Category Archives: Meditation

Open Yourself Up to the New Year

Cheers! 2018 is here. Now more than ever, this is YOUR time. Not your time to make a laundry list of everything about yourself and your life that you dislike, but to ask yourself, what do you want to cultivate and create?

Journaling and meditation are two powerful tools to ignite this questioning process and will give you all the answers. Below I have outlined a “jump start” mindfulness exercise to get this process going for you. Once you have established your intention, share it with at least one other person. The more we communicate and share our aspirations with others, the more likely they will come into fruition. Enjoy and let me know how this goes for you!

Cheers to 2018 and everything it has to offer us!
With love,
Cara

Open Your Heart to the New Year Mindfulness Exercise
All you need to complete this exercise is a pen and paper and any props that allow you to sit comfortably.

1. Breathe. Everything starts with the breath. In order to move through stuck thoughts and energy, we need to find connection with the breath. Find a seated position that is most comfortable for you, close your eyes and come into a breath that feels best for you.

2. Count 20 rounds of breath. Keep the breath slow, deep and relaxed. If you find you’re trying to rush it, take another 10 rounds of breath. Nice, slow and steady.

3. Meditate for 5 minutes. Let your breath stay at a constant relaxed state, set your phone timer for 5 minutes and drop right in. There is no “right” way to meditate. Meditation is just a process of paying attention and listening. Notice your thoughts and pay attention to what your feeling. Then let it go with each and every exhale.

4. Journal. Get your paper and pen ready and answer the following questions as they relate to 2017/2018:

  1. What was your biggest accomplishment?
  2. What was your biggest failure?
  3. What were you most proud of?
  4. What was your greatest fear?
  5. Who in your life inspired you the most?
  6. Who in your life caused the most heaviness?
  7. Where in your day to day did you feel the most unsettled?
  8. Where in your day to day did you feel the most energized?
  9. What’s your biggest decision for 2018?
  10. What’s one thing that you would do if you knew you could never fail?

5. Reflect on your answers. What themes repeated themselves? What feelings came to surface? Underline and circle those answers.

6. Write a letter to yourself and incorporate the following:
> what do you want to let go of?
> how do you want to feel?
> what do you want to create for yourself?
> What is your intention for the new year. Let this be a statement.

*It’s important to stay away from goals when writing this letter. If you find this is difficult for you, take a step back and ask yourself, what do you need to get there. For example, you want to meditate more. Instead of writing out your meditation training plan, think of an inspiring statement that lays out the foundation to make it happen. For example, your statement could be “be more and do less”. 

7. Breathe again. This time instead of counting, repeat your intention. Taking the example above, you would inhale “be more” and exhale “do less”.

8. Seal in your intention one more time. Bring your hands to your heart and once again declare it yourself.

9. Now declare it to a friend. The more we communicate our intentions the more they come alive!

10. Namaste!

 

Fearless Friday: Stop, Drop + Meditate

As I have explained in past posts, meditation is one of the hardest things for me in living my yoga but its a necessity. As one of my inspirational teachers, Gabrielle Bernstein, states, “If you think you don’t have time to meditate, my response to you is do you have time to feel like shit?” And it’s true, when I’m not in the habit of meditating everyday, I do feel like shit, total shit in fact. My head feels like it’s going to spin off my body and I have a hard time grounding down.

One of the biggest barriers that gets in the way of meditation is not only the element of time but also how we view meditation. When I first began to meditate, I thought it had to be this big magical event. I needed to have the special pillows. I had to light candles and it had to be this very special intimate experience with myself. It became more of production to do then to actually to do the meditation.

I then approached my meditation in a complete different way. I viewed it as just something I did in the morning, just like brushing my teeth. I get up (still in my pjs), head to my couch, sit down, place a pillow on my lap, set my iphone timer for 10 or 15 minutes, close my eyes and I’m in. A  prayer I like to say as I begin my meditation is  “Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say and to whom?”> something I also learned from Gabrielle Bernstein. I find that this statement is a reminder for me to let go of control and trust that whatever happens is meant to be. A great way to start the day.

photo 1 (14)        photo 2 (13)

My meditation experience is never perfect and it never should be. In fact, there are some days when my mind just races and I’m overcome by anxiety. Weird stuff comes up, like worry over returning library books, parking for a class later in the day, an e-mail that I need to write, but this is all part of the experience. For me, meditation is a powerful way of bubbling my anxiety up to the surface and rinsing it out. No judgement. No expectations. Just letting whatever come up, come up and breathing through it. And with this, things happen. I find stillness with myself. I feel at ease and I feel energized in a relaxed way ready to take on my day.

Stop, drop + meditate and share your experience.

Meditation: Get Into the Zone

Meditation is the hardest self care tool for me. Just like any difficult run, work-out or class, right before I do it I feel anticipation and even a slight fear that I will not do it “right” or “long enough”.

When I was mediating recently I felt like the experience was very similar to when I have to run on the treadmill because of bad weather and have set miles that I need to complete for race training.

For these particular runs, I get my water positioned into the water cubby. I have a shirt or towel covering the screen. I put on the best playlist I have on my iPod and off I go for as many miles as I have on my race calendar that day.

As the first initial minutes of the run go by, I feel this yearning to move the towel aside to see my time and my pace. Not knowing how far I have run drives me crazy, yet again knowing how much farther I have to go is a much worse feeling. This mind game continues for the first two miles of my run and then suddenly everything comes into place. I catch my rhythm. I find my breathe. My strike becomes more fluid. Everything comes together. I’m in zone! I’m running and having fun.

Meditating the other day felt like the same experience. I set my IPhone timer and placed it next to me. I was seated comfortably and I closed my eyes. I could feel this yearning to keep opening my eyes and check my phone to see how much time had pasted. My body was incredibly tense not knowing how much time had gone by. I kept focusing on my breath but my thoughts were running rapid. I then began to take deep breaths and sighs and then began to count my breath—allowing my inhales to equal the length of my exhales. After ten rounds of this breath my thoughts faded, my shoulders dropped down to the ground and I was in the zone. I was meditating. It was on and I felt at ease.

Whether it’s running on the treadmill or meditating it takes patience and time. There needs to be space to “warm-up” and to let go of not knowing how many miles have completed or how much time as gone by. The key is to find your rythmn by letting go of the need to control. Let things be. Let them evolve. It will allow your mind to be more free.

What is your experience with meditation? What do you struggle with?