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Walking meditation can be just as profound and enlightening as sitting meditation. It helps bring strong awareness to the body and to physical sensations around you. We are not talking about a difficult walk or hike, but simply a walking space that gives you peace and quiet to be mindful and meditate. As has been discussed a few ties now, there are different methods or techniques to meditate. Choosing the one or maybe more methods, that keep you consistently practicing is key. Here is what I mean by walking meditation:
Choose a small, flat path on which to walk back and forth, preferably no more than 10 paces in each direction. I prefer to be outside, as you get the physical sensations from the sun, the wind, the sounds of nature. But if indoors is all you can find, it is just fine.
Before you start moving, stand still for a few moments and consciously bring your attention into your body. Breathe. Notice the sensations of your feet on the ground, the clothes on your body, and the sun and the wind on your skin.
Now, begin walking as slowly as you can while still feeling natural. Keep your attention within the body. When the attention drifts to outside sights or thoughts, which it will, gently bring it back to the movement in the lower half of your body – the soles of your feet on the ground, the bending and extending of the knee and the curl of your toes. For me I add the rhythm of my steps, rhythm of my pace with my breathing.
The simple act or exercise of stepping from foot to foot naturally creates a meditative state. I find a rhythm in my walk, which helps bring that calming state sooner. This state calms the mind and cultivates sharper awareness. Walking meditation can be a fantastic way to bring mindful attention to every part of the day. As I have previously discussed, you can meditate and be mindful in all that you do – from walking, to work, to cooking, or doing the dishes.
Here are five meditation techniques for a beginner or in regular experienced practice:
- Sit or lie in a relaxed position
- Breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen, this will relax you. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but do not strain to release the air.
- Stop thinking about everyday problems or matters. Clear your mind.
- Concentrate your thoughts on something like a sound, a repetitive word or mantra, or a feeling or concept that you are experiencing or longing for. All of your attention needs to be placed on the object that you have chosen.
- While in that state of concentration, if foreign thoughts try to creep in, you need to stop the thought, and go back to focusing on the object of your meditation.
Those five meditation techniques are the basics of meditation. There are varying techniques based on the degree of concentration and how you handle those foreign thoughts. Some suggest the practice should be to meditate so intensely that no foreign thoughts are allowed to enter at all. Another practice is to allow the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts enter your session more easily. When you discover or realize the foreign thought has entered, you simply stop, and go back to the intended or pure meditation in a relaxed manner. It helps you refocus and be aware in your meditation.
You might be able to tell by the themes chosen this week that illness is passing through our house. However, I’m trying not to let it get us down! The one thing that came to mind at 3:30 AM this morning, was whether or not meditation is good when you’re sick? My initial thought was it must be, but then I back peddled on that and wondered if the sickness makes it hard to really be mindful and focus on meditation? So I have done some searching on opinions of whether or not meditation while you are sick, is a good idea.
When you are sick, and in bed, meditation doesn’t fit the usual routine easily. Several articles and forums I came across all gave the same advice: if it is uncomfortable to sit up, you can lie down and meditate. ‘Also, because the extra rest is beneficial for your recovery, you are permitted to meditate as much as you like until you get better.’ That was a response that Deepak Chopra gave a member who was ill. Being sick will make it harder to focus, but you can do it. I have read that most advise that if you cannot breathe through your nose, due to congestion, breathe through your mouth. Focus on your breathing and allow it to occur as naturally as possible. Be mindful that the congestion is part of the body trying to heal itself. This will take away from some of your focus, but I have to believe that altering your practice, to breathe through your nose, has to be better than not doing meditation at all.
Focus on the breaths being a technique to repair or heal the body from your illness. Let the air you breathe out be the unhealthy black energy that is making you sick. Breathe out the nasty negative energy, breathe in new vibrant, clean energy air. Hopefully the negative emotional reactions you have to the illness will leave your body as well. Focus on the body repairing itself.
Meditation while you’re sick can be challenging, but as Deepak advised, you can use this down time to meditate as you need. Making alterations to your routine is allowable and again, hopefully you can focus on releasing the negative energy and heal.
I spend a lot of time researching, and looking for ways to make changes in life or ways to make life more enjoyable naturally. There are so many aspects of your life that you can look at to determine where things can be improved. The one thing that has become very apparent to me, is that nothing can change until you take action. Change has to start with yourself. I see that there are habits or reactions that are learned through out life. We all learn to adapt to the situations of life. Depending on the environment or the people you have in your life, that reaction or habit will either be good for you, or bad for you. I think this is very true for those who struggle with self esteem issues. Knowing yourself, and loving yourself is key to the decisions you make in life.
“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the action and your feelings will change.”
To get to know yourself, and take action in making changes in life, you have to start by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness has allowed me to become more aware of my thoughts and reach a sense of inner peace. It’s not always perfect, and somedays are easier than others. As my awareness has increased, so has the peace and joy in my life. The more familiar I have become with the inner workings of my mind, the better I have started to feel. Being mindful of the inner workings of my mind, allow the avenues to my heart and soul to be free. Again, it is a work in process. However, one of the most influential things I am learning to do, is to self regulate.
Self regulation for me has been my stepping stone to mindfulness and meditation. I was introduced to it, not realizing what I was being taught…essentially, mindfulness. I become aware of how my body is reacting to a situation. Those reactions can sometimes be stressful or negative, if the situation is not positive. In essence, the body can get triggered to go into a fight or flight response when it gets stressed. Before I practiced mindfulness, I would stay in that fight or flight state and panic a bit. I now can take a deep breath. Focus on my breathing. Notice how my body is reacting; Is my heart pounding? Am I clinching my jaw? Muscles tense? Once I assess my reaction, I begin releasing those tense reactions. Breathing to slow the heart rate, release clinched muscles, and relax. In that time, you have cleared your mind to give a proper reaction to the situation, a rational reaction. That is self regulation. For many, this is a normal, easy practice. For me, it had to be learned, and I am continually practicing, and I wish I had learned earlier in life! It has brought more peace and kindness into the home. I know how important the modeling you provide your household is. Teaching peace, is so rewarding, in so many ways!
Try these yoga poses to balance the chakras within you.
Seated Forward Bend
Use this pose to enhance your communication and self-expression.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Ham
Syllable (calming): ee (as in bee)
Use this pose to enhance your creativity and pleasure.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Vam
Syllable (calming): oh (as in flow)
Use this pose to enhance your personal power and self-esteem
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Ram
Syllable (calming): ah (as in father)
Use this pose to enhance your inner peace.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Yam
Syllable (calming): eh (as in say)
Warrior II Pose
Use this pose to enhance your survival and foundation.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Lam
Syllable (calming): oo (as in moo)
Use this pose to enhance your intuition and imagination.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): Om
Syllable (calming): mm (as in sum)
Leg Up The Wall Pose
Use this pose to enhance your inspiration and sense of connection.
Sounds To Make:
Mantra (activating): (silence)
Syllable (calming): ng (as in sting)
Guided Meditation Script Part 1
Find yourself a quiet place to sit. Turn off your phone and dim the lights. This is your time. A time for total relaxation and inner stillness.
Take a moment to make sure that you are warm enough, and that you are seated comfortably. Rest your hands loosely in your lap. Now close your eyes.
Take a long slow, deep breath in…hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale. Just allow any tension to melt away as you gradually relax more and more deeply with each breath.
Take another long slow, deep breath in…hold it, and then exhale. Empty your lungs completely with your out-breath. Take a third deep breath in. Take your time. Hold it for a moment, and then let it go. You can already feel yourself drifting into a state of deep relaxation.
Continue to breathe slowly and gently as you bring your awareness to the top of your head. Just sense or imagine a feeling of relaxation beginning to spread down from the top of your scalp…. feel the muscles in your forehead and temples relax. Allow your eye muscles to release. Let your cheeks and jaw soften and let go of all tension.
Now let this peaceful feeling flow down into your neck. Feel it loosening every muscle and every fibre.
With each breath you take, this relaxing feeling becomes deeper and warmer. It works its way deep into the muscles in your shoulders…soothing them…releasing them.
This peaceful feeling flows down from your shoulders and into your arms. It loosens the muscles in your upper arms…your forearms…your hands…relaxing and soothing…all the way to the tips of your fingers.
As your body relaxes, your mind relaxes, and your thoughts seem to become lighter. You are slipping further and further into a dreamlike state of stillness and relaxation.
Now, bring your awareness to your chest and your stomach. Feel how this area of your body gently rises and falls as you breathe. The peaceful sensation flows throughout this area of your body, soothing every muscle and relaxing every organ.
Turn your attention to your upper back, and feel this relaxing sensation flow all the way down your spine. As it gradually works its way down your body, feel every muscle in your back relax and unwind.
Feel that your entire upper body has become loose, limp and relaxed.
Now feel your hips relax as the peaceful feeling starts to work its way through your lower body. Relax your buttocks…the backs of your thighs…the front of your thighs. Feel all these large, strong muscle groups becoming looser and more relaxed with each passing moment.
Soothing feelings of relaxation flow down through your knees, and into your calves. Your ankles relax. Now your feet relax. Allow your entire lower body to relax completely, and allow any remaining tension from anywhere in your body to flow out through the tips of your toes.
You are comfortable, peaceful, relaxed. Now it’s time to leave the external world behind, and go on an inner journey. A journey to a place of deep inner stillness.
This guided meditation is from http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/
I have been researching for options on treating anxiety naturally, and I came back with three common suggestions: eat, meditate and exercise. So what could that refer to in each of those categories? Let us explore that.
Think of a time you felt anxious. Was it a sleepless night spent worrying about an issue? Was it a time when you slipped and fell? Either of those can place your body into a brief state of anxiety, which goes away shortly after the event. This is short term anxiety. However for millions of people, that anxiety can be long term. This sometimes disabling disorder, is known as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
How can we reduce the amount of anxiety felt or interrupting our lives? Doctors can prescribe medication and recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. In a time where some medications can be over prescribed or over used, searching for alternatives is important. You can make a few lifestyle changes, diet, meditation, and exercise, scientifically proven procedures, which allow you to treat anxiety for yourself. I think that these lifestyle changes along with cognitive-behavioral therapy, will give you the greatest relief from anxiety.
Eat a healthy diet. Studies have shown that those who eat a diet high in processed, fast food that include sugary sweets, junk food, caffeine and beer, are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Those who eat a more healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, meat and fish, tend to experience less depression and anxiety. I have read that adding foods such as nuts, poultry, oats, and some dairy, increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Each of these foods contains tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin. According to Wikipedia.com, “Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), blood platelets, and the central nervous system (CNS) of animals, including humans. It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.” So it only makes sense to eat foods that will naturally help you feel better, right?
Meditate regularly. People who worry a lot have increased reactivity in the brain, that makes regulating emotions, such as fear, a little harder. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, practicing mindfulness can physically reduce neurons in the fear-triggering part of the brain. As an anxious person, you might feel it is hard to sit still and meditate. Many thoughts race through the mind, and that can make the anxiety seem overwhelming. Mindfulness teaches you how to work with the various stressful situations. It takes practice, and that’s why making it a regular habit, results in the best results. It won’t change your anxious feelings over night, but each time you sit and focus on your breathe and calm your body, you are teaching yourself how to self-regulate. When you are placed in a stressful situation, you will be mindful of how your body is reacting and focus on calming those reactive triggers. Meditation works, it just takes regular practice.
Regular exercise can reduce anxiety. I read once that bad anxiety needs good treatment. What could be better than exercise, coupled with meditation and a healthy diet? Just like the healthy diet, studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration. Exercise enhances the brains overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, making the rest of the body feel the impact as well. If your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Increasing endorphins improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
As we can see, research indicates that you may eat, meditate and exercise your way to a calmer, more relaxed life.
Here are 5 Easy Steps for Mindfulness – to decrease stress in your life
Find a comfortable – quiet location when possible – however you can, and use these steps even at work or in other locations. Sit relaxed.
Set an alarm if you want for 2 to 3 minutes 0- you can make it longer each time if you want; however there are benefits from meditating for 2 minutes.
Find an object to look at or close your eyes. Either technique can be relaxing. Try both so that you can decide which one works best for you.
Breathing is the key to being present with your body and self. Inhale for 3 seconds (say in your mind calming – calming – calming) Hear your breath going into your lungs – hold it for a second, exhale for 5 seconds (say in your mind releasing – releasing – releasing) Hear your breath going out of your lungs.
When done, stretch and hug yourself.
Stress is a part of life – How much you choose to manage it is about CHOICES. Make the CHOICE to meditate for two minutes very day, You can do 2 to 3 minutes several times a day if you would like.
We are at peace when our chakras are in balance. Remember the energy within the seven chakras influence our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health. When the chakra energy is stuck or stale, we suffer from various ailments. The secret to healing the seven chakras doesn’t always come naturally. Throughout our life we encounter various experiences and each of those leave a bit of an imprint on your chakra energy. If some of those life experiences are not pleasant, the balance of energy can be thrown off. The messages we learn in childhood can affect the spiritual growth through life.
How can we change the message that each of our chakras emanates? I look at it as a way to heal the soul, and more. I am learning that one very effective way to do this is through positive affirmations. If you can practice positive affirmations you should be able to balance reality and your past. Again I see it as a healing practice for your soul and the things you experienced in life that throw that chakra energy out of balance. Mind, body and soul balanced in harmony, means you are at your peak and happy. Lets look at a few positive affirmations that will help direct the chakra energy back into balance.
Crown Chakra: Remember this chakra is located at the top of your head, and its energy spins a violet color and is connected to spirituality. Repeat the following affirmation to begin with: “I am apart of the divine, and I seek to understand and learn from my life experiences and I cherish my spirit. I will live in the present moment.”
Third Eye Chakra: Remember this chakra is located in the center of your forehead, and its energy spins a blue color and is connected to our intuition, repressed emotions and fears. Repeat the following affirmation: “I am wise and will listen to my inner wisdom. I will trust my intuition, forgive the past and learn and embrace the good in my life.”
Throat Chakra: Remember this chakra is located in the throat, near the thyroid and its energy spins a light blue color and is connected to our ability to communicate, express ourselves and our creativity. Repeat the following affirmation: “I will communicate my feelings with ease. I will be open honest and clear through my communication. I will show my authentic spirit through my creativity and my body will feel the truth.”
Heart Chakra: Remember this chakra is located in the center of your chest, and its energy spins a green color and is connected to our heart and our emotions. Repeat the following affirmation: “I am open to love. I love myself deeply, openly and I accept myself. I forgive myself and accept life’s challenges that help me connect with others. ”
Solar Plexus Chakra: Remember this chakra is located just above the navel, and its energy spins a yellow color and is connected to growth, intellect, control and self respect. Repeat the following affirmation: “I love and respect myself. I am worthy of love, kindness and respect. I will be strong and courageous and direct my own life.”
Sacral Chakra: Remember this chakra is located just below the navel, and its energy spins an orange color, and is connected to sexuality, reproduction, commitment and pleasurable experiences. Repeat the following affirmation: ” I love and accept my body and have healthy boundaries. I am passionate and can enjoy the present moment through my senses. I will nourish my body and take care of my needs. I will respect my body.”
Root Chakra: Remember this chakra is located at the bas of your spine or tail bone, and its energy spins a red color, and is connected to our basic survival skills and physical needs that allow us to feel safe. Repeat the following affirmation:” I am deeply connected to my body. I feel safe, secure and am deeply rooted. I have the right to be here, and I have what I need. I am stable and will nourish my body and keep it healthy. I trust myself and the choices I make that are good for me.”
These affirmations are just a start to the journey of healing your seven chakras. Some may resonate with you more than others, and that can indicate an area that needs more of your focus. Draw strength from that, listen to your mind, body, and soul.
Meditation can help you find your silence from within. Below is one of my absolute favorite quotes. It really simplifies finding the happiness and peace within yourself. You have to love yourself first, then the silence from within will keep you balanced. I think the ultimate way to balance and settle within yourself, and draw strength, is to meditate. When I first started meditation, I didn’t think it was for me or that it worked. But amazing things have happened in the roughly year and a half that I have practiced meditation. Mindfulness is key to making decisions. I have been able to channel that mindfulness and that has resulted in making better choices in my life.. I am finding more strength within myself every day. I attribute that to meditation.
For thousands of years people have used meditation to move beyond the mind’s stress-inducing thoughts and emotional upsets into the peace and clarity of present moment awareness. The variety of meditation techniques, traditions, and technologies is nearly infinite, but the essence of meditation is singular: the cultivation of mindful awareness and expanded consciousness. (chopra.com)
Silence is something that comes from your heart, not from outside.
Silence doesn’t mean not talking and not doing things, it means that you are not disturbed inside.
If you are truly silent, then no matter what situation you find yourself in, you can enjoy the silence.
Thich Nhat Hanh