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5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

Polly Stevens

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5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

Being in tune with ourselves is important. Yoga is one way to keep our minds in the present. To be better at yoga, we need to practice focused meditation.  Let’s learn the ways for a focused meditation here…

Meditation. Yoga. The two go together like Batman & Robin (though with less capes… usually).

As spiritual health practices that have both found popularity in the West over the past 50 years, we tend to lump yoga and meditation together. Whenever we read of one, the other usually isn’t far behind. And when we’re shopping for yoga pants it’s no surprise to see a meditation mala in the vicinity.

Yet despite the obvious correlation between yoga and meditation, there are still countless people who do one or the other and not both.

Big mistake.

Yoga makes you better at meditation because it creates a relaxed body that is conducive to a relaxed mind. Not to mention, it also makes it far easier to get into lotus position without feeling like your legs are going to snap in two.  And meditation makes us better at yoga in five key ways. Let’s take a look.

How focused meditation makes us better at yoga

 

5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

 

1. Meditation helps us focus on asanas

When we’re practicing yoga, we are, of course, exercising the body. But we ought to be exercising the mind at the same time.

Every time we place the body in an asana (pose), we should be focusing on that pose. By focusing the mind on the body while in a pose, we experience the asana in full. Yoga asanas offer many mental health benefits, but in order to glean those benefits, we have to actually focus on what we are doing.

Sadly, many people don’t leave their thoughts and distractions at the yoga studio door. And so they are not able to focus on the yoga.

Meditation is well known to improve focus and concentration. And because of this, it makes it easier to focus the mind on the body when we enter a yoga pose. The result is complete mind-body immersion in the asana.

2. Meditation lowers oxygen consumption

One of the lesser-known benefits of meditation is that it changes the way the body uses oxygen.

Scientific research shows that meditation lowers oxygen consumption rate by 10%. This means that we are more able to control the breath during and after meditation. This is a game-changer for anyone who gets short of breath when practicing yoga. If that’s you, try meditating before doing yoga, and during your yoga session, take a few moments here and there to practice mindful breathing. This will help regulate the breath.

Not only does this help us practice yoga for longer, it also gives us more control of pranayama.

3. Meditation helps you to discover the philosophical aspects of yoga

While most yoga studios these days are more concerned with physical exercise than philosophy, historically yoga has been about both.

If you want to truly embrace the yogic lifestyle, you have to get in touch with the philosophical side. Meditation can help.

The yogic system itself includes many meditations, such as Trataka (Still Gazing), chakra meditations, mantras, and sound meditations (Nada Yoga). Not only do these meditation techniques help train the mind, they also prepare the mind-body for more advanced stages of yoga. After all, it’s hard to truly experience Pungu Mayurasana  (Wounded Peacock Posture) while you’re worrying about that business meeting.

4. Get too sweaty doing hot yoga? Focused Meditation will help

Anyone who practices Bikram (hot yoga) knows what it’s like to sweat a little too much. But meditation can change that.

We get sweaty when our body temperature rises. But meditation reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and this cools down the body and thereby reduces sweating.

So if you’re worried you might be a little hot, sweaty and, yes, smelly when you’re doing hot yoga, try meditating.

5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

5. Meditation improves balance 

Feel a little wobbly in Warrior III? Meditation will change that, at least according to one scientific study.

Ying Kee, PhD, and his colleagues at the Nanyang Technological University’s National Institute of Education took 32 men and split them into two groups. Kee made both groups stand on one leg while holding a basin of water.   While they were doing this, Kee asked one group to be mindful of their hands, while the other group were allowed to think of anything they liked. Kee then tested the balance of members of both groups.

The results showed that being mindful of the body increases balance, where thinking about something other than what we’re doing will actually lower our balance.

So, if you want to stay in an asana for longer, be mindful of your body while you’re in the pose.

Anyone who is serious about getting better at yoga should embrace both the physical and the mental exercises. And of the latter, meditation is the most important.

By practicing meditation not only do we embrace more of the yogic lifestyle, we also prepare the mind for success in the yoga studio.

The benefits of meditation are significant, and they are invaluable when it comes to improving our yoga practice.

If you’ve been doing the physical side of yoga without practicing meditation, perhaps it’s time for that to change.

We get better at yoga if we practice focused meditation. These ways here are helpful; for all of us to be better at yoga. Let us all practice a focused meditation and be mindful…

Original article by Paul Harrison, a meditation teacher based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He has 20 years of experience and has spent more than 2,000 hours meditating. He also works as a freelance journalist.

 

Additional good reads here:

5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness When You’re Busy

 

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

4 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind & Meditate More

 

 

Mind

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

Tara Christie

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5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

Let us learn why daily meditation practice is important these days…

The fight to end systemic racism is by no means an easy feat. It requires emotional labor, constant education, and untangling implicit biases—all of which takes consistency. Which is why keeping our minds primed and sharp is essential to keeping our collective foot on the gas.

Meditation teacher and mbg class instructor Light Watkins certainly agrees, as he tells me on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast just how crucial a regular meditation practice is for everybody right now (for more reasons than you think).

Here’s Watkins’ take on why you should consider slowing and clearing your mind:

1. It helps you move through grief.

In this time of deep social unrest, people are outraged, anguished, and grieving—and rightfully so. And according to Watkins, meditation can help your body navigate the stages of grief in a healthy way. It’s not going to get rid of those stages, no, but it may speed them up.

“Meditation puts you on a bit of a fast track as you’re moving through the stages of grief,” he notes. Think a couple of days for each stage versus a couple of months or years.

That’s because meditating creates a sort of release in your body (backed by research, too) that helps you let go of the stress response sooner rather than keeping it tucked inside. “So you can keep moving, progressing, and staying available to opportunities that are before you,” Watkins explains.

 

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

 

At a macro level, meditation helps you wind down your mind, allowing you to slow down and see the bigger picture—a top-down point of view, if you will. As we restructure our systematically racist society, a “bigger picture” outlook may be just what we need.

Meditating, according to Watkins, clears the mind and gives you internal space to see that bigger picture, leading to better decision-making. “That’s what everyone ultimately wants,” he tells me. “Is to see beyond your own bias.”

3. It reconfigures your way of interacting with the world.

“If you haven’t trained yourself to think differently, your mind and body will revert you back to old ways,” Watkins explains.

On the other hand, meditation can help you truly reconfigure your thinking; research even shows that meditation can enhance learning and memory, improve focus and attention, and enhance empathy and compassion. Needless to say, it’s a pretty powerful practice to quite literally alter the brain—and untangling subconscious biases may just require a few brain shifts.

4. Daily Meditation helps you access bliss.

“Bliss is a real thing,” Watkins notes. It might not be a constant state of joy, per se, but you can access that perpetual feeling of lightness the more you take the time to clear your mind.

And if Watkin’s book (titled Bliss More: How To Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying) has anything to say about it, you don’t necessarily need hours upon hours of reflection: Just a few moments to yourself can make all the difference, “if you are being consistent and available to whatever is happening in the moment.”

 

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

 

5. It’ll equip you to handle whatever is going on in the world.

Here’s the thing: The world offers tons of obstacles (looking at you, 2020). But instead of panicking every time we take the hit, a consistent meditation practice can help you cope with whatever is going on in the world before you start to feel the panic start to creep up.

Rather than meditating to quell anxiety, make meditation a daily practice, says Watkins; that way, you’ll be better equipped to handle said anxiety whenever it crops up.

“Meditation should be a daily practice regardless of whatever is happening in the world because things are going to happen,” he says. “Give yourself the benefit of regular exposure to the very powerful restorative effect on your nervous system so your body can stay adaptable to ever-changing times.”

It’s not the only action item we need to end suffering and systemic racism for good, but the inner work certainly doesn’t hurt. Plus, a little self-care is imperative during this emotionally taxing time; being kind to your mind and body is essential for keeping up the necessary work.

 

Free your mind and meditate more. Daily meditation will help you think straight and focus on what matters. Find the reasons here about why daily meditation is important. Daily meditation will help you look at life fairly. Practice daily meditation now.

More articles here:

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

4 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind & Meditate More

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How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

Tara Christie

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How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

Regularly setting aside time to focus your thoughts can really pay off—especially as you get older. Meditation has a positive effect in brain aging. Let’s find out…

Meditation has been moving out of yoga studios and Ashrams and into the mainstream. Bill Gates meditates, so do Derek Jeter, Arianna Huffington, and Oprah. You probably know a few devoted meditators. You might even be one yourself.

The number of Americans who say they meditate for better health or wellness increased threefold from 2012 to 2017, from 4.1% of adults to 14.2%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And folks age 45 to 64 are the most likely to say they practice regularly.

Middle age can be a perfect time to start meditating,” says Lodro Rinzler, an author and meditation teacher in New York City. “You have an awareness of your mental patterns, and perhaps a readiness to change them.”

Here’s why you might want to work meditation into your routine, and what you can expect as you get started.

 

How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

 

There’s a lot of hype about what meditation can do, but it has one undeniable benefit: more clarity. In addition, research consistently shows that a regular practice may be helpful for depression, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Studies have also documented that meditation can increase your gray matter and help slow some of the natural age-related atrophy of the brain. Regular meditators report feeling calmer, happier, and better able to deal with stressful situations.

What it really means to meditate

What, exactly, is meditation? There are many varieties of meditation, but they all share a common theme: to train the mind to stay in the present, either by focusing on the breath, a mantra, or on your passing thoughts.

The purpose is to help you change your relationship to your thoughts, so that you are not consumed by them and your mind is more spacious and quiet.

It’s normal to let wild thoughts run your life. Meditators, over time, feel less caught up by every random idea.

“Meditation changes how you think about things,” says Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist with Harvard Medical School. “Over time you come to see the way your mind works and begin to make new choices.”

Meditate for a bigger brain?

A regular practice can literally change your brain for the better. Lazar has been conducting research on the brains of meditators for over a decade; she’s particularly interested in how meditation effects the aging brain.

One of Lazar’s first studies, which was published in 2005, examined the brains of people who had been meditating regularly from 3 to 28 years and for about 40 minutes a day.

She found that these serious meditators had more gray matter—brain tissue comprising cell bodies and nerve cells— in several key areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, when compared to a similarly aged non-meditators.

Gray matter tends to shrink with age, but Lazar found that the 50-year-old meditators in the study had just as much gray matter as those who were 25, leading Lazar and her co-authors to posit that “meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning.”

Why you may feel less stress

But novice meditators also benefit. A later study co-authored by Lazar and published in 2011, studied a group of individuals who meditated regularly for just eight weeks.

It found that the subjects’ brains thickened in several key areas, including the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory, and the temporo-parietal junction, an area that processes empathy and compassion.

What’s more, the meditators’ amygdalas, the part of the brain that’s associated with the fight or flight response, actually shrank, which is likely why the meditators reported feeling less stress overall.

Study: Serious meditators had more gray matter in several key areas of the brain

More recently, a 2014 paper reviewed 12 studies that investigated the effects of meditation on cognitive decline. The review reported that meditation can have positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed, and general cognition.

The authors concluded that “meditation techniques may be able to offset age-related cognitive decline and perhaps even increase cognitive capabilities in older adults.”

 

How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

 

How to get started

Ideally, you want to learn from a seasoned, well-trained teacher, who can provide guidance and help you over come common stumbling blocks. You can find classes at your gym, YMCA, or yoga studio. Or search for a local meditation center: If you’re in a modest-sized city there’s likely to be one nearby.

If you’d prefer to train yourself, try using an app. Headspace is the most popular (it’s the one that Gates used to get started), but there are many others, including 10% Happier: Meditation, Calm, and Insight Timer.

Download a few and see which one resonates with you. All offer free trials (after that, subscriptions can run from about $60 to $90 a year) or don’t charge at all.

Experts recommend starting with a few minutes of meditation and working up to 30 to 40 minutes of regular practice.

Be patient. At first you may feel fidgety, uncomfortable and bored. “Progress is slow, steady, and cumulative,” says Rinzler, who is also the co-founder of MNDFL a New York City meditation studio which offers classes throughout the day at three locations. “It’s like learning to play a musical instrument.”

And remember that even short meditation sessions can have an impact. Gates admits he meditates for just 10 minutes a few times a week. “I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports,” he wrote on his blog.

“For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.”

Meditation is a powerful tool for brain aging. it has effects on brain aging in a very positive way. Find solace in meditation and experience its wonders especially on brain aging. It can calm the soul and makes brain aging really nice. It gives you peace of mind too. Find time to meditate every day and keep brain aging in a positive sense.

Original article by Lesley Alderman.

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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

Polly Stevens

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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

Through energy, your body is always talking to you.  There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies. Let your spiritual energy sync with your body’s energy.

Your mouth and vocal cords aren’t the only parts of your body that can say things. All around you, your body is trying to tell you something. You might be so preoccupied with other things that you forget to really focus on what your body needs. There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies.

Find ways to enhance your spiritual energy. Here are some easy ways to sync your spiritual energy to your body energy.

 

4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

 

1. Meditate & Enhance Your Spiritual Energy

Meditation can be like finding a hundred-dollar-bill in your pocket after desperately looking for money. People around the world have learned the benefits of meditation, from monks to entrepreneurs. It involves centering yourself and your thoughts. You can learn to see what has been holding you back in terms of thoughts. Meditation helps put you back into the moment, which is all anyone truly has.

2. Spend Time Around Other Spiritual People

Have you ever felt yourself feeling worse when around a certain company? People can sap your energy and deprive you of good feelings. Make sure you are spending as much time as possible around people who are positive energy presences to you. There may be situations where you’re forced to be around people with negative energy. When this happens, be aware of what’s happening, and don’t let others ruin your good feelings.

3. Find the Right Clothes

Clothing can be more than something to keep you warm and covered. It can be a way you represent yourself and what’s most important to you. For instance, a Rasta zip-up hoodie could be something you wear if you ascribe to Rastafarianism. Other pieces of clothing or accessories like meditation beads could be used to express your beliefs while also showing off your stylistic interests.

 

4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

 

4. Use Aromatherapy

A pleasing scent can do a lot for making you feel calm. Smells can bring us to different places and help evoke powerful memories. These can also help to calm you at the right moment. Look for different things you can use for aromatherapy, such as essential oils and incense to burn. You can make a ritual out of using these, such as during meditation or before going to sleep. Try as many different scents as possible using aromatherapy whenever, when cooking in your kitchen or working in your backyard.

You need to listen to your body and your body’s energies because no one else can hear it as well as you can. All you need is to listen to yourself with as much respect as you’re able to.

Use your spiritual energy to connect with your physical energies. Once you learn these steps you’ll find it easy to connect with your souls. Meditation is important to strengthen your spiritual energy. It takes a lot of courage to do this. but is you have the commitment, you’ll even be doing these steps on a daily basis.

Find time in your daily schedules to practice these steps. These will make your spiritual energy powerful. you’ll find it calmer to go through with life. Your spiritual energy is important for your growth. Physically or mentally.

Original article by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening.

 

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Chakra Poses and Affirmations to Reassess Your Life

Just 10 Minutes of Meditation Helps Anxious People Have Better Focus

Renew Your Mind And Body Using These Ways

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Meditation

7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within

Tara Christie

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7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within

Meditation is hearing your own inner voice, and that voice begins with the energy of your heart chakra. You can awaken to this power within and learn how to listen by starting with awareness of who you are. Let’s find out here steps for our heart chakra meditation.

Your heart never lies; it always tells you the truth. When you feel happiness, when something brings that big smile, deep laughter, that feeling like you are floating on the clouds, that is your spirit reminding you that you are yourself when you let go. Letting go is telling the universe that you are allowing for the free movement of energy through your heart.

Notice how you feel when you engage in activities that bring you that feeling of peace and joy. Whether you are painting a picture, journaling, walking, or swapping funny stories with a friend, these are all things that lighten the load, that bring you closer to your spiritual connections.

Your heart chakra is an emotional powerhouse, and it is a guide for your inner light. As you choose to engage in activities and follow a path that shines your light, it is like you are turning on the beacon for everything that matches that light in others.

When your heart chakra resonates in the energy frequency of joy, you attract those people and opportunities that reflect that feeling, that emotional charge.

 

7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within

 

Your Heart Chakra Meditation Energy

The more you focus and meditate on that feeling—that energy frequency of joy—the easier it is for your heart to remember. Your heart creates memory circuits that open energetic pathways, and these pathways create more experiences in this same resonance.

You do not need to meditate for hours and hours to reach this level of awakening or to create profound manifestations of healing in your life. It only takes one spark to light the way. The intention you place within that spark is what unites to the universal energy of love. It is your own intention in its purest form that creates this magic.

Short, focused meditations of deep breathing for five to 10 minutes a few times each day is all you need to feel your spirit and set this powerful intention. You may also use visualizations during this short session to increase the power, such as imagining healing colors in your chakras or seeing yourself in perfect health.

When you have connected to your spirit through the breath of life, remember to thank yourself for being a spark of love, and forgive yourself for anything which does not build on that love.

Here are 7 simple soulful steps you can take every day for your heart chakra meditation:

1. Love your soul.

Use kind and loving words to your soul. Encourage, inspire, uplift, and remind yourself how beautiful you are.

2. Listen with intention.

Listen to the words of wisdom around you from friends, strangers, and even the sounds of nature. The words and sounds of love abound when you bring it to your awareness.

3. Send a thank-you card.

Every day find things and people to be grateful for. Send a thank-you card to a friend, to yourself, or to the universe. When you are having a bad day, reflect on these messages for encouragement.

4. Jump for joy. 

Do not be afraid to show who you are and be excited about what brings you the most passion. Express this true part of yourself and remember there is always a little kid within you ready to play.

5. Collect passion.

Find what brings the most happiness to you and create a collection of that happiness, that passion for life. For example, if you love seashells, create a special display of the shells or a table with artwork that reminds you of this happy place.

6. Keep creating a new spark.

You are never too old to choose a new hobby or pathway in life. Take a class you always wanted to try. Learn something that pushes you past your comfort zone. And, remember, nobody in life is perfect. Let yourself have fun!

 

7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within

 

7. Nurture, nurture, nurture.

Know that there will be times when you need to rest, to take a moment to reevaluate, and rather than have a goal, simply be in the presence of your own heart.

Spirit is ready to help you ignite the light of your heart chakra. You are love.

Your heart chakra meditation is important for your well-being. Learn these steps to have a soulful heart chakra meditation. The heart chakra meditation will make you calmer. Follow these steps and keep the power within stronger.

Original article by Pam Barosh. Pam is a medium, intuitive healer, author, energy and life coach, and speaker who has dedicated her life to spreading messages of love and hope. With a master’s in psychology, Pam also has training in chakra and crystal healing, and believes that everyone has the power to heal through love energy.

 

Find more articles here:

 

5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

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5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

Polly Stevens

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When you apply a few simple techniques, you can turn your daily walk into a rewarding practice.

What is mindful walking? It’s a technique that uses awareness of the mind/body connection to improve the quality of your walking experience on all levels. By approaching a walk in a mindful way, you make it a practice like yoga, meditation, or tai chi; every session brings new insights and challenges.

As in yoga, you think about your body position, breathing, movements, and awareness, turning inward and outward at the same time. You’re working to get fit, and to improve your life as a whole. Treat walking as a practice, and it will become not only something you do with your legs but also a way to bring your mind, body, and spirit into balance.

Five Steps to Make Mindful Walking a Practice

 

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

 

Identify your intention.

The key to any mindful activity, intention provides focus and motivation, elevating your practice from routine to ritual. What is your intention? To walk for an hour every day? To develop a sense of centeredness and calm? To reduce stress?

Your goals and intentions will evolve as you evolve. Let them, as long as they keep you in line with your higher sense of purpose — and keep you moving forward.

Be consistent.

A true practice requires ongoing attention. Of course, it’s natural to feel resistant at times, no matter what kind of activity you do. Your mind will create a thousand excuses not to walk today. Don’t let these passing thoughts distract you from your deeper intention.

Get moving; start walking around your office or home, or wherever you are. You can quiet the mind by moving your body and get yourself back on track.

Train your mind to focus.

The mind loves — and craves — engagement. Without something to focus on, it will tend to wander, taking your practice with it. By learning to focus, you will be able to walk more efficiently.

Listen to your body.

As with any relationship, the connection between mind and body depends on how well one listens to the other. Our tendency is to try to rule the body with the brain; however, they are more like equal partners, offering feedback and direction as you go.

Listen to what your body is trying to tell you by noticing any sensations that come up while you’re walking. You may feel energized as your leg muscles engage or relaxed as your breathing deepens.

If you detect any complaint from your body, such as pain or discomfort, identify the source. Then make small adjustments in your technique and see whether the sensation lessens.

 

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

 

Embrace the process.

Goals provide a greater context for your practice. But building patient awareness of the process is even more important. Sometimes walking will feel easy and rewarding; other times, more like a chore.

As part of a mindful practice, you accept the challenge as part of the process and continue to stick with it. My tai chi master sees difficulty as an opportunity — a lesson to be learned. Accepting all of these parts of the process lies at the heart of making walking a mindful exercise.

When you do these steps, you are close to making mindful walking spiritual. You just need to make it a habit to follow these mindful walking steps each day. The best part is, you get to enhance your spiritual being with these mindful walking steps. Follo0w these steps now.

Remind yourself that it is okay to pamper your soul. Pamper your soul through these mindful walking steps now.

The original article is from Now & Zen.

 

Additional reading for you:

Chakra Poses and Affirmations to Reassess Your Life

 

Build Courage with These 3 Warrior Poses

 

Renew Your Mind And Body Using These Ways

 

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How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

Polly Stevens

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How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

Teacher Norman Fischer proposes a two-week trial run to get your meditation practice started and looks at how to deal with some of the obstacles you may encounter.

Thousands of people over the years have asked me for advice about how to establish a daily meditation practice at home. Although there are thousands of Buddhist meditation centers around the country, most meditators do some or all of their practice at home on their own. In many cases, this is a practical matter.

Most people don’t live close enough to a Buddhist center to meditate there regularly. Or, for one reason or another, they don’t feel comfortable with any of the local centers available to them. Or they feel that for them meditation is a private and personal matter, not a communal religious practice. Anyway, most meditators, for a variety of reasons, meditate at home. I do myself.

It wasn’t that way when I began Zen practice. The conventional wisdom then was that you could never practice on your own. You needed to practice with others—that was the way it was done. You needed instructions from a teacher. You needed support—maintaining the disciple to sit on your own would be too difficult. Besides, meditating alone could be dangerous.

Conventional wisdom has changed. These days many people find that it is entirely possible to meditate on their own. Not that lack of discipline is unknown—keeping up with regular practice remains a struggle for some. But many go beyond struggle to find enjoyment and ease in their daily practice.

 

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

When people ask me how to get a home meditation practice started, here is what I tell them: the practice begins the night before. Before you go to sleep, set the alarm for half an hour earlier than usual, and say to yourself: “Tomorrow morning I am going to get up to sit. I want to do this, and it is going to be pleasant and helpful.” Hold that thought in your mind. Then, as you are falling asleep, say this: “Am I actually going to wake up early and meditate?”

And answer yourself: “Yes, I am.” And then question yourself again: “Really?” Take this seriously. Think a little more and answer yourself honestly. If the answer is, “Yes, really,” then you will get up. You are serious about it. But if the answer is, “No, I have to admit that I am probably going to reset the alarm and turn over to get that delicious extra half hour of sleep,” then save yourself the trouble. Reset the alarm now and don’t even try to get up.

This little exercise may sound silly but it is very important. It addresses the main difficulty we have with self discipline: we are ambivalent. We both do and don’t want to do what we think we want to do in our own best interests. We find it difficult to take our good intentions seriously, especially when it comes to our spiritual lives.

We have confusion at our core about whether we are capable of confronting ourselves at the deepest possible human level—maybe if we do we will find ourselves to be unworthy, trivial people. Since we imagine that meditation promises a self-confrontation at this level, we are deeply ambivalent.

Benefits Of Daily Meditation

Most of this convoluted thinking is not conscious. This is why the before-bed self-dialog is important. It provides a simple way of confronting the issue. “Really?” It’s a way to surface what we really feel and, gently and honestly, deal with it. Otherwise our long habit of sneaky self-deception will likely prevail. We will not do what we’re not really clear we want to do, which will give us further evidence that we can’t do it.

Assuming you do get out of bed in the morning, splash cold water on your face, rinse out your mouth, put on some comfortable clothes (or stay in your sleeping clothes if you want), and immediately sit on your cushion. Do this before you have coffee, before you turn on the computer, before you activate your day and realize you don’t have time for this.

Burn a stick of incense to time yourself, or use a clock or one of the many excellent meditation timers now on the market (which will prevent clock-watching). Decide in advance to sit for twenty to thirty minutes. A bit more is good if you can do it.

Try this for two weeks, taking a day or so off each week. If you miss a day, that’s OK. Don’t fall into the unconscious trap that “Since I missed a day I guess I can’t do this, so I might as well not even try, or try less hard tomorrow because this missed day has weakened me.” This is the way we think! So anticipate this and don’t fall for it.

Be gentle with yourself, but firm. Imagine that you are training a child, or a puppy—a cute little creature who means well but definitely needs adult guidance.

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Decide in advance that you will meditate for two weeks. It is much easier to commit to meditating almost every day for two weeks than committing yourself to meditate every day for the rest of your life. After two weeks, stop and ask yourself, “How was that? Was it pleasant or unpleasant? What impact did it have on my morning, on the rest of my day, on my week?”

Usually positive results are apparent, and, seeing that the practice has been beneficial, you develop a stronger intention to return to it. So then, after a hiatus, commit again to practice, maybe now for a month, with the same break built in for evaluation. In this way, little by little. you can become a regular meditator. Taking breaks from time to time doesn’t change that.

Many people ask, “Is it necessary to do this in the morning? Is there some magic to the morning? I am not a morning person.” Yes, I think there is magic to the morning. Monastic schedules the world over include early morning practice. Practice seems most beneficial at that time of day, when your psyche is in a liminal state and the world around you has not quite awakened.

Also, you are more likely to do it in the morning, before your day gets engaged and you remember all the things you need to do. In the middle of the day it is harder to rein yourself in, and at the end of the day you may be too tired or wound up. You may feel more like a glass of wine than meditation practice, which will likely feel pretty uncomfortable as your body notices all the aches and strains and kinks of the day.

Actually, practice at the end of the day is very good for just this reason—while often uncomfortable, it does help you process all your stress and feel calmer afterward. But if you are trying to establish a fledgling practice, thinking you will sit restfully at the end of the day is probably not going to work as well as catching yourself at your weakest (which is to say your strongest): in the morning, when you are both more and less yourself, before you have fully assumed the armored, heroic personality with which you feel you must approach the world of work and family.

 

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

(I must note here the obvious fact that all of this might not be true for you: we differ enormously as individuals, and in these intimate matters one size does not fit all. I am describing what I have found to be true for myself, and for many other meditators).

Approaches Of Daily Meditation

There are many approaches to meditation. In my tradition, the Soto Zen tradition, meditation is not considered a skill that we are supposed to master. It is a practice that we devote ourselves to. So if you are meditating in the morning feeling half asleep, with dream-snatches passing by, and your mind not crispy focused precisely on the breath, the way you think it is supposed to be… this is perfectly all right.

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It is considered normal and possibly even beneficial. The biggest obstacle to establishing a meditation practice is the erroneous idea (firmly held by most people who want to establish a meditation practice) that meditation should calm and focus the mind. Therefore, if your mind is not calm and focused, you are certainly doing it wrong.

Struggling with something that you are consistently doing wrong, and in your frustration can’t seem to get right, does not inspire you to continue (unless you are a masochist, and there are more than a few meditating masochists).

Better to assume the Soto Zen attitude that meditation is what you do when you meditate. There is no doing it wrong or right. That is not to say that there is no effort, no calm, no focus. Of course there is. The point is to avoid falling into the trap of defining meditation too narrowly, and then judging yourself based on that definition, and so sabotaging yourself. You evaluate your practice on a much wider and more generous calculus.


Want to get more on daily meditation? Here’s an additional reading for you: 5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness When You’re Busy


Not: Is my mind concentrated while I am sitting? But: How is my attention during the day? Not: Am I peaceful and still as I sit? But: Is my habit of flying off the handle reducing somewhat? In other words, the test of meditation isn’t meditation. It’s your life.

Dealing with the various practical obstacles to regular meditation is easy compared with the deeper self-deception issues I have been talking about. Once you get a handle on these, the practical problems are easy. Kids get up early? Then get up half an hour earlier than they do.

Read more to find out ways about your daily meditation…

 

How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

But that’s not enough sleep? Well, that half hour of sitting will be much more important for your rest and well-being than the lost half hour of sleep. Or you can just go to bed half an hour earlier.

No place to meditate? There is always somewhere—all you need is the space for a cushion on the floor. But better to have a clean and well-cared-for spot, even if only in a corner of an otherwise busy messy room. Keeping that corner neat and clear is a preliminary to the meditation practice itself.

Your spouse doesn’t want to meditate and resents that you sneaking out of bed to sit? Patiently explain to your spouse that the main reason you are meditating is to become a more loving and helpful person. You are sneaking out of bed not to assert your independence but for the opposite reason: to be more loving.

Have that conversation (lovingly) with your spouse. Ask them to help you do this two-week experiment and evaluate the results: have you been more loving, have you helped around the house, with the kids, etc., more than usual, with more willingness, more cheerfulness? (Of course, having had this conversation, you now have to do these things.)

In short, if you want to meditate there is virtually no excuse not to. But human confusion is very clever, so it is still possible to talk yourself out of it. If so, be my guest. Sometimes that’s the way to finally begin serious meditation practice: by not doing it for ten or twenty years, until finally there is no choice.

As the world speeds up and history’s trajectory becomes more drastic, more people are feeling the need to do something to promote well-being and foster a sustainable attitude. It is difficult to remain cheerful if you are under stress, difficult to believe in goodness and happiness if the world you live in doesn’t offer much support for them.

Gentle and realistic, meditation practice can provide the powerful attitudinal boost we need. It doesn’t require pre-existing faith or excessive effort; simply sitting in silence, returning to the present moment of body and breath, will naturally bring you closer to gratitude, closer to kindness. And as you commit yourself to these virtues you will begin to notice, to your surprise, that many people in your life are also doing this, so there is plenty of companionship along the way.

Finding your worth can be done through daily meditation. it takes a lot of courage to be in the moment of meditating. A daily meditation will help us live in the present times. It calms the soul. Daily meditation makes life worthwhile. you need not pay a lot to do daily meditation since you can do it at home. the tips stated here are helpful.

 

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