“Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness exercises come from thousands of years of traditions and Eastern practices of meditation. They have been devised to declutter the mind from its daily chores of mechanical living. By practicing mindfulness exercises, we can learn to focus our awareness/consciousness on the present moment without judging the thoughts that come in our mind. It's about letting the present become a reality in total consciousness and total awareness.
Exercises for Groups
According to researchers, meditation in groups is often very effective for beginners as the environment created in groups is perfect for everyone to meditate. Meditation is a mental activity that helps us to revitalize our minds. Just like exercise is necessary for our physical health, meditation is necessary for our mental health. Although meditation requires time and effort, its benefits are immense and they help our mind to be aware and focused in our daily lives.
Quieten the Mind:
Every passing second innumerable thoughts pass through our minds. By quietening the mind, one focuses all their attention away from daily problems and issues of life. Neither thoughts in the mind are resisted are they allowed to occupy the brain completely. One just witnesses the thoughts without judging them. Just letting the mind be still is the key for this exercise. Thoughts will arise, let them come in but don't let them interfere with your meditation. Just watch them pass like clouds in the sky; witnessing them. As you begin to distance yourself from these thoughts, they will slowly subside and you will experience serenity and peace of mind.
Focus on Your Breathing:
While watching the mind helps you to learn basic awareness skills, focusing on some object for a period of time helps to increase focus. Sitting quietly and relaxing your mind by breathing deeply. After some time, watch your breath with increased awareness while you inhale and exhale. As your awareness increases, your breathing system will be steady and you will be able to feel relaxed and focused.
Exercises for Kids
Since adults have benefited from clinical and medical observations of these exercises, children too can benefit from these exercises. Since training children can be difficult, they may get easily frustrated or distracted; therefore, it's best to teach these exercises in groups. Children should be encouraged to practice simple breathing exercises that will help them to establish а proper platform for further meditative practices.
Awareness About Breathing:
Children may not pay much attention to the most basic function their body, so it 's a good idea to start exercises that make them aware about their breathing patterns. Children should be taught to focus on their breath and not to change the rhythm, hold, nor inhale/exhale breath forcefully. Awareness should be the main focus. They can be asked to count 1, 2, 3... with every breath they inhale and exhale. This will keep them focused on the breath.
Awareness About Thoughts:
After children are aware about the present moment, their focus can be shifted to their thoughts and feelings. They can be asked to watch their rising thoughts and feelings without making any judgment or getting distracted by them.
Mindfulness exercises have gained popularity throughout the world and people have started practicing them for gaining more control with their emotional health. With regular practice, these exercises can be beneficial for those wishing to achieve holistic health.
Is Yoga the answer? Why are so many people choosing to ignore the warning signs that are causing major concerns towards their health - environmental hazards which are out of our control but very much a part of our lives is becoming a worry to us all. Then we have another health issue - stress, which is destroying people's lives with energies of destruction affecting how they live.
Is Yoga the answer? Stress/anxiety affects people in different ways so it is important - before buying over the counter any pills or remedy powders is to consult a doctor. Depression can cause so much pain and suffering to a patient in the way of taking over - how they think - what they do or how they act. For a person not to be in control of their own actions is a serious situation therefore you need to talk to someone if you feel that you are experiencing anxious moments.
Is Yoga the answer? Stress and anxiety symptoms can be sedated and calmed with the right treatment and medication - but any advice on what should be administered for easing these discomforts should be from a doctor or herbalist if you choose the natural way for help. If your health or that of your family is giving you reason for concern then consider yoga. Is Yoga the answer, Yoga is proving to be a great antidote for stress related ailments. They say do not knock it till you try it and this goes for yoga also. Stress is a troubling mind meddler where in some unfortunate cases - patients have been hospitalized. Depending on the seriousness of the illness - mild yoga techniques can help.
Body awareness is the main issue when joining a yoga class. By knowing the mechanics on body parts like muscles - joints and organs can help you nip in the bud many uncontrollable body function outbursts before they start
Is Yoga the answer in helping combat stress? Stress problems are addressed with a type of yoga that helps control the mind in the form of meditation exercises. Meditation is a common Yoga type exercised by millions worldwide. Even the medical world believes that Yoga is proving to be very beneficial to suffering patients. It is now a common practice by doctors all over the world to refer patients on a regular basis to perform these exercises in the way of a medicinal fix - naturally. Is Yoga the answer - Yes (depending on the patient and the illness?)
*The above article is for informational/educational purposes only and should never replace the advice of your healthcare professional! Talk to your physician prior to beginning any yoga practice if you have any health issues or concerns.
It's a terrible feeling; you’re all tucked in bed, cozy, the room temperature is perfect, the lights are dimmed low, but you can’t seem to fall asleep no matter how hard you try! We’ve all experienced this at one time or another at bedtime. Nothing is more frustrating than that feeling. Many people experience this and end up groggy and lethargic the next morning. Whatever energy you have quickly diminishes throughout the day, and no matter how sleepy you are that night, you still have trouble sleeping. If you want to stay healthy, feel and look your best, consistent quality sleep is a necessity.
Thankfully, getting a good night’s sleep is easier than you think; and it doesn’t involve supplements or doctor visits. It is simply meditation techniques for sleep — an effective, natural solution for anyone who wants a more natural approach to achieve deep, rejuvenating sleep, and awaken feeling refreshed and recharged.
Effective Meditation Techniques for Sleep
The key to a good night’s sleep is relaxation. Meditation prior to bed is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body (those experiencing long term insomnia should consult their doctor if this persists). Below some techniques to try that may make falling asleep easier.
One of the simplest and most effective techniques is meditation music. Sleep comes easily if you listen to soft, soothing music just before bed. While listening to this music, perform simple breathing exercises to bring your breathing to а stable rhythm. This is great for stress relief as well as, making you more calm and relaxed. A suggestion would be to use а CD player with а remote control so that you can turn it off when you’re ready to sleep or plugging your earphones into your mobile phone and relaxing with a meditation app that offers music for sleep.
"BY [MEDITATING] EACH NIGHT, SLUMBER CAN BECOME A REALITY INSTEAD OF A ‘DREAM.’” —ORA NADRICH
This technique involves your imagination. To begin, get into а comfortable position in your bed. Once you’re comfortable, try a slow breathing exercise to relax your mind and body. A relaxed mind, devoid of thoughts, is capable of vivid imagination. Clear your mind and picture yourself in а place which represents peace and quiet to you. Continue to imagine yourself in this place, doing an activity that helps to keep you calm. This technique can also involve another person as a guide too. This person can guide you through your journey to this peaceful place. Keep in mind, the place that you imagine should be your own idea. Choosing to be in а place that someone else is imagining will not help you because what’s peaceful for person may not be for someone else.
This technique requires а fair amount of concentration. To begin, get in а relaxed position, this can be your bed or even a comfortable reclining chair. Close your eyes, and slowly begin to sense each part of your body (this is called full body scan). Start at the top of your head all the way down to your feet. While doing this, begin to feel the blood coursing through your veins. Feel the circulation. Now, slowly begin to feel your pulse in every part of your body. As you feel your pulse, recognize the warm sensation that is flowing throughout your entire body. As you recognize this you will feel а tingling sensation in every part that your mind is picturing. Once your entire body has been scanned, open your eyes. You should feel much more relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Muscle Contraction and Relaxation
This is yet another simple and effective technique for sleep. Begin with your toes, squeeze them for about ten seconds and then release. Feel the sensation. Repeat this technique, moving upwards in your body, alternatively squeezing and relaxing the muscles. This method helps to increase and improve blood circulation helping you to unwind from the day and thus aiding in sleep.
These were just some meditation techniques to help you relax and drift off to sleep. By trying one of these tonight you will see how refreshed you will feel tomorrow morning.
While Padmasana (Lotus Pose) may seem simple, it is considered an intermediate to advanced pose and may not be comfortable for beginners. Lotus Pose is sitting cross-legged with the spine vertically straight, making it ideal for meditation and concentration.
Padmasana in Sanskrit, comes from the words padma (meaning lotus) and sana (meaning seat or throne). The lotus, a sacred aquatic plant, is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols and one of Buddhism’s most recognized motifs. Traditional Hindu texts says that Padmasana destroys all disease and awakens kundalini (a dormant energy residing at the base of the spine that can be awakened through meditation and yoga).
Getting into Lotus Pose
Avoid practicing this pose if you have recent or chronic injury to the knees, ankles, or hips. Lotus Pose requires a great deal of flexibility and self-awareness to be performed correctly. If you do not yet have the flexibility to practice this pose, practice Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana) or Easy Pose (Sukhasana) until you become more flexible.
Remember to always practice yoga within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, talk with your doctor prior to any yoga practice.
Finding balance in yoga can be challenging. Even though you’ve created a space on your mat to be present, there can still be a lot of distractions that make balancing on one foot with the opposite leg extended pretty difficult! If Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) has you feeling a bit un-balanced (pun intended),then these five tips will help you find your balance.
Find Your Drishti
If you've taken a yoga class or practiced with yoga videos at home then I’m sure you’ve heard the yoga teacher say to find your drishti, or focus, in practice. When you concentrate on an object or a gazing point in front of you, you minimize distractions or negative thoughts that might come up in a balancing posture.
Clear your mind and shift your focus on the breath. With so many other things to concentrate on in a balancing pose, it’s easy to lose your breath. This only makes it harder! Use your breath as a way to focus, and a way to find your fullest expression.
Focus on Alignment
Maintaining proper alignment is integral in balancing postures. Stacking your joints, relaxing your shoulders down your back and keeping your core engaged will not only ensure you keep a solid foundation and focus, but it will also help you strengthen your muscle memory.
Have a Solid Foundation
Establishing a solid foundation is one of the most important steps in finding balance. When you stand on one foot, the standing leg is basically doing the work of two feet. Keeping this is mind, set up for balancing poses by rooting down your energy first. Make sure your “roots” (your footing) is on solid and stable ground. You can’t grow your tree without roots!
It’s Okay to Fall
Even those who have been practicing yoga for many years fall. Falling is a sign of exploration! Accepting that you might fall will automatically relax your mind, the most powerful element in balancing postures. When you inevitably wobble, get back up and try again. Acceptance and perseverance are both part of a growing yoga practice.
Yoga can sometimes be challenging. We all face challenges in our yoga practice. Challenges on the yoga mat aren’t usually as hard as the everyday challenges we face in life. What do you do when you tell yourself you can’t do something? How does it make you feel and what do you do about it?
So, what if you can’t touch your toes, stand on your head or bind your hands together in an asana? Or perhaps the challenge is getting on your mat consistently?
It doesn’t matter if you can do fancy yoga poses. What matters is how you learn to embrace what seems impossible. Can you work at something again and again that you tell yourself you can’t do? If you can manifest this attitude on your yoga mat, you can bring this new skill into your life. Imagine how much more you can achieve! You will find that the willingness to step into the space of what you thought was impossible, gradually, yet consistently, gives life more meaning and possibilities. Yoga has taught me patience and perseverance and sometimes I feel unstoppable.
How can you meet the difficulties on your yoga mat? Here are some tips:
As challenging as some yoga postures may seem, the key is perseverance. Listen to your body and safely explore your limitations, don't get overwhelmed, figure out where the challenges lie, don't take yourself too seriously and don't let resistance overpower you. Accept yoga as a lifestyle that needs to be learned and practiced with gratitude and patience.
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