Do you want to meditate but never seem to be able to find the time? Don’t give up. Meditation’s many benefits are worth pursuing, even if you have to use your time popcorn, those small random free moments such as waiting in line, that pop up randomly throughout the day and make us instinctively reach for a distraction.
There are so many reasons to meditate. The workplace has become a breeding ground for an epidemic of SADness—stress, anxiety and depression—three afflictions that meditation can ease. Smartphones have shrunk our attention spans to sub-goldfish levels and meditation can help us focus at least as well as an amphibian. And meditation can make pain feel less painful, help us sleep better, control impulsive reactions, and improve our relationships. But most of all meditation helps us live our lives as they’re happening, not as a background music to thoughts of the past and imaginings of the future.
Here are five easy yet powerful meditative moments that anyone, no matter how busy, can fit into their day.
Stoplight = Breathe + Delight. Do you ever feel the urge to reach for your phone at a stoplight to scan your email? Where I live, one of the toughest jurisdictions for distracted driving in the world, even touching your phone to turn off an alarm while your car is on the road can result in a fine of up to $1,000 for a first-time offence. Plus a 3-day driving suspension and demerit points. Rather than reach for your phone, take a deep breath and scan your environment for something pleasing to look at, or double-up on the meditative impact by combining it with the next meditative moment…
The Happiness Wish. This simple practice has resulted in countless cases of “my best day at work in years.” Whenever you encounter someone, say to yourself “I want this person to be happy.” Not only will you short-circuit a knee jerk reaction to view others with a critical mind, but with each person you encounter, you’ll be cultivating an aura of kindness that, if they’re attentive, they’ll be able to sense. If you can wish happiness for everyone you see in a day, you will get the same mood-elevating benefits as a formal meditation session in compassion where you imagine a wider and wider circle of humanity and wish them all well. Compassion meditation always begins with yourself, so while you’re wishing happiness for others, be sure to take a moment to wish for your own happiness.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee. Do you remember tasting anything today, or did you scarf down your food and drink while you were busy doing something else? Food is a pleasure that deserves to be savored. You’re eating anyway, so why not take a moment to smell, taste and feel the sensations that your food gives you. Savoring your food counts as meditation.
What’s happening in your left hand? “He lived at a little distance from his body” began James Joyce’s “A Painful Case,” the tragic story of Mr. Duffy, a man who never paid attention to the world around and within him. Many of us are Mr. Duffys who would prefer to be all orderly minds without nuisance bodies that repeatedly impose their needs on us and interrupt our productivity. But when we cut ourselves off from our bodies, we cut ourselves off from what Joyce called “life’s feast,” so reconnect with your body now and sporadically throughout the day. What’s happening with your left hand? It’s not an insignificant question. To begin to inhabit the body takes you out of inhabiting only the mind. If you can feel your left hand, you can also start inhabiting other parts of the body. Feel the aliveness in your left hand, and if you have time, travel up your arm and around your shoulders down to your right hand. You may discover that your body is a welcoming place of mental rest.
Just breathe. The simplest and most portable tip, just breathe is a meditation that you can do anywhere, anytime. Take a deep breath into your belly, and let your attention follow your breath as feel your belly rise, and fall as breathe out. It only takes a few breaths to signal your body to relax, recharge and energize.
Try one of these meditative moments, notice how it makes you feel, and soon you’ll be seeking out opportunities for more meditative moments that sown together over the course of a day will have a positive effect on your wellbeing. And if you ever decide that you have five minutes or more to sit quietly and just breathe, your meditative moment will have become the bridge to building a meditative habit.
Lynne Everatt is a recovering MBA, LinkedIn Top Voice in management and culture, and nominee for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for her first book, E-mails from the Edge, a novel with the theme of workplace mental health. She is a former careers columnist for Canada’s largest newspaper, The Globe and Mail. An ardent advocate for mental health through physical fitness, Lynne is a certified personal trainer who has completed two sweaty half-marathons and a marathon six minutes and twenty-three seconds of stand-up at the Absolute Comedy Club. She served for three years as President of the Board of Directors of the women’s shelter Interim Place where she met and became friends with co-author Addie Greco-Sanchez of The 5-Minute Recharge. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn and Twitter. Together, Lynne and Addie want to make the world a mentally healthier place through their friendship.
To learn more please visit, www.5minrecharge.com.
Breast Cancer Survivor & Yoga Nidra Facilitator Helps Children Live Happier With New Book
Children from all walks of life are exposed to stressful situations daily and learn to think in a way that creates anxiety. Some suffer hardships or see family members go through medical challenges, while others may be exposed to violence or substance abuse. Even children who come from privileged homes with intact families face challenges, whether it be parents who push them too hard, bullies who tease them at school, or online videos that send the wrong messages. All of these events can create insecurities and fears, which today’s youth don’t know to handle. Learning mindfulness techniques can help children be more resilient in the face of stress and help ease their worries.
How can we teach them?
By using a how-to storybook that introduces children to mindfulness techniques for easing anxiety and promoting happiness.
The Dolphin’s Secret: A Meditational Journey for Children by Meryl Best Lowell introduces children to Yoga Nidra—an ancient form of guided meditation which incorporates a sequence of mindfulness techniques—and encourages them to add it to their lives in order to feel calmer and happier. The book weaves how-to steps into the whimsical story of Meri, a beautiful mermaid, and her friend Aloha, a dolphin. Using The Dolphin’s Secret, parents and teachers can lead children ages 4-8 in these exercises as they lay down before naptime or bedtime.
“When children are scared, tired or sad, sometimes they act out in undesirable ways,” says Lowell. “The easy relaxation techniques incorporated into the story of Meri and Aloha will help caregivers as they guide children through ways to better manage themselves when they have these feelings. Not only can the story be used for entertainment when a child is feeling tired, but it can also be referred to in scenarios when a child is upset, and a parent or teacher needs to take action to calm them and stop the behavior from escalating.”
About Meryl Best Lowell
Lowell began practicing guided meditations while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Once treatments were complete, she checked off a bucket-list item and went swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas– a life-enhancing and transformational experience. Later while on a hike, she was inspired to incorporate the mindfulness techniques of Yoga Nidra into a book for children- and of course, use dolphins among the characters.
Follow Meryl Best Lowell
5 Tips to Get Through Your Midday Slump
We have all felt it. After lunchtime, you’re lethargic, tired, and constantly checking the clock waiting for the day to be over.
But, fear not! Your day will no longer be ruined by the afternoon lull. Here are some quick tips to avoid the midday slump and allow you to end your day rejuvenated!
Spend 5 Minutes in Nature
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2019, just 5 simple minutes sitting in nature, improves moods, decreases negative feelings and increases your sense of being awe and wonder at being a part of something bigger than yourself. If you have more time, combine being in nature with exercise. This can include hiking of simply taking a walk through the park lined with trees. This can reduce your heart rate and improve your ability to recover from stressful events.
Bring the Outdoors In
Feeling overwhelmed and can’t leave the building? Hang paintings of nature scenes on the walls, look out a window or a nature scene on your video device. It seems that even the picture of nature had the potential to reduce feelings of stress.
Break Out That Adult Coloring Book
Can’t absorb any new information? Take a break and take out the adult coloring book you have not taken the time to use. This distraction gives the brain the space it needs to tackle the problem while you focus on the joys of choosing the colors that make you feel better. Pro tip: Choose yellow and other bright colors if you need a pick me up.
Incorporate Natural Mid-Afternoon Boosts
Grab some green tea, it is high in antioxidants, contains a small amount of caffeine and also has an ingredient that can help create a sense of calmness. If you combine this with a little aromatherapy, either peppermint or lemon to quick lift or lavender to keep the calm going, you might find yourself feeling better after a quick 10 minute break.
Quick Exercises to Do At Your Desk
Here are 2 quick exercises that helps to release stress, restore a sense of calm while improving moods. Do any exercise that helps bring the heart rate up a little bit to get blood pumping while also releasing the energy of frustration. First, so some quick tricep extensions using a chair. Then follow with a stretch that helps to relieve the tension. Shrug shoulders up to ear and gentle rotate forward then backwards. Follow this with an open stance arms open wide and slightly raised as if to open myself up to receive warmth, love and support, then simply cross your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a hug. Cross your arms until you feel the muscles in the upper back gentle stretch and start relieving some of that built up tension. After all, we do tend to carry a lot of stress in the upper back and neck. Bonus, hugs help to relieve stress and improve moods.
Laugh & Breathe
It is as simple as laughing. It decreases cortisol levels and improves moods. A simple way to watch a funny clip or even more simple, record a baby’s laughter and listen to it. That sound of pure joy and wonder can bring a smile back to your face and do wonders for your mood. Lastly, practice stopping and breathing. 4 counts in, hold for 4 and release for 4. Do this about 4 times and feel the stress slowly ebb away.
About Eudene Harry MD
Eudene Harry is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. Her most recent book, Be Iconic: How to be Healthy and Sexy at Any Age is now available on Amazon. She regularly contributes to television and radio shows nationwide.
Although it can be hard to target fat in order to burn it off your body, it is essential to your health to get rid of belly fat. This fat, also known as visceral fat, accumulates inside the body around vital organs. Fortunately, several ways to reduce belly fat exist, including those below.
Learn to De-Stress
One of the main causes of weight gain is stress. Many people eat when they are under stress, and their choice of snacks is usually salty, sugary, or processed foods. When people are under great amounts of stress, their body’s release cortisol, which in turn triggers insulin.
The insulin acts to lower your blood sugar, which can make you feel ravenously hungry, so you reach for anything that’s close at hand. It’s seldom healthy food that people binge on, so they end up gaining fat.
By learning to de-stress with yoga or meditation, you can stop the triggers that get you to eat unhealthy foods and gain fat around your middle.
Skip Sugary Drinks
Research has found that sugary drinks, like sodas, sweet tea or added sugar to coffee, can lead to having more visceral fat on your body. Visceral fat accumulates in the organs like the liver or heart, which can block it and result in heart attacks or strokes.
Instead of drinking sugary drinks, try replacing sodas with water and drink tea and coffee without sugar. Another cause of hunger can be dehydration, so if you’re craving food, drink a glass of water to hydrate your body to keep it healthy.
Add Supplements to Your Diet
Fat burning supplements and protein powders with fat burning ingredients like collagen can help reduce the fat gathering around your middle. Also, doing exercises targeting visceral fat will also reduce the fat in your abdominal area.
Losing this fat can prevent several serious diseases and help you live longer. Studies show that people with normal weight but with fat around their middles have shorter life spans than some people who are overweight. It’s not a bad idea to get more information about fat burning supplements.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Studies show that younger people who sleep less than five hours a night can have much higher levels of cortisol and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that can make you feel hungry, which along with cortisol, makes it easier to gain weight, especially around the middle.
Getting more good quality sleep, about eight hours or more, can stop triggering these two hormones. It can also keep your metabolism running at a good pace. Poor sleep habits can lead to the body slowing the metabolism to conserve energy, which also causes weight gains.
Visceral or belly fat is bad for your health because it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Even if you are young and in good shape, having just a small amount of visceral fat around your abdomen can shorten your life.
However, if you follow these four tips and eat a healthy diet and exercise, then you can lose the fat around your middle and live longer.
Over the last decades, researchers and mental health professionals have realized what Hindu monks have been teaching for thousands of years – a holistic approach to psychological and physical health is the key to balance and well-being.
Yoga – which is the foundation of yoga therapy – is an extremely complex spiritual tradition that has a history of roughly five thousand years, rich literature, and clear practice guidelines.
Luckily, over the years, practitioners have simplified this approach and made it accessible to anyone who’s interested in self-exploration and self-growth.
Yoga Therapy: What is it?
Considered both an art and a discipline, yoga is an ancient Indian practice characterized by meditation and physical activity, which can improve the body’s flexibility, reduce stress, and cultivate an overall state of health and well-being.
Yoga therapy represents a collection of principles, techniques, and practices derived from Hindu philosophy and adapted to clinical settings. By using meditation, breathing techniques, and body poses, this approach aims to improve our overall health and promote a state of calm and well-being.
According to a 2013 study , yoga therapy helps people with mental illness by cultivating a state of calm, increasing awareness and focus, promoting acceptance and adaptability, and cultivating a sense of security.
Yoga Therapy Theory
In Sanskrit (a language of ancient India), yoga means union. In other words, yoga therapy promotes an integrative and holistic  approach to mental health.
The union that yoga therapists and practitioners often mention is that between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga teachings stipulate that once we unite these three fundamental aspects of human experience into one element, we can reach a state of balance and health on all levels.
Some practitioners go so far as to believe that spiritual enlightenment and true unity can only be achieved in India, the birthplace of Yoga.
However, this doesn’t mean that yoga – as a series of health-promoting practices – can’t be effective in other parts of the world. In fact, countless practitioners have successfully promoted and implemented this approach all over the globe.
How Does Yoga Therapy Suggest the Mind Works?
In yoga therapy, the relationship between body, mind, and spirit represents a fundamental element that can serve as an explanatory model for the cause of physical and mental illness and also provide a pathway to balance and healing.
We all strive, more or less consciously, to free ourselves from the limited notion of what we are or, more precisely, what we commonly believe we are. In broad lines, we tend to identify with our body, mind, possessions, relationships, social status, bringing all these elements into one comprehensive picture we call ‘life.’
But these mental constructs are merely shadows of the truth that lies within ourselves; a truth that’s often hard to understand because of ignorance, narrow-mindedness, or lack of self-awareness.
By taking a holistic approach to health, yoga therapy seeks to restore balance and well-being through a series of physical, mental, and spiritual practices.
Read more about yoga therapy HERE.
Swing into the stunning location of Michael Franti’s Soulshine resort and yoga haven in beautiful Bali, from December 8 – 15th and join us for My Life is Art leadership retreat – as we unwind at the end of this year.
This experience will bring together leaders from all walks of life in a diverse gathering of minds.
The My Life is Art program is designed for individuals and organisations who want to cultivate personal purpose and leadership.
“Purpose will push us beyond what we could possibly imagine and is the fuel that drives our passion. We can buy happiness but we cannot buy joy – joy comes through purpose. We will show you how.”
Dates: Dec 08, 2:00 PM – Dec 15, 12:00 PM
Location: Micahel Franti’s Soulshine resort and yoga retreat – Bali
Soulshine Bali, JL. Ambarwati, Ubud, MAS, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Seven nights accommodation at Soulshine Bali
Daily breakfast and dinners
Daily Yaya Classes – A fusion of Yoga, African Dance and Appreciation.
The Pyramid Principle – Each day you will work through 2 Pyramid Principles under the guidance of Emmanuel Jal
Daily Self Reflection
Daily Story Telling
Soul Sessions -DJ Pool Party- featuring Emmanuel Jal
Resort Room (Twin Share) $2800 per person
Luxury Resort Room (Twin Share) $3300 per person
Luxury Pool Suite (Twin Share) $3850 per person
The My Life is Art Retreat will support you in
– Becoming the greatest version of yourself + teach you how to serve with greatness
– Living in your purpose to spark global conscious awakening
– Connecting to self + to community + to be in sync with nature
– Gaining tools you can use to own your mind
– Creating habits that support your journey to success
– Creating and building community with a diverse group of leading minds
– Supporting others in discovering who they are, what they are created to do
Through inspired collective conversation, personal purpose work, reflection through shared + thoughtful experience & skills building workshops, you will gain a renewed purposeful reason to live and to give.
Just show up.
Life after the retreat will leave you equiped with strong leadership skills that are paired with meaningful connections. you’ll be inspired to show up each and every day.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on MY LIFE IS ART: www.mylifeisart.org
ARTIST, ACTIVIST, SPEAKER & LIFE COACH
Emmanuel Jal is a former child soldier from South Sudan, turned international recording artist, activist, philanthropist and life educator. Jal’s vision is to share his experiences for social emotional learning through the Arts, Business and Philanthropy, in order to create a higher state of conscious global awakening.
The My life is Art principles and teaching are rooted in Jal’s own experience and ancient and modern teachings that have supported him in his own healing from trauma.
He now shares his learnings and methodology with others through workshops, speaking engagements and one on one sessions designed to help others free themselves from struggle, step into their leadership and find their purpose.
Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, has announced that it will bring two immersive Yoga Retreats to its remote jungle resort, Soneva Kiri, on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh Kood, in November 2018. These exclusive Hatha yoga experiences at the resort’s Six Senses Spa will be available as both a seven-night retreat (for yoga enthusiasts and practitioners) and a 28-night intensive yoga teacher training.
The seven-night retreat at Soneva Kiri includes two hours of yoga and 40 minutes of meditation per day, two hours of spa treatments and pre and post wellness screenings. The 28-night package is comprised of 200 hours of certified yoga teacher training, including: practice (asanas, pranayama, meditation and cleanses); 50 hours of theory; 25 hours of assignments; and 25 hours of self study. A Yoga Alliance Certification can be earned with an extra charge of US$100. Meditation will include a mix of yoga nidra, trataka, and a chakra meditation. Both the retreat and the yoga teacher training will be led by Dorelal, a yoga expert with a Master in Applied Yoga Science from the Bihar School of Yoga, the first yoga university in the world. Dorelal has spent many years working at Ananda in the Himalayas, a luxury ayurvedic retreat in India that integrates traditional Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta with international wellness. He has also traveled to Russia, Korea and other parts of Asia teaching yoga.
Both packages include shared return flight transfers between Bangkok and Soneva Kiri on a fixed schedule on Soneva’s private Cessna aircraft. Guests will be sharing accommodation in the resort’s larger villas, with each guest getting a private room with an en-suite bathroom. Daily half board (breakfast and dinner), comprised of health-conscious and nutritious cuisine and non-alcoholic beverages at the resort restaurants, is also included. All guests will have a Mr./Ms. Friday butler to see to their needs during their stay, full access to the resort’s gym and tennis court, as well as complimentary use of WiFi.
The seven-night retreat is valid from November 15-22, 2018 and is priced at US$5,670 per person for single occupancy and US$8,670 per person for double occupancy. The 28-night yoga teacher training package is valid for stays in November 2018 and is priced at US$15,100 per person for single occupancy and US$21,520 per person for double occupancy.
Not many would associate driving with exercise. Whilst staying fit is essential to our wellness, simple daily exercises can also contribute to a more positive and all round safer driving experience.
Drivers that exercise have greater ease in turning their heads to see blind spots when changing lanes or to back up. They are also able to rotate their bodies farther to scan the driving environment while making right-hand turns and were able to get into the cars more rapidly, demonstrating an increased overall flexibility.
The all-new QX50 is designed to be a soothing sanctuary, with technology and design created around the driver’s needs for a calmer, safer and stress-free life.
Its peaceful interior has an Active Noise Cancellation technology, created within a state-of- the-art BOSE 16-speaker sound system, helps make the cabin blissfully free from unwanted sound intrusion.
The seats in the 2019 QX50 are designed drawing from NASA zero-gravity research and joint study from Keio University in Tokyo. The ergonomic shape and foam densities emphasize spinal support and minimizes pressure on muscles and helps maintain natural blood flow.
Additionally, integrated heat and ventilation features reduce the stress that both cold and uncomfortably hot temperatures bring on.
If that’s not enough, INFINITI’s ProPILOT technologies, included in the all-new QX50, is your answer to stressful driving, as it showcases the very beginning of INFINITI’s autonomous drive capabilities.