I am a beginner to meditation and have signed up for your class. Is there anything I should know?
Thank you so much for signing up for our upcoming meditation class! We are so glad you have taken a step further along your path to inner peace and it is our honor and pleasure to assist you. If you are completely new to meditation you may choose to arrive 15 minutes early on either Wednesday (5.15pm) or Thursday (5.45pm) to receive a full introduction from our volunteers. We suggest wearing modest, comfortable clothing as you will be sitting for some time. There is an optional vegetarian buffet dinner that the director puts on after class at Bangkok Thai Cuisine (next door, same shopping center). There is no cost for our class or for dinner but donations to cover costs are appreciated. Thank you so much for joining us and we greatly look forward to meeting you.
Why should I care about mindfulness?
Our state of mind underlies our entire day and life. Our mindset directly affects our attitude, our clarity of mind and our ability to make decisions and stay present while on the job, enjoying time with friends and family, and every aspect of our life. The more present we are in our lives the more fully we can appreciate and enjoy our limited time on earth.
Will meditation improve my physical health?
Yes Mindfulness is scientifically proven to decrease your heart rate, lower blood pressure and even extend your life (increases the length of telomeres which are protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes that deteriorate as we age)
Mindfulness practice actually changes your brain and increases your gray matter. Mindfulness practice is beneficial in preventing cognitive decline. Long term meditators were found to have increased gray matter in their frontal lobes (center for executive decision making and executive functioning in our lives). The amygdala, or center of emotional reactivity, was shown to decrease in size. The amygdala governs the “fight or
flight,” or sympathetic response in the body. In the past when we were hunters or gatherers this response was evolutionarily advantageous in being able to see the threats and dangers in our environment, so that when a tiger came after us our heart rate would increase and our blood pressure would rise to prepare us to run away from the threat. Nowadays there is less likely to be a tiger coming after us but our sympathetic nervous systems are still in overdrive, being turned on by Instagram, social media and the stressors around us. Mindfulness activates the parasympathetic, or “rest and relaxation” response effectively decreasing the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in our bodies.
Is there scientific evidence to prove that mindfulness works?
Yes. Check out 12 scientific based benefits of mindfulness and the research behind it
Do I have to change my beliefs to practice mindfulness?
No. Mindfulness is not about changing your beliefs it’s about letting go of thoughts and getting in touch with your soul and who you are on the deepest level. Meditation develops clarity. Just like a snow globe, when it is snowy you cannot see clearly the picture underneath, but if you put the snow globe down and let it settle you will see clearly, it is a couple dancing etc. Thus Mindfulness practice allows you to make better decisions in your life, for yourself and your loved ones, effectively making you a better mother, daughter, father, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, etc.
How should I get started with my practice?
Join one of our classes today! If you are beginning your practice a group like setting of like-minded people will encourage you on your way.
Download an app or listen to a guided meditation today! (Under the tab ‘Robert Mawson’ you will find 2 guided meditations to start off your practice today)
How long should I practice each day?
Begin wherever you are at. Taking 5 deep breaths now and just noticing your surroundings and any feelings in your body. If your mind wanders just notice and gently bring it back to your breath. Allow your thoughts to pass by like clouds in the sky and just gently bring your attention back to the rise and fall of your breath.
Even several seconds of mindfulness can be beneficial and you might just start with a 1 minute breath practice each day, or becoming mindful of 1 activity per day. But to go deeper in exercising your muscles of mindfulness we recommend about 10 minutes a day at first. Find a quieter time in your day, maybe first thing in the morning, or at the end of your lunch break, silence your phone and just be.
Can children practice mindfulness?
Yes. Children are especially gifted at mindfulness as they have less clutter and things to worry about in their lives. However children have shorter attention spans thus we recommend a shorter length of time for children. A good rule of thumb is that children can meditate for about the same number of minutes as their age.
For children you should make it fun. Use visualization of ice cream, their favorite dessert, teach them belly breathing, give them a reward after mindfulness practice.
Will mindfulness help me become a better leader?
Absolutely. Leadership takes clarity of mind, emotional intelligence, the ability to not just react on our feelings but be able to respond in a way that will direct your team in a positive and helpful direction
Clarity of mind, being able to step back to decrease stress and not get overwhelmed and being able to let go are all key benefits from mindfulness that will make anyone a more effective leader. Mindfulness also develops empathy and compassion, a key ingredient to any successful leader
Can I bring my child to the Meditation Center?
Our classes are geared more for adults than children as the guided meditation on Wednesdays and Thursdays are about 45 minutes long. Children who are able to sit still for a short period of time, and then walk to the next room to sit quietly and play are able to attend. There are two 12 year olds who join our classes. They sit right next to the door and when they are done meditating they quietly exit and occupy themselves silently until class is over. One suggestion may be to bring an ipad with headphones for your child. If you have an older child they may also wish to walk next door to the Bubble Tea Shop Kurabi and play until class is over. At this time we do not have a children’s class but hope in the future to be able to have lessons geared specifically for children.
How much does it cost to attend your classes?
Thank you so much for your inquiry. There is no fee for our classes. We are a nonprofit organization and donations to cover costs are appreciated. We greatly look forward to meeting you and thank you for your inquiry.