The formal mindfulness meditation practice can be practiced as sitting meditation, walking meditation, lying down meditation (body scan) and as mindful yoga.
Weaving mindful awareness into our everyday means to pause for a moment and to notice what is happening within us and around us.
Both practices, formal and informal, are part of our 8-week Mindfulness courses but why not give it a try right now!
Training yourself to be in the moment and detach from unpleasant thoughts, feelings & sensations. Each session has a theme which introduces Mindfulness concepts and allows for practice and discussion. Over the period of the 6 sessions, you will find that your ability to be more mindful increases with your practice and each technique you learn adds to your ability to reduce your attachment to difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
As a positive benefit, learning the techniques of mindfulness often results in increased feelings of calmness, relaxation and less distressing reactions to situations. In this article Deepak Chopra describes your true essence: wholeness that you can feel and know by quieting your mind and resting in silent awareness. In my work as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) educator, I meet people for whom stress has taken the upper hand in their lives.
More and more people want to know about mindfulness as the scientific evidence for its benefits grows stronger.
In prior posts I’ve highlighted some of the numerous health and quality of life benefits associated with having a personal mindfulness practice: less stress, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, benefits for people with high blood pressure, chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and depression. Meditation: The Royal Road to the Transpersonal, Roger Walsh, MD, PhD and Frances Vaughan, PhD, eds. Great article by Cindy Gross on recent research demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness for sleepless nights. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a brilliant doctor and Buddhist meditation practitioner, created Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction after discovering the benefits of meditation for his patients that had chronic pain and long term illnesses.
Because really, the images that the word meditation invokes often include robes, shaven heads, beads, incense—all types of things that are all about ritual and religion. And this remarkable shift from the word meditation to mindfulness has had big ramifications. But mindfulness has become a concept and approach that is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, religion, culture or politics.
Where meditation needed a certain set of clothes and a special pillow and maybe even a certain haircut, all mindfulness requires is an attitude shift. But now, of course, as we are half way through the second decade of the 21st century, meditation is now for everyone and we can thank the word mindfulness for that.
But the practice of paying attention to the moment (mindfulness) is not limited to these formal times of practice. Driving the car, we notice our hands on the wheel, foot on the pedal, sounds from inside and outside the vehicle.
But if you are looking to start a meditation or mindfulness practice or go deeper with the one you have, then I say use your meditation practice in a formal way to strengthen the informal mindfulness practice that happens everyday. Ruth Lera is a mindfulness meditation teacher, energy healer, writer and boreal forest loiterer.
She is the creator and teacher of the online school The Self Healing Academy which offers courses designed to help students tap into their innate ability to heal themselves. Besides being a regular contributor for elephant journal, Ruth shares her thoughts on energy healing and the universe on her blog, Facebook page, and on Twitter. Uprising Radio with Sonali Kolhatkar Uprising Radio was founded in July 2003 by Sonali Kolhatkar, host and lead producer of Uprising.
Zencast: The Insight Meditation Center The Insight Meditation Center (IMC) is a community-based urban meditation center for the practice of Vipassana or Insight meditation. Closer to Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God Closer To Truth is the definitive series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence. The Alan Watts Podcast Alan Watts is one of the most widely read philosophers of the 20th century.

Philosophy Talk Philosophy Talk is a weekly, one-hour radio series produced by Ben Manilla. The length of the practice is up to each practitioner, most often it ranges between 10 and 45 minutes per day.
Mark Williams from the Oxford Institute for Mindfulness, pointed to findings from latest research, which suggest that if you formally practice mindfulness between 0 to 3 days you will yield 50% less than if you practice 3 to 6 days a week. Designed to be practiced during the daily events of our lives, it is about bringing our kind and gentle awareness to the full range of our experience.
One of the things we discover as we learn how to meditate and observe our thoughts and emotions is that everything we say, and do, and feel is connected to other things. 07-E010, June, 2007 prepared by the University of Alberta Evidence-Based Practice Center for the U.S.
When my teenage son was angling to inherit my car, he suddenly became concerned with how I operated it. Could you intentionally practice eating another way: Smelling the fragrance, seeing the beauty of the food, feeling the smooth texture in the mouth, savoring the delicious flavor?
I noticed that I was lost in thought at the moment – that seemingly nonstop inner narrative about meaningless minutiae.
And we all know how the modern medical world feels about religion interfering with their sterile, scientific world.
It is where we choose a block of time (even five minutes is awesome and effective) and we choose a practice such as following our breath, saying a mantra, doing a body scan or doing a walking meditation and we stick to it. The experience of mindfulness and meditation is so much more then the words we use to describe these activities. Interviews include Seane Corn, Thich Nhat Hanh,  Michael Beckwith, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg & more! We are a non-residential center in Redwood City, California, dedicated to the study and practice of Buddhist teachings.IMC offers a broad range of practice and community activities. In addition to his 28 books, Alan Watts delivered hundreds of public lectures and seminars the recordings of which have been preserved in the archives of the Electronic University, a non-profit organization dedicated to higher education.
The hosts' down-to-earth and no-nonsense approach brings the richness of philosophic thought to everyday subjects.
We observe our most immediate experience such as our breathing, thoughts, feeling, bodily sensations and our environment. It is not to be mistaken for a forced break in which we tick off a mental checklist of what we feel, see, hear, think as quickly as possible. Often at the root of the stress vortex is not just a lack of self love, but a harsh and judgmental narrative that throttles the self regularly. Regular practice can also propel the practitioner on a journey of personal growth and transformation. We train the mind by paying attention to the present moment, bringing ourselves back to this moment every time our attention wanders. Cutting carrots, we notice the color, the texture, the weight of the knife, each slice of carrot falling to the cutting board.
I like to say meditation is the lesson and mindfulness is where we put our lessons into practice. Simply informing listeners of the problems in the world and our communities is not enough - we hope to motivate our listeners to take an active role in their communities.
This includes a weekly schedule of meditation sessions, dharma talks (talks on Buddhist teaching and practice), classes, group discussions, yoga practice and a variety of meditation and study retreats.IMC began in 1986 as a gathering of individuals who meet in order to learn, support and deepen their mindfulness practice. The shows are a rich visual experience, shot entirely on location in high definition with multiple cameras generating rich production values. For the past two years Alan's eldest son, Mark Watts has reviewed and cataloged these talks to prepare them for public broadcast. Topics are lofty (Truth, Beauty, Justice), arresting (Terrorism, Intelligent Design, Suicide), and engaging (Baseball, Love, Happiness).This is not a lecture or a college course, it's philosophy in action!
Over time you can begin to shift from “automatic pilot” to present moment awareness during whatever you may be doing or experiencing.

In my work with people who come to study mindfulness to reduce stress, as well as in my own life, I’ve seen how a difficult life situation, even what some might call a physical or emotional “breakdown”, typically signals a transformation – the emergence of something new.
In this excellent New York Times article, Jeff Gordiner thoroughly explores the practice of how to meditate while you eat! Just as you need to do practice runs to train the physical muscles in order to run a marathon we also need to train the mind through meditation to be able to run the mental marathon which is our whole life.
Uprising airs daily on KPFK, Pacifica in Southern California from 8-9 am on weekdays, Pacific Standard Time. It is an informal group, and those interested in mindfulness meditation are heartily welcome to participate whenever they wish. The visual lushness of the high definition, on-location productions, combined with the intriguing titles of the shows, builds audiences already interested in mankind's greatest questions. The Electronic University is now pleased to present the highlights of the spoken works of Alan Watts. Philosophy Talk is a fun opportunity to explore issues of importance to your audience in a thoughtful, friendly fashion, where thinking is encouraged.
If your interior landscape is habitually harsh and critical, your outer landscape will reflect the same quality. Mindfulness during your daily activities leads to an expanded perspective and understanding of oneself. Shift into neutral on a regular basis (how about stop lights?) and preserve the life of your body and your mind. As you practice, you’ll begin to observe thoughts and feelings with the same quality you observe any sensory experience, without habitually reacting to them, as many of us do.
There were things I needed to pay attention to, feel, and release to make room for the new me that was emerging. It was only through a regular meditation practice that I came to understand the underlying origins of my physical and emotional stress. The most important thing you can do to transform your life is to start a new habit of treating yourself with kindness. This is important because the mind tends to take on the qualities of the things we (habitually) pay attention to. One of my teachers describes this phenomenon by saying, “we are always practicing something,” and “whatever we practice we get good at.” For example, if we habitually rehash things that make us angry, we unconsciously get very good at being angry and unhappy. The richness of what WAS actually happening was right in my lap – I just had to stop thinking long enough and remember to notice!
Here is a great little article by Wendy Strgar that explains how and why kindness to yourself is so fundamental. If we unconsciously pay attention and react to worrisome thoughts, we become very, very good worriers.  However, if we intentionally cultivate the quality of patience (as we do toward the fluctuating nature of our own mind in mindfulness practice) we get good at being patient with ourselves and others. By practicing being open to my inner turmoil with compassion, without judging it as good or bad, but simply the truth that was emerging through me at the time, and allowing that pain to be fully felt, I discovered I already had everything I needed – inside –  to face the scary monster within. If we practice cultivating qualities of non-judgment and kindness (especially toward ourselves) we become kind and less judgmental. The anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain were telling me to look within and to pay attention. By learning and practicing being “present” in the  “moment” (rather than on “automatic pilot”) we can wisely influence what unfolds in this moment, and the next, and thus the rest of our lives.
Attend the Free MBSR Talk on Wednesday, March 7th at 10 am at the Naples Daily News on Immokalee Road.

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