Mindfulness and the Brain

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practices

teach us how to cultivate our non-judgmental awareness, inner wisdom and the ability to be present-here and now. It has the power to tame the mind and free the heart. Mindfulness helps us create a spacious and compassionate holding environment for ourselves and our clients. Mindfulness practice can dramatically reduce stress, anxiety, depression, physical and emotional pain, opening the door to healthy, joyful living.

Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB)

The research of IPNB tells us that attuned relationships are the single most important variable in healing emotional wounds and that compassion, empathy and nonjudgmental acceptance are the essential ingredients that allow us to be attuned to ourselves and others. Emotions of love and compassion give meaning and purpose to life. Our brain is wired to connect! We feel alive and happy when we feel loved, cared for and- connected. Experience life is relational. Kindness and compassion relationships promote well-being, emotional regulation and ultimately-brain integration

Mindfulness and healthy relationships- We ARE because we are CONNECTED

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”. Dali Lama

Some of the latest findings in Neuroscience indicate:

  • The brain is plastic and is capable of changing with new experiences. Through relationship experiences the brain restructures, heals, and reorganizing.
  • While early (and current) painful relationship experiences might have created emotional wounds, new loving and healthy relational experiences heals us.
  • Experience changes the structure of the brain. Therefore, day-to-day life experience wires and re-wires your brain. These changes occur in context of new experiences in relationship context.
  • When you responding mindfully to others, your positive energy, the good compassionate feelings embedded in the message cause your brain and your partner’s to release Oxytocin, a hormone linked to felt sense of safety, love and connection.
  • Actions that stem from a sense of presence, a hear-and-now, heart to heart connection convey a sense of safety, trust and peace.

Mindful Presence,

“When you bring conscious awareness to your activity, distractions and anxiety will gradually fade…”
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Practicing Mindfulness expends your hearts and increase your capacity to attuned to your heart’s pain and transform it into more joyful, peaceful being. It enables us to unlock inner resources weren’t available before and grow- from the inside out; being more connected to self, to others, to the universe – to everything! It creates the space and capacity to love and be loved.

Being aware in the present moment allows you to transform your relating patterns in order to deepen your connection and understanding of yourself which is the basis for understanding of others. Conscious awareness in the “here and now” is powerful! It allows us to make choices that weren’t available to us before; not because these choices weren’t there but because they weren’t there for us- they simply weren’t in our sight (conscious awareness).

What does it mean to be present? Practical application of Mindfulness Practice

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness”.
Dalai Lama

Here are four areas to practice that will help you to develop a Mindful practice:

  • Be present to your breathing. Observe your breath. Be particularly mindful of the sensation of the breath. How does the breath feel? What do you sense?
  • Be present to your thoughts. Notice what you are telling yourself in the moment. Being aware of your awareness at each moment expends your possibilities from which you can choose from. For example, we are all getting “Stuck” at certain negative, broken-record” thoughts not aware of the time it consumes and how unhappy it makes us.The awareness of this pattern when it actually happens (the awareness of the awareness) provides and exit door to unstuck. It provides us the ability (awareness) to choose a better place to be. By being aware of your thoughts, experiences and feelings at every moment and moment paves other routes that simply couldn’t unfold in front of you without conscious awareness.
  • Be present to your emotions and felt sensations. Feel your feelings with your whole heart. This means to be willing to experience various emotions to the fullest- including pain and suffer. Experience your emotions to the fullest in the presence of compassion and kindness from yourself and others provides a powerful corrective and healing transformation.
  • Be present to your five senses. Set your intention to fully experience life through your senses with your whole open heart. Be mindful of what you hear, feel, touch and taste. What are your eyes and ears and felt sensations in your body, perhaps even your taste buds and nose, telling you about the present moment? This is about being aware, being a conscious observer of your experiences – inside and out. Being present mindfully allows you to experience life and relationship in a WHOLE different light.

Sitting meditation

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

The time of sitting meditation is not to achieve anything. Please, don’t try so hard. The sitting is not for the sake of future happiness or achieving anything. We sit to sit. Do not rush the ripening of your mind. We follow our conscious breathing and become aware of our body, mind and felt sense, returning back to our breathing when we find our mind has stayed. Our sitting position should be upright, stable and at the same time relaxed. If you experience discomfort in your sitting position you can change it mindfully and quickly. After a short period of sitting meditation there may be a session of walking meditation.

A key to develop a sitting meditation is to simply “do it”. Try to be aware of any judgment as to how “good” you meditate and how “successful” it is. The success is in the practice itself and not whether you were able to do it good or bad as there is not such a thing. It is important to not only sit but sit consistently. It is highly recommended to sit every day from a period time of 20 to 30 minutes. If not possible sit as much as possible. Sitting even few minutes is much better than not sitting at all. Similar to developing muscles in the gym or keeping your weight the way you want, daily consistent practice is a key.

Walking meditation

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Whenever we are not standing, sitting or lying down, we are moving. We can learn to move and to walk with awareness. We do not need to rush. We have arrived with each step in the present moment. When we are walking from one side of the room to the other or from one building to another, we can be aware of the contact of our feet with the earth and of our in and out breath. As we breathe in we can say “in”, as we breathe out we can say “out “silently. We are aware that we are alive with each step, not carried away by the thoughts and emotions. We can train to practice walking meditation all day long. It is a wonderful practice which we can do anywhere and at any time; therefore, it has a capacity to transform our everyday life.

Daily Practice for your Well Being and Peace of Mind

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh,

  • At night: Lying in bed, before going to sleep, breathe and feel Loving Kindness and Gratitude in your heart.
  • In the morning: Make it your intention to have a happy, fruitful day: When awake and in bed, take a few deep abdominal breaths, tighten up your body with in-breath; let go and relax your body with out-breath. Then breathe normally with awareness and say- I vow to live fully in each moment: and to look at all beings with eyes of love and compassion.

Whenever you can:

  • Meditate: Sit quietly, close your eyes and follow your breathing. Ideally 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, sit a few minutes several times a day.
  • Do physical exercises with breathing awareness (Ex: Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking, hiking)
  • Lie down flat on the floor, be still, follow your breathing and be aware of various parts of your body (from “head to toe”) Do this anytime you want a break, stressed or tired.
  • Hug your loved ones and friends.
  • Most important- be kind to yourself as much you are kind to others.

Mindfulness Groups

BEING connected with Mindfulness


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Healthy Living with Mindfulness


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