meditation for your muscles

meditation blog at ranawaxman.com

meditation

Meditation: For the mind and also for the muscles

Today I want to talk about using meditation for your muscles. I am preparing for my restorative yoga class, and came across an interesting article this week which focused on tight muscles and why not to actively stretch them. You can read it by clicking here; where the author says insightful things like “We have been conditioned to think of the tightness itself as the problem, thus the automatic tendency to try to stretch. But in reality, sometimes tightness is a result of the problem. In those situations, stretching is not the answer–at best it gets you nowhere, and at worst, it aggravates the problem. So the key to correcting the issue is figuring out why a muscle is tight. It might even clue you in to a problem you didn’t know you had….TIP: Not all tight muscles need to be or should be stretched;  sometimes the real problem is weakness not tightness. This needs to be considered when inflexibility persists despite consistent attempts at stretching.”

Why meditation for your muscles?

Where meditation comes in is that once your mind is calm, you get the space necessary to allow yourself to to move away fro “automatic tendency” and more towards a balanced and thoughtful approach that could include rest, postural changes or other modifications that are actually at the root of your tightness. So let’s allow our meditation to inform our muscles! See you on the mat or meditation cushion! Check out my Yoga Mind Cd for portable peace :-)

meditation ~ Rana Waxman Yoga Yoga Therapy

meditation is simple

meditation is simple, as those of you who have purchased my Yoga Mind Cd have found.

We live in a pretty fast-paced lifestyle. Most of us feel like we wake up and hit the ground running, without a feeling of being rested. One of the ways to address the stress so to speak, is to find and utilize the tools of Yoga, not so much for the body, although yes, this is key, but also for the mind.

rule your mind

Science is showing more and more studies that mediation practice makes the mind clear, focused, and calm. It has this effect because it creates a change in brain wave chemistry, especially to the Alpha state, which is associated with relaxation. Silence is not something we are used to but it has many benefits

Meditation is simple

Meditation is simple

“When you talk you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new” ~ Dalai Lama

The term meditation conjures up someone sitting for prolonged periods of time. This very image can deter you from actually starting a practice. If you think “Oh I have to find an hour” you may still be procrastinating… This is a reason I love the restorative practices in Yoga, where you cultivate presence, and an opportunity to be, to watch, to stop chasing.

Mindfulness is a practice of observing without holding thoughts or judgements about what you are present with. It allows what you may be pushing away to rise up softly to the surface and allows for some inner silence and inner spaciousness. So sit, breathe softly, and as you breathe, just for a bit, repeat: Sitting and breathing softly I calm my mind.

Mickey Mouse in Meditation

Word of the day: acceptance

acceptance

acceptance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word of the day: acceptance. “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it…this will miraculously transform your whole life” ~ Eckhart Tolle

In working with the present moment, one of the qualities you can cultivate is acceptance. You may be familiar with the opposite of acceptance, resistance. In fact, you may encounter it on your mat, when you are attempting a forward bend, and your hamstrings say, “hold on a minute, not ready! not willing! not able” and instead of waiting or backing off, you push through…maybe injure yourself.

“Why are some people weakened by stress, while others gain strength from it? Basically the answer is simple: those who know how to transform a hopeless situation into a new flow activity that can be controlled will be able to enjoy themselves, and emerge stronger from the ordeal” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This is a quality that needs to be practiced (usually anything does) to see the results. There are times when we have to warrior it up to get through something, and these are times when our perspective either hinders or supports..

cultivating presence

Cultivating presence through yoga is a multi faceted process. I mentioned mindfulness the other day and suggested an exercise on my Yoga Mind Cd to help you along on the journey.

Eckhart Tolle is a wonderfully inspired and inspiring author on the subject of presence and the present moment; “Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness”

presence

presence

Alertness, awareness, mindfulness are all words that require us to be with – be present with- experience. If you can be quiet enough inside to recognize what is happening (whether in your head, your body, your environment) you can react less and respond more. “Awareness is the greatest agent of change” (Eckhart Tolle, A NEW EARTH)

It is, of course, way more common to have a scattered mind, where, although the brain is active, it is unfocused typically, and just basically follows one thought after another. This creates stories and layers of confusion in the mind, as well as doubts and fears. On the other hand, the calm state, or sattvic state (you may have felt in touch with this after deep relaxation) will foster seeds of awareness, discrimination, positivity and an equilibrium which is less inclined to react and more inclined to respond (from clarity).

 

mindfulness matters

mindfulness matters on and off the yoga mat

mindfulness matters

mindfulness matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The mind is the vital link between the body and consciousness. The individual can live with awareness, discrimination, and confidence only once the mind is calm and focused, Yoga is the alchemy that generates this equilibrium”

“When the mind is fully absorbed by objects seen, heard, smelled, felt or tasted, this leads to stress, fatigue, and unhappiness. The mind can be a secret enemy and a treacherous friend,. It influences our behavior before we have time to consider causes and consequences.” BKS Iyengar

The way yoga practice works is that it trains your mind to stay still instead of jumping around so much, therefore taming and quieting impulsivity and reactivity. Discrimination and evaluation faculties improve as well so that the objects and situations we “see” do not have such a powerful hold on us. The mature and practiced mind builds awareness and thus can target bad habits, improve mood, and take note of repetitive behaviours that are not so good for us and replace them with nourishing thoughts and actions.

I have an easy to practice 5 minute mindfulness of breath practice on my YOGA MIND cd. Keep in mind that this is a journey, and practice is cumulative.

The wisdom of yoga sutra 1.2

yoga sutra 1.2

“yoga is the stilling of the changing states of mind”

We tend to associate the mind with its mindstuff, or thoughts. We even think about our thinking. Sometimes this gets a little compulsive. We even think about postures.
So what is Patanjali referring to in yoga sutra 1.2

Yoga is a practice that balances and consists of maintaining a balance between a quiet mind that is ‘still’, meaning the thought waves are calmed, and the awake and present state where we are able to notice and observe what we are doing. In that balance, the chaos and drama of thoughts rushing around on so many levels about so many things is controlled and directed (one-pointednes).

the word ‘mind’ here is composed of the psyche, the intelligence, thoughts, sentiments, emotions, so it is a broad term here, and can be both subconscious and conscious. When your mind is in the yoga state (yoga mind, I like to say) all the disharmony and disturbance that the mind was previously engaged in is replaced by a harmonious state that is purified and not distracted or subject to the sufferings of the monkey mind.

Does your yoga practice change the way your ‘mind’ feels, and do you take this transformation into your daily life ? #liveyouryoga

yoga sutra 1.2

yoga sutra 1.2

meditation for beginners

meditation for beginners:

If you are just starting out on a yoga-meditation-stress relief plan, this quote may be informative to your practice: “Meditation is not to escape from society, but to go back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting.  With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Contrary to some belief, stress relief via mindfulness practices does not mean that you get to hide from stress or necessarily avoid it altogether. Yoga is actually a system designed to help cultivate the inner witness, that place beyond the noise of the busy mind. Just focusing on the present moment and its wholeness, gives us this gift of returning to our inner peaceful core. This in turn gives us the ability to breathe and calm ourselves during stressful times, get objective, or just respond from a better place, even make healthier choices in the beginning.

If you are struggling with the postures in yoga, you can check out a short but sweet practice on my YOGA MIND cd, called “5 minute mindfulness retreat” which will help you learn how to focus. Awareness really is the building block for the deeper states of meditation; it tends to evolve with patience and practice, not by chasing it or trying to push aside reality. the important thing is not to be the drama you are watching, but rather, associate with the peaceful witness.

meditation for beginners

meditation for beginners

Meditation Monday

Lest we forget what the physical practice of yoga leads to ~ the Yoga Mind..Feeling good in the body is important – we spend so much time hunching over a desk, jammed into a car, etc but it is the moments off the mat where the practice really starts and helps us manage the daily stuff that comes up

meditation

 

Setting Your Intention

Intention provides direction. Helpful to be clear about what that intention is. A few minutes of mindful breathing can help clear the mind for this process.

In 20 years, I have heard many reasons why people practice yoga, and they are all valid. One of the things that I find useful whether you are building a home practice or at a yoga class, is to set an intention and check in with it periodically, mindfully.

For example, if, at the beginning of your practice you notice that you are really stiff in the neck, guide yourself to bring balance…watch that you are not tightening the shoulders or clenching your teeth in your poses. If you have a very stiff lower back, perhaps try more restorative poses that provide traction, instead of over doing strong backbends.

If you are setting goals for your day, your career, relationships, check that your actions bring balance and that you are moving in the direction of your intention. I am available for private yoga classes to help you with the process. When your practices are meaningful to you and do move you towards your state of equipoise, then you are using your yoga practice therapeutically 

setting your intention