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Posts Tagged ‘stress reduction’

4 April 2016 April Éiriú Eolas workshops in Vancouver

Two more Éiriú Eolas classes are being held in April. The first is Sunday April 10th, and the second is Sunday April 24th. Both classes are from 10 am-noon, and both are at Endless Shore Yoga (upstairs in room 222 at 2570 King George Blvd. in South Surrey, British Columbia). In these 2 hour workshops we will be discussing the science of stress, how it affects the organs and nervous system, and how certain breathing techniques can influence our physiology to counter that stress and create a sense of relaxation in a hectic world. We can actively strengthen our body’s innate ability to heal and rejuvenate through practicing these techniques. Hope to see you there!

EE vancouver April

2 March 2016 March Éiriú Eolas workshops in Vancouver

Two more Éiriú Eolas classes are being held in March. The first is Saturday March 12th, and the second is Saturday March 26th. Both classes are from 5pm-7pm, and both are at Endless Shore Yoga (upstairs in room 222 at 2570 King George Blvd. in South Surrey, British Columbia). In these 2 hour workshops we will be discussing the science of stress, how it affects the organs and nervous system, and how certain breathing techniques can influence our physiology to counter that stress and create a sense of relaxation in a hectic world. We can actively strengthen our body’s innate ability to heal and rejuvenate through practising these techniques. Hope to see you there!

 

EE vancouver March

 

 

17 June 2012 Éiriú Eolas in Edmonton – July 2012

17 May 2012 In Sitting Still, a Bench Press for the Brain

John Hanc
 May 9, 2012
The New York Times

 

Katherine Splain, who is 63 and goes by Surabhi, has been practicing meditation for 43 years. Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

In 1969, Katherine Splain, then a student at the College of New Rochelle, saw the dark side of drug use among her peers. So she sought a different — and legal — path on her inward journey.

“I had read that meditation was actually another way of achieving the kind of ‘high’ that you might experience if you did drugs,” said Ms. Splain, who is now 63.

She heard about a class in meditation being offered near the school, decided to visit and was impressed with the students she met. “There wasn’t a lot of peace in the world in 1969, but these people seemed very much at peace,” she recalled. “I said, ‘This looks good to me.’ ”

Forty-three years, one retirement and a second career later, Ms. Splain, who lives in Massapequa, N.Y., and goes by the first name Surabhi, is still practicing. And like many other meditators, she says she believes that it has not only expanded the boundaries of her consciousness, but that it has also had beneficial effects on her brain.

The role that meditation plays in brain development has been the subject of several theories and a number of studies. One of them, conducted at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that long-term meditators like Ms. Splain had greater gyrification — a term that describes the folding of the cerebral cortex, the outermost part of the brain.

Published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal in February, the study is the latest effort from the U.C.L.A. lab to determine the extent to which meditation may affect neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to make physiological changes. Previous studies found that the brains of long-term meditators had increased amounts of so-called gray and white matter (the former is believed to be involved in processing information; the latter is thought of as the “wiring” of the brain’s communication system.)

It follows other studies examining possible links between meditation and physical benefits. In 2009, for example, a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting suggested that the mental relaxation produced by meditation has physiological benefits for people with established coronary artery disease.

The U.C.L.A. study, like previous ones, is inconclusive but intriguing. “You could argue that more folds mean more neurons,” said Dr. Eileen Luders, the recent study’s lead author, who practices meditation herself. “These are the processing units of the brain, and so having more might mean that you have greater cognitive capacities.”

The subjects — 28 men, 22 women — had a median age of 51 and had all been practicing meditation of various types for 20 years on average. The oldest subject was 71; the longest practitioner had been meditating regularly for 46 years.

Dr. Luders and her team used M.R.I. scans to measure the features of the subject’s brains and compare them to a control group of nonmeditators.

A striking finding of the study was that the degree of cortical gyrification appeared to increase as the number of years practicing meditation increased.

“We used to believe that when you were born, your brain would grow and reach a peak in the early 20s and then start shrinking,” Dr. Luders said. “It was thought there was nothing we could do to change that.” Her research suggests that there might be. As a meditator for four years, Dr. Luders understands the degree of mental discipline involved. “People ask, ‘What do you do? Just sit there with your eyes closed?’ It’s actually hard work, because you have to make a constant mental effort.”

Others caution that the results of these experiments do not necessarily mean that meditation conclusively caused the adaptations in the brain or that the increased folds meant improved cognitive performance for these older adults.

“I don’t think there’s enough evidence yet to say that,” said Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health. But she said that challenging the brain was often cited as a good way to maintain cognitive health as people age, and meditation is indeed such a challenge.

“This is an example of learning a new mental skill,” she said. And “it’s something that with practice people can get better at.” (She also noted that other studies had shown that meditation could be beneficial in pain relief).

In the 2009 study presented to the heart association, researchers followed about 200 high-risk patients for an average of five years. Among the 100 who meditated, there were 20 heart attacks, strokes and deaths; in the comparison group, there were 32. The meditators tended to remain free of disease longer and also reduced their systolic blood pressure. That study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, a research institute based at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. The institute’s director, Dr. Robert H. Schneider, suggested that the stress reduction produced by the meditation could cause changes in the brain that cut stress hormones like cortisol and damp the inflammatory processes associated with atherosclerosis.

Ms. Splain’s practice of meditation has, over the years, deepened into something far more than a way to flex her cognitive muscles. In 1970, she became a devotee of the Queens-based Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, a vegetarian and a marathon runner, and later worked for the United Nations. Now a devout Buddhist, she is planning a trip to Tibet next year for the culmination of an intense, seven-year course of spiritual enlightenment that involves mediating three hours a day.

In 2005, at age 57, she embarked on a rigorous graduate program in the interdisciplinary approach to schooling known as Waldorf education. Working full time and taking classes at night, she finished the program at Sunbridge Institute in Spring Valley, N.Y., in three years. She retired from her United Nations job in 2008 and teaches in the early childhood program at the Waldorf School of Garden City on Long Island. She credits the discipline developed through four decades of meditation for her ability to handle the intellectual workload of graduate school — and begin a second career at age 60.

“The mentor of our master’s program acknowledged the challenge of doing this while working full time,” she said. “But when I was able to hand in an 80-page thesis well ahead of the class, he attributed it to the fact that, quote, ‘She’s a meditator.’ ”

 

15 June 2011 Benefits Of Meditation: Evolution On-Demand

Steven and Michael Meloan
June 15, 2011
Huffington Post

The driving force behind evolution is adaptation toward survival. That organizing principle has enabled life from bacteria to Homo Sapiens to thrive. But we have reached a new phase in human development. To a great degree, threats from the natural environment no longer define our existence. Night-roaming carnivores are generally not the nemesis. The most virulent threat we face today is rooted in our own Darwinian heritage. It springs from tribal and xenophobic impulses buried deep within primitive brain structures. These impulses create conflicts between countries, races, religions, and even neighborhoods.

But we can jumpstart evolution and leverage it on our own terms. We can literally rewire our brains toward greater compassion and cooperation. As always–it begins with the individual.

A recent study led by Massachusetts General Hospital found that half hour per day of meditative practice over only eight weeks led to increased feelings of compassion, self-awareness, introspection, and reduced stress. The study also reported that changes in brain structure appear to underlie these perceptions. Increases in gray matter density have been observed in structures associated with these compassionate states, as well as areas linked to memory and cognition. Researchers sometimes refer to such measurable changes from meditative practice as “self-directed neuroplasticity.”

We spend a lifetime learning the details of our culture and the tools of intellectual inquiry. But we invest virtually no energy in mastering our own consciousness. Taking control of mental states positively impacts both personal and societal well-being.

There are many meditative paths: Buddhism’s Zazen, Transcendental Meditation, Tai Chi, ritualized dance, cycles of the rosary, visualizing energy moving up and down the spine as described by Hindu traditions, Islamic prayer chants, and Judaism’s Torah readings. Prayer and meditative practices are part of every major religion; they take us out of ourselves. The primary goal of meditation is to minimize internal chaos and noise — a calming and centering activity. In an era of multitasking, jump-cut media overload, and the demands of 24/7 technology connectivity, these practices become even more important and beneficial.

Meditation can become an integral part of daily life. A simple pause to look at the trees or the sky helps to momentarily shut down mental checklists and rehashing of the day’s activities. It can change our mood almost instantaneously. Stopping regularly to observe the breath is another powerful interrupter. Before bed, imagining consciousness leaving the confines of the body and becoming expansive can lead to relaxation and restful sleep.

Recent developments in the biological sciences indicate that environmental influences can alter a newly recognized layer of genomic control called the epigenome. And some epigenetic changes have even been shown to persist across generational boundaries. Until recently, this was thought to be impossible. Extrapolating this notion, we might speculate that the benefits resulting from meditative practices could conceivably be passed on to future generations.

Evolution on-demand springs from the human ability to self-determine. Xenophobic instincts, while inarguably part of our biological hard-wiring, do not have to dictate our interactions. The capacity for choice is one of our greatest gifts as a species. We can positively affect our personal behavior through meditative practice. And we can all participate in that process — starting now.

27 May 2011 Weekly Éiriú Eolas classes in Leicester, UK

Breathe in life. Believe in health.

Come and rejuvenate yourself with Éiriú Eolas, easy to use and rapid in effect.

When:

Tuesdays through June: am: 10.00 – 12.00, pm: 2.00 – 4.00, reservations required

Where:

The Friend’s Meeting House, 16 Queen’s Road, Leicester, LE2 1WP

Contact: Tel: 0116 270 9066, or email: oliver@eiriu-eolas.org

Join the classes, take some time just for yourself, and simply put yourself at ease and breathe in a friendly environment.

 

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