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10 Yoga Essentials for Beginners

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

10 Yoga Essentials for Beginners
'Yoga hasbecome a go-to workout for fitness fanatics: it is not just a form of exercise,it is a lifestyle. There are a few essential products, which are mentionedbelow for beginners that might help you to feel the most comfortable andconfident in your first day of yoga. Yoga is a way to unroll, which helps one to advance towards a better living. It is not a religion, yet a simple philosophy that is based on the idea of connecting the mind and body. If you want to have a better understanding of the yoga asanas and the types of equipment, you should look for Yoga teacher training in Rishikesh , where you will experience a deeper meaning of yoga.  The new yoga learners are full of endless questions such as, what all things to bring in the first class of yoga or how to get prepared for the first day. It is normal to have these questions in mind. One must need to buy some essential things before you swoop down into the world of yoga. This article will act as a checklist for you to check on every item mentioned below. 10 Essential Equipments Clothes that smile – The first and foremost item thatyou need to buy is the perfect pair of clothing. You must always go for clothesthat are comfortable and which allows you to move easily. Buy clothes which arebreezy and light, which can absorb all your heat and sweat. Clothing essentialsshould include- Tank tops, Sports Bra, Yoga pants or Shorts (whichever you arecomfortable in), leggings, and a pair of sweat-free yoga socks. As you devoteyourself towards the practice, you might also want to add trendy prints andstyle into your clothing. A comfy yoga mat – It is the second most importantthing and a must-have item. It helps you set out your personal space, and italso forms a solid grip for your hand and feet, so that you don’t slip. Whilebuying a mat, you should always look for its length, its thickness, material,comfort, and durability. Many yoga studios provide mats, but you can’t be surewhether they clean it on a daily basis or not because a lot of people use them.So, it will help that you carry your own mat with you. Yoga Blocks – As a beginner, you should always use a yoga block as they are easily compressible yet firm, which are used to make you comfortable and improve your alignment. They come in different sizes and material, but the good part is that any block would go unless it is slightly broader. To know more about yoga and also as how to use a block to correct your alignment, and many more, there is no better place for you to learn other than the Yoga teacher training in Bangalore . Water bottle – “Water your roots, so your soulcan blossom” is a perfect saying. You must always carry a water bottle with youso as to stay hydrated between your yoga asanas. Yoga poses require positionsand breathing exercises, which can cause sweat to the body, and without properhydration, you might feel unsteady or, it may develop other health issues.Avoid using the plastic water bottle, as it is not good for our environment,and also it may harm our body in different ways. Yoga Towel – It is a perfect addition to youryoga collection. The towel helps you in keeping your face and body sweat-freeso that you don’t get distracted. Yoga towel comes in different sizes andmaterial. Either you can buy a hand towel or a normal sized towel, which cancover up your whole mat and protect it from getting dirty often. Yoga straps – Yoga strap provides safe andsecure support to those deeper asanas. It is perfect for a beginner as it willmake harder yoga poses easier. It will serve as a medium between your hand andfeet. Resistance band – A resistance band is for sure abeginner’s best friends. These inexpensive exercise tools are a suitable optionfor people of any age and fitness level. They aren’t as easy as they mightlook. It adds variety to your workout and exercises your whole body. Aresistance band has various benefits to it and is surprisingly effective. A tote bag – If you work out at home, then itis not a necessary item for you but if, you go to yoga studios for the yogasessions, then it is a must-have item. You can carry all your essentials in abag with you to the studio. You should also keep in mind the size of the bag sothat all your stuff can fit in. Bolster – A bolster can be used tointensify your practice, as it helps in certain poses, breaks the limitations,and relaxes your various body muscles. There are two basic shapes of bolterthat are needed, which are round and flat. Flat bolster helps in relaxing yourmuscles and round bolster can be useful when you want a deeper stretch and moresupport. Yoga wheels – It is a trendy prop, which is used in relieving any back pain, and it can help promote flexibility. It can also be used in more advanced practices, as a way to challenge strength and stability or to offer support during challenging poses. Yoga teacher training in India , Yoga school in India , Yoga teacher training in India .'

Mindful Breathing and Mindful Listening

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

There are two types of mindfulness practice that are so helpful and important that they deserve special mention: mindful breathing and mindful listening. Each method offers you a way to inhabit the present moment more fully and either can be the
'There are two types of mindfulness practice that are so helpful and important that they deserve special mention: mindful breathing and mindful listening . Each method offers you a way to inhabit the present moment more fully and either can be the first step to a healthier life. Below are easy-to-follow instructions for practicing mindful breathing and mindful listening . Experiment and have fun with both. Return to these instructions as often as needed to make your mindfulness practice strong. The more confident you feel with each of these methods of practicing mindfulness, the more likely you are to use them, not only in specific five-minute practices, but also in other situations where added presence and awareness are valuable elements of your total experience. Mindful breathing Mindful breathing is an ancient and powerful way to establish your awareness in the present moment. In essence, mindful breathing is simply directing your attentionentirely to a focus on your breath—observing it as it occurs without attemptingto control it. Here are some simple instructions for mindful breathing: 1. Make yourself comfortable. You can do mindful breathingin any posture: sitting, lying down, standing, or even walking. To reduce distractions, close your eyes or focus softly on aspot on the ground a few feet ahead of you. 2. For the time of this practice, let go of all agendas. You don’t have to become anyone or anything else or makeanything special happen. You already have what it takes to be mindful. Justrelax. 3. Gently bring your attention to your body, and then to thesensations of your breath moving in your body. Rest your attention at the spotwhere it is easiest for you to actually feel your breath moving in and out. Thechest or abdomen rising and falling or the tip of the nose are common points offocus. 4. Let the breath sensations come to you. You need not controlyour breath in any way. Let it flow naturally as you bring a kind, allowingattention to the sensations of inhaling, pausing, exhaling, and so on, breathafter breath. 6. When your attention wanders away from your breath, youhaven’t made a mistake or done anything wrong. Simply notice this movement of attention, understanding itas a habit of your mind, and kindly return your attention to the breathsensations happening in the moment. Your mind will likely move away from yourbreath countless times. Each time, just notice where it went and practice kindnessand patience with yourself as you return your attention to the breathsensations happening in the moment. 7. Don’t struggle with being present for many or even a fewbreaths, but instead focus on connecting with this breath, this inhalation,this exhalation. Even if you can’t focus on two consecutive breaths, you can focuson this breath. To be present for this breath is good enough. 8. Move your attention closer, noticing the quality of eachnew breath as accurately and continuously as you can. Try to stay present forthe entire cycle of the breath: in, pause, out, pause. 9. End your breath meditation by shifting your focus off ofyour breath sensations, opening your eyes, and moving gently. In addition to breathing mind fully, it’s often useful, especiallywhen you wish to calm yourself or relax, to deliberately breathe deeply, fromyour abdomen, not just your chest. Some of the practices will instruct you to breathe deeply ordiaphragmatically. By that we mean deepening your breath so that your diaphragm(the muscle that sep a rates your chest and abdomen) expands down ward, andyour belly rises. To check how you’re breathing, place one hand on your chestand the other on your belly, above your navel. Which hand moves more as youbreathe? To ensure that you’re breathing diaphragmatically, work on expandingyour diaphragm down ward (taking a deeper breath). This will cause the hand onyour belly to move more than the hand on your chest. While it’s possible tobreathe adequately by simply expanding and contracting your chest,diaphragmatic breathing—deep belly breathing—is a powerful tool for inducingcalm and even relievinganxiety . Next time you’re over taken by a strong negative emotion, givediaphragmatic breathing a try and see how it affects you. Here are some important things to remember about mindfulbreathing and diaphragmatic breathing, and some distinctions between them: Deep, diaphragmatic breathing requires consciouseffort beyond the body’s natural breathing. By deliberately involving your diaphragm inbreathing, you are breathing more deeply, from your abdomen, and you can helpyour body take in more oxygen. When people are anxious or stressed, they oftenfall into habits of shallow, rapid breathing that involve moving the chest butnot the abdomen. By deliberately breathing from your abdomen, you can shift out of these habitsof shallow breathing and poor oxygenation in times of anxiety or stress. Diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful practicefor moving more breath into and out of the body. You only need to take a few ofthese intention ally deeper breaths when practicing this form of breathing.Your body rarely needs such a large volume of air in each breath for a prolongedperiod. As you begin to feel the benefits of a few deeper breaths, and perhapsa sense of calm arising, let go of the diaphragmatic breathing and allow yourbody to breathe naturally, at its own depth and rhythm. “Breathing mindfully” is practiced by payingattention to sensations arising from the body’s natural breathing patterns.Mindful breathing doesn’t require any control of the breathing pro cess. And, of course, you can be “mindful” of diaphragmaticbreathing. Mindful listening Mindful listening involves directing your attention entirelyto a focus on the sounds in your environment, whatever they may be. Simplyreceive and observe them without labelling or judging them. Here are somesimple instructions for mindful listening: Make yourself com fort able. You can do mindfullistening in any posture: sitting, lying down, standing, or even walking. To reduce distractions, close your eyes or focussoftly on a spot on the ground a few feet ahead of you. For the time of this practice, let go of allagendas. You don’t have to become anyone or anything elseor make anything special happen. You already have what it takes to be mindful.Just relax. Focus your attention on the sounds around you. Let the sounds come to you, receiving each withoutpreference. Let go of any thoughts about the sounds;instead, focus on the direct experience of sound itself. Allow your focus to deepen to include allsounds. Listen and receive, allowing one sound, then another.Notice how one sound fades and is replaced by another. Notice even the spacebetween the sounds. Relax, soften, and open. Let the meditation support you. Listen and openas sounds come and go. Rest in the stillness that receives all sounds. End your meditation by shifting your focus fromthe sounds, opening your eyes, and moving gently.'

Why do I still go to Crazytown?

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

I’m supposed to be the spiritual girl. I meditate daily. I’m committed to my mindfulness practice. So why do I still have meltdowns? Why do I still lose touch with reality? Why do I still visit crazytown??
'I have a confession to make: Even though I’m the first one to preach the benefits of mindful meditations and how it helps with anxiety and stress, my emotions still get the best of me at times. I tell myself I’m the spiritual girl and can regulate my happiness and face the storms of my life with ease with a committed meditation practice. I practice daily and will get on my soapbox and talk to anyone who will listen to me about mindfulness. Now, don’t get me wrong. Mindfulness has been transformational in my life and I don’t go a day without meditating. However, I have to tell you I still have meltdowns, I still lose touch with reality, and I still visit crazytown. So if I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that mindful meditations help reduce stress, the question becomes. Why do I still have meltdowns? Why do I still lose touch with reality? Why do I still visit crazytown? Here’s the answer: I forget. I forget to rely on my practice. When the going gets tough, when I’m on a downward spiral, when I’ve veered off track, I have to REMEMBER to rely on my practice. That’s the tricky part for me. For some reason, I throw everything I’ve learned out the window and think there is a magic pill I need to take to get me back home where it’s safe and sound. I forget that by simply taking a few deep breaths my emotions will start to calm down. This is because sometimes our emotions can hold us hostage with their intense grip on our minds and bodies. For example, when you’re anxious, your heart might race, your jaw may tighten and agitating thoughts may cling to you for minutes, hours, or even days. This is because emotions, whether they are anxious, peaceful, anger, sad, or happy, activate your nervous system to release chemicals into your bloodstream that can pull your focus and energy away from the present moment. When emotions are very strong, we may be tempted to deny them and refuse to accept them. When we suppress our emotions and stuff them down inside us, it only postpones the inevitable: They will keep coming back until we address what they are trying to tell us. Here’s a typical scenario during an upcoming anxiety or panic attack: Irrational me: “I need more than just this damn deep breathing exercise to calm me down!” Three breaths later: “Uh, no you don’t” When we remember to come back to our practice, we can pause and allow the emotions that we are feelings to float into our awareness. When we allow these feelings to exist, without judgment, we can then sit with the emotion, and give it our full attention. Emotions come into our existence for a reason. Just like a child throwing a tantrum, they want to be seen, heard, felt and acknowledged. When we look at our emotions with kindness and compassion, they reveal to us something that our subconscious is trying to tell us. Emotions are messengers, here to deliver information about our life and relationships in order for us to take action and empower ourselves. Just as it takes time to strengthen muscles, it also takes time to strengthen our ability to welcome and respond to our emotions, rather than avoid them. It’s so funny how we forget to rely on the wisdom that lies within us when our emotions go haywire. We think the answer lies outside of us, when in reality all we have to do is go inward and connect to the presence of peace, the presence of power within us. We can connect to this power by getting still and focusing on our breath. Works every time. All we have to do is remember.'

How Yoga Exercise Eliminates Stress And Anxiety?

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

Chocolate ice cream, beer, chocolate, pastry, listen to songs… Do any of these remind you of a cure to stress? But don’t forget all of these are external solutions. Have you ever tried curing your stress and anxiety effectively? Hustles and bustles
'Chocolateice cream, beer, chocolate, pastry, listen to songs… Do any of these remindyou of a cure to stress? But don’t forget all of these are external solutions.Have you ever tried curing your stress and anxiety effectively? Hustlesand bustles of life and work never fail to keep us stressed and anxious. It allstarts with little fears like there is a meeting tomorrow or you have an exam;when this fear becomes persistent and starts intermediating in our life, thenit becomes an anxiety disorder. Don’t worry there is a complete cure for yourstress and anxiety i.e. yoga. Yoga practice is a whole package of meditation,pranayama, asanas, and ancient yoga philosophy, which helps you recover andface life with new strength and positivity. Here are some asanas that can helpyou: Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): This simple asana is one of the classic Hatha poses, this pose helps to open the spine and back of the legs. Taking a deep breath will help you in calming your body and mind. You may do yoga teacher training in India for complete knowledge of these Asanas. How to: Sit straight with thelegs stretched out in front of you. Inhale and stretch thearms over your head by elongating the spine.  Exhale and moveforward by moving the chin towards the toes and navel towards your knees. Repeat this a fewtimes before placing your head on the knees. Inhale and come backon the sitting position with your arms stretched out; exhale and lower yourarms. You can hold thispose for 30 to 60 seconds. Dandasana (Staff Pose): This asana helps in developing core strength; it stimulates your breathand engages the core to keep up an upright strength, which helps in releasingstress and anxiety.   How to: Sit with a straightback and legs stretched out. Make sure that the legs are parallel to each otherwith the feet pointing upward. Keep the spinestraight by pressing your buttocks on the floor and align your crown facing theceiling. Bend your feet andpress your heels. Place your palms onthe floor next to your hips. Relax your legs by grounding the lower half ofyour body firmly on the floor. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Marjariasana (Cat/Cow Pose): This asana helps in loosen the spine that simply improves your flexibility and circulation to relax your mind. If you’re a beginner you may take detailed knowledge of these poses by joining 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh . How to: Stand on your fourlimbs, by touching the knees on the ground and the palms on the floor.  Look straight ahead,raise the chin as you inhale and tilt your head backward. Push your stomachdownward while raising your tailbone and compressing your buttocks. Hold this pose for afew long and deep breaths. After a few breathsexhale and drop your chin, arch your back, and relax your buttocks. Hold the pose for awhile, and then go back to table position. Balasana (Child’s Pose): This is a calming pose that relaxes andrejuvenates your body. This pose eases you from the pain of the back, neck, andshoulders. This position resembles the fetal position; it gives you reliefphysically, mentally and emotionally. How to: Sit by kneeling downon the mat, on the heels by touching the big toes to each other, after thatspread the knees hip-width apart. Bend forward bylaying the torso between the thighs as you exhale. Broaden the sacrumfrom the back of the pelvis, and narrow the points of your hip. Settle down onthe inner thighs. Lift the base of yourhead slightly away as you stretch your tailbone away from the back of thepelvis. Place your arms infront of you align with your knees. Place the front of your shoulders on thefloor. Gradually release thepose by stretching the front torso; breathe in and lift from the tailbone. Ustrasana (Camel Pose): This pose helps in blood circulation throughout,which means more oxygen that helps to heal your mind and body to keep you awayfrom stress. This pose resembles a camel.  How to: Kneel on your mat andplace your hands on your hips. Align your shoulderswith your knees and your soles with your ceiling facing feet. Inhale and draw yourtailbone towards the pubis. Meanwhile, arch yourback and gently slide your palms over the feet with straight arms. Your neck must be ina neutral position and not strained. Hold this positionfor 30 to 60 seconds before releasing.'

12 Yoga Exercises for Slimming Your Face

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

The target of getting a slim face is a challenge. This article discusses about how yoga helps in slimming the face without any artificial treatment.
'The purpose behind getting a slim face is to look beautiful and healthy.Your face texture speaks a lot about your personality. You might have comeacross various yoga poses designed to help alleviate fat from the face, butsometimes the texture of face remains fatty. People are opting for artificialtreatments like face-lift, nose-lift, etc. to look good and maintain theirfacial beauty, but all these artificial treatments come with certainside-effects. The better idea is to opt for natural ways and there is no other practice better than the age-old science of yoga. Yoga has different facial exercises that not only helps in reducing fat from the face but also keeps the skin toned and glowing. You can learn a lot about these exercises once you opt for a yoga teacher training in India and learn it from the masters themselves.         12 Yoga Exercises to Reduce Fat from the Face Cheek Uplift: Smile as muchas you can without showing your teeth or opening your mouth. Lift the heavymuscles from your smile upwards near your eyes. It helps in the movement ofyour face muscles which keeps excess fat at bay. Simha Mudra: It is alsocalled the Lion pose. Your mouth should be opened wide. Your tongue shouldtouch your outer jaw point. People create sound from throat while doing this togive it an effect of a lion. It refreshes and shapes the facial muscles. Fish Face: It is the workoutfor the lips and cheeks. You have to sip your lips and cheeks inward and smile.It can make your muscles stretch. Regular practice of this exercise results insoft and shiny facial skin. Chin Lift: Lift your headupward and pretend like kissing someone where you can see. You can get rid ofyour double chin. It pulls your jaw, neck, and throat. Rolling neck: It is a verycommon asana. You have to roll your neck around without moving your body. Inthe process, your chin should touch your shoulders. It helps to avoid doublechin and make your jawline and neck muscles more flexible. Jivha Bandha: Your tongueshould be placed on the ceiling of your mouth. After adjusting your tongue tryto open your mouth so that it should stretch your neck and throat. It shapesthe jawline and tones the facial skin. Jalandhara Bandha: You haveto sit in a position with crossed-legs. You need to lift your shoulders up andbend forward. Take a deep breath. Your chin should touch your chest and holdyour breath as much as you can. You can now exhale and repeat. Mouthwash Technique: Youhave to fill your mouth with air and rotate it at both the sides of your mouth. Lip pull: You have to pullyour lip so that your chin muscles and jawlines are stretched. Perform thisposture for a few seconds. Jaw release: This pose isvery simple. You have to move your mouth as if you are eating. After that openyour mouth and place your tongue above your lower set of teeth. Remain like thisfor a few seconds. Blowing Air: You have to siterect, move your head backward and blow with your mouth in the upwarddirection. It is good for face lift and gives a slim appearance to your face. Eye Focus: Open your eyeswide and focus at a point. There should be no wrinkles around your eyes. Itsmoothen the eyes brows. To know more about such exercises, be a part of 200 hour yoga ttc in Rishikesh and embark on a journey of self-retrospection and inner discovery.'

Yes, You Can Clean Some Yoga Mats In The Washing Machine

Yoga and Meditation Best World News


'Your yoga mat has been with you through it all: sweat, tears, meditation, invigorating flows (and more sweat). And if you want it to continue to be your trusty fitness buddy, it needs a little extra TLC on the reg. “You should be cleaning your yoga mat after every class – especially if it’s heated,” recommends Sarah Levey, founder of the beats-drive hot yoga studio Y7 . To figure out how to clean yoga mats properly, I reached out to Levey, plus Lauren Porat, yoga instructor and founder of YogaSpark, and Craig Stiff, head of hardgoods for the yoga mat company Manduka, to ask them for their top tips for making sure your mat stays clear of bacteria, odors, and grime–so you can keep flowing (without the funk). “The sweatier or dirtier your mat gets, the more important it is to clean it after every practice.” They all agreed that, whether you’re at home or in the studio, cleaning your mat should be priority.In terms of best practices, Porat says,”The rule is, the sweatier or dirtier your mat gets, the more important it is to clean it after every practice.” Need some ideas on just exactly how to clean yoga mats?Keep reading for pro intel.How To Clean Yoga Mats Rub ’em down with antibacterial wipes or cleansing spray When to do it: After every class “Generally, we recommend you wipe down your mat after each practice—this is especially true if you are a heavy sweater,” says Stiff.So what exactly do you use to do that?The antibacterial wipes that your studio provides are one option, or a simple warm water and soap solution can do the trick.Depending on your mat (always check the manufacturer suggested cleaning method first), you can also wipe down with a vinegar solution (Y7 uses a combo of water, vinegar, and tea tree oil, FYI), or a special yoga mat cleaning spray.Best-Reviewed Yoga Mat Sprays On Amazon Some cleaning products (like Manduka Yoga Mat Cleaner for example) say to let the cleaner sit on the mat for several minutes before wiping down or washing. (Again, always follow the instructions that come with your mat as to avoid stripping it or making it lose its grip.) Toss Your Yoga Mat Into The Washing Machine When to do it: Every other practice—but ONLY if the manufacturer says it’s okay Does the idea of not having to wash your yoga mat by hand leave you as blissed out as a few breaths in headstand?Good news: Some brands, like Yellow Willow , for example, make yoga mats that are actually machine washable.Just know that while the thought of tossing your mat in the wash along with your yoga pants sounds tempting, be sure to read the instructions first and do exactly as described by the manufacturer (or else, your mat may come out of the rinse cycle in less-than-usable shape). Common no-nos include turning on the spin or tumble cycle and adding harsh detergents—and definitely don’t put it in the dryer.How to Dry Yoga Mats If you’re concerned about keeping your yoga mat free of bacteria, mildew, and mold (you know, all the gross stuff), you’ll definitely want to pay attention to how you dry it.One major don’t?Rolling it up immediately after you clean it. “Let it air dry and then roll it up,” says Porat, who also suggests investing in a yoga towel to help keep your mat from getting so dirty/sweaty in the first place.As for how to air dry it? “I recommend finding a chair or other bar outside that you can throw it over to get maximum air flow, but if the weather is too cold, indoors will do—you just want to create maximum surface area,” Porat adds.Also, avoid hanging your mat in the shower or over the bathtub (unless you won’t be showering soon) since the humidity will hinder the drying process.Follow these simple tips and your mat will nama-stay (had to) ick free and ready for your asana practice.Source: Read Full Article . The post Yes, You Can Clean Some Yoga Mats In The Washing Machine appeared first on Best World News .'

Meditation – Does it Really Work?

Yoga and Meditation Thrive Global

A tiny guide to peace, presence, and clarity.
'Hello, beautiful humans! First off, I apologize for my extremely long writer’s block. As much as this opens my heart and allows good energy to be spread when I communicate with you all in my favorite medium, my first semester of college was busier than anything I’d ever been used to, and I’ll never not believe in putting your mental health first if you’re feeling overwhelmed in life. Today, I want to share a practice with you that has been very helpful in my life, and the lives of many others! This is the practice of meditation. I know, I know. Meditation has gotten quite the stigma these days in the mental health realm. I’ve personally heard the phrases, “Meditating won’t solve all my problems!” “Breathing won’t cure my anxiety!” I’m not disputing this at all – these are totally fair arguments. No judgement whatsoever if you feel this way (this blog is always a judgement-free zone). However, while reading this, I ask you to keep and open mind and heart. I care about you all so much, and I promise that I’d never share any ideas or practices with you that I didn’t believe would benefit you tremendously. This is advice from the personal experience of myself, many people I personally know, and many people considered to be influential in this world. No, it won’t magically solve all the world’s problems in a snap, and it’s definitely important to be taking whatever personal steps you feel you need to make to handle a mental illness (it should not be used as a replacement for medication, consulting a health professional, etc.) However, we all have the ability to reach new levels of being present, peaceful, and focused, and we have the key. Without further ado, get started on why that’s the case! If you haven’t heard the name Jen Sincero, you should definitely look her up and read her books, because the woman is a genius. In her self help book “You are a Badass”, she teaches us, the readers, how to connect with what she describes as the “Source Energy” – basically, the Universe’s abundant source of energy that is always available to us, basically loving us with all that it is. To sum it up, Sincero quotes Indian philosopher, social revolutionary, author, and composer Shrii Shrii Anandamurti – “You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too.” A great way to connect to the Source Energy? Meditate. Our minds are constantly buzzing with unanswered questions, problems, worries, an endless supply of anxiety-producing junk pretty much. When you clear your mind, and release your problems to the ever loving universe, everything becomes a little more clear. I don’t know why this is the case – that’s a question that we, as humans, aren’t quite spiritually evolved enough to figure out. Just try it out – what’s the harm in that? An especially interesting case was brought to my attention by my dad. Last year, he downloaded the mindfulness meditation app, ‘10% Happier’. This was an app founded by Dan Harris, an anchor for many shows including Good Morning America, Nightline, and a correspondent for ABC News. After suffering from a panic attack when recording for Nightline, Harris, a lifetime ‘nonbeliever’ in meditation, dove into a research mission on the tools that many of the world’s most successful people have been using to improve their mental health. This includes CEOs, scientists, and even marines. Meditation has been found, by Harris, to do everything from ‘lowering blood pressure to essentially rewiring brains’ (-Goodreads). That being said, the 10% Happier app is free, and I use it on the daily! I highly, personally recommend this app. I’ve suffered from anxiety my whole life, and this app has been an excellent way for me to keep track of my progress, get me to meditate, and overall level my anxiety. When my brain is buzzing, it seems nonstop and suffocating. Meditation has been an escape from this noise for myself, Harris, and countless others. This stuff works. Allow the universe to talk to you, and life won’t feel so heavy. In case you’re not convinced yet (totally understandable, don’t worry), I’m going to be going through some proven health benefits of taking a few minutes to breathe. On the emotional side of things, meditation is a pathway to a relief from the neurotic and unhealthy emotional patterns resulting from trauma and stress. This offers great freedom and balance on a daily basis – people are free to feel experiences directly and respond appropriately when released from the shackles of emotional distress. Distress that individuals don’t even realize they’re feeling until it’s acknowledged, and released. Physically, the relaxation granted from meditation has quite a few benefits. First off, meditation has been proven to increase immunity. In reference to this, I’d like to bring up two studies conducted at the Ohio State University. One found that “progressive muscle relaxation, when practiced daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence” in recovering cancer patients. Another study by Ohio State found that a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, resulting in greater resistance to tumors and viruses. Meditation has also been acknowledged as an effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (State University of New York), a factor of increased fertility (University of Western Australia and Trakya University in Turkey), as well as lowering of blood pressure (Harvard Medical School), and an effective anti inflammatory due to the switch off of the stress response.  All in all, meditation really can help you. If you’re not fully convinced, I understand. As stated before, there is somewhat of a stigma against it. Consider trying it. Sit down however you want – if an upright position with your eyes closed, cross legged, isn’t comfortable for you, guess what? You don’t have to do it. All that matters is that you’re comfortable, breathing deeply, and making an effort to clear your mind. But Katie, how do you clear your mind? Well, one thing that helps me is to set a timer, so you’re not constantly worrying about how long you’ve been meditating, and when ten minutes will be up, etc. Set a timer, make sure the ringer goes off, and then focus on breathing. It helps to breathe and count to seven, hold it for seven seconds, and then breathe out for eight. If this is too much, adjust, adjust, adjust! Try five seconds. It’s all about what makes you comfortable. And if you’re having trouble focusing, try counting the numbers in your head. Or repeat the word, ‘breathing’. If you find your mind wandering – that’s okay, and totally normal! It doesn’t mean you’re bad at meditation. Don’t flee from the thought – acknowledge that it’s there, and release it. Continue to focus on your breathing. If it helps, a tip by Jen Sincero I found helpful is to imagine a bright ray of light shining from you – a visualization of yourself connecting to the Source Energy. It is giving you love, light, and wisdom, and you’re open to it! Again, hear me out on this. I didn’t think it’d work either, but now, it’s my tool and key to an open mind, a connection to the Source Energy, and general peace. If you’re feeling overwhelmed tonight, like you can’t get your mind to stop, consider taking a minute to breathe – it could change your whole outlook on the world. As always, thank you so, so much for reading. I hope you took something out of this reading, and I hope you’re finding time tonight to take care of yourself. Feel free to message me with any questions you may have – I’ve got a ton of resources I’d love to share (a few I will list below)! I love you all to infinity and beyond – until next time! Katie E PS – Anyone who’s been struggling with overwhelming thoughts that don’t seem to stop – I hear you, and I’m here. I truly hope you take something away from this, but if meditation is not for you, that’s totally okay. PPS- Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and the Seattle Seahawks have all accredited their focus in their respective games to meditation. Just try it out. https://www.foodmatters.com/article/7-health-benefits-of-meditation https://jensincero.com/ https://www.tenpercent.com/ 10 Athletes Who Meditate'