Tag Archives: relaxation

A Beginner’s Guide to Walking Meditation

Many people have told Dr. John and me that “their” meditation is not sitting down “on the cushion” (as the saying goes) but rather engaging in activities that cultivate a mind that is relaxed and alert. This could include things like:

  • Washing dishes
  • Jogging
  • Vacuuming
  • Gardening
  • Walking

Whatever works for YOU is the main thing. As I like to say, there is no one meditation style that works fits all; if a body-centric meditation calls to you and encourages you to practice regularly, then that is what you should do!

For those of you who have heard about walking meditation, and are interested in trying it, here are some tips from the Chopra Centre that will help you get started.

The fall is a particularly beautiful time to do walking meditation. Enjoy the sunny days, the spectacular colour of the leaves, and the cooler temperatures. It is a wonderful time to go into the forest, without the bugs swarming around your head as you slowly walk and meditate!

Guided Meditation by Dr. John Stewart: Sun and Waves

Over the years, there have been many requests for Dr Stewart’s guided meditations.

We are pleased to be able to provide you with one of them. Just click on the “play” button and settle back for this lovely 17 meditation, “Sun and Waves”.

Five Steps To More Abundance And Less Stress

Do you long for more abundance, and less stress? This article from the Chopra Center gives us 5 tips for stilling the voices of “not enough money, not enough time” and cultivating your sense of abundance.

spring

DEEPAK CHOPRA’s

Simple Steps to Cultivate an Abundance Mindset

Have you ever noticed that when you’re really worried or afraid about the things you
don’t seem to have enough of — like time or money — that it’s a lot harder to be
grateful and appreciative for what you do have?

Your anxiety is so big, it easily replaces your sense of abundance and fulfillment.
The fact is, most of us living in our modern world experience some fear around not
having enough money. You might think your fears are unavoidable and that you can’t
feel better until you have enough.

But according to world-renowned expert on mindbody science, Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, it’s actually the other way around . . . because the most crucial thing to understand about abundance is that it begins in the mind.

Think about it this way . . . do you believe you only lack something because you
haven’t yet found a creative way to solve the problem? Or do you believe there’s never enough to go around, unfair stuff happens, and there’s not much you can do about it?

Choosing a belief system that cultivates abundance is crucial, but it’s not something
most of us have been taught to do.

It is, however, something all of us can commit to learning. In fact, there are 5 keys to
cultivating an abundance mindset from Deepak in this very email that will get you
started.

The most important thing to recognize before you begin is that you are always
processing your life. There is input and output, forming a feedback loop.

Input is the term for all the experiences that come your way during the day, while
output is all your responses: your thoughts, words and actions. You are the one who
oversees both.

You sift through the input, evaluate it, and take what you like, while rejecting what
you don’t like. Nothing is more crucial than your contribution to the feedback loop:
You are the one who colors everything that comes your way, using intention, belief,
expectation, wishes, hopes, dreams and fears. No input is neutral, because you are
emotionally invested in your experiences.

At the other end of the process, when you produce output, you again color it the
same way. Your thoughts, words and actions indicate how involved you are in your
life. Thus the circle of personal reality is shaped, every minute of every day.
Abundance reveals itself when you build a feedback loop that can accept and build
upon what life has to offer.

Look at the familiar story of lottery winners who are worse off 10 years after their
sudden windfall. Why? Because they couldn’t adapt. They processed life on a limited
scale, and suddenly they were asked to process millions of dollars, massive
attention, public exposure, and the demands of people around them.

Unless you have prepared the way, abundance itself can turn into a drain on you.
The secret is to constantly build your capacity for abundance in small steps. Use
your small victories to create a new belief system, one that can accept higher and
higher levels of opportunity.

Try these 5 keys to cultivating an abundance mindset from Deepak today:

1. Turn negativity into positive action.
Take one thing today that you feel negative about. Before the day is out, take a
positive action that diminishes the negativity. That could mean standing up for
yourself, speaking your truth, fixing what can be fixed, asking for help, seeking wise
advice, walking away from things that can’t be fixed, reducing the stress, and looking
at your role in creating the negative situation. The possibilities are endless! What’s
important to recognize is that taking even the smallest of actions begins to change
the feedback you’re getting.

2. Don’t indulge the voice of futility.
“It’s hopeless. I’m helpless. Nothing will change or ever get better.” Everyone hears
these words; the voice of futility persists because we were all little children who felt
helpless and hopeless at times. If you indulge it, the voice of futility will pull you
down to its level. So reject the temptation to indulge in a defeatist viewpoint. Tell
yourself, “This negative voice isn’t me.” Gently but firmly reject the voice of futility,
and when any good thing happens, however small, remind yourself that the voice
was wrong.

3. Expand your awareness
The greatest enemy of abundance is contraction. When you find yourself in a tight
situation, feeling that there is no way out, drawing a blank when you try to think of
new solutions, or carrying around a heavy burden . . . these are signs of contraction
in mind, body, and spirit. Expansion is the great friend of abundance. It brings in the
light, opening up new possibilities. In a relaxed, open state, your awareness sees
farther, and life isn’t so confined.

How can you expand your awareness? The brain has a natural mechanism for
resetting itself and getting back into balance. Give this mechanism a chance by
setting aside time – even just a few minutes – for peace and quiet. Being under
pressure, putting up with noise and stress, and never stopping to relax are
counterproductive. Go into a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed. Let yourself
become centered again, and if you can, practice meditation.

4. Take full responsibility.
If you want a radical cure for being a victim of lack, here it is. Victims are dominated
by external forces—other people and circumstances—and since outside forces
cannot be controlled, it seems natural to give up responsibility for the bad things in
your life. “I can’t help it” is like a poisonous seed that keeps multiplying and growing.
The solution is to recognize that your situation will change only after you quit looking
outside and start taking responsibility.

In effect, you are saying something positive: This is my life. Abundance comes from
within. By taking responsibility, you accept everything, the good and the bad, as your
whole package.

5. Make full use of your successes.
While abundance means a flow of good things in unlimited supply, that doesn’t mean
it happens all at once like a thunderstorm quenching a parched land. The process of
abundance is more like attaining a skill. If you want to master walking a tightrope,
you start small and low to the ground, not big and high up. This actually ensures that
you will reach your goal.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by shortcircuiting the process of abundance. A lot of
things, including the wiring in your brain, must become organized around your goal.
Every wish brings a result. The world’s wisdom traditions teach this lesson. But they
also teach that results can be tiny, or mixed, or hidden from view because our
awareness is limited and distracted. It helps to know that the process will never let
you down—your every thought and intention becomes part of the feedback loop.

Mastering the art of cultivating an abundance mindset is just one important step in
opening to the universal flow of abundance, while following your heart and pursuing
your highest purpose.

Meditation for those who can’t get into meditation!

I know there a lot of people who want to meditate for the benefits of calm and peace, but just can’t seem to stand the sitting, the “not moving”, and the cyclone of thoughts that overpower them when they try to “take the cushion.” The very thought of just “doing nothing” is a total turn-off and is a very real obstacle to a regular practice.

In reality,  a meditation practice does not have to be done sitting down, eyes closed, soft music in the background and…..utter stillness. In fact, anytime you are involved in something where you are fully engaged, focused, relaxed yet alert…..that is a meditation.

The Chopra Center offers this wonderful article about alternatives to a seated meditation:

8 Activities to Reset Your Mind (That Don’t Involve Meditation)

Are you yearning to reap the benefits of a meditation practice, but intimidated by the act of sitting still? Meditation is a simple, effortless process for some—but it can feel like an overwhelming chore for others.

The good news is that there are many ways you can cultivate a state of peaceful awareness that don’t involve seated meditation. Try one of these alternative activities to practice mindfulness—and enjoy the focus, clarity, and peace that follows.

Head Outside for a Walk

Nature and exercise are both prescriptions for improved health and well-being. Henry David Thoreau made a good point when he said, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” It’s because nature feels good. It nourishes our body, mind, and spirit.

Find a walk or hike near you. Try searching AllTrails to find a new route to explore. As you walk, bring awareness to your breath as you move. Notice the sensations in your body, observe how your heart rate increases on hills, and watch your calves engage as you descend.

Notice every detail of your surroundings: the colors, the plants and trees, the rhythm and pace of your movements, and your feet as they hit the ground in a cyclical manner. Take it all in without distraction.

Try Gardening

Instead of gardening to music, try to cultivate a quiet, mindful state of being as you work in the garden. If you can keep your mind focused on paying attention to what you’re doing—the sensations of your hands in the dirt, the breeze across your face, the smell of the incoming basil, and your breath as you move, you can turn your gardening session into a mindfulness practice.

Color Between the Lines

There’s a new craze in the world of mindfulness called coloring for adults. Adult coloring books market themselves as providing hours of relaxation, stress relief, creative expression, and a mindful state of being. Plus, it sounds like a fun way to play like a child again.

Dance

Put on some good music (preferably upbeat and without words), close your eyes, and allow your body to move freely. Try using an open space like the yard, living room, or basement, and dance like no one’s watching because, well, no one’s watching. And because it feels good.

Exercise Mindfully

There are many ways to move your body in a mindful way; it just requires some focus and awareness to merge awareness and physical exercise. Try running, jumping rope, tai chi, or other aerobic exercises while following these tips to integrate mindfulness into your exercise program.

Yoga

Also a way to stretch your body and get some exercise, yoga is the way many people find meditation. In the physical practice of yoga, it’s easier to focus on the body first and use that focus as a way to tame your monkey mind.

Find a yoga class near you, tune into an online yoga video, or move through a yoga sequence to strengthen your core or poses to wake you up in the morning. Allow your body and breath to lead your mind as you move from pose to pose.

Play an Instrument

Playing music is an incredible creative outlet. And you don’t have to be talented to enjoy it. In fact, if you aren’t serious with an instrument, it can serve as a great mindfulness exercise because you have no objective other than to play.

If you already play an instrument, just spend some time with it and zone everything else out. Make this a session in mindfulness, rather than perfecting a song or writing something new that others would enjoy.

If you don’t already play an instrument, pick up one of these instruments that require little-to-no knowledge to begin:

  • Drum
  • Gong
  • Singing Bowl
  • Chime
  • Kalimba
  • Maracas
  • Your voice

Remember, the purpose isn’t to win over an audience—it’s to focus your attention on the present moment as you create rhythm, melody, and sound.

Enjoy a Sunset

There isn’t a more present feeling than watching the sun slip behind a cloud or past the horizon. Aside from its natural beauty, the sunset is also a brilliant reminder that each and every day offers us a new end and a new beginning.

Get lost in the vibrant colors and spirit of the sunset, and take Mother Nature’s advice that the rest of your to-do list can wait until morning.

 

Assorted guided meditations from the Chopra Center

Thoughts are just thoughtsLooking for some guided meditations for your home practice? Fortunately, the Chopra Center has been kind enough to post a variety of them, ranging in time from less than five minutes up to an hour, and include themes of Gratitude, Abundance, Awakening to Perfect Health, Creativity, Letting Go of Control….and many more.

Enjoy these guided meditations from the Chopra Center!

Om Satyam!

Activate your inner calm with this simple technique

In our meditation classes, we discuss certain techniques that assist in activating the parasympathetic nervous system for enhancing a sense of calm and relaxation. One simple method for doing so, is to touch your upper lip repeatedly.

Watch this video to see a demo by mom and baby. The baby obviously enjoys this method – I hope you do too! If nothing else, it will bring a smile to your face!

Just before you get your 35 second “happy hit”, please note that the November Find Peace of Mind meditation classes begin on Thursday November 19th. Dr John Stewart and I hope that you can join us to learn more about this PNS technique as well as meditation approaches that help you cultivate inner peace, love and joy!

Our first Sangha will also begin in November. Please consider joining Bette Hodgins at 5:45 on Thursday November 26th for a drop-in meditation class intended to support and nurture your home meditation practice. Sangha will be held in the Ed Suite at Medical Associates. Cost of attendance is by donation, respectfully suggesting a minimum of $15 per class.

Activate your PNS