Disclaimer: This training is not a substitute for professional medical or mental health care. Refunds: If you withdraw from the class  5 days before the first class begins you will receive a full refund.
In A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, two mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) experts present a step-by-step, eleven-week program for effective stress reduction based on the concepts in Jon Kabat-Zinn's groundbreaking Full Catastrophe Living. Many of you have seen the beautiful art on display in the Integrative Mindfulness studio in Bonita Springs, FL. My new series of work is not based on comparison to other artists, but a peace at being here and a new self talk to encourage and gently disengage my focus from low self worth. The significant hormonal shift that comes with menopause – bringing with it forgetfulness, insomnia, sweats, emotional outbursts, skin and breast changes, and slower metabolism—can leave women feeling most unhappy!
Mindfulness is the skill of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. According to research, menopausal women who participated in a training program known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (“MBSR”), when compared with a control group who did not receive the training, reported lower anxiety and perceived stress, reduced bother from night sweats, sleep disturbances, and hot flashes, improved quality of life, less overwhelm, and greater attentiveness. Mindfulness practice is patiently training the mind to focus on a chosen “anchor” that exists in the present moment – your breath, sounds (like the ceiling fan whirring), sensations in your body – and gently returning your attention to your chosen anchor when it wanders (and it will!).
As you practice, you simply witness and observe all that comes into your awareness moment to moment, letting go of that natural tendency to judge what’s arising as “good” or “bad”, “pleasant” or “Unpleasant”. Even in a short ten-minute practice you will get lots of opportunities to “come back” to your anchor, and this coming back is really what the practice of meditation is all about.
While mindfulness cannot completely remove the symptoms of menopause, it can alter your experience of the symptoms. What I love is the app logs the duration and frequency of my practice sessions, and gives me “milestones” that show me the number of accumulated sessions and days practiced. Another great feature is seeing a real-time world map that displays everyone across the globe meditating with the app.
Stop, Breathe, & Think is an app for iPhone and Android offering several basic meditation exercises that vary in length and type, including a mindfulness mediation, loving-kindness meditation, and body scan practice.
The Mindfulness App for iPhone and Android made it on a few Best Mindfulness App lists for 2014 thanks to its no-frills format and dynamic session options. For those looking for brief, consistent guided meditation sessions, Headspace (on-the-go) is a convenient option. Medical researchers are looking closely at mindfulness training due to the substantial benefits it offers for insomnia as well as a host of other health, quality of life, and productivity concerns.
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego compared mindfulness training with sleep medication in two groups. This year a study by Duke University and Aetna found mindfulness training to significantly improve sleep, stress, pain, and blood pressure. If you’re lying awake night after night with a busy or worrying mind, you may already be feeling the effects – from chronic fatigue to more significant health consequences. Many of the people who come to Integrative Mindfulness for mindfulness training suffer from anxiety, just as I once did. Anxiety and chronic stress are the result of repeated and long-term activation of the body’s fear system, the “fight or flight” reaction which involves many body systems and is designed to help us survive immediate danger.
Here’s the good news – just as the body and mind overlearn, repeat, and sustain the fear reaction, the parts of the mind that naturally calm the fear response can also be trained and strengthened – bringing the mind-body system back into healthy balance. It’s always difficult to explain to friends and acquaintances why I go away each year for an extended silent meditation retreat. Upon arrival, each yogi is invited to choose a space in the meditation hall—a huge, tranquil space with large windows, dozens of meditation cushions arranged in rows, and chairs for those with less-flexible limbs—where he or she will meditate during the five to six formal meditation sessions we will have over the next 10 days. In addition, every person is given a “yogi job.” We all contribute to the operation of the center while on retreat as a practice of mindfulness, interdependence, and generosity. On retreat, my body and mind have the opportunity to process experiences and feelings that I never deal with in “normal” life. People who practice mindfulness meditation find pain less unpleasant because their brains anticipate the pain less, according to a 2010 study. In new study at the University of Oxford, researchers induced a depressed mood in study participants and found this disrupted the neural circuitry that regulates emotion, causing an enhanced experience of pain.
A 2012 Northwestern University study is the first to show that chronic pain develops the more two sections of the brain – related to emotional and motivational behavior – talk to each other. With this knowledge of how and why chronic pain develops, and with training in mindfulness meditation, you have tools for influencing patterns of thought and emotion that may be driving your pain.
More and more people want to know about mindfulness as the scientific evidence for its benefits grows stronger. Scientific research demonstrates 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. Paying attention to the breath is one of the primary ways to draw the mind back into the present when you notice you’re running on automatic pilot or habitual thinking and behavior.  Try associating several objects you encounter in your everyday life with mindfulness.
Are you interested in something you can do for your self to slow the aging process, and enhance the quality and length of your life?
At the heart of this story are our chromosomes – the bundles of DNA in each of our cells – especially the tips, or end caps, of chromosomes called “telomeres”.
However, new research concludes that telomere shortening is neither inevitable, nor one-way street.
Many common diseases of aging are associated with shorter telomeres: cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, weakened immune system, and cardiovascular disease.
Mindfulness, as taught in the 8-week program “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” or “MBSR,” is one of the most extensively studied methods for reducing stress and improving quality of life and overall health. The evidence reveals that mindfulness meditation practices are associated with increased levels of telomerase, the enzyme that protects, replenishes, and even lengthens telomeres.
Researchers believe that cultivating positive mental states, and decreasing negative moods and thinking, through a regular mindfulness practice, results in a “stress-buffering” benefit for our cells.
What can I expect in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program?Experience a deeper sense of peace and well being. In The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, three MBSR experts provide powerful mindfulness meditations and exercises to help sooth anxiety, understand common triggers, and live more fully in the moment.
Using cutting-edge research, this book demonstrates that the underlying reason for much chronic pain is nerve sensitization and learned nerve pathways, rather than actual tissue destruction. Psychologists and trauma experts Williams and Poijula offer the most effective tools available for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This user-friendly self-help workbook draws on evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and other mindfulness-based approaches to help those suffering from bipolar II disorder live more normal lives. MAKING FRIENDS WITH NATURE AND NATURAL LAW The fall of human society has not occurred overnight.
AS THE WORM TURNS Health and well being are part of the natural birthright of the human being.
I have been fortunate over the past ten years to have had the opportunity to study the shamanism used in the rain forest of southwestern Nigeria.
If you are lucky enough to live near mineral springs that naturally flow from the EarthMother's body, then you are lucky enough.
I am requesting that your decision to use the sliding scale be consistent to what I feel this training is about, which is connecting to our core integrity, and that you commit to the class regardless of what you decide to pay. It also has no religious or dogmatic requirements, although the information comes from the Buddhist traditions. If you cancel your registration less than 5 days from the first class a refund is given minus a $50 administration fee for the eight week class and $25 administrative fee for the four week class. It covers the basics of mindfulness meditation sitting practice, the compassionate body scan, light yoga and mindful movement, walking meditation and loving kindness meditation.
Evidence is proving that more and more employees are missing work due to work induced and stress related illness and that the cost and loss to the employer is increasing.
Because the body of clinical studies and research has grown exponentially in recent years, the evidence based criteria  required by professionals to substantiate referring patients and clients to a solid and reputable approach to wellness, improved health and reducing health care associated costs has exceeded all expectations. Legend has it that these 6 tiny dolls (also called angels)solve a child`s worries while the child sleeps. Every night, he checks under his bed for lights, and double and triple checks to make sure he has done what he was supposed to do.
Being present for me began a new emotional connection to who I am and what is embodied in my true spirit. A certain quieter place comes forward and seeps into much of my decision making and provides a peace focused on awareness.
One area I haven’t heard many people talk about is mindfulness and athletic performance. If you are longing for a better way to navigate menopause, mindfulness offers some real benefits.
We all have this skill, especially in childhood, but it can diminish over time as we fall into the automatic reactive patterns of adulthood.


It fortifies your ability to attend to just “what is” in the present moment without the overlay of thoughts that so often color our experience and make us truly miserable. Before mindfulness, my thoughts would have judged the sensations as unpleasant and unwanted (“Why did I wear long sleeves?” “Now I’m going to miserable!”).
You can liken the symptoms of menopause to a loud, blaring television, bombarding you with colors, sounds, sensations, music, and storylines. From apps to podcasts to audio books and videos, everything we need or want to learn is just a Google or YouTube search away. You can also join groups based on mindfulness traditions, location, and interests, or create your own group and invite “friends”.
There is also an emotional awareness component that prompts you to input your emotions and then makes relevant suggestions for meditation practices. It offers guided meditations spanning anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes as well as silent meditation sessions that the user is alerted to begin by the sound of gentle bells. The app provides 10-minute meditation sessions starting with a short body scan and then a guided meditation focusing on the breath. Many mindfulness teachers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hahn have wonderful mindfulness books whose audio versions are easy enough to find at your local library or on Amazon.
Typically, around 2 am, my mind was scanning the horizon like a lighthouse, searching for something to worry about. Stress is a major cause of insomnia, but pain, anxiety, and depression – all magnified by stress – are also associated with sleeplessness.
Researchers concluded that mindfulness training reduces stress by teaching people how to significantly shift their attention to the present moment, with a curious and non-judgmental perspective. Imagine a life with more energy, and the feeling of being well-rested and alert!  You can learn time-tested practices that will reverse the cycle of sleeplessness. In Pali, the ancient language of the Buddha, this word is sometimes translated as “unconditional loving kindness” or “unconditional friendliness.” It’s an openhearted welcome. I find my spot and arrange what I’ll need—a blanket and a “zafu” or meditation cushion that will become my home base or “mind central” during my stay. In the large dining hall, we share our (amazing) all-vegetarian meals in silence, except for the occasional sound of a chair sliding across the floor, or footsteps. On this retreat a woman, who I subsequently learn is an attorney, runs load after load of dishes through the steamy dishwashing machine as silent yogis line up after lunch with their plates, bowls, and cups.
Once I begin to cultivate Metta—that is, an openhearted friendly relationship with the activity of my mind—the thoughts slow down.
Most of us live largely unaware of what lies beneath the surface of the mind and heart, as we rush through the busy and distracting momentum of life.
I go on retreat to discover and become receptive to the truth of my human experience: the fear, joy, sorrow and awe lying just beneath the surface waiting for my kind and openhearted attention. As the NOI explains, “the brain has learned to be very good at protecting you from anything that might be dangerous to your tissues.
Scientists from the University of Manchester discovered that regular meditators show unusual activity during anticipation of pain in part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, a region involved in controlling attention and thought processes when potential threats are perceived.
Researchers believe that a sad mental state disables our ability to regulate the negative emotion associated with pain. The more the frontal cortex and nucleus accumbens communicate, the greater the chance a patient will develop chronic pain.
Mindfulness meditation is a complementary practice which can enhance standard medical treatment by your healthcare provider. Make them “mindfulness reminders”.  One of my reminders is the emblem on the steering wheel of my car. Then you’ll be interested in the emerging body of scientific research on stress, aging, and mindfulness, a practice correlated with a protective effect on our cells.
Researchers believe this is so because mindfulness promotes the adaptive regulation of emotion and reactivity, and is linked to greater psychological well-being. This positive change boosts our levels of telomerase which replenishes and lengthens telomeres and the life-span of our cells. The program gives you access to the personal guidance of Paul Sugar, who has guided over a thousand people through this life-transforming Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction process. Readers will learn how to determine the type of trauma they have experienced, identify their symptoms, and learn the most effective strategies to overcome these symptoms. See Table of Contents for further available material (downloadable resources) on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. With all of its organs intact, the right diet, exercise and mental focus, a human body can overcome any disease. Religion is a set of beliefs which allow us to understand and categorize our world and our place in it. If you know you will miss two or more classes before you register, I recommend you take the class when you can attend closer to 100%.
Trainings can be tailored to your specific workplace needs in a variety of lengths, formats and learning environments and styles. Even when things are not going well, I was able to decrease my self judgement and negativity. Your class helped me become more aware of my body and to tune into the messages it gives me.
Body sensations (tingling, numbness, fluttering, warmth, coolness) and thoughts (“How will I get everything done today?” “My back is killing me?” “I’m burning up!”). In so doing you become skilled at differentiating between “observing” a thought from the point of view of a neutral witness, and being drawn into the “content” of the thought, two very different things. Pursuing such thoughts undoubtedly magnified the unpleasant qualities of what was happening, making my hot flash much worse than it needed to be.
Mindfulness won’t necessarily turn off the TV, but having a regular mindfulness practice can help turn the volume way down. If you want a simple, elegant app that will guide you into the practice of mindfulness, keep you motivated, and connect you with the worldwide community of mindfulness meditators, this is the app for you! The user can, of course, set reminders for guided meditation sessions as well, and can even personalize his session. Animated explanations of the inner workings of the mind, as well as mindfulness tips, are included as well as reminders and tracking options. When it locked on it wouldn’t let go, mentally approaching the “problem” from every conceivable angle – until the alarm clock went off.
Is there a natural alternative that’s actually good for you, without side effects, and the effectiveness of which increases over time? Researchers are studying why mindfulness training offers such valuable relief for insomnia.
Mindfulness training can improve the quality of your sleep, your health, and your life  – no pills, no side effects, no dependency. For me, this would be a sudden and uncontrollable surge of stress chemicals throughout my body that brought my day to a complete halt until it passed.
Approximately 100 other yogis (the word “yogi” is used generically to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and meditative practice) gather here from across the country and around the world to immerse themselves in this unique experience —to strengthen our capacity to be “present” with life, moment to moment.
As a symbol of our “renunciation” of the complexities and trappings of modern, daily life, we’re invited to voluntarily relinquish our cell phones, which will be locked in the main office—safe from temptation—until the end of the retreat.
As a regular meditation practitioner, I’m quite used to letting my thoughts go and returning my attention to the present moment by linking it to an “object of attention” such as the breath or sensations in the body.
When you become still and receptive for a while, whether it’s a few days or a few months, in an environment of safety and tranquility, the mind and heart can begin to reveal things you haven’t looked at in your life—and process them with Metta, that loving kindness that we all need and all possess. This typically happens because the body’s natural alarm system becomes hyper-vigilant and abnormally sensitive, sending exaggerated “danger” signals.
Anxious and worrisome thoughts are threatening to a brain that is already hyper-vigilant about your survival. When I notice it as I’m driving, I take a few conscious breaths and shift from thinking to being. By taking up a regular mindfulness practice you can improve your well-being, slow the aging process, and help protect yourself against the most common diseases of aging. It’s considered an inherent aspect of human consciousness, and it can be strengthened thr ough a variety of mental training techniques collectively known as mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness practice decreases rumination (the pattern of revisiting negative thoughts), while it increases the intensity and frequency of positive and pro-social emotions like empathy, kindness and compassi on for yourself and others.
In this way a mindfulness practice buffers cells against the long-term wear and tear effects of stress, and is thus believed to slow the rate of cellular aging. A set of beliefs which define our culture, our expectations, our views of people and behaviors we expect.
Between 2007 and 2008 I was a member of a health care team conducting  a  six month pilot medical study for a local insurance company using mindfulness as its method.  I led   24 employees through the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program related to the company’s goal to address health and weight loss. So Fuzzy's mother comes up with several ideas to help him cope with being away from her.


When I used to run, I mainly distracted myself from what I was doing with music, thoughts, or TV. Rather than resisting these things, or trying to replace them with something else, you allow them to be present, but in the background of your awareness, as you escort your attention back to your chosen anchor. The latter is typically loaded with judgments, opinions, memories, fantasies, past, or future – all of which have an impact on your present moment experience, physical, mental, and emotional. With mindfulness I practice letting go of the judging and instead simply note that the sensation of heat is arising. With mindfulness having been profiled in both Time magazine and on 60 Minutes, people want to learn how to practice mindfulness (yes, it takes regular practice), and how to make practice more convenient.
They learn how to accept the presence of thoughts and feelings that may keep them up at night. The MBSR participants significantly reduced the time it took them to fall asleep, increased their total sleep time, reported no adverse events, and scored their satisfaction with treatment as high.
The“fight or flight” reaction is necessary to survive occasional emergencies, but in anxiety the body and mind have learned (or overlearned) the reaction too well, and our natural system for calming the fear reaction have become compromised. My yogi jobs over the years have included vegetable-chopper, pot-scrubber, and dining room-cleaner. With each retreat, I become more comfortable with the peaks and valleys of my own inner landscape, and more at ease just being me. Contrary to previous thought, there isn’t just one pain center in the brain, there are many, according to Pain Explained, a publication of the Neuro Orthopedic Institute (NOI) of South Australia. The brain’s faulty interpretation of these signals becomes deeply ingrained and persistent. Research has identified thought processes – “thought viruses” – powerful enough to maintain a pain state. This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse,” said the lead researcher. 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. I note the sensations in my body, sense into the experience of moving through space, and look at the sky and surroundings. Blackburn of theUniversity of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues, discovered why. Chronic stress wears down our telomeres and causes our cells, and our bodies, to age and die more rapidly.
The results were impressive and beyond other similar programs offered by this local weight loss company. I might reflect internally “This is how it is right now.” I let go of the impulse to escalate it by following the content of my thoughts. Dozens of mindfulness apps have emerged in the past few years that include guided meditations, information for beginners, timers, and reminders to become “present” throughout the day. Select your favorite to not only alert you when your session is over, but also as an “interval timer” to alert you during your session to bring your attention back “to the present” if it has wandered). Although the patients who received sleep medication obtained similar benefits, their treatment satisfaction scores were not high, most continued using sleeping pills, and several reported adverse events. One of the best books I’ve come across on this subject, and one which I frequently recommend to my students, is  Calming Your Anxious Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion can Free You From Anxiety, Fear, and Panic by Jeffrey Brantley, MD, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at Duke University Center for Integrative Medicine. Mindfulness during your daily activities leads to an expanded perspective and understanding of oneself. In 2009 they received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of Telomerase – a protective enzyme in our cells that actually replenishes and lengthens telomeres. But what happens to telomere length when we learn to positively change the way we manage stress?
Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychologicalmediators. I am now running, biking, swimming, doing strength training, and yoga as I train for a triathlon sprint. And this quality of “being”, when cultivated on a regular basis, has real life implications for your health and quality of life. I stay attuned to what other sensations are present; the sound of rain dripping from the roof, the hum of the refrigerator, the feeing of breathing in and breathing out. The trick, I’ve discovered, is to find an app that is straightforward yet dynamic enough to facilitate mindfulness practice for both beginning and seasoned meditators without too many distracting bells and whistles. Because MBSR produces no side effects, and the positive potential benefits of mindfulness extend far beyond sleep, the researchers encouraged people with insomnia, especially those unable or unwilling to use sleep medications, to consider mindfulness training with MBSR. While this is a complex process, one primary feature of chronic pain is hypersensitivity in the body’s alarm system of sensory neurons whose function is to send “danger” messages to the brain, particularly in the presence of inflammation. 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. More telomerase means longer telomeres, and thus longer and healthier cell life, and presumably longer life for the organism. Studies now show that reducing stress and increasing positive states of mind, particularly through the practice of mindfulness, promotes telomere maintenance and lengthening. Please allot plenty of time to find the studio and find residential parking in front or side streets. I do body scans while exercising, checking in with each part looking for issues, discomfort, pain, or fatigue.
I witness the stream of changing sensations moment to moment, and eventually notice the feeling of a current of air against my skin.
Below are three rock-star mindfulness apps to consider trying, as well as a few other recommendations if apps feel too fussy for you.
You can meditate in silence, or listen to one of eighty guided meditations led by internationally noted teachers (including several of my teachers). How about a life with more energy, better moods, improved concentration, and enhanced health? According to the NOI, brain responses such as movements, thoughts, autonomic and endocrine responses are then based on faulty information about the health of the tissues at the end of the nerve cells.
It was only through a regular meditation practice that I came to understand the underlying origins of my physical and emotional stress.
Historically this shortening of telomeres was thought to be a one-way street: shorter telomeres meant the aging and death of cells, and eventually the living thing made up of these cells.
As you can imagine, the implication of Blackburn’s discovery for the treatment of age related disease, and the investigation of the aging process, is now growing rapidly.
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.
I stay present with this process of change and notice after a few moments that my body is beginning to resume a normal temperature.
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. Undoubtedly this hot flash would have lasted much longer, and been much more unpleasant, if I had automatically followed the content of my misery filled thoughts. 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.
In the past, I never listened to my body and just pushed myself to finish whatever I set out to do even if it meant injuring myself.
Now, I celebrate what my body can do and enjoy pushing the limits set by my mind and by society. I’m not sure if that is from being in better shape, meditation, actually paying attention to my body, or a combination of everything.



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