Claims for the advantages of years of mindfulness training are pretty impressive. But our clients walk in the door without those many years of meditation practice. They are concerned with how to change now, not having to wait for 10 years of sitting or chanting or yoga. Dalian University professor Yi-Yuan Tang and his colleagues (Tang & Posner, 2008; Tang et al., 2007) wondered if a program that integrated several body-mind aspects of meditation, including body relaxation, breath adjustment, mental imagery, and mindfulness training, might produce results that show up more quickly. Faster is not necessarily better in and of itself, but Tang argued that it is important to apply the same testing standards to mindfulness as to drugs or other change interventions. This is difficult to do when results do not show up for years and only then after unceasing compliance.
Tang and his group recruited 80 undergraduates from the university and gave half of them relaxation training only. He gave the other half the full integrated body-mind training (IBMT) recorded along with selected music. Both groups met with a trained coach whose job was “to create a harmonious and relaxed atmosphere for effective practice.” Both groups, relaxation and IBMT, practiced for 20 minutes a day for 5 days.
Long-term meditators tend to be able to notice and calm themselves when they are about to fly off the handle. This is called self-regulation.
They also are better ...