What's in the News (Click images for the story!)

Certified meditation teacher Kristin Westbrook offered guided meditation sessions inside of her converted RV truck on Wednesday in midtown Manhattan and encouraged frazzled passersby to join her for a 10-minute mental break.

Great to see this trend in Australia! Not an easy place to avoid a drink. I have nothing against alcohol, just not a fan of the social pressures around it. "A decade ago, a sober table in a blur of drinkers would have been unusual, and caused much derision, but mindful millennials have led the trend towards abstinence. The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report showed that Australians under 30 were drinking less than in previous generations, and that just under a quarter (22.9 per cent) were teetotallers".

Full article on blog. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

This is so inspiring! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists suicide as the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. That translates into approximately 4,600 young lives lost each year in the US. Fiona Jensen was seeing more and more of it playing out in her community.

By January 2010, she had organized the first pilot program to teach mindful breathing, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques. Sixty-five students took part in this program. In June of that year, Calmer Choice received non-profit status. The following school year, the program reached 800 kids; the year after that, 1,500.

Eight years later, in 2017, the Calmer Choice program has now reached more than 15,000 students. And it’s not just for teens—kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade, in eight different school districts on Cape Cod, now have access to the program.

Firstly, not my photo! But really enjoyed the podcast below on recode featuring Headspace co-founder Rich Pearson. Its about 40 mins. 

⚡An interesting question was discussing the irony of using the most distracting thing in the world (your phone) to help you be less distracted and more focused, then took questions from listeners. ⚡Pierson's response: "That’s where they’re spending all their time, that’s where a lot of their stress is. So meet them where they are, where you think you can help the most"

Engaging in stillness for any significant length of time can be a de-stresser, according to McGroarty. “Studies have shown that when the brain is silent, your hippocampus—the center for organizing thoughts—actively creates neurons,” she says. “Your cortisol also drops, as well as your heart rate and blood pressure. There’s a mental and a physical impact.” Compare this to when you’re staring at your phone or computer screen and your cortisol shoots up with every (disconcerting) news flash.

Brilliant and insightful article on attention, some great nuggets of wisdom in there.

'The way we pattern our attention—the paths our attention takes us down, the choices it makes—hugely affects our experience. In a way, it creates our experience'

Highly recommend this article on mantra meditation by Giovanni from Liveanddare.com. In my opinion he is the most insightful and articulate authority in the meditation space! I've also linked him on my blog in the news section ❤️😊

BeWineful teaches meditation using wine - World's first Winefulness Course launches in Niagara. 

Great article on Karuna – a world-renowned meditation and mindfulness teacher and the keynote speaker at Thrive! in Manchester on June 9. She talks about the importance of great mentorship, the secular nature of meditation, neuroplasticity, trauma, positive affirmations and more! Link on site in news section. Good luck with the talk @hubfortheheart

Soo I still haven't tried one of these but apparently as people report feeling more stressed lately, more are turning to spiritual retreats to unplug and reset. ⚡Revenue for "wellness tourism", which includes meditation and other spiritual retreats, increased by 14 per cent, from US$494 billion in 2013 to US$563 billion in 2015, a growth rate more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures, according to the Global Wellness Institute. ⚡Who's tried one of these?? Would love to get some experiences and recommendations.

Free stooop sesh! A certified meditation teacher, Danielle Fazzolari is hosting free guided sessions outside her house every Thursday! She also works at NYC studio MNDFL. Shout out to danifazz. Full article on blog as usual

'A first-of-its-kind service in the hospitality industry, guests at The Benjamin have private access to two 10-minute guided meditation sessions — mantra or mindfulness — at their fingertips, with the press of a “meditation” button on room phones. The hotel also offers a meditation kit that includes flameless candles and a mediation cushion to enhance the experience'

On May 9, the San Francisco-based, four-person company announced that it has closed a $2.5 million round of seed funding. ⚡At its core, Simple Habit is a library of guided meditation, organized by occasion—such as commuting to work, preparing for an important meeting or date, or going to sleep. ⚡The founder says she hopes to do for the mindfulness space what streaming app Spotify has done for music. Big call, good luck!

Guess what London? Drop in meditation studio near monument, check it out! Inhere Studio will be opening for Mental Health Awareness Week.

Would you try this?? Trainees meditating on a Polish mountain (Snezka) at 10 degrees below zero!! Interesting article in the Guardian on implementing Wim Hof's techniques to be able to stretch our body's limits to the extremes. Click image for article!

Gisele Bündchen explains the benefits of meditation and her work with the David Lynch Foundation to use meditation to help at-risk women and children on the Jimmy Fallon Show!

Focused awareness has much in common with open-monitoring, so some confusion is understandable. But these two forms of meditation are really two sides of the same coin. Open-monitoring practitioners notice the thoughts that come into awareness. They do not scrutinize them but let them pass out of awareness. They then return to being open, aware, and non-attached.

Focused awareness meditators have a singular point of attention. They ignore distractions when they arise and refocus back on the object at the center of the meditation.

Psychotherapist Allison Abrams said there are more and more people out there turning to meditation instead of medication.

“Numerous studies over the years have shown the positive effects of meditation on pain and anxiety among other ailments,” Abrams said. “There are no side effects, it is usually more cost effective and it doesn’t lose its effects over time like medication can.”

A study conducted by National Institute of Health in 2016, reported that individuals suffering from chronic pain who practiced meditation reported 50 percent fewer symptoms than those who did not.

Almost too good to be true!!

A meditation bar has opened in Paris! ⚡We’ve had cats, oxygen, nails and naps. Now a new bar for meditation has opened in the capital. ⚡The bar is the first of its kind in Paris and is well adapted to fast-paced modern life. It fits easily around an office job, with short sessions of 30 minutes in the morning, midday and evening. ⚡Before starting a session, you leave your possessions (including your phone, of course) in a locker. There’s a room for solo meditators (€5/free for members) but for the uninitiated there are guided group sessions where you take a seat, close your eyes and listen to an instructor. ⚡Bar à Méditation. 5, rue Gaillon (IIe). Open from 8am-7pm. Guided sessions are Monday to Friday 8-9.30am, 12-1pm and 5.30-7pm. €15 for a taster session, and €20 thereafter. ⚡Slightly misleading to call it a bar, but still cool!!

Among volunteers who take ayahuasca for studies, scientists have documented a rise in certain key traits that mirror those of experienced meditators. These changes include increases in openness, optimism, and a particularly powerful ability known as decentering. ⚡In Spain, as part of a collaboration between Beckley and Sant Pau hospital, neurologist Jordi Riba is looking at the brain activity in depressed volunteers who are given ayahuasca. ⚡His findings indicate that in addition to people simply reporting that they feel more decentered and less depressed after taking ayahuasca, there is a corresponding neurological change in their brain activity. ⚡One small study of 17 depressed volunteers who took ayahuasca saw a decrease in activity in areas of the brain that tend to be overactive in conditions like depression and anxiety. ⚡And a new study of regular ayahuasca users suggests a physical shrinking in these parts of the brain, though that work has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"VR adds a really powerful, emotional ability to be in another place and to actually feel that emotional weight of another place," says Josh Farkas, CEO of Cubicle Ninjas, Guided Meditation's developer. "You can meditate anywhere, but at the end of the day, the ability to actually go to a virtual world and take a breather lowers the barrier to entry, and I hope gets people more excited." ⚡I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I'll reserve judgment! Wouldn’t we just be more stimulated rather than relaxed and in the moment? 

Meditating during your manicure, what a brilliant idea! A salon called Sundays in the Nomad district in NYC offers headsets to customers so they can go through a guided meditation during their treatment. Now that’s what I call a great #meditationspot 😁❤️

A new mouse study reveals a set of neurons that may point to physiological roots for the calming effects of breathing control

Sway is a new meditation app from the Nordic branch of Ustwo, the studio that made Monument Valley, and Danish wellness company PauseAble. It melds physical movements with the technology we carry in our pockets to help us learn mindfulness techniques.