Meditation Mondays: A Guided Meditation To Help You Sleep

Sometimes sleep happens naturally, other times our minds don’t want to turn off. Whether we are worried or excited about the upcoming day or still worrying about the past, if our mind isn’t shutting down, it makes it hard to drift off to sleep.

I don’t always meditate before bed, but sometimes I need a reminder that it’s okay to let my mind turn off for the night. When I do, I turn to this bedtime meditation: continue…

Travel Yoga: Kundalini in Nashville

Every conscious breath is a meditation.” Yoga instructor Bethany at Kundalini Rising Yoga

I had been hearing about kundalini yoga from a friend for at least a year before I went to my first class. During a weekend getaway to Nashville this past June, a few weeks before my wedding, I took time Monday morning to go to Kundalini Rising Yoga.

The studio is a short Uber ride outside of downtown, where I was staying. I figured since there was a kundalini studio nearby, it was the perfect time to give it a shot. continue…

Meditation Mondays: A Mantra to Let Go of Negative Thoughts

I wish I had taken yoga more seriously 10 years ago. I wish I had taken better care of myself last year, or even last week.

These are thoughts I often catch myself thinking, wishing I had done something differently in the past so that my present would be better.

Last night I was thinking about things I wish I had done, as I often do. And then I thought about future me. I can’t go back 10 years or 10 days to do things differently. But it’s not too late to do some of the things I wish I had done in the past that the version of me five years from now will thank me for.

Consider Future You

A year from now is going to happen, whether we do good things for ourselves now or not. I know that a year from now I will feel happy if I am looking back on time that I took good care of myself and did the things that took me millimeters closer to my vision for myself each day.

But sometimes those ugly thoughts creep in. And they can completely take our good intentions down.

They are sneaky, these insidious thoughts of regret. They take up so much mental space and energy that before you know it the version of yourself that felt motivated to do yoga or clean out a drawer is dozing off for a nap.

I don’t like it when my mind replays things without the consent of the happiest version of me. Really…how rude!

So I try to think of words or phrases that I can think to remind myself that those thoughts are not welcome. Me a year from now will totally thank me. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Meditation Time is Me Time

I noticed the other day that the word “meditation” starts with the word “me”. Not to be all there is no I in team but there is a me about it, but I couldn’t help but notice how meditation time really is me time.

Self-Care Required

The idea of me time has become more and more accepted in recent times. Our culture, or at least some people in it, used to be all judgy of those who took care of themselves. I mean, how dare she take time away from her children to go to the gym?

I think as we evolve a bit, more and more people are finding that self-care is not only not selfish, but more like essential to survival. Inherent in taking care of ourselves is taking a little bit of me time. More if we can manage. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How to Deal with Interruptions

You are in your happy place. You are one with the world. Eyes closed, breathing deeply, mind finally empty. And your cell phone rings. Or someone walks in the room.

Meditation Time is Me Time

Meditation time is the epitome of me time. It is one of my favorite times all day. Usually I don’t get interrupted because I meditate before everyone else wakes up and it’s early enough that the phone isn’t ringing yet.

But occasionally the memo that I am meditating doesn’t go out into the universe and I might get interrupted. As much as I know it’s the opposite of peaceful to become annoyed at such a time, I used to be disappointed when I got interrupted, feeling like my few precious moments of meditation were ruined for the day. continue…

Meditation Mondays: What is Yoga Nidra?

There are so many different types of yoga to choose from: hatha, Bikram, ashtanga, kundalini, restorative. And many more!

I have been gravitating to the more relaxing yoga styles lately, such as restorative yoga. I actually didn’t know this type of yoga was a thing until recently, when I started doing the 10 minute restorative yoga video on YouTube by Sarah Beth.

Since then, I discovered that my local yoga studio, Ignite Yoga, offers a restorative yoga class on a regular basis. If you are in the mood to relax, get a good stretch, but not be out of breath and sweaty, this is a great type of yoga to try.

After reading the descriptions of offered classes on the studio’s website when a restorative class wasn’t available, I decided to give Yoga Nidra a try.

I had no idea what to expect, but figured it would be some type of relaxing class, based on the description. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Yoga Nidra is actually a meditation class!

continue…

Meditation Mondays: Refuse to Be Overwhelmed

Today is the day many people return to work after the holidays. Today, I refuse to be overwhelmed.

I refuse to be overwhelmed by my multiple email inboxes, and any new task that comes my way. I refuse to be overwhelmed by requests from others, or the feeling that there isn’t enough time to get it all done.

Been there, done that, no thank you.

Today, I firmly choose to remain calm in the face of whatever drama I might come across. It is my choice, and no one can make me feel anything other than calm except me.

I simply refuse to entangle myself with any sense that everything isn’t going to be okay. I just can’t. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How To Change How You Feel in Any Moment

Life is feelings. Our lives are built on our feelings. When I tap in to my real feelings, I feel a light, buzzing feeling under my skin, and I am and more aware of the present moment. That is when I know I am on the right track.

How do you feel?

Right in this moment, do you feel how you want to feel? How about an hour ago, or three hours ago? How are you anticipating that you will feel in the next few hours? Is it where you want to be?

Are the feelings you identified the feelings you would feel if everything in your life were exactly as you would like it to be in this moment?

When I am feeling upset, frustrated, negative, gross, angry, exhausted, frazzled…I know I am off track. There are so many surface feelings designed to protect our egos that cause major problems. Letting go of them and allowing the real feelings to come to the surface allows us to live our real lives that we are meant for; not the ones that are designed to protect our egos. continue…

What Gratitude Can Do for You & a Few Meditation Resources

I have continued to enjoy the Oprah and Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience during week two, although I must admit I have not been meditating every day. I noticed that I am more likely to skip meditation on the weekends if I sleep in late. During the week, as long as I get up in time, I can keep up with the routine better.

Week Two Recap & a Reminder to Be Grateful

Week two of the 21-Day Meditation Experience has built on the inner calm created in week one. This week has been all about expanding happiness. As expected, there has been more of an emphasis on sharing happiness with others. Week two has focused on topics such as kindness and laughter. Other daily themes have included joy, contentment, and living with purpose, which are ways of life that lead to automatic expansion of happiness that extends to others.

My favorite meditation this week was the one all about gratitude. I actually just finished it as I am still a day behind. Oprah says the single most important thing she has ever done has been to feel gratitude. I have heard and read so many times the importance of gratitude, but am constantly in need of a reminder. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Week 1 Recap of the 21-Day Meditation Experience

I started the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience one day late, on August 12th. I also missed yesterday, so I am currently two meditations behind. Fortunately, the meditations are available for five days after their original release date to catch up on missed days or go back and review the material.

The purpose of this meditation experience is to expand and deepen our own experience of happiness so that we can share a joyful energy with the world. Each day, a meditation lasting approximately 20 minutes is emailed to participants. Oprah kicks off each session by providing an introduction to the day’s meditation, and then Deepak provides his own short introduction and moves into a guided meditation.

I have enjoyed every meditation so far. Each day is focused on recognizing that we have what it takes within ourselves to be happy, and we have had it all along. Our happiness does not depend on external factors as our culture would have us believe, such as achievements, praise, or pleasing others. Both Oprah and Deepak are working to help us realize that happiness is our true nature. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Overview of the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience

When I got the email in my inbox for the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience, Expanding Your Happiness, I considered ignoring it. My first thought was that it would be something I would have to pay to participate in, and that I already have my own meditation regimen going on.

I am so glad I decided to click the link and learn more about the program! First of all, the 21-Day Meditation Experience is free. They have put on similar events in the past, which I have probably seen ads for or heard about, but never paid too much attention to. I listened to the introduction to learn more about it, and discovered that it would fit in perfectly with my current meditation routine.

Inspired by Oprah & Deepak Chopra

I started reading books by Deepak Chopra in 2006 when I discovered that the public library had a pretty substantial self-help book collection. This also led me to my love of Wayne Dyer’s books. I found Dr. Chopra’s books to be intriguing, but sometimes way too heavy and I would get lost trying to follow his ideas.

My favorite books by Deepak Chopra are The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit. I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success first, which led me to The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Both books are short and to the point, and could probably be read in a day each. If you are looking for a quick inspirational guide to life, the first one is it!

I LOVE Oprah. She inspires me, and millions of other people. If Oprah and Deepak are providing a free meditation experience, I am not sure how much better you can get than that! continue…

Blogust Schedule at a Glance

Since I have committed myself to 30 more consecutive days of posting, I figured today would be a good time to plan out my posts for the month. I have been wanting to do this ever since I started blogging but never got a grip on the organization of my thoughts more than a few days in advance.

Themed Days

I have always liked the idea of posting based on specific themes on certain days of the week. This is how I came up with the idea for Meditation Mondays. Here is the general idea for my posting schedule during Blogust: continue…

Meditation Mondays: All the Words Are Already Written

Yesterday I had the best meditation I can remember in a while. I know we aren’t supposed to judge our meditation sessions as being either good or bad, but sometimes they feel more luxurious, probably more likely on the weekends. An ideal meditation session for me is 20 minutes, with the first half spent going through in my mind what I am grateful for and then my intentions, and the second half spent melting into the floor and the space of nothing.

Yesterday I realized that I could simplify the first half even further, going though anything I want in my life as if it were already here. I do this a lot, but realized there is no need to separate what I want from what is already here during meditation. Why not act as if already?

Meditating for Creativity

That part was fun, but the really great part was the second half. I have read many times that one of the great benefits of meditation is the creation of increased receptivity for creative ideas. The nothingness portion of meditation is where creative ideas might come to us. Or, by creating a bit of space between the constant recurring thoughts, we might increase our chances of receiving creative ideas at other times throughout the day.

During my meditation time, I suddenly felt very content that the creative ideas I hope for are already out there somewhere, I just have to tap into them. I realized that any words I might dream of one day writing are already written. There is no need to strive or fret that creativity might never touch us. It is out there, waiting to connect with us and be used for the greater good. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Review of a Meditation Massage

Now that I live less than two hours away from Sedona, land of spas and tranquility, a quick Sedona weekend getaway is within the realm of possibilities. This past weekend, I was lucky to spend time at the Sedona Hilton Resort and Spa.

Resort & Spa Experience

The Sedona Hilton Resort and Spa is very nice, and pet-friendly! All the rooms have gas fireplaces and either a patio or balcony. The property offers three pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, and beautiful views of the Sedona Red Rocks. There is a nice restaurant and poolside bar and grill onsite, as well as several restaurants within walking distance.

Being somewhat of a spa newbie, I didn’t realize before arriving that the spa offers fitness classes (including yoga), a steam room, and a sauna all included in the price of staying at the resort. Unfortunately we arrived just after the last yoga class of the weekend. Major bummer! Next time I will plan to arrive in time to enjoy a yoga class.

I haven’t indulged in a professional massage in over a year, so I talked myself into splurging a bit. When I saw the menu of spa services, I was deciding between the Meditation massage, Sedona Stone massage, and the Sedona massage. The Sedona massage is a traditional Swedish massage. Wanting to venture out and try something new, I debated over trying either the Meditation or Sedona Stone massage. continue…

Mondays vs. Fridays: Which Day of the Week is the Best One?

There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I often wonder: how do other people do it all? I didn’t used to. I used to think everyone else had it all together and I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get everything done, but now I know better.

The Friday Curse

Pretty much every Friday I enter into the weekend with the hopes that this weekend will be the one that I finally get it all together. The one where I finally have a breakthrough and make actual progress towards my goals. This mentality is dangerous and has caused me to not enjoy a lot of weekend activities in the past, because I always wanted to be getting something done.

I have definitely gotten better about it, but I still hold onto a modicum of hope that This Weekend will be The Weekend. The one to beat all the others out, because it is the one where I finally figure out how to manage my life while pursuing my personal goals.

And then Sunday happens. I have gotten much better about Sundays, but there was a time when all I wanted to do was cry on Sunday around 5 p.m., because it meant Monday morning was right around the corner. And I still hadn’t figured out what to do with my life. continue…

Meditation Mondays: An App to Keep Your Mind on Track

“You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it. ” – Pamela Bruner

I love using the Meditation Timer app on my phone each time I meditate these days. I used to use the regular timer on my phone, which annoyed me because it was like waking up to an alarm. The benefit of using the app is that the alert sounds are very peaceful, and also turn off on their own (as opposed to an alarm that requires you to physically turn it off). The Meditation Timer app allows you to set as few or as many minutes as you would like to spend meditating. I even use it as a timer for daytime naps now too!

I use the timer because it is very easy to fall asleep during meditation, and usually I don’t want to spend more than about 20 minutes meditating. On the other hand, it helps me to know I am getting my 20 minutes in, because it is also easy to feel like 20 minutes of meditation is an eternity. Some days there isn’t a full 20 minutes in sight to lay down and “do nothing”, and the timer comes in handy at these times as well. You can choose to time 5, 10, or any amount of minutes for a meditation session.

Breaking Up a Meditation Session

The way I have come to think of a meditation session is broken into two parts: the first half I spend going through what I am grateful for, and then my core values and any related affirmations/dreams/goals/intentions. Some days I go through everything, and other days I just want to focus on one thing, like “I am living in our new house.”

About halfway through, I recite in my mind “I release my intentions out into the universe. I trust in the infinite organizing power of the universe.” This signifies the start of the second half of my session, which is where I focus on having no thoughts at all, only breathing.

Sometimes I will think the words “in” and “out” corresponding with my breath just to block out other thoughts. I also sometimes substitute other words like “let” (inhale) “go” (exhale), or “peace” (inhale) “love” (exhale). I attempt to have a completely empty mind, but when thoughts inevitably enter, having specific words to focus on really helps. continue…

Meditation Mondays: A Trick to Stay Focused During Meditation

I love silence. Give me silence, and I am a happy camper. I could totally go to some meditation retreat and not speak for a month. Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.

When first starting a meditation practice, the silence might be uncomfortable or even overwhelming. Or, some days silence might just not feel right. Also, meditating while traveling can be challenging, particularly if there is unpleasant background noise where you are staying that is beyond your control.

The Beauty of Controlled Background Noise

I love the rain. Living in the desert, the rain is that much more welcome. Since the rain happens so rarely where I live, I have gotten accustomed to going to sleep with the sound of rain or a thunderstorm from an app on my phone. I love it.

I use the Ambiance app. There are plenty of other options for background noise if rain or thunder aren’t your cup of tea, including traditional static noises, an air conditioner, driving in the rain or snow, and even a “calm football crowd”. The app also provides sounds from specific locations all over the world, including a London street market, Barcelona City Walk, and LA traffic. You can go to the sounds of practically anywhere in the world with this app. It’s amazing!

The app will run all night long if you like (which I do). One morning it was just so nice to pretend there was a huge thunderstorm going on outside that I decided to let it play all through my yoga time, and then even into my meditation time. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Trading in Thoughts

“He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” – Romans 4:17

Lately I have been consciously trading in some of my constant recurring thoughts for some better ones. I have relied on my meditation time as the primary pocket of good thoughts during the day to bring about my dreams, despite predominantly negative thoughts, or thoughts of what I don’t want, throughout the rest of the day.

This is not good enough. Just twenty minutes a day or less of uninterrupted peace is no longer enough for me. I need constant peace. And it starts with my thoughts.

Thinking About Not Living the Dream Kind of Seals the Deal

My constant recurring thoughts for the past five to ten years have been primarily about things I didn’t want. Although I have a lot of good things in my life right now, there are still some results from my past limiting beliefs and thoughts in my present reality.

I recently listened to one of Wayne Dyer’s latest books, Wishes Fulfilled. After reading Wayne Dyer’s books over the years, I have noticed that one of the common themes to his message is that thinking about what you don’t want is pretty much a recipe for continually getting what you don’t want.

It seems so obvious. But why would anyone think about things they don’t want to keep entering into their life? continue…

Meditation Mondays: Travel Yoga & Meditation

Staying healthy while traveling can be a challenge. Traveling for any reason usually catches us off guard and causes at least one, if not all, of our healthy daily habits to go out the window. I recently packed for a road trip and decided to try a few new things this time. One of them was to bring my yoga mat along for the ride in my suitcase.

Newly Prioritized Travel Items

Usually there is an option to take a yoga class at any travel destination. There are also hotels and even airports that cater to this world’s need for more yoga. I was especially excited about the “yoga channel” offered at The Argonaut in San Francisco. In fact, I went to the hotel’s website to see if they were still offering their “yoga baskets”, and I discovered that Kimpton Hotels offer yoga mats in some of their hotels. Click here to find other yoga-friendly hotels.

I had never thought to bring my own yoga mat on trips with me until I recently got the idea from listening to an author speak specifically about how to stay healthy while traveling. She was reviewing what you would find in her suitcase, and a folded up travel yoga mat was at the top of the list. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Morning Candlelight Yoga & Meditation

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

I went to a yoga class with a friend the other week called “Candlelight Yoga & Meditation”. I was so excited for the class, because I had never been to nor heard of a candlelight yoga class before, and many times yoga classes will include only a few minutes of meditation at the very end of class.

The class was great, and the meditation component was amazing. It didn’t hurt that the teacher was new to the studio and accidentally gave us an extra ten minutes in meditation. I didn’t mind one bit!

A Morning Ritual

After attending the class, I started thinking about my own morning yoga and meditation practice. This is an absolutely essential part of my day, especially days that I work. Taking this time in the mornings sets me up to feel in control of my day and activities. If I don’t give myself this time, I feel victimized by tending to the needs of others and not having any time for myself until late in the afternoon when I am worn out and sometimes frazzled.

This past week I started lighting a candle in my room before I start yoga in the morning. I realized that I can have my own candlelight yoga and meditation session everyday right in my own home! It is still dark out during this time of day. I turn off the light, and do yoga by candlelight for about 20 minutes, followed by meditation by candlelight for about 20 minutes. It is really nice to open my eyes after I meditate to the peace of a flickering candle. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” – Wayne Dyer

When I am trying to focus during meditation, I think of the word “in” as I breathe in, and “out” as I breathe out. This helps control my thoughts. Beyond the in/out mantra, I have experimented with other simple words to focus on to overcome the monkey mind during meditation. Today, I have a new one. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Book Nook Review of Love Your Enemies

I came across a book that seemed interesting, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book could not be more fitting for a Meditation Monday!

“You can become conscious of what you were formerly unconscious of.” – Love Your Enemies, by Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman

Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier by Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman reaffirms that we hold within us the power to create our own happiness. Loving our enemies is about more than finding a way to feel love for bullies. It is about wishing love and happiness for everyone, including ourselves. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How much time a day should I spend meditating?

If you are brand new to meditation, start here.

This is a question I have asked myself for years. I don’t think there is one right answer that will serve everyone, but rather, it is based on personal preferences and current lifestyle. I have read many different opinions on the subject, and it seems that anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes a day are recommended.

A Personal Preference

I have found that 20 minutes a day seems to be the optimal amount of meditation time for me. Twenty minutes is a period of time in which I can really feel the benefits of meditation, but also feels accessible. Twenty minutes doesn’t take away too much from the time available in the day to get things done. continue…

Meditation Mondays (On Tuesday!): Things to Bring to Meditation

I totally failed to post yesterday! First Blogtober fail. So I am making it up by posting twice today. Hopefully the Blogtober gods will forgive me.

I like to keep things as simple as possible. One of the reasons I really like to do yoga, walks, and meditation as part of my personal health and well-being plan is because they require very little, if any, equipment, and can be done just about anywhere you go. I usually do yoga in my pajamas in the morning, followed by as much meditation as possible (20 minutes is the ideal amount of time for me), also in pajamas.

I really have no excuse not to meditate, but just like everything else, it can get neglected, despite how easily accessible it is to take just a few minutes to calm the mind. Although you really don’t need anything to meditate, here are a few things I have found help enhance the experience for me. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Review of Yoga Zone Meditation Videos

The Hipster Series will resume tomorrow, but I wanted to revisit Meditation Mondays with a review of a few videos. I have primarily been researching audio guided meditations, but it recently occurred to me to checkout the meditation videos I have come across on Hulu.

I never watched the meditation videos from Yoga Zone, primarily because I felt like I didn’t really need to have a video to help me meditate since I first learned how to in a yoga class over 10 years ago. When I was selecting my yoga video the other day, I figured I would try them out for the sake of Meditation Mondays. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Review of Guided Meditations on Zencast

It has been one of my goals for a while to find good guided meditations. An even bigger goal is to get in the habit of meditating with my boyfriend Michael on a regular basis. We talked about starting to meditate together probably over a year ago and still have not gotten into the routine. We have done a few guided meditations together that he found online, but I have still been meaning to continue to search for more that we can do together. I plan to expand in a future post on the idea of meditating as a couple.

“Find guided meditations” has sat on my list of things to do for over a year. I just never gave it the attention it deserved. It is one of those things like “organize photos” or “organize garage” that I actually would enjoy doing, but end up feeling like everything else takes priority, and never get around to doing. Maybe that is because I haven’t assigned the proper value to these activities in the past. I thought everything else should come before this, something that I feel so strongly could have a positive impact. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How to Find Time to Meditate

It is difficult to find time everyday to meditate. Our culture doesn’t exactly place high importance on “doing nothing”. With packed schedules, taking even two minutes to “do nothing” might seem impossible, nonproductive, or even selfish.

It is none of these. On the days that I meditate, especially in the mornings, I feel more calm throughout the whole day than on days when I do not make the time to meditate. Meditation makes me a better person. I am happier, more easy-going, and better equipped to deal with stressful situations. I can actually feel myself breathing better the rest of the day after I have meditated.

I am convinced of the many benefits of meditation. Besides health benefits, meditation fosters creativity and facilitates the motivation and courage required to pursue our dreams. Just as physical activity is beneficial for physical health, meditation is an exercise for the mind and spirit (and also produces physical benefits). The problem is actually finding the uninterrupted time to dedicate to such a daily practice. Actually, I take that back. The problem is not finding the time; it is making the time. Just as I can find all kinds of excuses to not exercise for 20 minutes a day, the excuses conveniently present themselves when it comes to finding even 5 minutes to meditate each day. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Tips for Reducing Flight-Related Stress

I have always been an extremely nervous flyer. Turbulence has pushed me to the point of tears on more than one occasion. I am the person on the plane asking the people around me if they heard that noise and if they think it is normal. I am constantly looking to the flight attendants for a look of reassurance, just making sure I don’t see any signs of panic on their faces.

I now always take my airplane pillow and a black sleeping eye mask whenever I fly. You know how they have those anti-anxiety vests for dogs? The eye mask itself wrapped around my head seems to have a calming effect on me.

Airplane Meditation

I got the idea of meditating on airplanes from either Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, talking about how a long flight is a great opportunity to meditate. Just the idea of flying made me nervous at the time, so I didn’t really give it much more thought. Since I started bringing my eye mask on flights, I have gotten more brave about using flying time to get in some travel meditation. continue…

Meditation Mondays: How I Learned To Meditate

Meditation Mondays will be themed weekly posts on the topic of Meditation.

Meditation means different things to different people. To me, meditation is a way to reduce stress, have a much calmer day, be healthier, and to bring to reality the goals and dreams I am working towards. The benefits are endless. Today I would like to go through how I was introduced to meditation.

Before I even really knew about the benefits of meditation, I became interested in yoga. I attended a yoga class at the gym at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday nights. The class was an hour and a half, and I loved every second of it. continue…