Meditation is my therapy. I’ve had a consistent meditation practice for the past three years and explored various styles of meditation for years prior to that. Like most people I started meditating as a result of all of the wonderful things I’d heard about how transformative it is to daily life, how easy it is to fit into any schedule, and how essential it is to our overall well-being and peace of mind.
“There is a story we tell ourselves everyday about who we are and what we can and can’t do…remember you wrote that story and you can edit it anytime…” -Joshua Scott Onysko
In a recent study conducted by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin demonstrated that a short program of brain training can produce positive effects in both adapting to stress and improving immune functions. Even months after a brain training regimen has been completed, there is a noticeable positive impact on how the brain handles negative stimulus and how the body produces antibodies.
Our lives are constantly changing with ebbs and flows of happiness sadness, anger, confusion, and elation. Sometimes it can all seem too overwhelming to handle, so how do we find contentment and stay our course when our lives are full of chaos?
The Yamas and Niyamas are the 10 ethical guidelines behind the practice of yoga. They encompass non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-excess, non-possessiveness, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about Asteya, the yama of non-stealing. In day-to-day life, we think of this as not stealing material possessions from stores or other people, however, there are many ways to steal and they don’t all encompass material goods.
You haven’t practiced yoga in a month. Your meditation practice has become sporadic at best. And that vegan diet you were going to maintain all summer? That lasted two days before you dove into that pint of Rocky Road.
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun with more open schedules, warmer weather, outdoor activities and vacations. However, there can also be a sense of pressure and stress in trying to meet our expectations of a laid-back season.
Just the other day, I looked at my calendar and felt overwhelmed by all of the activities on it. Delving deeper, I realized that I needed to create some space to simply be: read a book, go deeper into my meditation practice, savor the smell of a peach as I cut into it or the smell of flowers while sitting in my yard.
Taking the time to be present in the moment is a beautiful practice in its own right, and yoga and meditation are two ways achieve that goal by creating a space within, bringing your attention inward and turning your thoughts away from distractions.
I live for my morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I get excited about going to bed at night just because it means I can wake up and drink coffee. When my alarm goes off, I climb into my terrycloth robe and shuffle downstairs, my dog Ellie at my heels. I savor every part of my morning ritual, from the first whiff of the ground beans as I scoop them out of their tin, to the quiet sitting while I wait for my coffee to brew. I take my mug to the couch and prepare for the first sip, which feels like my own private moment with God. Ellie puts her head on my lap and we sit there in silence in our little church by the window.
This sacred time gives me the space to be with myself; it encourages me to listen to me — the voices in my head are too sleepy to chime in with their usual agenda and commentary. And that’s a good thing because I like to spend my mornings doing nothing in particular. If I’m in the mood, I’ll putter around my house and tend to this or that. Maybe I’ll water the plants . . . or not. Maybe I’ll write . . . or not. The rest of my day is directed by obligation — things I have to do, or “should” do — which makes the guiltless moments of my morning feel even more precious.
Our home practice can be a lot like my cherished morning time. No one telling us what to do. No agenda to follow. It’s just you and your breath in that vehicle we call the body, cruisin’ wherever you wanna go.
With more than 20 million yoga practitioners in the United States alone, yoga is becoming part of mainstream culture — and making its own news headlines! Here’s what you should know when you hit the mat:
Naked Yoga Class Offered in New York City
No yoga pants? No problem! Yoga studio Bold & Naked in New York City is offering classes where students can practice completely naked.