Please enjoy this simple but profound practice to get you started with meditation. First find a comfortable seat. it can be on a chair in a quite place. Remember that the success is in the doing of the practice, not how well you feel it went. Focus on the numbers, your breath and intentionally relaxing.
As thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them go and come back to the focus on counting, the breath, and intentionally relaxing.
Metta means Loving Kindness. It is a practice that is very simple, but at the same time very profound.
To begin, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus your attention on the experience of loving kindness. You will begin by offering Metta to yourself. If distracting thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them go and come back to the practice.
Recite the following phrases to yourself
1. May I be safe and protected.
2. May I be peaceful and happy.
3. May I be healthy and strong.
4. May I have ease of well being
Continue reciting the phrases in the first person.
Then when you are comfortable, try offering Metta to a someone who supports you, who has always “been on your side.” Forming visualizations of this person while reciting the phrases can be helpful; for example, imagining this beneficiary as a child or grandparent, can assist in ‘opening the heart.’
1. May s/he be safe and protected.
2. May s/he be peaceful and happy.
3. May s/he be healthy and strong.
4. May s/he have ease of well being
Once your Metta flows easily to a loved one, begin to include in your practice one or more of the following categories of persons to whom you will offer Metta:
Have you ever had a day when you just didn’t feel motivated to work out? Well, a tool I have found to be very effective in just those moments comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (sutra 2.33), pratipaksha bhavanam. Simply translated, transformation of negative thoughts in to positive ones. The first key is awareness that the negative thoughts are happening, and the sounds we make are a dead give away. I was working with a long time training client when we came up with the “battle cry”. She was having one of those days we all have from time to time where every movement seems to take a great deal of effort. I began to notice a sound that accompanied just about every other exercise we did. We’ve all heard ourselves making these sounds... Awe (sigh)... Oh no (sigh… Oh man not that exercise!)
Many times it is a bit of a battle to get ourselves to do the things we know will make our days and lives more vital and energized especially when it comes to working with our own bodies. Imagine an instance where it is completely essential to have not only encouraging but supercharged excitement about something we are about to do.
I have a very vivid picture in my mind that helps.
Remember the trailer for movie Brave Heart?
I’ve never actually seen the movie, but I specifically remember the commercial for it. All of the fierce painted faced warriors on the ridge the moment before going in to battle, one they know is going to be the battle of their lives.
I see Mel Gibson standing in front of them, rallying them up
Are you ready??? Let’s do this thing!!! Come on!!!!!! Yeah!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Now imagine a few of these warriors on the ridge not really tuning in to Mel, but instead speaking amongst themselves. “Awe (sigh)... these aren’t my best fighting tools.”… ”Oh man ... I left my good club at home.” ... “Oh no (sigh)... my shield has this funny crack in it” ... “I really didn’t get enough sleep last night, I wonder when this battle will be over”
How are these warriors going to do in their battle???
Not very good at all!
This example makes it seem ridiculously obvious that these thoughts are not going to be helpful at all.
At the same time, we do it to ourselves time after time after time.
And it keeps us from getting to the goals that are so important for our health and wellbeing. Remember, awareness is the key, so lets catch ourselves when we do the complaining sounds and the excuses and choose a battle cry instead! The mind can only think one thought at a time so let’s make it a positive one. Let’s go!!!
Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic’s ten tips for staying motivated
The mind can think only one thought at a time. Make it a positive one.
Yoga sutra 2.33 pratipaksha bhavanam you have a mental movie depicting each and every next move as being grueling and unpleasant. Is this thought pattern going to be helpful in your efforts? What do you do now? Start a movie where you are carrying out each task courageously and confidently and the chain of negativity will be broken and a stream of positive thoughts will follow.
Lets BE the inspiration we need!!!
DO what’s necessary to get the job done!!!
and we will soon HAVE the results we wish for!!!
I have been reading the newsletters from Dr. Mercola recently and came across this article related to thyroid issues. Here is an excerpt with a few suggestions on what you can do to help yourself out a bit if you are dealing with a thyroid issue yourself or want to pass the info along to a friend who is:
Hypothyroidism is far more prevalent than once thought in the U.S. The latest estimates are that 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, but the actual numbers are probably higher. Some experts claim that 10 to40 percent of Americans have suboptimal thyroid function.
Many of these folks may actually have nothing wrong with their thyroid gland at all — they may just be suffering from iodine deficiency.
Seven Tips for Avoiding Bromine and Optimizing Iodine
Trying to avoid bromine is like trying to avoid air pollution — all you can do is minimize your exposure. That said, here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk:
1. Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly. This will minimize your pesticide exposure.
2. Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.
3. Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods.
4. Avoid sodas. Drink natural, filtered water instead.
5. If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.
6. Look for personal care products that are as chemical-free as possible. Remember — anything going on you, goes in you.
7. When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are much higher inside buildings (and cars) than outside.
Avoid Unfermented Soy
Another major contributor to thyroid dysfunction that I did not discuss above is unfermented soy. Soy isoflavones can wreak havoc on your thyroid.
Kaayla Daniel’s groundbreaking book, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food is a powerful exposé that reveals the truth about the soy myths that have infiltrated our culture.
It’s ironic that soy has become so accepted as a health food when, as Dr. Daniel states, thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid- and hormonal dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility–even cancer and heart disease.
So if you want to keep your thyroid healthy, you’ll definitely want to avoid unfermented soy products of all kinds, including soy milk.
click here for the entire article:
This is a quote from the book, “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty:
In the 1930′s, a research dentist from Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Weston A. Price, travelled all over the world- from the islands of the Eskimoes to the South Sea Islands, from Africa to New Zealand. His “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects”, which is illustrated with hundreds of photographs, was first published in 1939.
The work of Dr. Price took the whole world as his laboratory. His devastating conclusion, recorded in horrifying detail in area after area, was simple: People who lived under so called backward primitive conditions had excellent teeth and wonderful general health.
Why do I have to make a special effort to tell my mother in law “please don’t give my children the crackers whose effects are:” ” asthma; hyperactivity; depression; irritability; mood changes; male and female infertility; celiac disease; abdominal discomfort; nausea; convulsions; headache; migrane”?
Because they are disguised as healthy!
Really, it’s not her fault. She gave them Nabisco 100 cal Ritz Snack Mix, baked snacks. They look great until you read the many ingredients, and at the end they add monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a flavor enhancer. It’s exhausting and I’m sure, annoying to all of my friends and family to have to be the ingreditnts police with regard to anything they give my kids. I wish I didn’t have to, but it’s worth it to me to do as much possible to protect heir healh as I can. Sure, I can’t protect them from everything, and they are going to come into contact with their fair share of toxins in the world. I just don’t want to be the one giving it to them.
To help me in my private detective work I have a handy tool. A book called “The Chemical Maze” by Bill Statham a guide to food additives and cosmetic ingredients (yes, I police these too) a publication of possibility.com
Please join me in being annoying to your relatives and hopefully helpful to your kids health and read labels carefully. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s worth looking up.
Just read an extensive article on super effective cardio on the Dr. Mercola newsletter comparing techniques for working slow twitch, fast twitch and super fast twitch muscle fibers.(endurance versus short burst exercises)
my favorite epiphany came from this quote:
“Children and most animals in the wild do not run marathons or lift weights, they move at high speeds for very short periods of time and then rest. This is natural and what optimizes the production of growth hormone.
The higher your levels of growth hormone, the healthier and stronger you are going to be. And the longer you can keep your body producing higher levels of HGH, the longer you will experience robust health and strength.”
new guidelines recommend 20 minutes three times a week.
I want to be the Mom who knows exactly what she can and cannot afford based on a specific and realistic budget. I want to be self sufficient in my older years so that please please, my kids don’t have to worry about me and can be at ease in their lives. I want to have a life in retirement so that I can enjoy an occasional show and trip. Nothing extravagant, really simple, but full of life and love and happiness. want to be able to buy my kids stuff with out feeling guilty that I shouldn’t be buying this cause we can’t afford it. (at this point I don’t really know what we can or can’t afford, but am kind of in the dark and just worried because I don’t know) I also want to teach my kids how to be responsible with their finances. If I am to be a good example for my kids, I’d better start now because I am so so far away from really feeling in control of what is happening with the finances. We’ll take it one step at a time, and just try to keep learning.
A little while ago my good friend Ann shared this story and I thought it was a poignant introduction to the Zen principle of mindful speech. The story gives a great visual aid that shows the profound effect that our words can have on other people and specifically addresses bullying. For both kids and adults, it really made sense to explain bullying this way. Here's the story:
A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you're a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.
The thought of maintaining a strong focus on mindful speech as adults came to mind as I read this. It inspired me to suggest a simple experiment. For the next week, slow down a bit in your replies and ask yourself these three questions about your words before you speak them.
1) Is this true?2) Is this kind?3) Is this necessary?
Let us know how it goes!
“Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, non aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.” ~Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
If you have been coming to my yoga classes lately you may have realized that I have been reading this quote from Pema Chodron a little more often as the end of class inspirational reading. It is one of my favorite quotes and I find Pema Chodron so inspiring especially in her point of view during times of transition. You can find a copy of “The Pocket Pema Chodron” that I read from in class here. With the change of our Studio model things have really been in flux and I have drawn much comfort in her words of wisdom.
Frances loves to share her point of view on many topics including: healthy recipes, anatomy studies, any kind of movement practice and fun stories about life in general.