Mindfulness meditation improves health

cropped-Gentleness-06232014.jpgFebruary 5, 2016 | by Editor
Credit: Kah Wai Sin / flickr
Over the past decade, mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve a broad range of health and disease outcomes, such as slowing HIV progression and improving healthy aging. Yet, little is known about the brain changes that produce these beneficial health effects.

New research from Carnegie Mellon University provides a window into the brain changes that link mindfulness meditation training with health in stressed adults. Published in Biological Psychiatry, the study shows that mindfulness meditation training, compared to relaxation training, reduces Interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory health biomarker, in high-stress, unemployed community adults.

See Also: Meditation might slow the age-related loss of gray matter in the brain

The biological health-related benefits occur because mindfulness meditation training fundamentally alters brain network functional connectivity patterns and the brain changes statistically explain the improvements in inflammation.

“We’ve now seen that mindfulness meditation training can reduce inflammatory biomarkers in several initial studies, and this new work sheds light into what mindfulness training is doing to the brain to produce these inflammatory health benefits,” said David Creswell, lead author and associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For the randomized controlled trial, 35 job-seeking, stressed adults were exposed to either an intensive three-day mindfulness meditation retreat program or a well-matched relaxation retreat program that did not have a mindfulness component. All participants completed a five-minute resting state brain scan before and after the three-day program. They also provided blood samples right before the intervention began and at a four-month follow-up.

Learn More: How the brain works during meditation

The brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation training increased the functional connectivity of the participants’ resting default mode network in areas important to attention and executive control, namely the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Participants who received the relaxation training did not show these brain changes.

The participants who completed the mindfulness meditation program also had reduced IL-6 levels, and the changes in brain functional connectivity coupling accounted for the lower inflammation levels.

“We think that these brain changes provide a neurobiological marker for improved executive control and stress resilience, such that mindfulness meditation training improves your brain’s ability to help you manage stress, and these changes improve a broad range of stress-related health outcomes, such as your inflammatory health,” Creswell said.

Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Carnegie Mellon University Original reporting by: Shilo Rea

Publication

Creswell JD et al. Alterations in resting state functional connectivity link mindfulness meditation with reduced interleukin-6: a randomized controlled trial. Biological Psychiatry, Published Online January 29 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.01.008

Focus on the Breath

Focus on the Breath  Watching the faces of clients, and myself, while concentrating during a balancing technique is both entertaining and deceiving. I am entertained to see the amount of focus and concentration one is asserting during the technique.  I am also being deceived because I am not able to see the battle going on in the clients mind. It’s the questioning and analyzing going on in an inner conversation that is both internally loud and distracting.

It sounds something like this:

I’m doing great, I’m losing it, Is anyone watching, I think I have it, Don’t put your foot down, Am I doing it right….

My instruction to the class is; Focus on the breath! It quiets the distracting inner conversation. There is no need to analyze, compare or coach oneself. Focusing on the breath relaxes the body and quiets the mind so you can feel or experience the correct posture for the technique. No need to fight or have World War III going on in the mind. It is better to relax and enjoy the moment even if you are not completely successful at holding the posture or balancing for as long as you may wish. It will get better with practice and time. Focus on the breath and release any tension or stress enjoying the moment. That is why we are doing this class.

 

Don’t fight your own Body

There aren’t many people that I speak to that have either tried yoga, used to do yoga or still do yoga that have not had an injury at sometime due to their yoga practice. Knees, backs, hips, necks, wrists or even toes have paid the price for the love of yoga. Don’t blame yoga. Why is there such a high rate of injury due to something that is extremely healthy and beneficial to our mind and body? Could it be the poses? No!

Bow Down (2)In weight, aerobic, bodyweight or resistance training the objective is to tear the muscle down so that it can grow back stronger and bigger. The mind goes past the pain and pushes the body to accomplish the goal of crushing the muscles. Many injuries also occur with these training methods.

When one is pushing oneself to accomplish the set goal it doesn’t take much of a perversion of movement for injury to occur. The wrong weight distribution or arm movement path can slow our progress to a stand still.

Don’t fight your own body! The push past the pain message may work for aerobic, bodyweight or resistance training but is directly opposite to Gentleness in Motion yoga and tai chi. We use correct technique with breath control, patience with gravity and expansion with release to accomplish results. Staying aware of my thoughts and the pull of gravity as a friend helps to increase flexibility without injury. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t pain involved. There is always pain in the body when it is being stretched just not injury. As my students hear me say,  “It hurts so good”.

This is not as easy as it seems. Slowing down takes a lot of discipline and practice to slow down enough to master this concept because of the different levels of thought that are all going on at the same time. The great news is that anyone can do it!

So, breath deeply, connect your breath to your movement, expand and release, be very conscious of your technique and let gravity with some patience do the work! Don’t fight your own body!

Prayer, Stand Firm in the Truth

07/02/2014

Techniques Used – Prayer Foundation, Stand Firm Foundation, Belt of Truth, 

[Ezr 8:23 NIV] So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

[Exo 14:13 NIV] Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

[Psa 25:5 NIV] Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

When you wake up with many concerns about the day ahead of you remember to take a moment to pray. This might take fasting a meal or early morning TV show that you are used to waking to. Be clear what you want from the Lord down to the its simplest form. Ex: Peace, Patience, Strength…. Be passionate about your petition.
If you are standing firm in your faith and your only hope is in your God and Savior asking to be guided by truth you can expect what you are asking for.

Seek The Lord Story

Seek the Lord – is today’s Gentleness in Motion Story

 The techniques involved are Kneel, Honesty and Seek The Lord.

Just breathe deeply, being filled with the Spirit, relax your shoulders, open up your heart area and surrender to His will.
Don’t stress, and listen for the still small voice of the Lord as you are seeking Him
Let us Seek the Lord with all of our heart as we humble ourselves letting Him seek any wicked thing in our hearts.
Deu 4:29
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Make sure that you are not doing anything that a doctor has told you not to do or you know that you shouldn’t do beacause of an injury.

Story of Belt of Truth

Gentleness in Motion Story (or routine) of Belt of Truth- using Gentleness in Motion techniques Freedom Foundation, Belt of Truth and Shield of Faith
The Story –
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
 
So Stand in Freedom and hold on to what Jesus has told you to do. Know the Truth that Jesus is and what His Gospel or Good News says and Walk by Faith being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see. Then you will experience the fullness of Joy in the Lord and this joy will be your strength.
 

A Shield of Faith Story

 

 
This is a quick routine using the Gentleness In Motion Techniques –  Cover Foundation, Shield of Faith, In The Spirit and Perserverance.
 
The Story – The Lord’s unfailing love and faithfulness covers all of my sins. The blood of Jesus Christ and by living by faith knowing that God is there and cares about everything in my life I am filled with His Spirit that empowers me to Love Him and love others. Knowing that Love always perseveres. So today, by the power of the living God’s Spirit in me and His love for me I walk by Faith not by site. I will hear, listen and do what He says.
Individuals sessions
Individuals sessions
 
 

Avoiding Story

Gentleness in Motion Avoiding Story
This story contains the techniques:
Shields of Faith, Freedom Foundation, Avoid Evil, Avoid Strife, Don’t set foot on the path of the Wicked, Turn from it, Lift up Your Hands, Hide, Avoid Boasting, Bowing Down and Be Filled with the Spirit

By Faith I understand who set me free and what I am freed from. To please Him I will avoid evil and strife, not arguing with others because every fool is quick to quarrel. I won’t set foot on the path of the wicked  which is a very easy wide path that leads to destruction or walk in the way of evil men. I will turn from the temptation that is within my own heart to go down the wide path. Lifting up my Hands I cry for The Lord’s help as I remember the scripture hidden in my heart so I won’t sin against Him. I avoid boasting about anything of myself but I boast in Jesus. I bow down as I am filled with the Spirit of the Living God that rescues and saves me.

Individuals
Filled with the Spirit

Integrity is seldom found in the world

INTEGRITY

SCRIPTURE

GENESIS 18:19EXODUS 18:21DEUTERONOMY 16:19-20JOB 27:4-6,31:1-40;PSALMS 7:3-815:1-518:20, 24:1-5,26:1-3PROVERBS 3:3-4,4:25-2710:9,11:3-512:2214:3016:1119:1,20:7,22:11ISAIAH 26:7,33:15-16,56:1;EZEKIEL 18:5-9MICAH 6:8MALACHI 2:6LUKE 3:13-14,6:3111:42,16:10;ACTS 24:16ROMANS 9:113:52CORINTHIANS 4:27:28:21PHILIPPIANS 4:8;COLOSSIANS 3:22-231THESSALONIANS 2:41TIMOTHY 1:53:9TITUS 1:7-8;HEBREWS 13:181PETER 2:123:15-16

APPLICATION

Integrity is seldom found in the world and can be used to powerfully impact the lives of others. Obeying the law, paying taxes, being faithful in marriage. dealing honestly in business, living up to your word, and doing right even when no one else is looking are examples of actions and attitudes of integrity which break down the enemy’s strongholds in other peoples lives and our own. The enemy knows that if he can cause us to compromise our integrity, our effectiveness as a witness for Christ will be lessened. And so he attacks in this area persistently.

There is a great cloud of witnesses counting on your integrity to glorify God and to promote the gospel in love and in truth to the world around you. Be on guard against the enemy’s schemes! Do what is right!

STUDY

Who needs to have Integrity?

 What is Integrity?

 Where in your life do you struggle with Integrity?

 Why is acting with Integrity important?

 When have you acted with Integrity and were persecuted for it?

 How does living with Integrity effect your relationship with God?

 How does this apply to your life?

 What is your prayer?

 What is your memory verse?

Allow God’s goodness to fill you with overflowing joy

GOODNESS

 SCRIPTURE

JOSHUA 24:15PSALMS 16:2,34:8MATTHEW 5:44-48LUKE 6:27-36;ROMANS12:2115:14GALATIANS 5:22JAMES 4:17HEBREWS 6:4-6;  2PETER 1:3-7

How lovely is your dwelling place...

APPLICATION

Our flesh is constantly bent on evil because of its nature, and so outwardly and inwardly temptations and trials come, bringing opportunities for you to choose the good and so glorify your Father in heaven. Wield your sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to disarm the enemy. Watch him retreat as you choose good over evil. God is always reaching out His hand to you, empowering you by His Spirit to live a life of integrity and so bring praise to His Name_ As you hold out the Word of life, trust God to light your path. Remember that you are a diplomat, an ambassador bringing good news of the Word of truth to a fallen and deceived world. Build one another up in the faith, confessing your sins, praying and exhorting one another in Christ. Remember that you are covered in the righteous blood of Christ and that your sins have been passed over. Allow God’s goodness to fill you to overflowing!

STUDY

Who is Good?

What is Good about God?

Where does your Goodness come from?

Why do people need to see Goodness in you?

When should you choose Goodness over evil?

How can you show Goodness to others?

How does this apply to your life?

What is your prayer?

What is your memory verse?

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