SUSAN ENFIELDFEB 3, 2016
With a growing body of research proving yoga’s healing benefits, it’s no wonder more doctors—including those with traditional Western training—are prescribing this ancient practice to their patients.
Yoga therapy is now recognized as a clinically viable treatment, with established programs at major health care centers, such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, and many others. In 2003, there were just five yoga-therapy training programs in the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) database. Today, there are more than 130 worldwide, including 24 rigorous multi-year programs newly accredited by IAYT, with 20 more under review. According to a 2015 survey, most IAYT members work in hospital settings, while others work in outpatient clinics or physical therapy, oncology, or rehabilitation departments (and in private practice).
Some therapists focus on physical mechanics, while others bring in Ayurvedic healing principles and factor in diet, psychological health, and spirituality to create a holistic, customized plan.
“Researchers take blood samples before and after yoga practice to see which genes have been turned on and which were deactivated,” says Khalsa. “We’re also able to see which areas of the brain are changing in structure and size due to yoga and meditation.” This kind of research is helping take yoga into the realm of “real science,” he says, by showing how the practice changes psycho-physiological function.
more on contemplative practices in this IMS blog
Report: World Support For Mental Health Care Is ‘Pitifully Small’+
October 15, 20183:12 PM ET JOANNE SILBERNER
a comprehensive report from the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health, three years in the making, released this past week at a London summit
In the mid-1990s, the first Global Burden of Disease study noted that of the top ten causes of disability worldwide, five were mental illnesses. Mental health researchers had little to offer at the time in terms of proven inexpensive treatments. But researchers since then have demonstrated that diseases such as depression and substance abuse can often be accurately identified and treated by community health workers with talk therapy.
more on mindfulness in this IMS blog
We spend hours in front of our computers and phones, and the repetitive movement patterns can cause neck and shoulder strain. This sequence will help.
FEB 8, 2016https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/healing-yoga-sequence-ease-neck-shoulder-pain
more on contemplative computing in this IMS blog
How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL
SEL social emotional learning
In his book, “Experience on Demand,” Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, writes, “No medium, of course can fully capture the subjective experience of another person, but by richly evoking a real-seeming, first-person experience, virtual reality does seem to promise to offer new, empathy-enhancing qualities.” Bailenson contrasts experiencing virtual reality with reading news accounts and watching documentaries. Those latter activities, he writes, require “a lot of imaginative work,” whereas virtual reality can “convey the feeling” of, say, a refugee camp’s environment, and the “smallness of the living quarters, the size of the camp.”
Caldwell—who used Google Expeditions to deliver a virtual reality experience set in the Holocaust—says that when his students first put on the goggles, they viewed them as a novelty. But within a minute or two, the students became quiet, absorbed in what they were seeing; they realized the “reality of the horror of what was in front of them.” Questions ensued.
Ron Berger, the Chief Academic Officer of EL Education, points to another factor schools should consider. He thinks virtual reality can be a powerful way to introduce kids to situations that require empathy or adopting different perspectives. However, he thinks no one tool or experience will bring results unless it is “nested in a broader framework of a vision and goals and relationships.”
Berger says virtual reality experiences have to be accompanied by work beforehand and follow-up afterwards. Kids, he says, need to be reflective and think critically.
immersion experiences like virtual reality should be “embedded in positive” adult and peer relationships. He adds that ideally, there’s also a resulting action where kids do something productive with the information they’ve learned, to help their own growth and to help others. He mentions an example where students interviewed local immigrants and refugees, then wrote the stories they heard. They published the stories in a book, and the profits went to legal fees for local refugees.
saving virtual reality for “very special experiences,” keeping it “relatively short” and not getting students dizzy or disoriented. A report Bailenson co-authored for Common Sense Media highlights the research that has—and has not—explored the effects of virtual reality on children. It states that the “potentially negative outcomes of VR include impacts on children’s sensory systems and vision, aggression, and unhealthy amounts of escapism and distraction from the physical world.”
The Brain Science Is In: Students’ Emotional Needs Matter
What the neuro-, cognitive, and behavioral research says about social-emotional learning
Teachers, like parents, have always understood that children’s learning and growth do not occur in a vacuum, but instead at the messy intersection of academic, social, and emotional development.
four specific insights:
• Malleability: Genes are not destiny. Our developing brains are largely shaped by our environments and relationships—a process that continues into adulthood.
• Context: Family, relationships, and lived experiences shape the physiological structure of our brains over time. Healthy amounts of challenge and adversity promote growth, but toxic stress takes a toll on the connections between the hemispheres of our brain.
• Continuum: While we’ve become familiar with the exponential development of the brain for young children, it continues throughout life. The explosion of brain growth into adolescence and early adulthood, in particular, requires putting serious work into much more intentional approaches to supporting that development than is common today.
more on VR and empathy in this IMS blog
more on SEL social emotional learning
Methods activate ‘same brain mechanisms as cocaine’ and leads to users experiencing ‘phantom’ notification buzzing, experts warn
Social media platforms are using the same techniques as gambling firms to create psychological dependencies and ingrain their products in the lives of their users, experts warn.
atasha Schüll, the author of Addiction by Design, which reported how slot machines and other systems are designed to lock users into a cycle of addiction.
Whether it’s Snapchat streaks, Facebook photo-scrolling, or playing CandyCrush, Schüll explained, you get drawn into “ludic loops” or repeated cycles of uncertainty, anticipation and feedback — and the rewards are just enough to keep you going.
Like gambling, which physically alters the brain’s structure and makes people more susceptible to depression and anxiety, social media use has been linked to depression and its potential to have an adverse psychological impact on users cannot be overlooked or underestimated.
Tech insiders have previously said “our minds can be hijacked” and that Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones, while some have confessed they ban their kids from using social media.
However, the number of monthly active users of Facebook hit 2.13 billion earlier this year, up 14% from a year ago. Despite the furore around its data privacy issues, the social media monolith posted record revenues for the first quarter of 2018, making $11.97bn, up 49% on last year.
more on addiction in this IMS blog
Harvard Study: Clearing Your Mind Affects Your Genes And Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
A new study indicates that people who meditated over an eight-week period had a striking change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism. And that, in turn, was linked to a meaningful decrease in their blood pressure.
“This is a major step to overcome the innate bias that has developed in medicine over the last hundred years or so,” says Dr. Herbert Benson, who started promoting what he called “the relaxation response” more than four decades ago. “Going back to penicillin in the 1920s, we have been inexorably dependent on medication, surgery and procedures.”
His goal is to establish the relaxation response and other techniques that calm the brain — yoga, t’ai chi, breathing exercises, repetitive prayer and other meditative practices — as a “third leg” of medical treatment, along with medication and surgical procedures.
Previous studies of other diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis, have suggested improvement after meditation. But, “this is the first study where we have a nice, clean, clinical read-out,” says Towia Libermann
Anxiety is increasingly becoming a serious issue for American teens. Sixty-two percent of incoming freshman surveyed by the American College Health Association said they’d experienced overwhelming anxiety the year before, up from 50-percent in 2011.
it’s often the more affluent families who find the problem most baffling.
Denizet-Lewis goes on to write that many people assume teens feel this stress because of helicopter parents who do too much for their kids.
more on contemplative practices in school in this IMS blog
Can yoga be used as a disciplinary tool?
Amelia Harper Feb. 28, 2018
Traditional school discipline policies based on behaviorist principles are not well-supported by research, some educators say. And zero-tolerance policies are now viewed by most educators as more harmful than beneficial because of their association with the school-to-prison pipeline. New strategies, such as mindfulness and the practice of yoga, are gaining popularity in some areas as replacements for traditional discipline for minor infractions.
Advocates of yoga in schools claim that the practice does more than provide a way to reduce stress and improve self-control. Yoga also improves the mind/body connection, encourages a healthy and fit lifestyle and improves emotional health as well. Contracting with yoga instructors to provide a few classes a week may be a relatively inexpensive way to deal with some behavior issues.
more on mindfulness in this IMS blog
Students and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 | 1:00 PM CENTRAL | 60 MINUTES
Instant communication with one another (and the world) has tremendous benefits. At the same time, it has serious drawbacks that tend to offset those advantages. The evidence is mounting that students’ overreliance on their cherished devices is interfering with their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, ultimately impacting their emotional health, mental health, and academic performance.
How can your institution assist students in the digitally-obsessed information age?
Register today for the Magna Online Seminar, Students and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?, presented by Aaron Hughey, EdD. You’ll explore ways to develop and implement a blueprint for effectively assisting students who are experiencing emotional and mental challenges due to their overindulgence in social media.
Through the evidence-based best practices and insights gleaned through this seminar, you’ll be able to respond more effectively to the needs of students who are experiencing emotional and mental health challenges due to their overinvolvement with social media.
Upon completion of this seminar, you’ll be able to:
- Understand how today’s students are qualitatively different from their predecessors 15-20 years ago
- Articulate why technology has both benefits and challenges
- Describe the prevalence of emotional and mental issues among today’s college students
- Describe the emerging relationship between overinvolvement with social media and emotional issues
- Educate students, faculty, staff, and student affairs professionals regarding social media and how overinvolvement can precipitate stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicide and violence
- Recognize basic symptomology and warning signs associated with overinvolvement with social media, as well as response techniques
- Characteristics of today’s college students and the similarities/differences from previous generations
- How technology has affected the way students learn
- Emotional and mental issues among today’s college student population
- The increase in addiction disorders in today’s college students
- Overinvolvement with social media and emotional and mental health issues
- Social media and stress, anxiety, depression, violence, and suicide
- Emotional states and their connection to social media
- Symptomology and warning signs
- Intervention techniques
This seminar is designed for anyone at any institution who is responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of college students, especially faculty, administrators, and staff of departments that provide direct services to students, including college counseling centers, student health centers, career and academic advising services, housing and residence hall professionals and paraprofessionals, student activities and organizations, academic support services, and programs and services for at-risk students.
more on social media and students in this IMS blog
How to Break Up With Your Phone
more on “disconnect” and contemplative computing in this IMS blog