, without actively participating in the physical breathing or mental processes. Simply being, observing, has a significant effect in calming the body, mind, and emotions. You will feel it in this practice.

Who Am I?

This meditation reveals the perpetual and consequential programming, or the conditioning process, of the mind that began at birth. Think of the body and mind as hardware and software that are constantly growing, and being shaped and formed, by everything the body-mind is exposed to. This body-mind complex takes, absorbs, processes, and stores everything. As we witness it, is “I” the body-mind? Who is the silent witness? Who am “I”? Even if there is no burning desire to seek an answer, just being aware of the continuous, ongoing, cumulative process of conditioning can empower us to reprogram ourselves consciously in positive ways. Conscious thinking can lead to a deeper, compassionate understanding of relationships and less conflict. It does this by slowly breaking down identification of Self with the mind and the thinking process.

Up to the Summit

In this meditation, we begin shedding some of the conditioned programming. We learn to discard excess baggage that weighs us down and prevents us from getting where we need to go. The visualization of climbing to the summit, top of the mountain, and the inner guide part is based on a Yoga Nidra done 30 years ago during a course in Mumbai with Swami Buddhananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga. Over the course of the years, like an evolving recipe, our interpretation and wording of it has also evolved. This is our version, which too will change over the course of time.

Role of Purpose and Beyond

This fourth meditation is about looking at various roles each one of us plays. Some roles are easier and more comfortable than others. Do others see us the way we see ourselves? Who plays the roles? Who watches as the spectator? Exploring these questions is a critical step in self-transformation for a more peaceful life for ourselves and others.

Read Full Post »

“MEDITATION and mindfulness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deerstalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. The world’s greatest fictional detective is someone who knows the value of concentration…. ” is the introduction to “The Power of Concentration” by Maria Konnikova published in The New York Times on December 15, 2012.

Many of us believe that concentration is the inevitable by-product of meditation and the heart of meditation is mindfulness or awareness. When we practice, we are training our mind to be aware of itself–we are mindful of the activities of the mind. We do not force the mind to be quiet but it becomes quiet. We do not dismiss distractions but we acknowledge them and then guide the attention back to the breath or feeling or sensation, whatever we have been told to use as an anchor. And the distractions learn to remain in the background and not take over the control of the mind. In this way, we learn to observe the present and do not constantly remain entangled in the past and the hypothetical future. Concentration is awareness or mindfulness of what is now.

This is the process through which meditation enhances stress-free learning. Two reviewers of the guided meditation CD Being in Flow: Meditations for Peace, Insight, Clarity, and Focus wrote about their personal experiences in using the CD: enhanced productivity, greater creativity and innovative abilities, better ability to solve math problems and piano playing.

The New York Times article supports the reviewers’ experiences with studies and here is a brief summary.

  • The article cites improvements on measure of cognitive and vital functions in adults.
  • In a University of Wisconsin 2011 study, researchers demonstrated that meditation caused a shift in frontal brain activity toward positive emotional states for better emotional regulation (I have called this greater emotional fitness and immunity in my classes).
  • With mindfulness, “attentional flightiness”, associated with multi-tasking seems to disappear and there is improved concentration.
  • Mindfulness has positive behavioral as well as physical effects as it improves connectivity inside our brain’s attention networks.
  • The practices even affect the brain’s default network. There is greater and more consistent access to information regarding internal states and there is better ability to monitor the surrounding environment.
  • A 2012 Ohio State University study found that older adults who scored higher on mindfulness scales, the two areas (information processing hubs) that showed increased brain connectivity were the areas known to be “pathophysiological” sites for Alzheimer’s disease. So meditation may potentially help those areas of the brain stay healthier.
  • By strengthening areas of the brain most prone to cognitive decline, meditation and mindfulness (terms used differently by various groups) may have a prophylactic effect on the mind-body.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »