2009 NIH Mind-Body Week Cancelled

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Yesterday, I received the following email from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mind-Body Week directors:

Dear Yoga Week Listserv, I am writing to inform you that the NIH has decided to cancel the proposed NIH Mind-Body Week (MBW), scheduled for Sept 8-11, 2009.  Subsequent to initial discussions among planners about a MBW event, the NIH was given the enormous opportunity and attendant responsibility of funding an unprecedented $8.2 billion to support scientific research priorities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The period proposed for holding the MBW is exactly when much of the NIH will be focused on ensuring that all of the successful ARRA applicants receive their awards prior to the end of the NIH fiscal year on September 30, 2009.  We appreciate your efforts in developing MBW and regret any inconvenience caused by the change in plans.

While it is disappointing that this much anticipated event is being cancelled for this year, it is also heartening to know that health research is being supported on such a large scale. The funding will go toward things like the financial support of grant-funded positions for students and educators, biomedical research and development, as well as research into effective public health initiatives and health care delivery.

This infusion of research funds has important implications for health care delivery and illness prevention efforts. For example, there are many great cancer prevention programs that have been created by our nation’s top academic researchers, and have been shown to be effective in their trials at a local level. However, they often don’t have the funding to develop these programs into packages that can easily be used by others (e.g., schools, hospitals, municipalities) on a national scale. Some of the NIH-designated ARRA funds will go toward the development of these important programs.

Update on NIH Mind-Body Week: The Science and Practice of Stress Management Modalities

Image ©NIH Mind-Body Week

Image ©NIH Mind-Body Week

Heart disease and cancer may be our top killers, but it’s a lack of stress management that is really hurting our nation’s health. In response to this epidemic, the National Institutes of Health will be holding the first annual Mind-Body Week from September 8-11, 2009. This event is dedicated to the science and exploration of stress management topic, and all events are FREE and open to the public.

There will be four days of stimulating lectures, workshops and classes covering topics such as Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mindful Parenting, the Science of Yoga and Yoga Therapy, Meditation for Stress Management and much more.

There will be over 100 featured teachers and lecturers (details will be on the official website in July 2009!). Some of the keynote speakers include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Myla Kabat-Zinn, James S. Gordon, M.D., Tara Brach, Ph.D., Timothy McCall, M.D., Roger Jahnke, Ph.D., Sat Bir Khalsa, Ph.D, Dan Siegel, M.D. and Josie Briggs, M.D. And yours truly will be presenting a talk on “Striving Toward that Elusive Work-Life Balance” on September 9.

Besides my talk :), I’m especially looking forward to talks by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Karen Soltes and Robin Carnes on how the iRest® Yoga Nidra protocol is being used to help US Military personnel suffering from combat stress, and Esther Sternberg on how stress makes you sick.

The program will be held at the Natcher Building and other buildings around the NIH Main Campus (Building 45), 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892.

2009 NIH Yoga Week: Exploring the Science and Practice of Yoga

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my lotus flower candle holder

Mary’s Note: See my new blog post for an update on the schedule and location of NIH Mind Body Week 2009.

The week before last, I was fortunate to be able to attend a day of programming at the National Institute’s of Health’s (NIH) first annual CORE Week, where I heard wonderful speakers on Reiki, stress reduction, excercise and meditation, from the perspective of pracitioners and researchers. 

I was eager to attend after having experienced the first annual NIH Yoga Week last May, which was the first of this type of event to be held by the NIH. It was a truly groundbreaking event in that the NIH, a 120-year-old US government agency, endorsed a practice that 30 years ago, would have been considered very alternative. The first yoga week, in May 2008 received national attention with over 1300 participants – it also resulted in National Yoga Month, a National Health Observance being designated for every September from now on.  

If this sounds good to you, mark your calender from September 8-11, 2009, when the NIH will hold its second annual Yoga Week. Highlighting the science and practice of yoga, this four-day series of events is open to the public. You will not only learn about the benefits of yoga but also experience them first-hand through hands-on instruction. Yoga Week will focus on yoga, yoga therapy, yoga research, and presentations on meditation, stress management, and other mind/body modalities. There will also be an opportunity to gain Continuing Education credits through Yoga Alliance and several other health education partners. And it’s all completely free!

This week of events will take place in Bethesda, MD. I encourage you to be a part of this innovative and enjoyable event. For more information, contact Dr. Rachel Permuth-Levine at levinerac [at] mail [dot] nih [dot] gov.