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Mindful : February 2018
Research gathered from Greater Good Science Ctr. at UC Berkeley, Ctr. for Healthy Minds at U of Wisconsin–Madison, Ctr. for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, and American Mindfulness Research Association. PHOTOGRAPHYBYALEHDATSKEVICH/123RF.COM Exploring meditation’s anti-aging potential Can regular meditation slow down biological aging? The idea sounds wild, but a small new pilot study takes a stab at that ques- tion—by looking at a marker of aging in our cells known as the “epigenetic clock.” Recent emerging research says we can gauge how fast this clock is ticking by measuring a process called DNA methyla- tion, which influences whether genes are switched on or off. People with quicker-running clocks, studies have sug- gested, tend to get chronic illnesses and live shor ter lives; cumulative chronic stress seems to speed up the clock. But meditation, with its stress-taming benefits, may slow the ticking, says the new study by a French– US team. They analyzed immune-system cells from 18 long-term practitioners of mindfulness or compassion- related meditation, and from 20 others with no meditation experience. Among non- meditators, the aging clock was accelerated in older adults (52 years and above) compared to younger ones. In contrast, the meditators showed no such acceleration with age. What’s more, older participants with more years of meditation practice had slower clocks. The findings, the researchers say, need confirming in larger studies tracking people over time. For the love of clouds The Cloud Appreciation Society began more than a decade ago with the delightful mission of “fighting the banality of blue-sky thinking,” according to its website. Through an online forum and photo gallery, members revel in a natu- ral phenomenon they believe is underappreciated. “ We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contem- plation benefits the soul,” the site says. “Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save money on psychoanalysis bills.” – Carol Meyers Apprentice Coach & Student. Washington, DC “A core tenet of Mindfulness Coaching School is to bring coaching into the world and make a difference. Faculty skillfully lead students through the inner and outer work to do just that.” (505) 906-6700 www.MindfulnessCoachingSchool.com Mindfulness Coaching School 14 mindful February 2018 what’s new