The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

Feast with Your Eyes

I had to stop in the middle of eating my lunch just now because of how beautiful the colors are! This is a fall farm market feast, of small purple potatoes, crimini mushrooms, golden zucchini (!), squash blossoms, sweet red pepper and red onion with corn tortillas and arugula. Oh, YUM!

And easy. You may have noticed, that’s the only way I cook.

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Clear Intentions

When did you begin meditating and why?

Which meditation practice(s) did you choose?

How has meditation affected your life?

I began meditating in 1974 right after medical school.

I was a psychology major in college and deeply influenced by Albert Schweitzer, who had doctorates in music and theology when he went to medical school as a path to lifelong service in Africa.

So, with this mind-body-spirit perspective, I was thrilled to read two groundbreaking articles that Herbert Benson and Keith Wallace published when I was in medical school. In both studies, practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM), silently repeating their word (‘mantra’), demonstrated physiological changes of deep rest while awake. Those changes were often even greater than those found during sleep. Benson called these changes the Relaxation Response, which has formed the basis for his work ever since.

Not long afterwards, I discovered that one of the pathology faculty members was meditating behind his closed door for 20 minutes each afternoon. He referred me to his TM teacher and I learned to meditate.
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Financially Stressed? Breathe!

 

Financial stress can be one of the most painful and debilitating experiences— something with which many Americans have become intimately familiar.Often, when we are dealing with financial stress, we feel the dual burden of shame for having gotten where we are and a lack of control over how to get out.

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Chill: Try Guided Imagery

Relax and re-center with Dr. Gordon in this 11-minute guided imagery podcast:

Guided imagery is a powerful technique that uses the imagination to create a relaxed state that can help with healing, learning and performance.

This mind-body technique, which Dr Gordon has taught at professional trainings around the world for over 20 years, is effective at reducing stress, relieving trauma and increasing creativity.

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Self Care Reminders from the Third Grade

Around two weeks before the start of any school vacation, the Counseling office experiences a cyclical peak of drop-in students. An influx of mostly third graders appear at my door with tears streaming down their cheeks, runny noses, and words that are difficult to decipher between hiccup-like breaths and broken syllables.  They are usually accompanied by a friend who guarantees their safe passage to my office then departs, with the I’ve-been-there-too look and a silent nod saying it’s going to be okay.

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Unthinkable

April 17, 2012Jo CooperSelf-Care0

Both my home & office laptops developed crippling problems within one week. Well, hello, Universe!

My office computer recovered. But I found myself in an Apple store, after a discouraging meeting with the tech at the Genius Bar, having a serious discussion with a young saleswoman about purchasing a new mac. I happened to mention that I had started experimenting with unplugging for long stretches of time– leaving my cell phone behind, limiting my computer time… She stopped what she was doing and stared at me, stunned. “I could never do that!” she said earnestly– her eyes repeatedly returning to mine, questioning, fascinated.

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Mind, Mood & Food: A Beautiful Blend

To paraphrase a CMBM alum, “When I heard The Center for Mind-Body Medicine would be offering a seminar called ‘Mind, Mood & Food’ at Kripalu, I felt like the heavens were bringing all my favorite things together.” The “trifecta”, as I like to call it, was a beautiful blend of relevant material taught by engaging faculty in a setting where what was being taught could be practiced. Imagine learning about foods that support brain health and then going to Kripalu’s dining hall where those foods are waiting for you on an abundant buffet. Picture completing a moving meditation with Jim Gordon and then going to Yoga Dance during a seminar break. Kathie Swift spoke about the benefits of being in nature for brain health, and I’m convinced Mother Nature was a seminar participant as the weather was perfect for walks to the lake. It was seventy degrees in mid-March in the Berkshires!

Mark Pettus, Jay Lomard and Chuck Parker offered a wealth of knowledge and fantastic synergy as they fed off each other’s energy and complemented each other’s work.  A big round of applause goes to the hard-working staff at Kripalu. They were wonderful to work with and jumped right in to run the program like a well-oiled machine. Mind, Mood & Food at Kripalu is definitely worth a repeat!

Nourish Means….

Food As Medicine Executive Chef Rebecca Katz, MS, just shared this lovely video, “Nourish means….” from the folks at NourishLife.org.

What nourishes you?

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Finding the Light in the Darkness

Yesterday, I had an incredibly powerful yoga class. I spent the entire class practically wtih my eyes closed. It wasn’t intentional at first but then had great meaning for me. We started with a little flow and then stopped with eyes closed to “set an intention” as my teacher says. I closed my eyes and had some tears come out. I decided on this early early morning (I do yoga at 6 AM), I was going to search inward for the light, for the joy. That I could not attach to finding that in the stressful situations before me. That no matter how Zubin does on the steroids or if and when he deteriorates to a wheelchair, that no matter how he does in school or if we feel we get what we need there, that joy is not something I can wait for from these things. I have to search inward and get joy from within. And so I closed my eyes and set my intention, to search for the light and peace within.

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The Blood Sugar Solution: Mark Hyman's Thoughtful Guidance

I’m proud to announce that my good friend, colleague, and CMBM board member, Dr. Mark Hyman has just released his latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution. This book is a must read continuation of his groundbreaking work with diabesity (the continuum of abnormal biology that ranges from mild insulin resistance to full-blown diabetes). It’s a book I recommend to all of you without reservation. Dr. Hyman has elegantly described the complex and precarious situation that many Americans have found themselves in–struggling with multiple forms of chronic illness with severe physical and psychological ramifications. He uses an intelligent and scientifically-validated approach to lay out a clearly guided roadmap for reversing this course.

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