Think about how many times you do that during a busy day. Now, think about how before that breath has even left your body, your mind has already begun to move on to its next distraction. The calming effects of the deep breath rush out as your brain gets busy.
There’s a lot to be gained for learning to focus on, or be mindful of, the moments of the day, of those deep breaths, of our emotions and tensions, our energy, our body sensations.
For those inclined to learn, a class in Mindfulness Meditation, taught by Dr. Carol Greco of Squirrel Hill, will start next month at the Center for Integrative Medicine at UPMC Shadyside.
Dr. Greco’s practice of mindfulness meditation grew from her professional interest in helping people cope with pain and chronic illness.
“I would say that mindfulness is present moment awareness, meaning being open to experience whatever that brings,” Dr. Greco said. “We start by focusing on one aspect of experience: breath.”
“We watch breath and during that observation, we start to notice our brain telling us so many different things,” she said, likening that chattering brain to a Howard Cosell nattering on during a football game, distracting a viewer’s focus.
The eight-week course will offer lessons in the gentle stretching of Hatha yoga, other meditation techniques, discussion and CDs of meditation guidance for home practice.
Dr. Greco has been practicing Mindfulness Meditation for 11 years, having learned of it at a conference attended by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the concept of reducing stress through mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts in the 1970s.