Monday, March 6, 2017

Meditation for People Who Think They Can’t Meditate

Reaching a state of mindfulness can be as easy as taking a few deep breaths.

If you’re harried and distracted, meditation can help calm your mind and body.
But that’s the rub. Some say they’re so harried and distracted that they can’t possibly meditate to quiet the mind, regain focus and ease anxiety. Within moments, they’re ruminating on the noise of extraneous thoughts or uncompleted daily to-do lists.
“Too many people have tried meditation and have given up. They’ve concluded, ‘I’m just not that kind of person,’” says Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist in New York City and author of the new book Breathe. “But they don’t have to be thinking about Gandhi or world peace or absolutely nothing to reach a meditative state. It’s not that complicated. In fact, it’s bizarrely simple.”
All you need do is breathe.
In her book, Vranich recommends a type of controlled breathing she calls “Recovery Breath.” The two-part breathing exercise, she says, is a form of active meditation that can reset the body after a stressful day at work, a disagreement with your spouse or partner, a test or a competition — any demanding situation. It can be done for as little as five minutes in a day.
The good news for people over 50 who’ve been frustrated in their attempts to meditate is that it gets easier with age.
— Belisa Vranich, author of 'Breathe' (MORE)
Source: Next Avenue

Monday, January 16, 2017

Daily Inspiration

What You May Not Understand About Meditation

Meditation has been touted recently as the solution for everything from ADHD to PTSD. It’s being introduced in schools, workplaces, and hospitals. A meditation instructor of mine calls this growing popularity “McMindfulness.” The research does seem compelling as scientists the world over try to understand the neuroscience and physiology behind the success of mindfulness meditation. So far results have shown meditation can help us reduce stress and emotional reactivity. It also seems that meditation may lead to enduring changes for those who practice it. There’s a reason people have been doing it for thousands of years, but there is also a lot of misunderstanding that gets in the way for those hoping to benefit from this ancient practice. Here are some things to consider if you’re interested in what meditation has to offer.
Meditation is not something to be mastered
“I just couldn’t nail it,” I heard an acquaintance say recently. “I couldn’t get the breathing right.” The fact is, it’s called meditation “practice” for a reason and no one “nails” it. I have suffered with anxiety all my life. When I first started meditating years ago, I found focusing on my breath, as I was instructed, just made me feel more anxious. Instead I developed my meditation with an open awareness, eyes open, focusing on nothing in particular. Meditation eventually helped me with my anxiety making it possible for me to focus on my breath but there was no perfect way to do it.
The only wrong way to do meditation is by not doing it at all. One of the most important ideas of the practice is that you don’t judge yourself, your thoughts, or your meditation. Not judging oneself is a tall order, but meditation is where you can practice, and you begin by not judging the way you do it. The basic idea is to take some time to try to be present in the moment. If you sat down and you tried to do this, consider yourself successful. (MORE)
Source: Huffington Post

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Daily Inspiration

The Distracted Man's Guide to Meditation

Face it, if meditation were a pill, you'd want it. If it was a workout, you'd probably be doing it already. You've heard all about its much-lauded de-stressing capabilities; you've read that it boosts immunity, regulates sleep, and enhances memory, focus, and your gray matter; you know successful, smart people do it (Kobe Bryant, Novak Djokovic, Jerry Seinfeld, those snide geniuses at Google who call their in-house meditation class "Neural Self-Hacking").
You know all of this, but, almost assuredly, you do not meditate. Why?
"There are three things," says Dan Harris, the ABC News correspondent who chronicled his encounter with meditation in the highly skeptical (and highly hilarious) memoir 10% Happier. "The first is that guys think it's bullshit — that you have to wear your wife's yoga pants or chant. The second is that people assume it's impossible: 'My mind is too busy.' " Last, Harris explains, is that men assume meditation is all about being mellow, that it will rob them of their edge.  (MORE)
Source: Mens Journal

Saturday, December 31, 2016

How to Have a Mindful New Year’s Kiss

“A kiss can be a blissful and heartfelt connector, a reminder about who and what matters most. A mindful kiss can make time stand still. Whether you’re with a long time partner or a new friend, allow yourself to be in it for all of the beauty and connection that a kiss holds.” — JoAnna Harper, Los Angeles-based Guiding Teacher, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.
Look deeply at the person in front of you and truly see them.
Check in to the sensations that arise in the body. Are you feeling warmth, excitement, jitters, fear, ecstasy? All are welcome. Allow yourself the freedom of the moment.
Reflect on the person you’re about to kiss. Whether it is a life partner or a new acquaintance, take a moment to be grateful for this shared intimacy.
Check out how our bodies and minds are naturally drawn toward another if we’re free of worry and fear.
Move together. See what it feels like as arms, hips, torsos and more connect.
Feel the warmth and breath as lips connect, just in this moment.
Try not to get pulled away into meaning or story, staying right here for the beauty of the moment as it unfolds, the pure joy of the kiss.(MORE)
Source: NY Times

Friday, December 30, 2016

Daily Inspiration

Mindful Eating, Meditation May Lead To Better Metabolic Health

A diet and exercise program that included mindfulness training resulted in participants having lower metabolic risk factors compared to those who underwent the same program without the training, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.
Metabolic risk factors include large waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol.
The presence of at least three of these risk factors warrants a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a condition that raises the likelihood of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
In the study, which was published in the journal Obesity, 194 adults with obesity were randomly divided into two groups. Both underwent the same diet and exercise program, which included information on healthy eating and exercise.
One group received additional information on nutrition and exercise, together with relaxation and cognitive-behavioral techniques for managing stress, while the other participated in a program that focused on “attention to present-moment experience, including experiences of eating and the thoughts and emotions related to it.”
“Mindful eating practices promote awareness of experiences related to the desire to eat, actual sensations of hunger, fullness, satisfaction and enjoyment,” said first author Jennifer Daubenmier, Ph.D., of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment and the Department of Medicine at UCSF. (MORE)
Source: Knowridge Science Report