While many people turn to yoga to reduce stress, an equal number go to yoga class in order to experience a greater sense of connection—with themselves and with each other. We come in to class feeling separate, disconnected, even resentful (Why did she put her mat so close to mine?). We leave smiling, warmed by [...]
Marsha Lucas, PhD, a licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist, has been practicing psychotherapy and studying the brain-behavior relationship for more than 20 years. Her special interest is in the practice of mindfulness, and the neuroscientific research into its stimulation of the brain to develop new, more integrated circuits, which may be at the heart of well-being, [...]
We’re a nation fixated on youth—perhaps because our country isn’t even a quarter of a century old yet. Our anti-aging obsession has morphed into a multibillion dollar industry replete with cosmetics, creams, pills, work-out regimens, injections, and surgical procedures aimed at helping us look as youthful as possible. I’m not immune to the pressure. I [...]
Jennifer Mattson, guest blogger New scientific research shows what Buddhist monks and meditators have known for centuries: a mindfulness practice greatly reduces stress and improves our ability to focus. And, it turns out, that can translate into higher test scores and a better memory. Mindfulness meditation, traditionally done sitting cross-legged on a cushion, uses the [...]
Iona Smith, guest blogger
Like most of us, I would not want to relive my teenage years—unless I could do so knowing what I know now. Even so, I’ve been drawn to working with teenagers in my adult life. As a high school biology teacher back in my twenties and in my current role as a yoga educator in high schools, I’ve been able to pursue my passion for providing teenagers with tools for coping—tools I wish I’d had at their age.
Four years ago, I helped the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living (IEL) launch a pilot research study on how yoga affects teenagers. To date, we’ve found that our Yoga in the Schools program does indeed have beneficial effects on students’ resilience and ability to manage anger. As I head into my fifth year teaching yoga in a high school setting, I’m confident that I’m providing students with the wisdom and tools to help them navigate their teenage years in healthier, more skillful ways.
Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and executive director of the Mindsight® Institute. He has published extensively, including Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being.
Q Describe what you do in 15 words or less.
A I teach interpersonal neurobiology to empower people to create more integration, kindness, and compassion in their lives and the world.
Q Tell us about a turning point in your life.
A I was working with a family whose relationships with each other were profoundly shaped by a brain injury the mother experienced. The question of how to help this family depended on addressing how mind, brain, and relationships are interconnected, and what makes them so fundamental to well-being. That experience gave birth to a journey to bring all the sciences together into one perspective, one we now call “interpersonal neurobiology,” that offers a definition of the mind, a view of mental health, and a framework that reveals how mind, brain, and relationships are three facets of one reality that shapes our lives.