The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has created a Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) within the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The Center’s mission is “to foster mindful awareness through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society.” Mindful awareness is defined as the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences.
Center members study and promote the ancient art of mindfulness and what are described as mindful awareness practices, or MAPs, from a rigorous scientific basis. MAPs are defined as tools and exercises such as meditation, yoga and tai chi that develop greater body-mind awareness and promote mindfulness in daily life.
The center engages in the following activities:
- It offers classes and workshops to the general public, teaching mindfulness skills across the lifespan.
- It fosters and publicizes research to support the scientific benefits of mindful awareness.
- It brings mindfulness to professionals—including doctors, medical students, staff and faculty—through UCLA’s medical education program.
- It offers mindfulness tools and classes to support mental health professionals.
- It brings mindfulness into pre-K through grade 12 education via teacher-training programs and mindful awareness classes in the schools.
For more information about the Mindful Awareness Research Center, see www.marc.ucla.edu.
Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is IDEA’s body-mind-spirit spokesperson and a contributing editor. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher, a body-mind skills specialist and an award-winning author based in Palm Beach, Florida, and Zurich, Switzerland. Her books include Pilates Fusion: Well-Being for Body, Mind and Spirit. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.