Oh thank goodness, someone finally says that mindfulness practice isn’t for everyone. Neuroscientist Catherine Kerr studies the effects of mindfulness practice on the brain, and is a practitioner herself, but denies that it is the emotional and scientific wonderdrug it’s been made out to be.
Kerr was an author on a 2005 paper that claimed, tentatively, that mindfulness meditation — basically, focusing one’s attention on the feelings, sensations and emotions in the present moment — increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex, which many news outlets jumped on as proof that meditation is absolutely an effective treatment for stress and depression for everyone. Kerr is much more reserved: There’s evidence that meditation is beneficial to brain function, but not enough to paint it in the unfalteringly positive light that some have done. Keep reading »
When I went to the MoMA, I went not knowing what exactly they had in their collection. I do that with museums — why spoil the fun of discovery? I went to the National Gallery of Art in 2012 and was preoccupied with a Sol LeWitt and a Lawrence Weiner before I rounded the corner and happened upon Tony Smith’s Die, a seminal minimalist artwork that I never dreamed of encountering in person, the kind of artwork that absolutely requires your physical presence in order to actually understand the artwork, and I was floored and overwhelmed by how lucky I felt to be in the same room as this object. Keep reading »
One surprising way to boost your sex life will have you putting down that “101 Best Sex Tips” guide and whipping out the yoga pants! In a recent article in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers revealed that women who were once unsatisfied with their sex lives but began to practice yoga and “Eastern techniques of mindfulness” reported higher levels of sexual desire, arousal and better orgasms. Now, don’t assume better sex comes simply from learning a couple cool new moves or becoming extra flexible, even though those are definitely pluses. Actually, practitioners believe the most important aspect of yoga that increases sexual appetite and responsiveness is “mindfulness.” Keep reading »