I offered a coupon code to her viewers, and since it’s my birthday I wanted to share the love with you as well. Use the coupon code GIVELOVE to save 20% on your entire order in my etsy shop, now until Monday, March 7th at Midnight, EST
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Many people have expressed to me their desire to meditate, but have said they either:
a. feel they’re “bad at it” because they find their thoughts wandering,
b. find it boring
c. feel that they can’t fit a meditation practice into their lives, or
d. just can’t motivate themselves to do it every day.
(I can completely relate to all of these thoughts & feelings, by the way!)
Some amazing studies have come out recently about meditation and how it increases gray matter in the brain. Even though I don’t do it every single day (but feel better when I do make it a consistent practice), meditation has helped me in so many ways over the years that I love to encourage people to try it.
If you’ve ever had a challenging time starting or keeping up with a meditation practice, check out this post where I talk about my favorite book on the subject:
The exercises in the book are designed to help you physically/emotionally/spiritually + psychologically, and can be done in as little as 3 minutes a day. If someone asked me to name one book that has changed my life, this would be it. Want to try some of the exercises right away? (They’ll help you reduce stress, feel more calm, yet more energized at the same time.) Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFCRNtFem14
I hope it helps. Please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch if you have any questions. I’d love to hear what you think if you check out the book or video, or if you have a meditation practice that you can recommend!
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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!
I can’t stop listening to this! (Find more music by Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band here)
Hope you enjoy.
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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. 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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I’ve extended the giveaway 1 more day!
Enter before midnight EST for a chance to win an organic cotton tee!
Enter here: http://on.fb.me/1jls4rf
Or, if you could help me spread the word, that would be awesome! Click to Tweet
As I mentioned last week, the designs I’ve been working on are finally finished.
The first is my flowing chakras design, which I originally drew a while back for an album of Meditation music: Root to Crown.
The second is a pattern I created for my eye pillows with the third eye / 6th chakra / anja symbol from the flowing chakras design.
The eye pillows are made from recycled bamboo & organic cotton shirts from previous seasons – I haven’t decided if I’ll be ordering more fabric once I run out. They’re going fast, so be sure to get one soon if you’re interested!
You can find everything here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLotusRoot
Also – If you’re in NYC – Vincent and I will be selling our eye pillows, tshirts, mugs, etc. tomorrow at the Inwood Greenmarket in upper Manhattan ( 9 am -1pm if the weather permits!)
http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket-site/manhattan/inwood-greenmarket We’d love it if you stopped by to say hello!
One last thing – thank you so much if you answered my anonymous survey last week..I really appreciate your questions, sweet words and feedback! Feel free to leave a question or comment if you haven’t already.
As promised, the new 100% organic cotton shirts with my mudra design are ready.
I’m so excited to finally have these new, limited edition shirts in stock in my etsy shop. They’re dyed with low impact dyes (no heavy metals or toxic substances – and not derived from petro-chemicals), and enzyme finished, a process that makes the cotton extremely soft, similar to a vintage tee. [Edit: These tees are sold out – to get on the list to be the first to hear about limited edition items, sign up here: http://thelotusroot.com/free-updates/ ]
Each mudra represents a different state of consciousness, and they can also be done to create different states in the mind and body. They’re also used to prepare for, and to focus during, yoga or meditation. In classical Indian dance, they’re used to communicate entire stories without words. Each finger and hand position has a different symbolic meaning.
I’ve been interested in the grace and beauty of hand mudras in artwork and dance for a long time.
I became even more intrigued by them when I first started learning about their effect on the mind and body.
Around 2001 I stumbled upon a great book, Meditation as Medicine by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa. It’s been a favorite of mine since then. I had tried many different forms of meditation over the years, and doing the exercises in the book (which include poses, mudras, mantra & breath work) quickly became my favorite way to meditate. I love the book because it goes into detail about different physical & psychological effects that each movement, sound or breathing pattern can have. Even if you’re not one that believes in or has any interest in the spiritual aspects of meditation, you can’t deny the positive effects that it can have on the body & mind.
In my favorite meditation in the book, you do a series of hand movements, touching the thumb to each finger repeatedly. The author explains that the repetition of hand movements can actually enlarge the capacity of the brain, increase the connection between neurons and create new neural pathways. The meditation practice also includes a mantra, which is a word or series of words that you repeat. Chanting a Mantra is a great way to quiet the inner dialogue, and is proven to have physical benefits (improving the function of the immune and endocrine systems, balancing the hemispheres of the brain, etc)
If you want to learn more, you should definitely check out the book!
The Mudra on my new shirts is known as the Vitarka Mudra when its held in front of your chest. The same position (often used during yoga) when held on the knee with the palm facing up, is called Gyan or Chin Mudra. Gyan Mudra is said to calm the mind, open the chest, and improve diaphragmatic breathing.
I had a lot of fun working on this t-shirt design, and creating it has helped inspire me to get back into a regular meditation practice. Something else that helped me get back in the swing of things was this great post on Meditation by Jena of Miss Modish & The Maven Circle.
I’d love to know, do you have a daily meditation practice? Do you use mudras when you meditate?
Let me know in the comments section below!
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