There’s something very therapeutic about doing yoga & dancing in the rain. Thank you Wanderlust 108!
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Want to meditate but have a hard time getting started (or staying motivated to stick with it?)
Here’s my favorite tool for keeping up with a meditation practice – the book “Meditation As Medicine” by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD. & Cameron Stauth.
This book has been with me for 13+ years and continues to change my life for the better every time I crack it open.
You may remember my post on this book a couple of years ago.
Here are my Top 5 reasons why I can’t get enough of this book:
1. Ever find your mind wandering during meditation? Me neither ;)
Thoughts creeping in during meditation are perfectly normal, and many people give up right away because of it.
What I like about the exercises (kriyas) in this book: They include mantras (sounds or words that you repeat), mudras (hand positions), breath work, and other things that you do with the mind & body simultaneously to help you focus on the task at hand. These things work together synergistically to make them even more powerful. When I feel the power of a meditation session, it motivates me to do it again the next day.
2. There’s an exercise for pretty much anything that ails you, whether it’s physical or psychological
My favorite part of the book is a chart that lists kriyas you can do for different ailments. It explains which part of the body & mind, and which energy center/chakra the issue is associated with. Even if you don’t feel like reading the rest of the book, you can just pick a meditation and dive right in.
3. Many of the meditations / kriyas can be done in as little as 3 minutes a day and are still extremely powerful.
Commit to setting aside 3 minutes of meditation in the morning – you’ll feel better, you may notice your day going more smoothly. When I start to feel these changes it makes me want to meditate longer and longer each time.
4. You know that family member that’s skeptical about meditation or yoga? That uncle/aunt/cousin that needs a scientific explanation for everything?
This book’s got you covered.
One of my favorite things about “Meditation as Medicine” is that it’s loaded with scientific evidence about the chakra system, mantras, mudras, breathwork, yoga poses, etc, and it explains how each one effects the mind & body. There are also case studies from people who have used this system (based on Kundalini Yoga, also referred to by the author as Medical Meditation) to heal. I admit that I also love knowing why something works before I do it. Sometimes books with this type of information can be a little tedious, but this book is an easy and fun read and gets straight to the point.
5. It explains different things that you may have experienced if you’ve ever taken a kundalini yoga class
Dr. Khalsa is both a physician and a yogi (he was a student of Yogi Bhajan). He does an excellent job explaining the many things you do during kundalini yoga; the meaning of the mantras, mudras and positions (and their affects on the mind & body). For me, knowing how & why things work sometimes makes me feel like I got more bang for my buck.
There you have it – this book is tried & true and will help take your meditation/ kundalini yoga practice / life to the next level. (If you’ve never been to a Kundalini yoga class, I highly highly recommend that too!)
Don’t have time to read it? Listen to it on audio while you’re doing something else ( I remember listening to it on cassette tapes that I checked out from the library many years ago – of course now there’s a cd & Audible version)
Let me know if you get a chance to check it out!
New York friends – check out this indiegogo campaign for a new wellness center & art space in Bushwick. The opening reception is tomorrow. This space sounds amazing and I can’t wait to check it out. (As an artist & lover of yoga, ayurveda, meditation, and all types of healing modalities, this is right up my alley!)
Please donate what you can!
Check out BHATI’s Facebook page for more info
Recently, I created an anonymous survey asking what I could help you with (you’re still welcome to let me know by clicking here.)
I was asked how I’ve dealt with heartache, betrayal, stress + emotional pain, and if there are any natural remedies for those who keep their pain locked up and can’t find peace.
The following are my favorite ways to deal with these feelings. These are important tools to have in your holistic health toolbox – managing stress & dealing with emotions are essential if you want vibrant health & happiness. It’s no secret that, if left unchecked, stress can cause all kinds of problems – aches & pains, breakouts, weight gain, stomach problems, countless illnesses…and the list goes on.
Tools + Techniques:
• eft (emotional freedom technique aka tapping / meridian tapping)
I’ve been impressed by how quickly eft works to help change thought patterns + clear things that I’ve been holding onto.
What is eft, you may ask? Emotional Freedom Technique is a method of tapping acupressure points on the body while making statements about things you’d like to change. My favorite eft practitioners are Brad Yates and David Childerley – you can find Brads videos on his youtube channel (or check out his website for more), and you can find David’s youtube channel here. If you do a quick search on youtube, you’ll most likely find that someone has made a tapping video for whatever ails you or for whatever positive change you’d like to make.
○ Find a quiet, private place to do this. You may feel funny doing it at first but stick with it.
○ Try putting a little bit of lavender essential oil on a tissue and wiping your finger tips off before tapping. Lavender is one of the few oils you can use on your skin without a carrier oil – it’s anti-bacterial, (I believe it helps prevents the breakouts I’m prone to when touching my face) and will give you a soothing aromatherapy session in the process.
○ Rate what’s bothering you on a scale of 1 – 10 before you start
○ Tap along with the practitioner and repeat after them.
○ Check in with yourself once you’re finished and rate the issue again. Repeat the process until it’s bothering you less and less.
○ You may find that tapping for one issue brings another one to the surface. That’s a good thing – it’s giving you a chance to get to the root of the issue, and to let go of things you may not have been consciously aware of. As I mentioned, a youtube search can lead you to a video for whatever else you want to work on (or you can create your own tapping sequence.)
(Click here for part two of this series where I share more tips for dealing with emotional pain / heartache and what to do when you’re feeling resistance around self-care.)
Meditation has helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life. It has been a refuge at times when everything around me felt completely chaotic. Be patient with yourself when just starting out – it gets easier to quiet your thoughts the more you do it. The trick is finding the best form of meditation for you. There are many great types of meditation, and one may speak to you more than the others. Experiment with binaural beats, pranayama or using mudras & mantras (Check out this post to learn about my favorite book on the subject). You can also find many great guided meditation videos on youtube. Grounding meditation has been my favorite method to get centered, protected, and clear of any negative energy I’ve been holding onto.
Yoga has given me more confidence and patience, and has allowed me to get centered, relieve stress, heal and open up my heart and let go of tension & emotions I’ve been holding onto in my body. If you’ve known me for any length of time you know how I feel about outdoor yoga.
Going to yoga classes outside takes away the intimidation factor of stepping into a studio if you’re just starting out. (Plus you get the added healing benefit of fresh air and vitamin D from the sun). I also love Rodney Yees dvds, especially A.M./ P.M Yoga which I’ve been enjoying for about 14 years now. It gives you a nice gentle stretch and is perfect for both beginners and more seasoned yogis.
I feel that there’s something magical that happens when a pen meets paper. Let your thoughts flow out and get it all down on the page without censoring yourself. It’s amazing how journaling can bring light to things in a way that just thinking about them can’t.
• The Work of Byron Katie
This has been incredible for dealing with any feelings towards others or conflict of any kind.
You can do it for free by downloading worksheets on her website. Check out youtube for examples of others doing The Work, or check out Byron Katies books for more info.
To the lovely soul who asked the question on the survey: I hope you were able to find the tools you needed, and I hope you’ve found peace. Time heals all wounds, and these methods can help speed things along. Hopefully the info I’ve shared today has helped. Feel free to get in touch to let me know.
Do you use any of these techniques – or do you have another tool that has worked for you? Let me know in the comments section!
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Check out this indiegogo campaign to raise money for Urban Escape Healing, a healing space in Chicago: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/urban-escape-healing-studio
The owner, Neale Baldyga, and his team of healing practitioners work to uplift, heal & empower the community through reiki, sound healing, yoga, aromatherapy, art, workshops, and more.
I feel that Urban Escape Healing has filled a void in Chicago that was felt when Healing Earth Resources closed it doors. (Anyone remember Healing Earth?) Their work is much needed in Chicago and in the world.
photos © Liz Davison 2014
New work in progress: amethyst crystal painting – watercolor and pencil on paper. Playing around with some natural skin care label design ideas.
Feels great to have creativity flowing again.
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Based in Portland, Oregon, “Street Yoga is a non-profit organization that teaches yoga, mindful breathing, and compassionate communication to youth and families and their caregivers struggling with homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, trauma and behavioral challenges so they can grow stronger, heal from past traumas, and create for themselves a life that is inspired, safe, and joyful. Our programs are based on solid evidence that yoga helps with physical well being, depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD.”
This organization is near and dear to my heart – I know first hand how transformative yoga can be. I’ve been doing yoga since I was about 17, but know my teenage years would have gone a lot more smoothly had I found it sooner.
I love that they’re providing a way for at-risk youth to get centered, find tranquility, improve their health, boost their self esteem and heal.
Street yoga is also holding teacher training sessions in cities around the world – take a look at this post to find out upcoming training dates & locations, or contact them to bring teacher training to your city (You don’t have to be a yoga instructor to take part in the training).