≡ Menu

Introduction To Yoga

Upward Facing Dog

Yoga is much more than just twisting your body into complex positions. The great yoga Patanjali defined yoga as having eight parts or limbs that define the practice of yoga. While it is great that the practice of one of these limbs is popular world wide, there is much more to yoga that can greatly help people’s lives with a way of living that benefits you and everyone you meet. 

The first two limbs are about right livelihood, basically a moral code of behaviour. At its essence is the ideal of treating others well. The practice is to do your best within your own standards of how you treat those you meet in your life. 

Like all aspects of yoga, your personal standard will evolve as you see how your actions, and even your thoughts, affect those around you. It is those that you cherish the most that will give you the most reflection on how to best treat everyone. 

The third limb is yoga postures. The subject is widely taught with various methods and techniques that are as individual as the postures that are practiced, and those that practice. It would be impossible to expound fully on everything related to yoga postures, but there are depths to the practice that will be written about in the future.

The fourth limb is pranayama. Prana is the life energy that is involved in movement. Yama means restraint. While the deep meaning is far far greater, the common translation is breathing practices. The beginning of the deeper meaning is any practice that causes the life energy to be developed, and restrained in the body.

As with all subjects in this article, there is a lot more that needs to be covered in future articles. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list so you can be notified as they are posted. 

The fifth limb is withdraw from the senses, or pratiharya. A loose example of this is when you are falling asleep, almost asleep, and the sounds that enter your consciousness seem distant and almost alien. There are relaxation techniques that can guide you to the beginning of this state which will be available soon. 

Concentration is the sixth limb. Again, the meanings in yoga have depths of understanding. On the simplest level it can be thought of as focusing attention, for example focusing on academic studies, work or a project. Concentration can develop to the point that distractions cease to be an issue. 

Once distractions are completely unable to break your focus you can be said to have achieved meditation; the seventh limb of yoga. It takes unbroken focus to find your way to the Truth whether that is the truth of what you are trying to learn, achieve, or a True experience of the Absolute. 

The eighth limb is union with that which you are meditating on. This can only happen with Divine Grace. With study finally understanding the depth of your studies is relatively simple, but the ecstasy of Union with the Absolute only happens with a leap of faith into the Divine. It is a break from the normal that is so profound that the mind is left without purchase. 

Enlightenment is one example of this deep experience. In deep meditation the yogini experiences Union, or samadhi, daily, often several times a day. It is the means of eliminating desire leaving the practitioner without a purchase to the world and life. 

Obviously there is a lot more that can be said about the extensive subject of yoga. Coming from a steady state of samadhi Patanjali was able to consolidate the practice into less than 200 sutras. While full understanding of this scripture can only come with the same depth of experience, the path is laid out in this seemingly simple work. 

More and more depth will be discovered as the yogini practices and grows. The deeper your experience, the deeper your understanding will be. In the future we will explore more of the depths of Yoga and how you can find peace and harmony that anyone can experience. 

When practiced holistically, yoga becomes a way of life that can make your life much more rewarding. And, you can be an inspiration to others just through your presence. Practicing yoga poses has many benefits, while the whole of yoga is a path to liberation.

{ 0 comments }
Om Aum

The most common way to chant OM is with the single syllable to make the monosyllabic sound “OM.” This is a wonderful practice that is great for meditation and chanting. It is also the best way to say OM with mantras like Om Namah Shivaya. But, there is another way that creates a sublime vibration that is more in harmony with the universal AUM that permeates everything everywhere.

Scripture says that AUM has three and a half syllables. First is the long “A” sound (like “A” in father), then comes the “O” which is pronounced like the sound of the letter, followed by “M” which is also pronounced like the letter with the lips pressed together. The final syllable is a half note which is more of an inner vibration. In Sanskrit it is called ardhamatra. 

AUM is done with a long exhale, so you would start with a full breath so you can hold the tones as long as possible. This is a form of pranayama, or a breathing exercise. It is also a very deep meditation because of how the sound changes your vibration when you chant AUM in this way. 

To chant AUM with three and a half notes, you only produce one vibrational sound with your voice. You maintain that vibration in your voice box and create the different sounds by changing the shape of your mouth as you hold the vibration the same throughout. The sound you start with is the long “A.” 

You make the long “A” sound for a few seconds, approximately as long as a quarter of your entire exhale. Then you change the sound by making your mouth and lips circular like the letter “O,” the second sound in AUM. After another quarter or so of your exhale you change the shape of your mouth again by bringing your lips together to make the “M” sound. 

The final quarter of your breath is used to make an internal vibration, the half note, which is a continuation of the “M” sound, more or less like hum. Ideally, the vibration will move down into your chest, then back up through your throat and into the brain, specifically the area where the pituitary gland is located. 

The final half note may take some practice to fully produce the inner vibration, but you will likely know it when you find it because of how deeply it can affect you. Most likely you will feel the effect the first time you practice, but with more practice the sense of deep inner deep peace and connection with the universe will deepen. 

Some scripture says the vibration of the half note at the end of changing AUM is sublime and only experienced by great yogis, but just about anyone can get a sense of the depths through this practice of AUM. A little one on one guidance can be helpful if  you feel you aren’t getting it. 

Not only does this way of chanting make a more sublime vibrational experience, but the controlled breathing when chanting AUM this way is a pranayama practice in itself. 

The way to practice is to sit tall without leaning back against anything if you can. Standing also works if you like. Start with a deep purifying breath in and out. After the exhale take a full breath and with the exhale start the “A” sound with your mouth open wide. Continue for a few seconds then change to the “O” sound by making your mouth into a circle. After a few seconds bring your lips together so the “M” sound is made. 

The half note is formed toward the end of your “M” sound by bringing the vibration to the back of your throat and down into your chest. The original “M” is made with the mouth relaxed and with the teeth slightly separated. Bringing the teeth together as you move your chin slightly back changes the vibration moving it back.into the throat. There is also a slight constriction of the throat. Relaxing your throat and separating the teeth again while focusing your attention brings the vibration back up and into your head. You might even experience energy in your third eye. 

Try to empty your lungs as completely as you can. You may need to take a normalizing breath or two before starting your next AUM. As you get better with the timing, and your breathing becomes purified, you may be able to practice one AUM after another without stopping. While this is ideal, it isn’t necessary. 

When you finish your practice, sit for a few minutes to experience the vibration as it continues without sound. The inner peace and presence of self can be intense, so enjoy it! You may find that you want to schedule more time to sit in meditation after your AUM practice. 

Chanting AUM with three and a half notes has many benefits. The experience of being in harmony with all of Nature is deeply satisfying in the way it brings inner calm, centeredness and a profound presence of Self. It is a form of bringing the individual to union with the Divine. And, it is also a very powerful pranayama technique.

{ 0 comments }
Side Angle Pose

Standing poses are an important part of any well rounded yoga practice. They offer a lot of benefits including increased flexibility and strength. When performing standing poses, it is important to correctly activate the legs and align the joints in order to maximize the benefits and keep you safe.

To ensure knee safety in standing yoga poses, the most important action is to maintain proper alignment. I have never heard another instructor talk about this, yet injuring your knee, even if you have a healthy strong body, is incredibly easy if you don’t pay attention to joint alignment. And, good knee alignment will also help keep your ankles and hips safe, especially if you have some weakness or injury in either of those areas. 

The poses where alignment is most important are standing poses, especially when one or both knees are bent. When doing any bent knee position in any activity, the proper alignment is to keep your knee over the ankle, and pointing the same direction as the toes. A great pose to explain this with is Warrior Pose, also called Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana.

Warrior Pose is a wide leg standing pose with the front knee bent. There are two directions the knee can go out of alignment, when it goes too far forward past the toe, and if it shifts forward or back; any direction it can go where it isn’t over the ankle. So, bending the knee too far takes it out of alignment to a place of potential injury, and letting it flex forward so it isn’t over the ankle can also cause an injury. It can also flex too far back, but that isn’t very common, even for beginners. 

Going too deep in the pose without a wide enough of a stance takes the knee past the ankle. It is actually safe to go a little deeper than that, but once the knee moves past the toes the chance for injury is great. The best thing to do if you want to go deeper in any pose is to widen the stance. 

As mentioned, the other direction the knee can go out of alignment is if it swings too far forward or back, too far forward being the most common in this case. This often happens when the back leg is appropriately strengthened, which is ideal in most standing poses. The strong leg rotates the thigh back which rotates the hips to that side. The front leg is then pulled forward of the ankle.

The adjustment is to use the front leg muscles to pull the knee back in order to maintain proper alignment. This creates a nice stretch in the front inner hip/groin area, one of the benefits of Warrior Pose. The point here is maintaining proper knee alignment and knee safety.

Many of the standing rotated poses are even more likely to pull your knee forward out of alignment which puts stress on it. This is something that everyone needs to recognize to avoid knee injury. For many people with joint problems this is the most important thing to pay attention to in bent knee poses. 

Those are the two directions the knee can go out of alignment. Let’s look at another pose that isn’t quite as intense on the knee; Lunge Pose. 

In lunge with the back leg up you also need to keep your knee over the ankle though it isn’t always quite as important as in standing poses.

One of my favorite ways to work knee down lunge is to shift forward slightly by bending the front knee. This pulls the back leg so the back knee slightly rolls forward over the skin. This gives a great stretch in the back groin and the front of the back thigh. But, you could end up shifting so far forward that your front knee goes past the toes. However, since the back knee is down, there isn’t much weight on the front leg and knee, so there isn’t really enough pressure that could injure the knee (unless there’s an existing problem). 

Proper knee alignment is much more important when doing lunge and lunge type poses with the back knee lifted. As mentioned earlier, rotated poses can cause more of an issue because of lateral movement of the knee. 

A final pose we’ll look at is the wide squat. When done with a very wide stance it is almost impossible to maintain perfect alignment. Not only will the knees be more forward of the ankles, but the knees will likely be pointing in a different direction than the toes. 

The way to protect your knees in this pose is to really work the knees back so they stay as close to over the ankles as possible. And, you need to turn your feet out to insure the knees and toes point in the same direction. For most people this means a 45 degree turnout for the feet. Ideally, you would only go as deep as you can without shifting the knees forward and out of alignment. 

Many people really like to go deep in this pose though, often to the point where the alignment is really off. While I encourage not doing this, I do understand that some people like the work a deeper pose brings. For them, I encourage paying attention to the best teacher there is; pain. Remember that pain equals no gain! 

Stay safe in your yoga practice by keeping correct knee alignment, you won’t regret it. This practice will also keep you safe in all other activities as well. And, if you already have an injury then you now know how to help prevent a re-injury.

{ 0 comments }

Kundalini is the most powerful and misunderstood force in the universe. Yogic scripture tells us that Kundalini is the evolutionary force that drives transformation. It does this by altering DNA through mutation by combining parental characteristics. And, it is through Kundalini meditation or sadhna that the body evolves. 

The fastest evolution happens through sexual procreation. (Organisms that reproduce asexually aren’t going to be covered here.) Sexual reproduction transforms through combining genetic material from the female and male of the species. However, transformation of the DNA occurs in the body of a yogin who practices deep yogic techniques in a process that involves fully awakened Kundalini.

All sexually reproducing organisms exist with the imperative to procreate. They are driven first to survive because without survival procreation is moot. That is the first energy or imperative of all organisms — survival. That is also the first energy center in the body, the first chakra. 

This survival energy center is the root of Kundalini where she lies dormant until awakened. Humans are designed to survive. Put in any circumstance humans will be driven to survive by any means. The first  priority is to live in order to reproduce, which is the driving force of life/survival.  

It is written that Kundalini is a sleeping serpent coiled at the base of the spine. When survival is threatened she partially awakens and drives the organism to survive. Once survival is assured, Kundalini, still only partially awakened, moves up to the second chakra which includes the organs of reproduction.

Kundalini exists in the DNA itself. When your DNA sees another DNA that matches, Kundalini partially awakens as the force that creates the desire to procreate, to merge with that other set of genetic material. All animals are driven by that desire;  it is the base desire, the root of what drives us. In some circumstances it can even bypass survival. 

Note: We’re talking relatively healthy individuals here. Health issues or genetic damage can cause different results. Even so, Kundalini will still try to evolve that body past the problem in order to transform it into something greater than the original. 

Pranic energy is often mistaken for Kundalini. Prana is energy, specifically, life energy, it is what facilitates movement. It flows through the body making it alive. Sometimes the movement of prana can be felt or experienced, but this is not Kundalini.

Kundalini is not the same as the energy of prana. Kundalini is a force that can cause prana to move, so the confusion is understandable. Here is a little experiment you can try. 

Sit comfortably on a flat surface or on a chair with your spine tall and not pressing against anything. Next, contract your anal and genital area strongly up and in. Hold for up to five seconds, and release. Repeat a few times. 

If you are sensitive to the flow of prana, or if it is freely flowing because of great health and a lack of impurities in your body then you will probably feel an energy flow in your back or spine within just a few seconds though could take a minute or two. If needed, there are techniques for those who don’t experience energy flow with this practice, but that is for another time.

The energy flow you feel from this practice is prana that is driven by the contractions stimulating your energy. It is a very small amount of  Kundalini force pushing energy, but the energy itself is prana. While prana can affect Kundalini, it is important to keep in mind that having a Kundalini awakening is a very different and significant shift in spiritual practices. You can experience more flow of prana by practicing pranayama (breathing exercises). 

Kundalini’s purpose in Her full raging force is to evolve the physical form of the human body. This is no longer the process of procreation, rather it is to evolve the body itself, to transform it, to perfect it. For true individual evolution to occur Kundalini has to be awakened in Her full and terrible form. 

Awakening Kundalini can happen through initiation, purity, knowledge, or by grace of God. Once awakened, Kundalini meditation drives the seeker to samadhi; union with the Absolute. Kundalini dissolves the impurities that keep us bound to pain and the cycle of life and death. 

This is a very intense practice that takes lifetimes with unforeseeable life consequences that can appear to be negative. Obviously this practice isn’t for everyone. But, there are things you can do that will prepare you for this path when you are ready.

One of the best is the popular practice of yoga postures. Others include living ethically, meditation, and practices that purify the body. Fulfilling desires for family, wealth, and fame are important preparatory steps that lead to a desire for nothing but Truth. 

There are ways to experience some of this deep Truth without a lifetime commitment. An enlightenment experience is consciousness of a state of direct knowledge of yourself as you truly are. This experience happens with a fully awakened Kundalini. It is only a momentary awakening, but still very significant.

An enlightenment experience happens when you go into union with the Divine, a samadhi experience. The satisfaction that comes with such an experience is indescribable. I highly recommend Enlightenment Intensives for this awakening. 

The movement of Kundalini is a significant experience that is much easier to handle with guidance. It is usually a life changing experience, but that change can be for the worse for those who aren’t ready. Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about Kundalini and Her effects.

{ 12 comments }

Healing With Yoga

standing arch pose
Standing Arch

Yoga can help heal almost any ailment there is. The help yoga offers may be limited with some conditions, but in general it will help, and in some cases heal. All it takes is a little diligence and three yogic techniques that anyone can do. 

Yoga postures are widely known. They can be practiced by anyone regardless of age or physical limitation. And, it will most likely improve any limitation you might have! 

It took a few years of teaching yoga postures for me to fully realize this about yoga. The evidence was literally hundreds of people telling me how it helped them. The variety of conditions people experience improvement, which no longer surprises me, but I do love to hear people’s stories. 

One story I heard was from a fairly young woman who came regularly to a couple of classes a week. I had noticed a med alert bracelet early on but didn’t really think much about it. Then one day I saw that she didn’t have it on anymore. After asking about it she told me she had a heart issue from birth, but after only two years of yoga her cardiologist told her she didn’t need the bracelet anymore. 

Of course, there are conditions that yoga can’t do much for, but so far I haven’t found anything that is completely immune to the positive effects of regular practice. After 40 years of teaching I have to say that every condition and ailment there is can be helped at least a little with regular practice. 

And, this improvement is with just taking classes that teach the postures that gives a good stretching workout and maybe a little breathing practice. But, when a little meditation is added to the practice, the improvements are greatly increased. 

Meditation is an important part of yoga. When combined with yoga postures the healing effects are significant. Focusing your attention on anything is meditation. And, focusing on a physical issue helps bring energy to the distressed area which helps heal. Focusing on an area of your body while stretching that area will speed healing as well as increased flexibility. 

The energy body is not fully understood by western science, but the ancient yogis studied it in depth and learned more about it than modern science currently understands. Even so, the findings of ancient yogis have been proven to be true over and over again through modern scientific research and experimentation. The healing powers of the mind and focus are starting to be discovered by scientists all over the world. 

Energy follows attention. Energy also flows to parts of the body that are in motion, as well as when holding a stretch. When the mind and energy focus are combined the healing power of both are concentrated. 

Another practice that can be added in to bring even more powerful results is the breath. The technique is easy enough, but can be confusing at first. 

All you need to do is breathe into the area that is being stretched as you practice yoga postures. The main way to do that is to inhale with the intention of bringing in life energy. Then, exhale as you shift your attention to the area that is being stretched. Simply having your attention on the stretch while exhaling is all it takes. 

It can be confusing at first because you may not notice anything happening. But, with practice your focus and energy flow will improve. And, your ability to notice the energy flow will increase. 

You can use these same practices to improve any exercise you do. For example, if you are lifting weights and focus on the muscle that is being worked as you breathe into the area then you will gain strength faster than you can if you simply lift the weights without intention. 

While these techniques may be ancient, they really work, and work well. Modern science is finally catching up with practices that have already been proven thousands of years ago. Incorporating them into your practice will help bring faster results to your flexibility, strength and health. It may take a little time to see maximum results, but you will be pleased. 

{ 0 comments }

Handstand

Handstand Yoga Pose

This is Bonnie demonstrating handstand for us. While she is an obviously strong woman, you really don’t need to be that strong to do this pose.

I’ve had many women in my yoga classes go into handstand with ease. Kicking up into the pose is the hardest part, but you’ll get better at it with just a little practice.

Start with your hands six to twelve inches from the wall. Further away is easier is some ways, especially when you start out. Eventually you’ll want to be six or fewer inches away.

Have your hands about shoulder width or more apart. You can see that Bonnie has hers just a little wider. Too far and you may not have the strength to stay upright. Closer like Bonnie and you will have alignment to hold up up rather than strength.

Your feet will be behind you with one closer to you than the other. The close one is the leg that will kick you up into handstand, while the back leg will be the first to go up.

All you have to do is start kicking up into the pose. Most people start with too little kick which is perfect. Keep trying until you find the right amount of kick to get upright.

Some people kick too hard and end up crashing into the wall. This isn’t really a problem as they rarely kick hard enough to hurt themselves. The wall may be another consideration though! A solid wall is best so you don’t accidentally damage it.

An even easier way to practice is with someone lifting you into handstand. Even better is if they are experiences with teaching yoga and can catch you after you kick up and help you the rest of the way.

Once you are up you will probably need to have your feet against the wall for balance. After some practice you can gently push away from the wall to eventually find balance in your handstand.

Doing handstand can give you great confidence in your abilities. Having someone to help you out is great and eventually you will be able to easily kick up into handstand on your own.

{ 0 comments }

Perfect Piriformis Stretch

piriformis muscle
Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is a deep hip rotator that can be hard to stretch even though there are a lot of stretches that target it. It’s knowing how to work into the stretch that makes all the difference.

A tight and inflamed piriformis muscle is the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica. It can also cause a general tightness and pain in the hips. Learning how to work into the muscle to find the perfect stretch that works best for you.

This video shows several piriformis stretches and how to move around to work deep into the muscle for maximum relief. Let me know how it works for you!

{ 0 comments }

Open Heart Meditation

Heart Chakra

An open heart is a beautiful thing. People who do heart chakra meditation are a special loving individuals. Their hearts are full of love, forgiveness and compassion. They attain a level of tranquility that leaves them with inner peace in the midst of conflict. 

It really takes a special person to take on loving heart meditation. They may be blocked by anger, grief, hatred and jealousy, but they know they can be free from all negative emotions. And indeed, they can achieve a deep inner calm with loving heart meditation. 

If you experience disconnect from people, or a lack of empathy then this spiritual practice may be what you need. It will open you up to trust of others and yourself. In time, people will open to you allowing you to see their deepest selves, they will trust and deeply appreciate you.

Opening your heart with by meditating on opening your heart will naturally lead to more love in your life. And, the more love you have in your life, the more your heart will open. The openness of your heart is a measure of the love in your life.

The heart center, or chakra, is the fourth energy center. The root, which is sometimes referred to as the center even though it is located in the lower part of the chest, is in the solar plexus, the area just below the bottom of the breastbone. It extends up to the hollow of the throat just above the breastbone. It extends all the way out to the sides including the arms, which are for hugging after all. 

Have you ever felt your heart open, the warm open feeling in the center of your chest? For example, when you see a baby, or better when they look at you the way they do. Or, if you’ve ever been in love, the feeling in your chest you get when you see or think of the one you love. That feeling is your open heart. 

Hugging someone you feel very close with can also evoke a feeling of warmth and openness in your heart. Seeing someone in pain, someone that is suffering from trauma or grief can cause a deep feeling of empathy and caring for that person. Perhaps it causes your eyes to water. 

If you haven’t experienced anything like that then perhaps you can imagine what that would be like. Or, you could watch a sad movie, or a love story that really brings you in. If all else fails, try to find someone with an incredibly open heart and spend some time with them. 

An amazing example of a very open heart is an Indian saint named Amachi. She comes to the US once a year, and is well worth waiting to see. You can find out more about her at https://amma.org/ You might even experience your heart by looking at her pictures. Or find someone who resonates with you like Mother Teresa.

One heart meditation is to simply reflect on something or someone that causes you to feel that warm open feeling. It doesn’t matter how you get that sensation, once you have it, staying present with it is the meditation.

You can also bring your attention to your heart chakra, whatever part of it works best for you. Keep your attention on your heart during your meditation time. Bring your attention back when it wonder, and keep bringing it back. Eventually you will master your attention in all areas of your life. 

Having the energies of the heart center activated evolves the individual from survival to love. It unties the bondage to ignorance, darkness and negativity. Please let me know if you chose a heart related path, I love to be in contact with people like you. 

PERSONAL NOTE

Writing this article had  a profound effect on my heart chakra. The open warm feeling I felt for the hours I worked on it inspires me to give more. I have several more meditation videos to write articles for, I can hardly wait for an opportunity to write more on the heart. 

{ 0 comments }

Reflect On Your Day Meditation

My guru was given one specific instruction by his guru (I consider them both my guru for reasons I may share another time), which was to take time at the end of each day to contemplate the day and what happened. 

The meditation is to reflect on the day and notice what could have been better, what you could have done better, how you could have treated people better as well as what went right and how you might make it even better, or continue doing to be a better person. This incredibly simple practice is very powerful. 

The only real way to tell if you are growing spiritually is if you treat people better. If you treat people better today than you did yesterday then you have grown. Making this your primary practice guarantees personal and spiritual growth! 

The best time to do this practice is right before bed, or even when you go to bed. Take a few minutes and make an honest assessment of yourself and how you think you did. 

How you gauge yourself has to be by your own estimation. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, or their beliefs about what is right and wrong. And, it doesn’t matter what scripture says either. It has to be your true and honest assessment of yourself by your standards. 

As you grow your ethics will develop and grow as you grow. For example, if you do something you think is perfectly okay, but someone is affected by it and they either tell you how they felt wronged, or you notice that it had a negative effect on someone, then you will realize that action really isn’t okay. 

In yoga the highest practice is noninjury. The definition is to not do anything that will disturb the mind stuff of another. If you think about it you can see that this is almost impossible. Your mere presence could negatively affect someone! 

The only way to achieve perfect noninjury under that definition would be to become a saint! As you grow and learn to treat others better and better, you will become more saint like. 

Weather you achieve the ability to not affect people or not is beside the point with the meditation of reflecting on your day. The goal is to move toward that perfection. Any movement in that direction is spiritual growth. And, you can better achieve that by reflecting on your day looking for how, in your estimation, you can improve your treatment of others. 

{ 0 comments }

Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. No matter how much we have it never seems to be enough, but being grateful changes things.

Gratitude is the being thankful. Without gratitude, or simply forgetting about it, it is hard to realize just how much we really have. Realizing how much you really have can be liberating and help you feel fulfilled. 

The act of being grateful has many benefits, several that have been proven scientifically. It can actually improve your health and even help you sleep better. 

Gratitude can help you in your relationships and even open doors to more friendships.This happens when we show gratitude to people, even if it’s just a simple thank you for a small thing. Giving more thoughtful thanks for bigger gifts like a card for help with a project can really endear people to you. 

Your psychological health can be improved with gratitude by removing negative emotions like envy and regret. It can also improve self esteem by removing the desire to compare ourselves to others and what they have. You will likely notice others accomplishments and appreciate them for their hard work. 

It’s also been shown to reduce stress and overcome trauma. It has even been helpful in reducing PTSD in vets by increasing psychological resiliency. There are a lot more, but we’re here to meditate! 

The most simple gratitude meditation is to simply take a few minutes and reflect on your day and notice what you are grateful for. It could be something that happened, something you got, a nice meal you had, the fact that your body works well, clean air, great night’s sleep or literally anything. 

Gratitude for the small things helps us realize that all we really need are the small things. And, that makes even more grateful for the bigger things we get or accomplish. 

Another gratitude meditation is to think of something unpleasant you are dealing with and see if you can flip it to something positive. For example, maybe you are living in a situation that isn’t the best, but there is something about it that is positive, or offers some benefit, or you are learning something from the situation.

Practicing gratitude meditation will help you notice what you are grateful for as you go about your day. This is a form of mindfulness meditation. When practicing mindfulness you can’t help but notice what you are grateful for. The blessings life has to offer are always right there in the moment, they just need to be noticed for you to benefit. Noticing in the moment is an added blessing.

Taking a moment to pause and be grateful for your food is one of the most common meditation practices there is. And, one of the most powerful in many ways. 

Finally, take a moment right now and think of one thing you are grateful for. Notice how much better your life is with it, and how hard your life would be without. Then check in to see how you feel, see if there’s a change. 

You may or may not notice a difference, but with just a little practice you are sure to find yourself feeling more positive. Give it a try and see how it works for you. 

{ 0 comments }