Mindfulness and meditation classes, programs and workshops for kids and adults to help cultivate physical, mental and emotional well being
What Is Meditation?
Meditation means different things to different people depending on the style or method, spiritual or cultural traditions, time periods, texts, teachers and individual philosophies.
Meditation was traditionally used as a means to reach a state of higher consciousness, with good health just being a side effect. Now with our understanding of stress and the benefits of relaxation, meditation has become an effective technique in treating a wide range of physical, mental and emotional stressors.
Meditation is a mental discipline, which uses attention regulation techniques, to cultivate a calm and focused mind. You don't necessarily have to meditate to be mindful but you do need to be mindful to meditate...
Mindfulness is about:
Beingpresentin the moment and mindful of our day to day experiences (allowing yourself to be still and paying attention only to what you are doing here and now).
Observingour senses, thoughts and emotions without judgement (being open to them and allowing them to flow).
Increasing our level of self-awareness so we can learn to make thoughtful choices, decisions and actions (being calm and less reactive to challenging situations).
How meditation works:
Excessive thinking and prolonged states of stress are becoming more prevalent with adults, as well as kids, contributing to a range of mental and physical conditions. Our minds and bodies continue in fight or flight (or just busyness) mode instead of relaxing into a comfortable state of well being in between stressful events (or even just work).
Amygdala – in simple terms this is the area of our brains thought to be associated with processing emotions and our body’s response to it. When we get scared, angry or stressed, the amygdala can send a distress signal to other parts of our brain, which in turn may increase the flow of blood from the heart to the organs and muscles, preparing the body for fight or flight. In the absence of an actual physical threat to respond to and use this excess energy, the body can stay in this response mode for prolonged periods causing physical wear and tear and impaired mental performance. Practicing meditation helps us recognise and neutralise the fight or flight mode, and enable a more thoughtful and less reactive response. Meditation helps invoke the relaxation response our bodies need for optimal health and healing.
Prefrontal cortex – in simple terms this is the area of our brains often associated with awareness, concentration, rational thinking and decision making. As the amygdala shrinks or switches off (e.g. through practicing meditation), this area of the brain becomes thicker and it’s connection to the rest of our brain stronger, enabling more thoughtful responses.
Hippocampus - this is the area of the brain thought to be associated with cognitive functions such as learning, memory and problem solving. Practising being in a state of stillness for prolonged periods of time can develop new brain cells (grey matter) in this area.
Mindulness & How the Brain Works (from Smiling Minds)
" Meditation and mindfulness is about being aware of the present
moment. By focusing on the here and now, we are able to suspend our
thoughts, feelings, experiences and judgement, to bring about a sense of
peace, clarity and self-awareness."