Masters of Mindfulness: Transforming Your Mind and Body

Course No. 9048
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Course No. 9048
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What Will You Learn?

  • How to incorporate mind-body practices into your life.
  • How mindfulness strengthens the immune system, decreases stress, improves sleep function, increases compassion, and improves cognitive function.
  • What modern science and contemporary research have revealed about mindfulness and the many ways in which it can benefit your life.

Course Overview

Modern biology and neuroscience have quantified the powerfully positive effects of mindfulness. Join 11 top researchers and proponents of mindfulness as they breakdown what modern science and contemporary research have revealed about this ancient practice and the many ways in which it can benefit your life. This course represents a unique and extraordinary opportunity, bringing a diverse group of renowned specialists together in one place for the first time to share their own personal experiences and their latest research, and to guide you through several mindfulness exercises.

According to Dr. Shauna Shapiro, mindfulness means paying attention in the present moment with an attitude of kindness and generosity. It involves being aware and doing things with conscious intent. But research shows our mind lives in the past or the future almost half of our waking moments.

Focusing on this moment in time, this place, your body as it feels in this moment, your breath as it moves in and out right now… That focus on present-moment awareness has the capability to transform your life. And it has existed for thousands of years, interwoven throughout many religious and intellectual traditions.

Mindfulness as a practice is very simple and its effects are well-documented. What many people don’t realize is the breadth of the science behind it and how much of our health—physical, mental, emotional—is bound up in the way we look at and experience the world. Now, modern biology and neuroscience can actually quantify many of the effects of mindfulness and you may be surprised by how powerful the impact can be.

In Masters of Mindfulness: Transforming Your Mind and Body, 11 top researchers and proponents of mindfulness discuss what modern science and contemporary research have revealed about this ancient practice and the many ways in which it can benefit your life. These 22 lectures present a unique and extraordinary opportunity, bringing a diverse group of renowned specialists together in one place for the first time to share their own personal experiences and their latest research, and to guide you through several mindfulness exercises. Acting as your primary guide through the many concepts and presenters, psychologist and mindfulness expert Dr. Shauna Shapiro brings together some of the greatest minds in the field to give you an immersive, 360-degree experience of mindfulness, its practice, and its benefits.

This course was shot on location at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, a place that is considered a unique sanctuary for anyone interested in the study of human consciousness and the human potential movement. Since 1962, this profoundly beautiful locale has been a thriving hub for investigating and experiencing the journey of mindfulness in its many forms, including cutting-edge scientific research and applications. Not everyone can hop on a plane to California, so Masters of Mindfulness brings this one-of-a-kind experience to you.

Mindfulness in All Aspects of Our Lives

If you don’t yet have a mindfulness practice, you might be wondering how you’re going to fit it into your schedule. But mindfulness doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You don’t have to buy any equipment or take any lessons, or wear anything special. All you need is a chair, or even the floor, and the desire to change your life and habits for the better. With an investment of 12 minutes a day, you can start reaping the rewards of a mindfulness practice.

  • Internationally recognized mindfulness expert Dr. Shauna Shapiro begins the course by explaining the benefits of a mindfulness practice; after all, as she says: “what you practice grows stronger.” She also introduces each subsequent presenter and explains how he or she fits into the overall course.
  • Dr. Rick Hanson explains why we evolved with a brain whose wiring is always on the lookout for the negative, and how neuroplasticity gives us the ability to change that orientation, leading to a more resilient and positive inner life for modern times. Author Kristine Carlson then shares her very personal journey of grief and the ways in which mindfulness can aid in your own healing and transition to a better life. With Juna Mustad, you will go on a journey toward anger—an emotion that frightens most of us—and use mindfulness tools to discover the positive role anger can play in your life.
  • Author Mike Robbins invites you to “bring your whole self to work” with authenticity and honesty and Jessica Graham helps you explore the ways in which a mindfulness practice can open up your sex life, offering both greater pleasure and a deeper connection to your partner.
  • Drs. Amishi Jha and Elissa Epel discuss the thrilling scientific discoveries regarding the effects of mindfulness at the cellular level. Dr. Jha explains the benefits of mindfulness on the structure and functioning of the brain, while Dr. Epel discusses the benefits of a mindfulness practice on specific cellular structures related to aging. A mindfulness practice can’t subtract years from your age in a literal sense, but it has the potential to significantly affect your biological age—your health and mental acuity.
  • Dr. Dacher Keltner shares his passion for the study of awe in the human experience—that uniquely human emotion that has had a profound effect on our evolution as an ultra-social species. Dr. Wallace "J" Nichols helps us connect that feeling of awe to the lakes, rivers, and oceans of our water planet—or even just the water that we drink—discussing the benefits of a mindful connection to our physical world. Then, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel brings together a full concept of the mind and the practice of “The Wheel of Awareness” with its potential for personal transformation.

The Neuroscience of Mindfulness

While scientists have long been able to identify brain inputs and outputs, only in the past few decades have we developed the technology to know what happened on the inside. Today, technological revolutions in science allow us to look into the workings of the brain and the body in unprecedented ways. Most importantly, we have learned that the way we use our brain is constantly influencing its own structure and function.

Just a few of the dimensions of mindfulness you will explore in Masters of Mindfulness include:

  • Incorporating a mind-body practice into your life for even a few months can reduce inflammation and can stabilize the length of telomeres—those regions at the end of the chromosome that protect the chromosome from deterioration—thereby, slowing the rate of aging.
  • Adding even a short mindfulness practice to your day can improve brain health as measured by the brain’s gyrification and density of the wiring that promotes efficient neural processing.
  • While consistently working puzzles and various cognitive challenges will improve your performance on those exact challenges, practice doesn’t translate into overall brain processing improvement or ability to focus. On the other hand, a mindfulness practice does strengthen all the brain’s attention systems.
  • The practice of mindfulness strengthens the immune system, decreases stress, improves sleep function, increases compassion, and improves cognitive function.
  • Through natural selection, our brain evolved to scan for and retain bad news, while simultaneously overlooking or downplaying good news. But a mindfulness practice can help us increase compassion and positivity, creating a brain that better serves us in our current world and circumstances.

Theory and Practice

In addition to learning about mindfulness, many of the experts in Masters of Mindfulness guide you through mindfulness practices during this course. While you will notice some similarities through all the practices, each is geared toward a unique objective. You will be able to choose which of these practices best resonate with you personally. Among those presented are:

  • Wheel of Awareness: This practice helps integrate the five senses, internal bodily sensations, mental activity and emotions, and relationship to the outside world. Created by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, more than 10,000 individuals have experienced this healing practice.
  • Face Your Anger: Anger is not an emotion we typically associate with a meditative practice. But with guidance from Juna Mustad, you will dig deeper into troubling emotions, to discover what they are trying to tell you and why you should be listening to them.
  • If You Really Knew Me: This exercise, led by Mike Robbins, is a wonderful present-moment way to cultivate authenticity and appreciation in group settings.
  • Body Awareness: We are rarely fully aware of the sensations in our bodies. Jessica Graham leads this mindfulness practice to create a stronger mind-body connection for the purpose of enhancing pleasure and improving communication with your partner.

Whether you’re a beginner or a longtime practitioner of mindfulness, this guided tour through the many facets of the practice will deepen your understanding and help you to integrate mindfulness at home and at work, in your relationships, and in your self-identity over time. With your expert guides, you will see how mindfulness is both a skill and an art, modern science and ancient wisdom.

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22 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    What You Practice Grows Stronger
    Mindfulness, the art of being fully present, allows practitioners to see clearly and respond effectively. It can strengthen our immune system, decrease stress, increase cognitive function, and allow us to feel more compassion. With Dr. Shauna Shapiro, explore your own purpose for engaging on a journey of mindfulness with respect to intention, attention, and attitude. Given that what you practice grows stronger, what do you want to practice in your own life? x
  • 2
    Essential Themes of Mindfulness
    In this session with Dr. Shapiro, open by engaging in a meditation exercise to gather intention and center yourself in the present moment. Explore common questions about mindfulness, from concerns about maintaining focus to dealing with feelings of tiredness and even physical pain, and learn how to begin your own mindfulness practices and how to set goals you can commit to. x
  • 3
    Using Mindfulness to Grow Inner Resources
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could become stronger and more resilient throughout the course of your life by developing new inner resources to address challenges and vulnerabilities? As Dr. Rick Hanson will show you, you can. Although our brain evolved to scan the world for the negative in order to keep us safe, learn how the practice of mindfulness can help you grow inner resources by using positive neuroplasticity. x
  • 4
    Hardwiring Inner Resources: HEAL
    Chances are you have a lot of positive experiences in your life right now. But are they fleeting—do you even truly notice them? Learn how a mindfulness practice can help you convert positive experiences into long-term beneficial traits, through self-correcting positive neuroplasticity, what Rick Hanson calls “the superpower of superpowers.” x
  • 5
    Mindfulness in Heartbreak
    Because we are human, heartbreak or loss will come to us at some time in our lives. Author Kristine Carlson shares powerful stories of loss and grief, and the role her mindfulness practice played in her healing process. She explains how practicing mindfulness now can even help you better face difficult times in the future. Learn how to access peace, even when joy might not be present. x
  • 6
    Embracing Change and Choosing Growth
    Learn how you can really be of service to another person in his or her time of grief—and what actions and words are more harmful than helpful. Is it possible to reframe the concept of loss so you can move through it with an attitude of embracing the transformation and change? Kristine Carlson shows how your own mindfulness practice can help fill the gaping hole in your life caused by loss with the fullness of the present moment. x
  • 7
    A Mindful Approach to Anger
    We’re always glad to be mindful of our emotions of gratitude, awe, or joy. But what about anger? With Juna Mustad, an expert in “mindful anger,” learn why our normal reactions to anger—either allowing it to drive our actions or stuffing it deep inside—are unhealthy. Learn how to become mindful of your anger, and how that awareness can point you to a healthier, more authentic life and better relationships with others. x
  • 8
    Getting to Know Your Anger
    Neuroscience reveals why we tend to act more quickly on our feelings of anger than any other emotion. We often regret acting out of anger, but what can we do about it? Learn how a mindfulness practice can help you take more appropriate action in response to anger by affecting your body chemistry and growing new connections in specific parts of the brain in this second session with Juna Mustad. x
  • 9
    Mindfulness at Work: The Power of Authenticity
    Author and former professional baseball player Mike Robbins brings a unique perspective to the workplace. As a baseball player, he noticed that the most successful teams were not necessarily those with the greatest individual talent but those with the greatest chemistry and support between players. Mr. Robbins shares techniques to help you create that chemistry and support in the workplace by creating an atmosphere of mindful authenticity. x
  • 10
    Mindfulness at Work: The Power of Appreciation
    Continue your look at mindfulness in the workplace with Mike Robbins. Understand the difference between recognition and appreciation and why appreciation in the workplace can increase employee satisfaction, retention, productivity, and overall mental health. Learn how the mindfulness practice of gratitude can make a difference in your life—both in the workplace and in your personal relationships. x
  • 11
    The Benefits of Brain Training
    Our ability to pay attention and stay focused on a task is incredibly important for our productivity and safety—and often the safety of others. But the attention system in our brain is easily affected by our moods and stress. Are there exercises we can do to train our brain? And, if so, does that training show benefits over time? Join Dr. Amishi Jha to explore brain training from a new perspective. x
  • 12
    Mindfulness as Brain Training
    Dr. Amishi Jha shares her lab's exciting research on the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, and resilience. While other types of brain training do not seem to result in long-term benefits, mindfulness training can positively impact the physical structure and functioning of the brain, especially in the three distinct brain networks related to attention and focus. x
  • 13
    The Science of Mindful Aging
    Recent scientific discoveries reveal not only the mechanisms of aging at the cellular level, but also how our mental activities affect those processes. With Dr. Elissa Epel, learn how your activities—including a mindfulness practice—can affect inflammation; the length of the telomeres that protect our chromosomes; the health of our mitochondria, our cells’ centers of energy production; and our epigenome, the chemical compounds that turn our genes on and off. x
  • 14
    Positive Behaviors That Slow Aging
    See how changes you make in your mental and emotional life can affect aging at the cellular level and why the effort it takes to explore some of life’s biggest questions—your own purpose, the meaning of your relationships, and more—is worth your while. Dr. Elissa Epel discusses what neuroscience reveals about the ways in which your social life and personal relationships impact your physical rate of aging. x
  • 15
    Mindful Sex: Being Present in Your Body
    What do you think about during sex? Jessica Graham’s work reveals that many of us are focused on how we look, what our partner thinks about us, how we’re “performing”—all thoughts that take us outside our body. Instead, learn how mindful sex allows you to better access the pleasure in your own body, create a deeper connection with your partner, and enjoy your own sexuality more than ever before. x
  • 16
    Beyond the Orgasm: Communicate and Flow
    Orgasm anxiety (is our orgasm too fast, too slow, not happening at all?) takes us away from sexual pleasure. But mindful sex can refocus our attention on the body’s innate sexual feelings without judgment, allowing us to relax into pleasure. Jessica Graham shares the concept of “flow” meditation as well as ways mindfulness can help forge better communication between partners, deepening both pleasure and meaningful connection. x
  • 17
    Awe: A Defining Human Emotion
    Join Dr. Dacher Keltner and learn why awe is called a defining human strength and how this emotion and phenomenon differs significantly from beauty and astonishment. What do people report as their main sources of awe, and how does it make them feel? Why is an awareness of awe a central part of the human experience? x
  • 18
    How Can You Find More Awe?
    Why does emotion emerge in mammalian evolution and what role does the emotion of awe play in human development? Dr. Dacher Keltner takes you on an exploration of what scientists have discovered about the cross-cultural universality of awe and its physical, mental, and social benefits—and specific ways in which you can experience awe more often in your own life. x
  • 19
    Blue Mind: The Healing Power of Water
    What has neuroscience revealed about the importance of our connection to the natural world and especially our connection to water? Can a mindful connection with lakes, rivers, and oceans—or even the ordinary water we drink—heal the stress and busyness of our modern lives? Learn the ways in which our brain and body are hardwired to respond positively to water with marine biologist and “water evangelist” Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. x
  • 20
    Go Deeper: The Seven Ages of Water
    Dive into the seven ages of water, from birth to death, and explore the many ways in which water impacts our emotional lives. From play to romance to flotation therapy, Dr. Nichols shows how being mindful of water can increase your mental and physical health, and why many scientists refer to water as medicine. Whether you live by the ocean or in the desert, learn how to make “Blue Mind” a part of your life. x
  • 21
    Mindsight: Understanding Your Inner Life
    Our minds include our subjective experience, consciousness, and information processing. But how does this all come together? With Dr. Dan Siegel, learn why self-organization is one of the key attributes of all complex systems, including the healthy mind. Discover how that quality of integration predicts the quality of mental health, and how the practice of mindfulness can take us from the states of rigidity and chaos to healthy integration. x
  • 22
    The Wheel of Awareness: A Model for Well-Being
    Dr. Siegel shares his guided mindfulness meditation called “Wheel of Awareness.” With this practice, you’ll learn to integrate four main aspects of life and mind: the five senses, internal bodily sensations, mental activity and emotions, and relationship to the outside world. More than 10,000 individuals have experienced the Wheel of Awareness, integrating these four aspects of the life of the mind to create better mental health. x

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Your professors

Shauna Shapiro Juna Mustad Rick Hanson Kristine Carlson Mike Robbins Amishi Jha Elissa Epel Jessica Graham Dacher Keltner Wallace J. Nichols Daniel J. Siegel

Professor 1 of 11

Shauna Shapiro, PhD
Santa Clara University

Professor 2 of 11

Juna Mustad, SEP

Professor 3 of 11

Rick Hanson, PhD
Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom

Professor 4 of 11

Kristine Carlson

Professor 5 of 11

Mike Robbins

Professor 6 of 11

Amishi Jha, PhD
University of Miami

Professor 7 of 11

Elissa Epel, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

Professor 8 of 11

Jessica Graham

Professor 9 of 11

Dacher Keltner, PhD
University of California, Berkeley

Professor 10 of 11

Wallace J. Nichols, PhD

Professor 11 of 11

Daniel J. Siegel, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
Shauna Shapiro, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University, an author, and an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and compassion. Nearly a million people have watched her TEDx talk “The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger.” Dr. Shapiro has published more than 100 journal articles and has coauthored two critically acclaimed books: The Art and Science of Mindfulness:...
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Juna Mustad is a corporate mindfulness coach, an author, and an expert in mindful anger. She works with companies, organizations, and individuals around the world, teaching and coaching emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and skills for building healthy and effective relationships. She is also a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and has trained extensively in stress and trauma resolution. She offers an accessible,...
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Rick Hanson, PhD, is a psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, and senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. His books are available in 28 languages and include Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness; Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence; Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of...
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Kristine Carlson is passionate about spreading her message of waking up to life with joy and gratitude amid the ups and downs of this earthly existence. Her life mission expands on the phenomenal success of her late husband Dr. Richard Carlson’s work in the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series. She continues his legacy of peaceful and mindful living through her own best-selling books, including Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff...
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Mike Robbins is the author of four books: Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation; Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity; Nothing Changes until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way; and Bring Your Whole Self to Work: How Vulnerability Unlocks Creativity, Connection, and Performance. As an expert in teamwork, leadership, and...
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Amishi Jha, PhD, is a neuroscientist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami. She is also the director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the UMindfulness initiative, prior to which she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis, and completed her postdoctoral...
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Elissa Epel, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. She studies how chronic stress can impact biological aging, including the telomere/telomerase system, and how mindfulness interventions may buffer stress effects and promote psychological and physiological thriving. She also studies food addiction and obesity. Dr. Epel is a member of the National Academy of...
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Jessica Graham is a spiritual and sexual activist, a meditation teacher, an author, a sex and intimacy guide, an actor, and a filmmaker. She is a contributing editor of the meditation blog Deconstructing Yourself, in which her popular series Mindful Sex appears. She cofounded The Eastside Mindfulness Collective, dedicated to exploring secular spirituality through mindful living and learning. She also created Wild Awakening to...
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Dacher Keltner, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center. His research focuses on the biological and evolutionary origins of emotion—in particular, prosocial states, such as compassion, awe, love, and beauty—as well as power, social class, and inequality. He is the author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful...
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Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, is an innovative and entrepreneurial scientist, a renowned marine biologist, a wild-water advocate, a best-selling author, and a sought-after lecturer. In addition to being Chief Evangelist for Water (CEH2O) at Buoy Labs, he is a senior fellow at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center for the Blue Economy and a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Dr. Nichols...
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Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is also the founding codirector of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. In addition, he is the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, which focuses on the development of mindsight—our human capacity to perceive the mind of the self and others—in individuals,...
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