Category Archives: Emotional Well-Being

A Peaceful Day

When you become aware of silence,
immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present.
You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.
Eckhart Tolle


Breathe

 

Ceaselessly the river flows
and yet the water is never the same,
while in the still pools the shifting foam gathers and is gone,
never staying for a moment.
Even so is the human being, and human habitation.
Tales of the Heike  1928

Enlightenment for a wave in the ocean
is the moment the wave realizes that it is water.
Thich Nhat Hanh

It is not the river that flows, the flow is the river; and there is no riverbed – the flow is therefore empty.

 


 

Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away
without either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart.
If your heart can be like this, you’ll be near to the Zen Way.


 

A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part. Nisargadatta Maharaj


Our mind co-creates our experiences.
Mindfulness enables one to subdue unrealistic and non-beneficial emotions
and perspectives and enhance our positive ones.
Thubten Chodron

The place of integrity is the source of your thoughts.
Encouraging Words by Robert Aitken


Meditative Scents™ naturally enhance your mindfulness practice.

Within Soma™ to help calm the mind during meditation, yoga, spiritual practice.

Soma Snow™ to help maintain post meditation, post yoga mindfulness
when engaged with day to day activities.


We can never obtain peace in the world
if we neglect the inner world and don’t make peace with ourselves.
A Policy of Kindness   Dalai Lama

We are all children of the one human race.
We all bear the same longing for happiness and love within us.
Path of Wisdom, Path of Peace  Dalai Lama


By listening with calm and understanding,
we can ease the suffering of another person.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace
It does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.
The great acts of love are done by those who are
habitually performing small acts of kindness.
We pardon to the extent that we love.
Les Miserables Victor Hugo.


Kātha Soma™ therapeutics work in harmony to support the body’s natural capacity to protect, balance and renew.

DISCLAIMER The content presented within the Kātha Soma™ website is not intended as or should be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for individual medical recommendations. Medicinal Scents™, Intimate Scents™ and Meditative Scents™ are developed and distributed exclusively by Kātha Soma™ Consumer Healthcare. USA/2017.

Mindfulness Meditation

The following is a presentation of calm abiding images and words to nurture physical and emotional well being. This mindfulness content provides guidance to gently subdue past and present unruly thoughts, attachments, and negativity. The focus of this content is about working with the breath to calm the mind (meditation method). This presentation is not about the deeper context of meditation (insight). The sensation of in breath and out breath nurtures a calm, and clear mind. Namaste.

At the out breath, the soul expands to fill the space left by the breath and imbues us with a contentment that is not charged with Pranic energy (life force), but with the soul’s insight.
B.K.S Iyengar

Mindfulness  is a form of meditation in which one is constantly brought back to what’s here, right now. It can mean taking three breaths, or three minutes to just breath. It can mean focusing on the tensions in your body for a while. It can mean looking at your feelings and letting them just be – no need to do anything about them. It can mean watching your mind and just letting those thoughts be.

Mindfulness defined as non-judgmental-present-moment awareness helps balance the causal association between life stressors and well-being. The goal of mindfulness meditation is to empower individuals to respond to situations consciously rather than automatically.

With every relaxed breath the body renews itself, with every relaxed breath, nourishing blood circulates transporting oxygen and nutrients to cells. The cells then renew naturally with a sense of quiet integrity.

Parasympathetic tone is associated with open and relaxed arteries which eases blood pressure and reduces the workload of the heart. Incorporating the practice of mindfulness into your life style will help enhance parasympathetic tone. For a bit more about parasympathetic tone and health see bottom of this page.

The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.
Caroline Myss

Mindfulness reveals mind and body to be in constant communication, each shaping and responding to the other.  Anne Carolyn Klein 

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.  Pema Chödrön

Thinking is the natural activity of the mind. Meditation is not about stopping one’s thoughts.
Meditation is a process of resting the mind in its natural state, which is open to and naturally aware of thoughts, emotions and sensations as they occur. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche


To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem.
To meditate means to observe.
Your smile proves it.
It proves that you are being gentle with yourself,
that the sun of awareness is shining in you,
that you have control of your situation.
You are yourself, and you have acquired some peace.
Thich Nhat Hanh


When human beings become still they go beyond thought. There is an added dimension of knowing, of awareness in the stillness that is beyond thought.  Eckhart Tolle

Keep constant watch over your mind and learn to distinguish between the beneficial and harmful thoughts that are arising moment by moment. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you; understanding this can free you from negative thought patterns.

Through meditation we can train our minds in such a way that negative qualities are abandoned and positive qualities are generated and enhanced. The Dalai Lama


Meditative Scents™   naturally enhance your mindfulness practice.

 Within Soma™ to help calm the mind during meditation, yoga, spiritual practice.

 Soma Snow™ to help maintain post meditation, post yoga mindfulness
when engaged with day to day activities.


katha-soma-emotion

The moment you understand yourself as the true self,
you find such peace and bliss that the impressions of the petty enjoyments
you experienced before become as ordinary specks of light in front of the brilliant sun.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  Satchidananda


Breathe . . .

Breathe . . .

 

 

Through sustained focus and meditation
on our patterns, habits, and conditioning,
we gain knowledge and understanding
of our past and how we can change
the patterns that aren’t serving us
to live more freely and fully.
~ Yoga Sutra III.18

 


When you focus altogether on the breathe (Mu), your senses
are naturally open and you find yourself in fundamental harmony.
Encouraging Words by Robert Aitken

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness which unites your body to your thoughts.

Notice the sensation of the breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. One conscious breath is enough to make some space where before there was the uninterrupted succession of one though after another. Oneness With All Life  Eckhart Tolle


Meditation is not concentration. In concentration there is a self concentrating and there is an object being concentrated upon. There is duality. In meditation there is nobody inside and nothing outside. It is not concentration. There is no division between the in and the out. The in goes on flowing into the out, the out goes on flowing into the in. The demarcation, the boundary, the border, no longer exists. The in is out, the out is in; it is a nondual consciousness. Osho

Concentration is a dual consciousness: that’s why concentration creates tiredness; that’s why when you concentrate you feel exhausted. Osho


 

The soil in which the meditative mind can begin is the soil of everyday life, the strife, the pain, and the fleeting joy.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Meditation means to be in non-doing. Meditation is not a doing but a state of being. It is a state of being in one’s own self.
Osho

Simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom. Zen Proverb

Mindfulness facilitates the achievement of serenity & insight.


Love is the capacity
to take care, to protect, to nourish.
If you are not capable of generating
that kind of energy toward yourself . . .
if you are not capable of taking care of yourself,
of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself,
it is very difficult to take care of another person.
In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself
is the foundation of the love of other people.
Thich Nhat Hanh


katha-soma-calm-a

 

Look deep into nature and you will understand everything. Albert Einstein

The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness. Sakyong Miham

Everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapor.
Marcus Aurelius. Born: April 26, 121 AD

The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
Kate Chopin. The Awakening 1899

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.
William Butler Yeats. Born 1865


soma-hear-soul-a

The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system, together with the sympathetic nervous system, constitutes the autonomic nervous system.

Kātha Soma™ therapeutics work in harmony to support the body’s natural capacity to protect, balance and renew.

DISCLAIMER The content presented within the Kātha Soma™ website is not intended as or should be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for individual medical recommendations. Medicinal Scents™, Intimate Scents™ and Meditative Scents™ are developed and distributed exclusively by Kātha Soma™ Consumer Healthcare. USA/2017.

Meditation and Brain Function

The word “mindfulness” corresponds to the translation of the original terms smrti (from Sanskrit) or sati (Pali), which captures the capacity to retain an object in the mind, but in a broad sense also implies being aware of and attentive to the present moment.

In light of a steadily increasing life expectancy, meditation could be an effective means to better maintain brain tissue, preserve cognitive, and emotional reserves, and to diminish the risk of dementia and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.


 

Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:419808.
The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Studies.
Boccia M, Piccardi L, Guariglia P.

Abstract
Over the past decade mind and body practices, such as yoga and meditation, have raised interest in different scientific fields; in particular, the physiological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects observed in meditators have been investigated. Neuroimaging studies have studied the effects of meditation on brain structure and function and findings have helped clarify the biological underpinnings of the positive effects of meditation practice and the possible integration of this technique in standard therapy. The large amount of data collected thus far allows drawing some conclusions about the neural effects of meditation practice. In the present study we used activation likelihood estimation (ALE) analysis to make a coordinate-based meta-analysis of neuroimaging data on the effects of meditation on brain structure and function.

Results indicate that meditation leads to activation in brain areas involved in processing self-relevant information, self-regulation, focused problem-solving, adaptive behavior, and interoception. Results also show that meditation practice induces functional and structural brain modifications in expert meditators, especially in areas involved in self-referential processes such as self-awareness and self-regulation. These results demonstrate that a biological substrate underlies the positive pervasive effect of meditation practice and suggest that meditation techniques could be adopted in clinical populations and to prevent disease.

[This article also provides MRI images] Results of ALE analysis on functional modifications in meditators. The ALE map shows brain areas that are more highly activated in meditators than controls. This network includes bilaterally the middle frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, and claustrum. In the left hemisphere (LH) we found activation of the inferior frontal gyrus, precuneus, caudate nucleus, and thalamus, and in the right hemisphere (RH) we found activation in the medial frontal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and lentiform nucleus.


Healthy Brain Function and Structures

• The ability to learn and retain novel information depends on a system of structures in the medial temporal lobe of the brain including the hippocampus and the surrounding entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices.
• Neurons in the entorhinal cortex, hippocampal CA1 region, frontal cortex, and amygdala are the populations of neurons most sensitive to the neurodegeneration associated with Alzhiemer’s Disease.


How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work? Proposing Mechanisms of Action From a Conceptual and Neural Perspective.
Cultivation of mindfulness, the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment, produces beneficial effects on well-being and ameliorates psychiatric and stress-related symptoms. Mindfulness meditation has therefore increasingly been incorporated into psychotherapeutic interventions. Although the number of publications in the field has sharply increased over the last two decades, there is a paucity of theoretical reviews that integrate the existing literature into a comprehensive theoretical framework. In this article, we explore several components through which mindfulness meditation exerts its effects: (a) attention regulation, (b) body awareness, (c) emotion regulation (including reappraisal and exposure, extinction, and reconsolidation), and (d) change in perspective on the self. Recent empirical research, including practitioners’ self-reports and experimental data, provides evidence supporting these mechanisms. Functional and structural neuroimaging studies have begun to explore the neuroscientific processes underlying these components.

Evidence suggests that mindfulness practice is associated with neuroplastic changes in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, temporo-parietal junction, fronto-limbic network, and default mode network structures. The authors suggest that the mechanisms described here work synergistically, establishing a process of enhanced self-regulation. Differentiating between these components seems useful to guide future basic research and to specifically target areas of development in the treatment of psychological disorders.

Source: Perspect Psychol Sci. 2011 Nov;6(6):537-59.
Hölzel BK1, Lazar SW2, Gard T3, Schuman-Olivier Z2, Vago DR4, Ott U5.

 


At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.


Meditative Scents™ naturally enhance your mindfulness practice.

Within Soma™ to help calm the mind during meditation, yoga, spiritual practice.

Soma Snow™ to help maintain post meditation, post yoga mindfulness

when engaged with day to day activities.


 

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Jan 1;276:199-212.
Potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: an interdisciplinary perspective.
Larouche E1, Hudon C1, Goulet S2.
Abstract
The present article is based on the premise that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from its prodromal phase (mild cognitive impairment; MCI) is higher when adverse factors (e.g., stress, depression, and metabolic syndrome) are present and accumulate. Such factors augment the likelihood of hippocampal damage central in MCI/AD aetiology, as well as compensatory mechanisms failure triggering a switch toward neurodegeneration. Because of the devastating consequences of AD, there is a need for early interventions that can delay, perhaps prevent, the transition from MCI to AD. We hypothesize that mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) show promise with regard to this goal. The present review discusses the associations between modifiable adverse factors and MCI/AD decline, MBI’s impacts on adverse factors, and the mechanisms that could underlie the benefits of MBI. A schematic model is proposed to illustrate the course of neurodegeneration specific to MCI/AD, as well as the possible preventive mechanisms of MBI. Whereas regulation of glucocorticosteroids, inflammation, and serotonin could mediate MBI’s effects on stress and depression, resolution of the metabolic syndrome might happen through a reduction of inflammation and white matter hyperintensities, and normalization of insulin and oxidation. The literature reviewed in this paper suggests that the main reach of MBI over MCI/AD development involves the management of stress, depressive symptoms, and inflammation. Future research must focus on achieving deeper understanding of MBI’s mechanisms of action in the context of MCI and AD. This necessitates bridging the gap between neuroscientific subfields and a cross-domain integration between basic and clinical knowledge.


Front Aging Neurosci. 2016 Nov 21;8:277.
Neurochemical and Neuroanatomical Plasticity Following Memory Training and Yoga Interventions in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Yang H1, Leaver AM2, Siddarth P1, Paholpak P3, Ercoli L1, St Cyr NM1,
Abstract
Behavioral interventions are becoming increasingly popular approaches to ameliorate age-related cognitive decline, but their underlying neurobiological mechanisms and clinical efficiency have not been fully elucidated. The present study explored brain plasticity associated with two behavioral interventions, memory enhancement training (MET) and a mind-body practice (yogic meditation), in healthy seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using structural magnetic resonance imaging (s-MRI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). Senior participants (age ≥55 years) with MCI were randomized to the MET or yogic meditation interventions. For both interventions, participants completed either MET training or Kundalini Yoga (KY) for 60-min sessions over 12 weeks, with 12-min daily homework assignments. Gray matter volume and metabolite concentrations in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and bilateral hippocampus were measured by structural MRI and 1H-MRS at baseline and after 12 weeks of training.

Metabolites measured included glutamate-glutamine (Glx), choline-containing compounds (Cho, including glycerophosphocholine and phosphocholine), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and N-acetyl aspartate and N-acetylaspartyl-glutamate (NAA-NAAG). In total, 11 participants completed MET and 14 completed yogic meditation for this study. Structural MRI analysis showed an interaction between time and group in dACC, indicating a trend towards increased gray matter volume after the MET intervention. 1H-MRS analysis showed an interaction between time and group in choline-containing compounds in bilateral hippocampus, induced by significant decreases after the MET intervention. Though preliminary, our results suggest that memory training induces structural and neurochemical plasticity in seniors with MCI. Further research is needed to determine whether mind-body interventions like yoga yield similar neuroplastic changes.


Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes. Cognitive psychology is the science that looks at how mental processes are responsible for our cognitive abilities to store and produce new memories, produce language, recognize people and objects, as well as our ability to reason and problem solve.


Kātha Soma™ therapeutics work in harmony to support the body’s natural capacity to protect, balance and renew.

DISCLAIMER The content presented within the Kātha Soma™ website is not intended as or should be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for individual medical recommendations. Medicinal Scents™, Intimate Scents™ and Meditative Scents™ are developed and distributed exclusively by Kātha Soma™ Consumer Healthcare. USA/2017.

Meditation Helps Caregivers

Twenty minutes per day of either meditation or relaxation improved depression scores in family caregivers of people with dementia. However, meditation seemed to provide additional benefits according to a pilot study involving thirty-nine caregivers.

Mental functioning and cognition scores improved significantly in the meditation group, compared with the relaxation group.

The 23 caregivers in the meditation group averaged 61 years of age and the 16 caregivers in the relaxation group averaged 61 years of age. They had been caring for a family member with dementia for five years and four years, respectively. Hamilton Rating Scale–Depression scores at baseline were 11.8 in the meditation group and 11.4 in the relaxation group.

Participants in the meditation group were trained in a yoga practice of meditation called Kirtan Kriya that involves chanting, breath work, and finger poses.

Participants in the control group were asked to rest quietly while listening to relaxation recordings. Each group devoted 20 minutes per day to the activity for 8 weeks.

In both groups, devoting time each day to self-care was new to participants.

Hamilton Rating Scale–Depression scores improved by 7 points in the meditation group and by 5 points in the relaxation group. The perceived burden of care improved in both groups.

In the meditation group, 52% showed at least a 50% improvement on the 36-item short form health survey global mental health score, compared with 19% in the relaxation group.

Measures of cognition also improved significantly in the meditation group, compared with the relaxation group.

Intranuclear staining and flow cytometry showed that a significantly lower proportion of lymphocytes was positive for nuclear transcription factor–kappa beta (a protein complex that has been linked to chronic stress and inflammatory responses) in the meditation group, compared with the relaxation group.

The meditation group showed increased telomerase activity, compared with the relaxation group. Telomere length and telomerase activity are markers of biological age linking stress and disease. PET scan results suggest that improvements in cognition were associated with changes in regional brain metabolism in areas relevant for executive dysfunction and global cognition.

This and other studies suggest that meditation, tai chi, or other mind-body techniques seem to be helpful stress reducing therapies for family caregivers of people with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation funded this study. Helen Lavretsky, MD, and Michael Irwin, MD, reported the outcome of this study in a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Lavretsky and Dr. Irwin are professors of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Source: Elsevier Global Medical News 10/13/11

Skin Conditions and Stress

Skin and Stress

Psychological stress arises when people are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. It arises when the individual perceives that the pressure exceeds one’s adaptive power. It is perceived by the brain and stress hormones such as corticotropin-releasing hormone, glucocorticoids, and epinephrine are released. This triggers a wide range of physiological and behavior changes and responses that try to adapt the body to the stress. However, if the stress responses are inadequate or excess, they may trigger adverse physiological events. It has been shown that stress can trigger and/or exacerbate multiple conditions, including cardiovascular disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, epileptic seizures, and neurodegeneration.

 

1) Skin plays important barrier and immune functions and maintains homeostasis between external environment and internal tissues.

2) Skin is both an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses.

3) Stress conditions exert their effects to skin mainly through the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (see paragraph below)

For more in-depth info about how stress affects the skin search
Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. Jun 2014; 13(3): 177–190.
Brain Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging
Ying Chen* and John Lyga


 

Stress Regulation

Stress enables individuals to effectively respond to threatening situations arising both from their internal environment (e.g., hypotension, pain) or external environment (e.g., cold, predators), and to maintain homeostasis. One mechanism involved in the so-called “stress response” is the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis describes an endocrine signaling cascade that starts with the release of corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus, which causes the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in the pituitary gland, that then triggers the release of glucocorticoids (cortisol) from the adrenal glands. The activation of the HPA axis leads to wide ranging-effects, including raised blood pressure and raised heart rate, increased metabolism, and increased psychological alertness, as well as decreased inflammatory and decreased immune responses.


Kathá Soma skin therapeutics are for people with vulnerable and troubled skin. Our naturally derived, nutrient enriched skin care formulas penetrate the top (epidermis) and middle (dermis) skin layers to protect and renew skin.

Katha Tibet logoDISCLAIMER The content presented within the Kathá Soma website is not intended as or should be construed as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for individual medical recommendations. Kathá Soma Consumer Health USA/2015-17