In recent years, research has confirmed and revealed much about the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation, and as a result you may have seen popular articles about this meditation style. Academic researchers have compiled impressive lists of benefits enjoyed by practitioners of this ancient practice. For example, mindfulness meditation has been found to lower anxiety, improve ability to deal with emotions and pain, increase self awareness, reduce depression and increase positive affect — all potentially useful advantages. From a brain physiology perspective, meditation also increases the connections within the brain, increases memory, and strengthens cognitive flexibility. Google “mindfulness meditation”, and you will find numerous scholarly papers and popular articles enumerating these and other research findings.
And rest assured, meditation is not a mysterious activity practiced only in big cities or far off places. An informal community of mindfulness meditators exists right here in Alger County. Our quiet, nature oriented surroundings provide an ideal setting in which to initiate your own meditation practice. Some local practitioners, interested in the support and discipline provided by meeting with others to meditate, gather on Saturday mornings to meditate as the Munising Bay Mindfulness Meditation Circle.
No fancy equipment or special physical abilities are required to practice meditation. Many people like to sit yoga-style on a cushion during meditation because of the alertness required to sit tall. But one may also meditate successfully sitting on a chair, standing or walking. And the skills you build with a meditation practice can then be transfered successfully into daily life as well.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation and experiencing its benefits, consider participating in the short course “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation” I’ll be offering at Alger Parks and Recreation Department this winter. In this series of five 1-hour classes, each class will build upon the previous one as students learn the basics of mindfulness meditation through guided practice and discussion. The class will meet Saturdays, February 4, 11, 18, and March 4 and 11 from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at APRD (no class February 25). Register through APRD by stopping at the office or calling 906-387-5636.