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Meditation For Beginners

Meditation For Beginners

May 4, 2020

It’s funny, if you ask someone if they would like to experience more peace in their life, their response is typically a resounding YES. However, if you ask that same person if they would consider trying meditation, their immediate reaction is most often NO.

Why is it that? 

Even though there is a 100% proven method of increasing peace, promoting deeper sleep, improving focus, and a laundry list of other powerful benefits, we say no to it?

What if I told you that one of the main reasons many people say no to meditation is because is too simple?

Have you ever lost your car keys and spent a half hour looking for them? You’re turning over couch cushions, looking in the bathroom, checking in the cupboards (why would they be in there), re-tracing steps, thinking, analyzing, furrowing your brow and shaking your head.  You begin to get frantic but then you pause, take a breath and sit down.  As you sit down, you feel a bulge in your pocket, a sudden and deep wave of relief comes over you as you realize the keys have been there this whole time.  As you feel the weight of the world coming off of your shoulders, you laugh out loud thinking “how could I have missed that”.

Our mind often over complicates things. Developing a practice of relaxing the mind prepares us for when something potentially stressful happens, like losing your keys before an appointment, meeting with your boss, or having your car break down. If we are practiced in relaxing our mind we can easily let go of unnecessary chatter and are able to quickly move to a solution.

Here’s how to practice:

1.     Prepare a timer for 5 minutes.

2.     Go to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

3.     Sit comfortably with a straight spine.

4.     Take 5 deep breaths.

5.     Start your timer, close your eyes, and begin witnessing your inhales and exhales.

During this time, thoughts will come. It is common for your head to feel noisy. Some thoughts will be pleasant, some will be unpleasant, some will produce strong feelings of desire while others will produce strong feelings of wanting to run away.

This is the process and it is totally natural. Training your mind means to witness when a thought or feeling has a hold of you, coming back to the breath in the present moment, and letting it go. Remember that thoughts and feelings can sometimes be “sticky”, so no matter what comes up in meditation, let it go and come back to the breath.

Try extending your practice by one minute a day until you get to twenty minutes. You may feel unique pulls to quit with each new minute added. When it gets challenging, I advise to simply stay with the practice regardless what you think about it.

Cultivating this habit can be truly life changing. If you feel you could benefit from a more positive mindset, enhanced ability to focus,and improved mental health then why not take the plunge and give meditation atry

Besides your stress, what do you have to lose? I wish you the highest joy, now and always.

Namaste.

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Concentration, Distraction, and Reaching Your Fitness Goals

March 4, 2020

Concentrate.

How many times were you told to concentrate when you were a child?  I remember being told to concentrate all the time.  “Come on Josh, concentrate on your homework”.  Or, while learning to ride a bike (which I was petrified of) “Concentrate on staying balanced, Josh!”.  My personal favorite… “You’re just going to need to concentrate harder”.  What does that even mean?

My whole childhood I had been told to concentrate.  I formed this idea that concentration meant to posture up and pay attention, or something like that…it felt a little ambiguous. Nobody taught me HOW to concentrate.  School didn’t formally teach me HOW to concentrate.  My parents didn’t teach me HOW to concentrate.  And because I never learned, I never practiced.  It wasn’t until I went to India and studied yoga that I truly learned what it meant to concentrate, how to concentrate, and how to practice concentration.

After learning how to concentrate, I suddenly felt empowered.  I understood that anything was possible as long as I stayed focused.  I could run under a 5-minute mile, hold my breath for over two minutes, even start a successful business.   I could choose to see the light in all situations.  It was possible to be and do everything I wanted. But I had to change my mind…

What does the mind do if it doesn’t know how to concentrate?

Distraction.

Anyone can form the goal to hold a perfect handstand. In fact, many do.  Have you ever wondered why only a small percentage of people who want to hold a perfect handstand actually do it? The answer is simple and you’ve likely seen it a million times: people get distracted along the way to their goal.

They start off really focused, with such promise.  And then they start their first training session.

Listen to the following distractions that the mind seduces us with and see if you can relate:

“This is a lot harder than I expected.”

“This is going to take a long time.”

“I’m no good at this.”  

“I’ll never get good at this.”  

And often times, sadly, we quit.  Then we move on to the next trendy thing, fitness oriented or otherwise, only to spend a day or two practicing and quit just like all the others before it.  Does this sound familiar?  It should because it happens to all of us.

Until we learn how to overcome distraction…

Learning the nature of the mind is essential to overcoming unwanted distraction.

First, we must understand that there are two components to our consciousness - awareness & mind.  Think of awareness as an orb of glowing light that we have the power to place anywhere.  Think of the mind as a platform that has different centers; joy, sadness, creativity, motivation, logic, anger, depression, love, fear, excitement, and so on.

Think of concentrating as your ability to direct your awareness to the thoughts, feelings,and results you want to have.

If you aren’t concentrating on what you want to feel, or the result you want, you are subjected to the random feelings and actions of others.

Who would you rather have in control of your life; you or everyone else?

Imagine this…

Someone yells at you because they’re angry, you become aware of their anger, now you are angry.  You yell at them back.  Did you ever have control over that situation? No, you became distracted by the other person’s anger.  That anger was not yours until they gave it to you and you accepted it.  Maybe you don’t respond angrily to anger, but instead with fear. This is the same.  You have allowed an outside circumstance to trigger a reaction and you lost control of yourself.  Can you relate to a time this happened to you?

It doesn’t have to be this way. If we concentrate unwavering on how we want to feel, what we want to do, or who we want to be, nothing will be able to distract or deter us from feeling, doing, or being, the way we want.

Can you concentrate on feeling love for someone in the face of their anger?  Of course you can.  Can you concentrate on running today no matter what inconveniences present themselves?  Of course you can. Can you concentrate on making the healthy nutrition choice amidst temptation and situational pressure?  Of course you can.

What do you wish to accomplish in life? Are you willing to concentrate on it until it comes true? The power to have anything, to be anyone, and to feel any feeling, is available to you. 

I’m really excited to see you reach your goals in 2020!  Please pull me aside and share with me what you’re focusing on next time you see me or stop by for my weekly yoga class 7:30 pm Tuesdays at our Wehrle Drive location. 

And don’t forget… concentrate


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