Benefits of Meditation, Music, and Movement
While there is certainly no silver bullet for relief from the severity of trauma caused by Hurricane Maria and its after effects, research shows that the use and practice of meditation, music, and movement support healing in powerful ways. A plethora of studies show practices in these self-care categories improve sleep, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, fight depression, lessen pain, generate kindness, lengthen attention span, and support post-trauma recovery.
For instance, a study on healthcare workers involved in relief work after Hurricane Katrina shows that meditation focused on inner resources significantly decreased PTSD scores and anxiety symptoms (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3388328/). An empirical review conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University of 19,000 meditation studies that focused on 47 well-designed trials suggests that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression and pain (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967). A study on survivors of recurring floods in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar shows that yoga practice significantly decreased sadness levels, while anxiety significantly increased in the control group (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3388328/).
Research also shows that listening to music that one enjoys decreases the stress hormone cortisol and increases dopamine, a “feel good” neurotransmitter https://www.lifehack.org/317747/scientists-find-15-amazing-benefits-listening-music).
The multipronged approach of meditation, music, and movement in Bajacu’ Boricua ensures that participants in the project will benefit from tangible techniques and practices that improve their wellbeing.
1 “Bajacu’” is Arawakan language that was spoken by the Taínos (indigenous people of Puerto Rico and other locations in the Caribbean) word for “dawn” or“morning light.” “Boricua” is a arawakan word for “the valiant people of the sacred house” and originates from the Taíno name for Puerto Rico, “Borikén.” In the present, “Boricua” is often used as a synonym for “Puerto Rican.”
With 155 miles per hour winds, heavy rains, and flash floods, Hurricane Maria was devastating. The hurricane inflicted approximately $90 billion in damages and displaced thousands of residents. The storm caused the largest blackout in U.S. history. Millions of Puerto Ricans were without electricity for months and lacked access to clean water, food, medicine, and fuel. An interdisciplinary study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated the death toll from Hurricane Maria and the resulting humanitarian disaster to be approximately 4600 lives lost (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1803972).
More than one year after the storm, Puerto Ricans are still struggling with the effects of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath as many houses remain roofless or damaged, families face grief and loss, and 30-50% of the population is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/03/puerto-rico-after-hurricane-maria-dispatches/).
Irwin Redlener, head of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and president of the Children’s Health Fund stated, “Children who experience destructive storms are often the most vulnerable to long-term mental health effects” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/11/05/puerto-ricos-smallest-victims-maria-may-leave-lasting-impact-childrens-mental-health/833633001/).
The need for Bajacu’ Boricua is clear. In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico just two weeks after the island was hit by Hurricane Irma and in the midst of a severe economic recession.
We did and it was amazing, So Bajacu’ Boricua* is a collaborative project designed to support Puerto Rican children, youth, and parents/caregivers in their emotional and physical recovery from the trauma of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath through meditation, music, and movement.
The impact Zones
Aguadilla, pUERTO rICO
9 - 9
Caguas, pUERTO rICO
2 - 4
San Juan, pUERTO rICO
3 - 32
ponce, pUERTO rICO
2 - 22
2019 Amazing Team
• Sharon Salzburg, a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, and a New York Times bestselling author.
• Holistic Life Foundation, whose impactful work has been featured on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as in O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications.
• Jana Kiser , a social entrepreneur and Harvard-trained educator with twenty years of experience who founded Global Learning, an international nonprofit organization that developed hundreds of young leaders from more than twenty-four countries and provided cutting-edge educational programming for more than 20,000 children in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the United States.
• Leslie Booker, Urban Sangha Project. Booker brings her heart and wisdom to the intersection of Dharma, embodied practice, and activism. She shares her expertise nationally around the need to create culturally responsive environments, and changing the paradigm of self and community care.
• Juan C. Lopez Berrios, Cayey-native with 17 years of experience in computer drafting and design, on civil/environmental engineering whose skills and leadership will guide Bajacu’ Boricua’s environmental stewardship projects. Plus Juan build and design the website and collaborate on social media team.
• Maria Jose Montijo, L.Ac is a California licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, cranio-sacral therapist, sound healer and performing musician. She is currently part of Shift Acupuncture Collective in Oakland and has been an acupuncturist and herbalist at Berkeley Primary Care of Lifelong Medical.
Selena Nadal - Official translator
Sara Camerinin - Social media
Daniele Apanaviciute - Social media
Megan Armbauster - Social media
Send us your inquiry