Tag Archives: breathing
5. The bathroom. Maybe this seems like it would be your number one place that was wierd, but it’s actually not as wierd as you might think. It’s sometimes the only place where you can grab 5 minutes of peace and quiet, and you don’t necessarily have to have your pants down! Try this bathroom meditation tip: Take 5 minutes one evening, after its getting dark or dark already. Go in and set a candle near or across from you, somewhere where you can see it. Turn off the lights, lock the door (if you can) and set a timer. Just sit there, breathe and stare at the candle for 5 minutes. Try to keep your thoughts only on the candle, and every time you get distracted with a thought or a noise or whatever, just come back to staring at the candle.
4. Your car. Now, please don’t try to mediate while rolling down the highway! That’s not what I mean. What I do mean is between the grocery store and the post office, take 5 minutes to sit in your car and breathe. Set a timer on your phone or try this technique: Count your exhales for one minute (you can watch your car clock as you do this). Then take that number, whatever it is, and repeat that number of exhales 5 times. It may not be right on the money, especially as you start to concentrate on the breath, you are going to slow down your rate of breathing. It will be about 5 minutes and the resultant piece of mind will be priceless. And who can say you don’t have just a few minutes to pause in between going to one place or another? If you don’t run errands during the day, try this at the beginning of lunchtime. You will find you will make better food choices, once you are relaxed and aware of your surroundings!
3. In the middle of the supermarket. What??!! Yes, meditating in the middle of a busy crowd can be quite empowering. It can also be a test of your concentration skills. When I am feeling especially rushed or frantic, I will stop for a few moments and concentrate on my breath. Now some may argue that is more breath control work or pranayama, but they blend together a bit when you are using the breath as a concentration technique. So try this – in the pasta aisle, stop for a few moments and close your eyes. If you are concerned about looking weird to others in the store, turn and face the shelves so it looks like you are looking for the right pasta sauce at eye level. Then close your eyes and employ the breath counting technique employed above. Count your exhales for 2 minutes, and when you open your eyes, take note of how you feel, mentally, physically and emotionally. You will probably be clearer-headed and more relaxed as you move forward into your day with strength.
2. In an ugly and unwelcoming space. As westerners, we spend a lot of time making our spaces pretty or beautiful to us. There is a lot of serenity to be gained by sitting in meditation in a well-kept, peaceful space. But have you ever tried meditating in the middle of your garage or in a warehouse full of building materials? Again, this can be a challenge, especially if there is noise or other people around. Next time you are in a place that you just don’t like (not one that gives you the skeevies, mind – that’s not what I mean), take a moment or two and see what serenity you can tap into in that place. Maybe there is a rythym you can follow in your mind or a profound silence because no one is in there. Take a moment to methaphorically turn the ugly stone over and see if what is under it can be helpful in teaching you to control your mind.
1. I am going to leave this one up to the readers. Where is the weirdest place you have meditated? Please comment and let us all know!
So if there is one theme that is posted about over and over and over again in yoga blogs, it’s gratitude. Be grateful for this, be grateful for that and everything will go well in your life. But guess what? Just being grateful in your head doesn’t cut it folks. I’m here to talk about radical gratitude. What is radical gratitude mean? It means being grateful for every piece of grit life throws your way, as well as all the nice, pleasurable stuff. Have you ever tried being grateful for every unpleasant thing that happens to you? What if you tried that today? Here are 5 tips to help you be a yoga warrior:
5. Be grateful for the ability to practice every day. And DO IT. Just get to the mat and be grateful that you can get there. So many people don’t have the ability, awareness or introduction to the beautifully life-enhancing practice of yoga. You do!! So get on the mat, no matter how you feel and do something. Be grateful for the aches and pains, as well as the yummy, delicous, “oh this is my favorite pose” feeling. (Note: And TRY the hard poses for you every day. If you try them once a day, eventually they won’t be hard any more!)
4. Keep asking yourself if you are being grateful in each moment. We want to not be grateful. We want to complain and say it’s her/his/its fault for the way things are going. The truth is, that never helps anyone do anything or be anything they want to be. It’s okay to have that thought, but bust right through it and do something else with that energy. Use it as fuel for the fire in your soul to achieve your deepest desires and dreams.
3. Do your best, forget the rest. When you fumble and fall (which we all do), forget it. Move on. Don’t look back to the past, you aren’t going that way. ‘Nuff said.
2. Have fun with the hard stuff. When everything seems to be so hard and you just can’t feel grateful for anything, find a way to play. Be soft within the structured determination of your practice of gratitude. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, but don’t be overtaken by them. You are in control of your life.
1. Take FULL responsibility for everything that happens to you. And I mean everything. Even if it feels horrible. Ask yourself – how can I learn from this to make sure I don’t make the same mistake twice? Now, if you are thinking, whoa, that is totally unfair, there are things that happen to me that I can’t help. Sure, there are some things that happen to us that are beyond our immediate control – take the recent economy as an example. You and I didn’t make Wall street crash – but the action we can take at home is to be fiscally responsible, protect our finances, learn about smart financing and teach others in our community to be so as well. That is taking responsibility with what is called your “locus of control.” Taking to hand everything you CAN affect does wonders for self-confidence, feelings of security and personal growth. And to do it with an attitude of gratitude? Now that’s radical, dude!
Have a great practice!
7. Honor your practice. Take the time for your practice, and make it sacred for yourself. This means honoring your commitment to do the practice every day, no matter what. It also means planning your practice into your day. If you don’t have a plan, it’s not going to happen. Make it your ritual. The reason that yogis say to practice in the morning is not because it’s some magic time of day, it’s because you have a better chance of getting it done if you aren’t already in the swing of things during your day.
6. Engage all your senses. When you are on your mat, be on your mat. We can easily get to the mat and spend the whole time thinking about what we have to do that day, or whatever current drama is playing around in our mind. Start by noticing everything that is touching your mat, in each pose. How does it feel to have your feet, hands, belly, or back touch the mat? What can you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Do you taste your morning coffee or tea still or is there an absence of taste?
5. Be mindful of what kind of practice your body needs in every moment. Not every practice is for every body, every day. We can develop a good intuition about what our body needs by consistently practicing checking in during practice. This is a very helpful skill for your practice but also it is GREAT for when you step off the mat. Did you hydrate well today? Did you eat nurturing foods? Did you skip meals because your schedule got too busy? We have all been there, but noticing when we fall out of balance, on and off the mat, is an important practice for a long, healthy life.
4. Reflect on your practice. Is it meeting your long term goals or needs? Your short term goals? What do you want out of your practice? There are so many styles and ways to approach mindfulness, it’s up to you to go to the “Awareness Grocery Store” and pick out the style you want to try next. Keep trying things until you find something that works really well for you and your needs. If you are unsure, then ask a teacher or attend a workshop that will introduce you to a new style. If you want something personalized, then try my Therapeutic Home Study Program. You can receive a personalized DVD that will be tailored exactly to your needs of body, mind and spirit.
3. Practice slowly. Even if you are in a vinyasa flow class, you can practice slowly and mindfully. Rushing through any practice is a sure recipe for injury, discouragement and obstacles to a daily practice. Holding poses for longer not only increases the calories you are burning, but also gives you the time to “marinate” in a pose, truly start to understand the subtleties and increase your skill.
2. Practice every day. There is no way to fully understand your body without a practice that is at least 5-6 days a week. Intermittment practice is helpful, no doubt, but to gain the discipline, mentally and physically, of a daily practice brings benefits you can only dream of right now. First, you will be presented with lots of things you have been ignoring, physically, mentally and spiritually, but eventually things will even out, you will get on a stable, sustainable path where you can be successful and happy.
1. Take your practice off the mat into your everyday life. Each moment is an opportunity to practice one of the yamas and niyamas, the ethics of yoga. All of these lessons will bear fruit in your every day life if you consistently practice them on the mat. You won’t be able to help all of the lessons coming with you into your life, if you listen to your body, mind and spirit each day on the mat.