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(Reuters Health) - Adolescents assigned to a mindfulness meditation program appeared to have improvements in memory in a recent study.

"These results are consistent with a growing body of research in adults that has found mindfulness meditation to be a helpful tool for enhancing working memory capacity," said Kristen E. Jastrowski Mano of the psychology department at the University of Cincinnati, who coauthored the new study.

The researchers randomly divided 198 public middle school students into three groups: mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga or a waitlist. Most students were female, ages 12 to 15, and from low-income households that qualified for reduced-cost lunch.

Before the study began and after it ended, the students completed computer-based memory assessments and reported their stress and anxiety levels via questionnaires.

The meditation and yoga groups met for 45 minutes twice a week, for four weeks. In addition, students logged their home practice in journals that were collected each week.

Two trained mindfulness instructors led the meditation group in breathing techniques, formal meditation and discussion using written scripts with instructions on sitting posture, breathing and wandering thoughts.

Students were encouraged to take CDs with meditation audio recordings and use them for 15 to 30 minutes daily at home.

The yoga sessions were structured similarly, with trained instructors focusing on breathing, yoga poses and discussion. The kids in this group were also encouraged to practice at home daily using a DVD with yoga lessons.

Memory scores increased in the mindfulness meditation group by the end of the study, while they did not change in the yoga or waitlist groups, the authors reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Perceived stress and anxiety decreased in all three groups over time.

"Working memory is often conceptualized as being a 'mental workbench' that allows a person to keep information in mind long enough for reasoning and comprehension to occur," Jastrowski Mano told Reuters Health by email. "It is involved in helping the brain shift information from short-term memory to long-term memory."
Is the world an illusion?

No, of course not. When someone says the world you perceive is an illusion, they are either being figurative or they are mistaken. The world is the world. It is that in which we live.

Why do they say the world is an illusion, then? Because, as I have mentioned in other articles, too many of our perceptions are clouded by judgement we make that are other than that which we perceive.

Think of the beginning of vision. Think of different animals and the way they see. Certainly the eyesight of various animals is different. Do they all live in the same world?

Of course they do. To say they don't is to be figurative or to believe in something different from what I believe.

I don't just mean the way their brains process the visual data they receive from their eyes. That is obviously different. A rabbit cannot read.

I mean the actual visual data received. Now, think about how you think about the world you live in. There is data missing.

Part of advanced mindfulness and meditation is contemplating this fact, in a way. It is coming to terms with this. It is not an easy thing. One must accept that one has a uniformly incomplete picture of the world in which one lives.

But that is a very different statement than saying that the world one lives in is an illusion. It is not an illusion. It is an incomplete picture of the world.

What is an illusion is when you are looking but not seeing completely, listening but also daydreaming. To walk around half perceiving and half in a daydream, this is to walk around in an illusion and in a dream. What is worse is when the dreams of the mind cloud perception.

This is the reality for most people. It is not the perception that is an illusion. It is that sometimes perceptions are confused by dreams that we let our mind live while we think we are living totally in the world.

How to combat this?

The best way to combat this, according to monks who have confronted this problem for centuries upon centuries, is to best discern the difference between when we are dreaming and when are are perceiving. This necessitates an initial strengthening of concentration so that one may discern the difference between internal thoughts and perceptions.

One of the best ways for learning how to do this is meditation. Often this meditation revolves around centering one's consciousness upon the body so that one has a solid "grounding" in the world to be perceived. Localized sensation concentration, such as http://whateverlife.com/category/yoga/ concentrating on the rise and fall of the chest, combined with a focus on breathing is a common way for beginners to start with this kind of meditation.

Take a deep breath. Feel your chest expand to make room for the air, which was before outside of your body. Think of that air now in your body, as if a messenger from the outside world. Now exhale. Continue to focus on the same spot in your chest which will expand shortly. Continue.

As you struggle to maintain concentration on your chest, you will feel your mind's focus shift. This is the beginning of a strengthening that will allow you to discern what is perceived and what is thought.


Many people think that yoga is stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility.

This is done through the performance of poses, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect http://bikramyogabaltimore.com/ the alignment of the pose. There is an ideal way that each pose should be done, although not all yogis will agree about what that is.

There are many different styles of yoga being taught and practiced today. Although all of the styles are based on the same physical postures (called poses), each has a particular emphasis. Here is a quick guide to the most popular types of yoga that can help you decode the schedule at your gym and figure out which class is right for you.


Hatha is a very general term that can encompass many of the physical types of yoga. If a class is described as Hatha style, it is probably going to be slow-paced and gentle, and can provide a good introduction to the basic yoga poses.


Like Hatha, Vinyasa is a general term that is used to describe many different types of classes.

Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronized movement, tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of poses called Sun Salutations in which movement is matched to the breath. A Vinyasa class will typically start with a number of Sun Salutations to warm up the body for more intense stretching which is done at the end of class.


Ashtanga, which means eight limbs in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. Ashtanga practice is very physically demanding, because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. In yoga terminology, this movement is called flow. Ashtanga is also the inspiration yoga workout video for what is often called Power Yoga. If a class is described as Power Yoga, it will be based on the flowing style of Ashtanga, but not necessarily keep strictly to the set Ashtanga series of poses.


Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits of the pose and avoid injury. Iyengar practice usually emphasizes holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps in order to bring the body into alignment.


The emphasis in Kundalini is on the breath in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards. All asana practices make use of controlling the breath, but in Kundalini, the exploration of the effects of the breath (also called prana, meaning energy) on the postures is essential. Kundalini uses rapid, repetitive movements rather than holding poses for a long time, and the teacher will often lead the class in call and response chanting.


Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is more generally referred to as Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95-100 degree room, which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes are make use of this series.


Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara combines a strong emphasis on physical alignment with a positive philosophy derived from Tantra. The philosophy's premise is a belief in the intrinsic goodness of all beings. Anusara classes are usually light-hearted and accessible to students of differing abilities. Poses are taught in a way that opens the heart, both physically and mentally, and props are often used.


This style of yoga emerged from one of New York's best-known yoga studios. Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon take inspiration from Ashtanga yoga and emphasize chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. They have trained many teachers who have brought this style of yoga to studios and gyms, predominantly in the U.S.

These classes are physically intense and often include some chanting.


Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and gaining popularity around the U.S., Forrest Yoga is the method taught by Ana Forrest. The performance of vigorous asana sequences is intended to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. Expect an intense workout with an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.


Integral yoga follows the teachings of Sri Swami Sachidananda, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s, eventually founding many Integral Yoga Institutes and the famed Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. Integral is a gentle hatha practice, and classes often also include breathing exercises, chanting, kriyas, and meditation.


The first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center was founded in 1957 by Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda. There are now close to 80 locations worldwide, including several ashram retreats. Sivananda yoga is based upon five principles:

1. Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular)

2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)

3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)

4. Proper diet (Vegetarian)

5. Positive thinking and meditation (Dhyana)


The career opportunities have undergone a drastic change in the past few years. A dancer, musician, yoga instructor is as important as a doctor or an engineer. The popularity of yoga is such that many people wish to become a yoga instructor and thus opt for a yoga teacher training program. Money might sometimes pose a hurdle but because of various grants available for the same, it has now become even more accessible.

Previously being taught at a small scale, this has now become a fully flourished business. Professional institutes, government recognized courses, certified training programs, are all the outcome of the growing demand and importance of this concept all over the world. On an average the price of a certified training program for over 200 hours is around 700 US dollars to 5000 US dollars. The cost is the obstacle for many who want to learn this art. However, you do not need to get disappointed as there are many grants & scholarships available to help people learn this form of exercise and spread the knowledge to people all over the world.

There are 'n' number of institutes training people in this stream. List down a few institutes of your interest. Inquire about their training programs and their fee structure. Find out if they offer any concessions, scholarships or grants for certified and accredited programs.

The MyCAA programs initiated by for career assistance for the spouses of military officials offering around $6000 scholarship can be
The ways in which physical symptoms of stress are managed can make a world of difference on its impacts both mentally and physically. Symptoms of stress are believed to be connected to many of today's health problems including hypertension, cancer, ulcers, lower back pain, neck pain and headaches. Stress seems to be more prevalent on work days and during the holidays. Symptoms of stress are not always obvious in children and youth, but can have a huge effect on their lives. Many adults don't realize that there attitudes towards life can create many stressful situations for children. So parents need to be careful not to let your child feel your stressful situation, so they don't take on these emotions themselves.

Dealing with Stress in our Everyday Lives

Stress is a very normal part of life and in most cases it can be dealt with without the assistance of a healthcare practitioner. Stress has a tendency to take its toll on our immune system and studies have shown that people under more stress are more likely to get sick, much quicker and more often. It has been proven that stress can cause a number of psychological problems such as depression, eating disorders and insomnia. If you are dealing with any of these problems that you may want to consider a stress management class which helps with recognizing the symptoms of stress, identifying the cause/causes, taking action to address the cause/causes and thereby reduce the symptoms where necessary. You can take these simple steps to help alleviate the symptoms until the underlying cause/causes have been addressed.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very strong stress reaction that can develop in people after a traumatic event happens and changes their lives. For some people, the symptoms of PTSD begin soon after the trauma, but others have a delayed response. Whether it occurs right after the trauma or later on, PTSD has certain characteristic symptoms that usually develop within 3 months of the traumatic event. Many people with PTSD have nightmares, flashbacks, or disturbing mental images about the trauma. Many people with PTSD feel numb or detached causing them to look at themselves, other people and the world differently. PTSD usually doesn't just go away on its own; it typically requires some help from a mental health professional (such as psychologists, psychiatrists or counselor) for help. People of any age can develop PTSD including kids and teens. So if you notice anything strange with your child, make sure to get them to a doctor right away.


Anxiety related stress is the physical 'condition' caused by environmental pressures such as work, illness or death. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and foods high in sugar as these all increase anxiety and give the body temporary "highs" only to be followed by periods of weakness. Children and adolescents who are stressed may show signs of emotional problems, aggressive behavior, shyness, anxiety, and fear in social Ashtanga Yoga situations. Many students claim that stress and anxiety often led to plagiarism, sleep deprivation, and test anxiety, so for help they turned to tutors, therapists, caffeine, and sometimes even prescription pills. Chronic stress can cause increased susceptibility to infection, sleep disturbances, headaches and muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, as well as depression and anxiety.

The sources and symptoms of stress are unique to each individual and there is not a cure all pills that eliminates health risks. However, some of the symptoms of stress are very similar to those of depression so people should seek assistance from a physician if symptoms of stress so they can be diagnosed properly. Too often the symptoms of stress are ignored, until they result in high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, or depression.


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Researchers compared the two approaches in 229 adults between ages 20 and 70 with long-term low back pain. They assigned about half to receive eight weekly sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction, involving meditation and yoga, and the other half to receive eight sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on helping people change the way they think about pain. Another 113 adults continued their usual care, which often involved ibuprofen and other pain meds.

The researchers found that by the end of the eight-week course, 47% of people in the mindfulness group said their back pain was less disabling, based on factors such as difficulty walking and carrying out everyday activities. A similar number of people, 52%, in the cognitive behavioral therapy group reported less disabling pain. Both groups fared better than the group that did not change treatment, of whom only 35% had experienced improvements.

"Our results confirm what has already been found for (cognitive behavioral therapy), and we went beyond that to show this other mindfulness approach was equally effective for chronic back pain," said Daniel C. Cherkin, a senior scientific investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. Cherkin is the lead author of the study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cognitive behavioral therapy is already recommended in "some of the most thoughtfully developed and presented guidelines," Cherkin said. For example, the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society guidelines suggest that doctors consider the therapy, along with other non-drug options such as acupuncture, massage therapy and exercise therapy, for patients with chronic low back pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines last week advising primary care physicians to prescribe therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and physical therapy, and medications such as Tylenol before opioids for patients with chronic pain.

"The core (of CBT) is trying to help people reframe the way in which they think about pain as being something that is horrible and will ruin their life to something that can be managed with tools and here are those tools," which include exercise, breathing techniques and planning activities that do not aggravate the pain, Cherkin said.

There has been a lot of research suggesting a benefit for cognitive behavioral therapy in improving disability and mood in people with many types of chronic pain, including back, neck and shoulder pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia. But up until recently, there has not been a lot of research on whether mindfulness practices could also help people with chronic pain conditions.

Although CBT and mindfulness are "very overlapping," mindfulness is a little less about changing your attitude and more about accepting it.

"With mindfulness-based stress reduction, the main focus is on increasing awareness of emotional feelings and physical feelings including pain, but changing the way in which you react and interpret (them)," Cherkin said. Instead of breathing and planning, the mindfulness group in the current study practiced different types of meditation and yoga.

Given the similarities between CBT and mindfulness in what they entail, and their apparently similar effectiveness, Cherkin said he doubts that one technique would work better for some than the other. However, CBT might not be available in an area whereas mindfulness is, and vice versa, "so having more options ... is good," he said.

"My guess is that the next iteration of guidelines will include mindfulness because of the two large trials that have just been published," Cherkin said. In addition to the current study, one published in February suggested that mindfulness could have at least short-term benefits among adults 65 and older with chronic low back pain.

"What (the guidelines) will say is that we have limited evidence (for mindfulness) because we only have the two studies to suggest there is a modest to moderate effect, but there's no reason that people shouldn't do it, and it may well help people who aren't helped by other things," Cherkin said.

Does mindfulness really work?

"The coolest thing about this study was how the effects got stronger across the year," said Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who was not involved in the current study.

The number of people in the mindfulness group who said they had improvements in their disability was 68% one year after completing the therapy sessions compared with 47% right after the eight sessions. Similarly, the people in the cognitive behavioral therapy group who reported less disability rose from 52% right after they finished the sessions to 59% a year later. There were also improvements in the control group, from 35% to 49%, but the gains were not as great as in the therapy groups.

"With traditional pain therapy like opioid therapy or other types of therapies, the effects plateau, they hit like a ceiling, but we're seeing here the effects get stronger," Zeidan said.

To try to understand why the participants in the current study continued to improve after mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, Cherkin and his colleagues asked them whether they were practicing what they learned on their own. "The answers were, surprisingly, yes. It was well over, half even at one year," Cherkin said.

"The ideal is that you don't have to think about practice because it's changed your thinking and how you feel."

Zeidan's research has found that meditation can change the activity of regions of the brain involved in attention and emotion. One of the biggest effects was a reduction in the activity in a part of the brain that sends information from the body to the brain, Zeidan said. The change could make it easier for people to "acknowledge and accept (pain) and not be bothered by it," he said.

Although cognitive behavioral therapy might employ slightly different techniques, and have different effects on the brain, "the end result for both is less pain," Zeidan said.

The long-term effect of mindfulness is still open for debate. The February study of mindfulness in older adults with back pain suggested that any benefit the participants got at the end http://www.lexingtonpoweryoga.com/ of the eight-week course wore off by six months. It is unclear why that study failed to find long-term effects of mindfulness, but it could be because the researchers were comparing it with an education program about healthy aging that was also effective, Cherkin said.

What are the downsides to mindfulness?

About 30% of the people in the mindfulness group and 10% of those in the cognitive behavioral therapy group said they experienced an adverse effect. Often the problem was fleeting pain associated with yoga in the mindfulness group and relaxation in the CBT group.

"Every study has had somewhere between 10% and 20% of the participants claiming that it temporarily exacerbated their pain, be it acupuncture, massage or yoga," Cherkin said. It is probably not really a concern, and could actually have been a "good pain, in the context of doing something that they thought was good for them," he added.

In addition to the possibility of temporary pain, practices such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy demand more of a time commitment than taking Tylenol or ibuprofen, two common drugs for low back pain. Each of the eight sessions lasted about two hours. Only 51% of the mindfulness group and 57% of the cognitive behavioral therapy group even made it https://trello.com/ritascribner through six sessions.

"That is what is going to happen in the real world; life interferes with plans," Cherkin said. However, despite the fact that almost half of the participants made it to fewer than three quarters of the sessions, there was still an overall effect of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, he added. More studies should be done to determine what is the minimum number of sessions needed to reduce pain, or at least the perception of it, the authors of the study wrote.

In Zeidan's research, they use a mindfulness course that involves 20-minute sessions on four consecutive days.

"I believe people can experience almost immediate results from mindfulness, but not as brief as taking an opiate pill," or some other type of pain medication, Zeidan said.


Bikram yoga is a very intense physical form of exercise; it is one of the many types of yoga, with the particularity that it is combined with high temperatures and considered https://www.verywell.com/what-is-yoga-3566739 as the most extreme physical level of Yoga; it is practiced in a room heated with a maximum temperature of 40.6

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