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Understanding the benefits of meditation

March 02, 2020
March 02, 2020

David McGrawDavid McGraw recently began teaching meditation classes at Move by BJC as part of Move’s Mind & Body program. Here, he answers a few questions about the practice.

What are the benefits of meditation?

Much of the research focuses on mindfulness as a meditative practice. Evidence supports the claims that mindfulness meditation improves emotional regulation, decreases anxiety, enables people to become less reactive and offers greater cognitive flexibility within stressful situations.

What led you to meditation and how long have you been doing it?

I was initially drawn to meditation as a teenager when I first learned about world religions and began exploring the variety of contemplative practices. My formal practice began after participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program offered through my university several
years ago.

How often should I meditate?

Much of the research suggests that the benefits are greatest with a daily meditative practice. My teachers have all been of the opinion that while the effort to practice every day is important, even just a few minutes helps you establish the new routine.

How long do I need to meditate to gain the benefits?

Some studies on the effects of meditation have shown that daily practice can produce significant neurological adaptations in as little as four weeks; the practice of mindfulness in particular is associated with changes to regions of the brain responsible for attention regulation and sensory processing.

What do your meditation classes at Move by BJC involve?

Guided meditation classes at Move are an easy way to learn the basics of mindfulness meditation, and the 25-minute duration makes our classes both accessible and productive for new and experienced meditators alike.

What is mindfulness meditation?

The practice of mindfulness meditation is deceptively simple: Remember that you are breathing, then watch what happens! Of course, our mind wanders to all sorts of places. By redirecting our attention back to our breathing or some other anchoring sensation, we cultivate our ability to be with and accept our present-moment experience, however it feels, and build our capacity to regulate our attention from one moment to the next. It is all about experiencing and embracing a different relationship with our mind and body: simply being in the present moment with acceptance and without judgment.

David McGraw is a licensed professional counselor and has a master’s degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in counseling, a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and biotechnology, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He currently teaches Monday-Thursday, with both morning and evening times offered. These classes are free to all members at Move by BJC.

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