some mindfulness research facts

 Achieving mindfulness through meditation has helped people maintain a healthy mind by quelling negative emotions and thoughts, such as desire, anger and anxiety, and encouraging more positive dispositions such as compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Those who have reaped the benefits of mindfulness know that it works. But how exactly does it work?

mindfulnessResearchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have proposed a new model that shifts how we think about mindfulness. Rather than describing mindfulness as a single dimension of cognition, the researchers demonstrate that mindfulness actually involves a broad framework of complex mechanisms in the brain.

In essence, they have laid out the science behind mindfulness.

This new model of mindfulness is published in the October 25, 2012 issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The model was recently presented to His Holiness The Dalai Lama in a private meeting, entitled “Mind and Life XXIV: Latest Findings in Contemplative Neuroscience.”

The researchers identified several cognitive functions that are active in the brain during mindfulness practice. These cognitive functions help a person develop self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART) which make up the transformative framework for the mindfulness process.

The S-ART framework explains the underlying neurobiological mechanisms by which mindfulness can facilitate self-awareness; reduce biases and negative thoughts; enhance the ability to regulate one’s behavior; and increase positive, pro-social relationships with oneself and others-all-in-all creating a sustainable healthy mind.

The researchers highlight six neuropsychological processes that are active mechanisms in the brain during mindfulness and which support S-ART. These processes include 1) intention and motivation, 2) attention regulation, 3) emotion regulation, 4) extinction and reconsolidation, 5) pro-social behavior, and 6) non-attachment and de-centering.

In other words, these processes begin with an intention and motivation to want to attain mindfulness, followed by an awareness of one’s bad habits. Once these are set, a person can begin taming him or herself to be less emotionally reactive and to recover faster from upsetting emotions.

“Through continued practice, the person can develop a psychological distance from any negative thoughts and can inhibit natural impulses that constantly fuel bad habits,” said David Vago, PhD, BWH Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, and lead study author.

Vago also states that continued practice can also increase empathy and eliminate our attachments to things we like and aversions to things we don’t like.

“The result of practice is a new You with a new multidimensional skill set for reducing biases in one’s internal and external experience and sustaining a healthy mind,” said Vago.

The S-ART framework and neurobiological model proposed by the researchers differs from current popular descriptions of mindfulness as a way of paying attention, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. With the help of functional MRI, Vago and his team are currently testing the model in humans.

This research was supported by the Mind and Life Institute, Impact Foundation, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (5-R21AT002209-02).

what’s on offer with Spark of Light

Els van der Horst

Spark of Light

I am a native of Amsterdam
who left a hectic cosmopolitan life
for a beautiful, relaxed, and generous
community in Eugene.

SPARK OF LIGHT’s mission is to
help people realize their true potential.
I feel blessed to have been
called to this healing path, to learn
about, understand, and transform
my own life and others through ex

traordinary healing modalities. I have had the privilege to study
with great visionaries like Patricia Ellsberg, Jack Kornfield, Jon
Kabat-Zin, and Brandon Bays.

I also studied and am influenced by J.Krishnamurti, Miguel
Ruiz, and Barbara Marx Hubbard, Byron Katy’s the Work, NPA (Non
Personal Awareness), EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), and
Heart Intelligence.

I specialized to teach yoga and mindfulness to children in Amsterdam
and have taught pre- and post-natal classes using yoga,
baby massage, and preparing natural birthing in therapeutic settings.

I am a trained personal and business leadership coach, I offer
group yoga and meditation sessions, classes that address codependent
relationships, and lead workshops that inspire participants
to change their issues with food forever.

I work in private one-on-one

sessions, small groups, classes
& workshops. Our work together is safe, affordable, short-term.
We all have the power to heal

ourselves. What a gift to witness
my clients free themselves from what has been holding themselves
back in their lives!

2013 Classes

Saturday mornings

8:15 – 9:15 – A walk-in, general Meditation group (donation)
9:15 – 10:15am – Gentle yoga class ($12.50 per session)
Tuesdays Nov – 6:00-7:30pm – Co-Dependency Classes
($149 – 8 week series)
2014 Workshops

Youth yoga/Meditation Classes start in January
Stop the Food Fight – two-day workshop that will help you get to
the root cause of your unhealthy eating issues and change your
life forever.
Consciousness Leadership workshops – designed to cut through
workplace anxiety, stress, and old believes.
JourneyTM workshops – recognized internationally as one of the
most powerful self-healing processes of our time.
Individual Journey sessions – encompass with all disciplines for
wherever you currently are in your life.
Please feel free to call me for more information. I look forward to
meeting you!

Location: The beautiful healing space of the Bernadette Center
1283 Lincoln Street