For The People Who Can’t Give Themselves A Break, 3 Reasons How & Why You Should

  By Jessica Bowne for Well+GOOD I had one of those “Ah-ha moments” in yoga recently. It happened while I was slathered in sunscreen on the renovated rooftop at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay, with yoga instructor and newly minted author Rebecca Pacheco (who’s leading a series there). Pacheco started class with a brief meditation before leading the poolside class through poses and punctuating them with witticisms and humorous metaphors (“Everyone thinks they sound like Beyonce in the shower.”) A message came through: not everything I need to know about myself or life has to come a great (or painful) cost or through an uber-rigorous yoga regime. Lightness works, too. This is the premise of Pacheco’s new book, Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life, in which she discusses her own journey, from starting yoga at age 16 to understanding how important self-study, contentment, and giving yourself a break is to your well-being. “Today, we favor yoga’s postures on a mat because they make us feel healthy, strong, and limber,” says Pacheco. “Yet we sense yoga’s deeper meaning and often crave its benefits beyond the studio.” Her practice, I realized, as I squinted into the early morning sun, actually feels obtainable. Here are three tips from Pacheco for getting to that place where things come more gently–even when you’re not on your mat. 1. Breathe. The cheapest, easiest, and most portable yoga tool we have is our breath. Simply by paying attention to one breath at a time, you reduce stress, concentrate better, and become more present. One easy breathing technique to...

5 Minutes of Meditation Can Change Your Entire Day

Meditation has recently becoming a very significant part of my life and I could not have discovered a better spiritual, emotional, mental or physical outlet for my own well being. I tend to do, feel and think a million things at any given moment and I always just told myself that I functioned better when my life was busy. But in reality, that was simply what I convinced myself to believe so I could justify the way I was living my life…. or rather the way I was sometimes not living my life. Life is busy, and my life is no exception. Between working part time, being a stay at home mom, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills and housework, it’s a big commitment. Add in the constant juggle for balance between being a mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister etc and I began to feel like there was never any time left forme.It has been through restorative yoga over the past year that I have learned how to achieve mental silence. Although I had practiced many other types of yoga over the past five years, I always just viewed them as another fitness class. But restorative yoga is the farthest thing from a physical workout as it is restorative to the body, not physically draining. My first class it took me almost the full hour to finally achieve mental silence without my thoughts racing, the next class it happened a few minutes sooner, then a few minutes sooner until I was finally able to enter that calm state of mind within several minutes of the class. Heck I even...

9 Simple Points on How to Meditate

Celebrities. CEOs. World leaders. Auto mechanics. Everybody’s doing it. The word is out. Mindfulness achieved through meditation is good for you. There is a wealth of studies showing the benefits of being as serious about caring for your mind as you are about your body. Stress, anxiety, and depression decrease, while your focus, productivity and happiness increase. Granted, it may never reach the point where meditation studios pop up next to Starbucks, but the wave is building. That wave comes with a flood of data about what mindfulness and meditation are and how you are supposed to go about it. In that overflow, it’s easy to get lost and even discouraged. When I looked into meditation, I was confused by the most basic things like how I should sit and what I should do while I was sitting there. That’s why it’s important, certainly at the beginning stages, to understand just how simple and straightforward the practice of meditation is. There is no mystery or magic. There is no failing. It’s quite straightforward. Here are the basics: 1) What is being mindful? Being mindful simply means being present, being aware of your surroundings and not distracted by thoughts, especially about the past or the future. You know, listening when the person tells you her name. 2) How do I become mindful? You become mindful through practice. That practice is meditation. 3) How do I meditate? Google shows 120,000,000 results for meditation and Amazon offers pages and pages of books. It gets overwhelming. But start with the basics. Find a quiet place and sit. 4) How do I sit? Yes,...

Five Ways Meditation Changed My Life

By Nina Vallone, Monday at 5:21 pm I began my meditation practice nearly three years ago by taking a weekly class at a truly wonderful studio. Since then, I vary my practice with classes, home meditation and online courses. All of it works for me, whether I meditate for 30 minutes or two minutes, meditation works. How does it work? What does it do for me? Simply put, it has changed the way I live my life. I’ve re-learned how to breathe. Most of us have forgotten the proper way to breathe. Think about it. Are you aware of your breath? If so, is it shallow or is it from your belly? Meditation taught me diaphragmatic breathing, and how to use this breathing to find stillness. By learning how to breathe fully, I am able to quiet my mind (only slightly on some days!) and how to calm myself in situations that previously would have gotten me riled up to the point of anger or frustration. I’ve learned to reduce stress and anxiety. Living the majority of my life with an anxious, racing mind took it’s toll on me years ago in the form of depression. Additionally, anxiety doesn’t allow you to make decisions from a place of faith and intuition, but rather, from a place of fear. After years believing ‘this is how life really is,’ it felt unnatural to release fear and anxiety and embrace a calm, faith filled way of living. Meditation guided me from anxiety to faith, from fear to love and has allowed me to forgive myself in the process. I live more fully...

How to Slow Down Time: Meditation and The Theory of Relativity

  If asked what meaningful accomplishment one could achieve in just 10 minutes, most of us would be hard-pressed to come up with an answer. Ten minutes is nothing! But ask the average person to sit quietly and focus only on mindful breathing meditation for those same ten minutes and be prepared to be met with an incredulous scowl and an unwillingness to participate. Ten minutes, in the latter scenario, may as well be a lifetime. It’s all relative. 3 Meditation can be scary. In an age where the demand for our attention is greater than ever – Psychology Today estimates that the average person has 25,000-50,000 thoughts per day — the idea of sitting alone with one’s thoughts can be understandably daunting. We’re used to being at the beck and call of our smartphones, each notification supplying a very real hit of dopamine that validates our desire to be needed, liked, or even just noticed by the outside world. What most people fail to realize is that we’ve created a vicious cycle of false and unsustainable gratification. Next time you sit down to meditate, think of it this way: You’re giving yourself the gift of time and attention, indeed a commodity that becomes scarcer every day. Sure, meditation can make 60 seconds feel like an hour, but as human beings we have the power to choose whether that seemingly endless minute is ridden with debilitating anxiety or a blissful calm. We all have a choice, in any moment, to tune into our best self. Try it right now by following these instructions: Close your eyes and take a...