5 Key Benefits of Being Positive

sunshine-positive-lululemon-yogaOur hearts are like a safe in the energy bank of our bodies. We each have our own security personnel in the form of a personal energy field that protects us and determines how we feel, think and function. This energy field ensures the safety of our hearts. And since energy is everywhere and in everything we should learn how to make ongoing positive deposits into our happiness bank account.

I have studied the research on the beneficial effects of being positive and the negative affects of being negative. The research is clear. It really does pay to be positive and the benefits are numerous. The ancient yogis have been teaching this for thousands of years. Sutra 1.3 is translated as:

Yoga frees you from the drama, the tragedy, the saga your mind creates and allows you to experience your True Joyful Self…

We have a choice in being positive. For every minute we are angry, we lose sixty seconds of happiness. We must recognize as John Lembo says “Every waking moment we talk to ourselves about the things we experience. Our self-talk, the thoughts we communicate to ourselves, in turn control the way we feel and act.”  Therefore the first step is to be aware of your mental habits. So often we don’t even realize we habitually catastrophize and trigger the stress response as a result.

We have the power to consciously develop a habit of looking for the good. A habit where you can expect people to treat you in a positive way. Why? Because through the way we think and act we teach other people how to treat us in return.

Jen Gray Blackburn writes,  ‎”You will find life a whole lot easier if you can keep in mind that most people are just trying to do the best they can.”  As yogis, it is our responsibility to decrease suffering and instead promote positivity expressed as love and compassion. This in turn strengthens our personal experience of universal joy and happiness.

Here are 5 key benefits to inspire you to practice being positive.

5 Benefits of Being Positive:

  1. Stress Reduction: Positive thoughts counter the negative effects of stress. For example, you can’t be thankful and stressed at the same time. (Several Studies)
  2. Social Interaction: Positive people have more friends, which is a key factor of happiness. (Robert D. Putnam)
  3. Love: Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. (John Gottman)
  4. Performance at Work: Positive people are able to see the big picture, which helps them identify solutions, whereas negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems. (Barbara Fredrickson) Positive work environments outperform negative work environments. (Daniel Goleman) In the workplace positive people are more likely to receive greater support from their colleagues and as result receive pay raises and promotions more frequently. (Several Studies)
  5. Life Expectancy: Positive people live longer. (A Primer in Positive Psychology, Christopher Petersen, PhD)

Keep it positive!

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
Silvia

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Screen Shot Front Silvia CardEditor’s note: This is a guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.

Silvia can be reached on the Web at www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com, or via email at silvia@alchemytours.com. Twitter: @alchemytours@inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.

Photo credit: lululemon on instagram

10 Ways to Find Peace

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1.  Get into your body. When we’re not feeling peace, it’s usually because we’re not feeling at all. We’re thinking. And we’re believing all these non-peaceful thoughts. We’re also feeding them with more energy.

  • So to stop feeding the thoughts, and feed peace instead, we drop away from the part of our brain in charge of thoughts and into the part of our brain in charge of physical sensation. Do some asana, go for a jog, wrestle with your dog, or just lie down and breathe into every space in your body. Feel that? Peace is in. Non-peaceful thoughts are out.

2.  Become the observer. Once we return to our body, it becomes easier to go beyond our thoughts. It becomes easier to enter the space of the observer. You can do this either standing or seated—whatever works best for you.

  • Bring your awareness to what you feel in your body, and then start to notice your thoughts. Noticing your thoughts does something powerful: it takes you out of them, and into the observer in you. The part of you that can watch thoughts and let them pass, instead of letting the thoughts race you around in circles.

3.  Go easy on yourself. Can’t concentrate during seated or standing meditation? Try walking meditation. Or use mantras.

4.  Activate powerful thinking. Question thoughts that make you stressed. Once you can come into your body, identify a belief as a thought and enter the place of the observer, you can activate powerful thinking. All in the name of peace. Ask yourself: Is this non-peaceful thought true? What might be a more true thought?

5.  Listen to what’s right for you. Other people might not need or want peacefulness, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Give yourself permission to take time to do things that bring you peace.

6.  Befriend your inner lizard. We all have these amygdala in the temporal region of our brain—and they’re pretty much in charge or fear-, anger- , and negativity-based thinking. That part of our brain is also called our lizard brain.

  • Try this: Next time you catch yourself thinking a non-peaceful thought, imagine it coming out of the mouth of a lizard. What happens? Most people I get to do this end up laughing. Wouldn’t you love to be able to laugh at those thoughts?

7.  Ask yourself, what would Buddha say? Or Shiva, God, Mother Teresa. Get a peace-inducing figure in your life and have a conversation with them whenever you need them.

8.  Immerse yourself in the moment. Use mindfulness tools to help you become absolutely immersed in the moment—it’s saturated with sensation and imbued with peace.

9.  Pursue joy. Go deeper. Joy is what happens when we go beyond the mind. Not as a result of recognizing that we’ve gone beyond thought, but simply as a result of entering into the Self that exists beyond thought. It’s a peaceful joy that nourishes and lasts.

10.  Practice acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean we accept situations that aren’t right for us, or settle for less than we deserve. It means in any given moment, we choose peace over resistance and see how that transforms our experience of the moment.

Thinking of you,
xL

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Editor’s note: This was another guest post from the amazing Lindsey Lewis–life coach and yoga teacher. Stay up to date with her latest at www.libreliving.comFacebook, and Twitter.  Sign up by Friday, February 28, 2014, to join Lindsey’s 30-Day Happiness Challenge starting on March 1.

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Going Creative – Meditation and Creative Consciousness

7097958115_c89680128f_bHumans are conscious beings. We are able to both analyze the creative spirit, discuss it intellectually — and also experience it.

When we meditate, we come home to our own creative fount, a sense of oneness that evaporates the ego-centred perception that we are separate beings adrift in a phenomenal world, doomed to die.

In meditation, we experience how humans are both creations and creators, and also how creator and the created are inseparable, one and the same. That we are about as separate from the rest of the world as a wave is separate from the sea.

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Creativity and The Con-Mind

To create, we need to overcome convention — the prior creations of what is usually called the ego mind. I call it “con”-mind, short for conventional, conceptual, conditioned and conformist (and, alas, a bit conceited, thinking it’s in charge of everything and a bit confrontational, seeing itself as separate and essentially alone, needing to defend itself. On the plus side, it’s good at construction and consistency, both essential to good creation.).

We all have a con-mind and we all have a creative mind and they inter-are.

Con-mind’s motivations are a desire to gain, reluctance to lose, or fear of choosing wrongly. In this mode, our mind is focused on the future outcomes of our present actions. If the outcomes are not achieved, we are disappointed and dissatisfied; if they are, we worry about losing them. Fear is the underlying driver and the inevitable outcome and what fear creates, mostly, is more of itself.

We are all more creative when we pay less attention to our con minds. When we take our attention away from the surface, our going and doing, and give it to the depth of our knowing and being. Or, deeper again, to the nothingness that interpenetrates everything.

This is where meditation comes in. When we take silent time to meditate, a shift happens, from thingness to nothingness. Our consciousness expands, our awareness deepens, we come into the presence of what the physicist Albert Einstein once described as “the most beautiful emotion we can experience… the [underlying] power of all true art and science.”

This power — our creative intelligence — is in us all. We don’t acquire it, any more than we acquire our fingers or our feet. Accessing it is largely a matter of removing the barriers we place between ourselves and this innate, powerful potential, allowing it to flow more freely.

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Dissolving Barriers through Meditation

Meditation dissolves those barriers. All meditation traditions hold that our conceptual mind is mainly driven by fear and wanting. Viewing and interpreting the world through those lenses leads us into a confused state. Patanjali, who wrote The Yoga Sutras, one of the oldest surviving guides to meditation, called the state avidya (ignorance) and speaks of it as a kind of veil that blocks spiritual and creative light from the mind. The object of meditation is to dissolve the veil, so conceptual mind and creative spirit are in direct and clear communication. Avidya disintegrates, the fog disperses, we can see clearly, at multiple levels, with our big mind.

This is very different approach to that taken by Western philosophy, which constantly explores the external world for information and knowledge, to discover practical answers to the fundamental questions. The eastern mind, the meditative traditions have always searched inwards, not for information for its own sake but for the sake of awakening not just knowledge but knowing. Creative consciousness.

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Creativity as Consciousness

Today, new technologies and understandings are confirming some, and changing other, long-held ideas about what those words mean. “Creative” is no longer applied only to a particular set of activities — writing, drawing, singing. It is now being understood as a condition of consciousness, a type of attention and awareness. You can paint or sing or draw or write in a conventional way. You can mop the floor, cook the dinner, do the filing or mow the lawn in a creative way. It’s an attitude, an inner condition brought to the present moment and the task in hand.

To “go creative” is to wake up, to allow your inner and outer senses to perceive, and thereby partake in, what is unfolding in a given moment. Creation is the act of turning up to the moment and, in so doing, making it new, fresh, alive and alert. It cannot be a creative activity, a creative moment without your creative presence.

You don’t have to do anything. On the contrary, in order for creative inspiration to arise, a part of your mind has to be in a state of “being” rather than “doing.” Guatama Buddha, sitting still under the bodhi tree, apparently doing nothing, was as creative as it is ever possible for a human being to be.

In order for a moment in your universe to be creative, it needs your presence, your alive, alert, awake attention. Then you have fulfilled your purpose in that moment. You have become a creative conduit, one of the conditions through which creative consciousness expands and spreads in our world. Though we are not always there for it, this creative consciousness is always there for us.

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Inspiration-Meditation-CoverEditor’s note: This is an extract from Inspiration Meditation, a “How To Meditate” Guide from novelist, poet, and Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, Orna Ross. Inspiration Meditation explains the theory and practice of meditation — and introduces Inspiration Meditation, Orna’s own meditation method, which she practices daily and has taught to thousands of people through her Go Creative! books and blog.

Inspiration Meditation is designed to cultivate creativity, ideas and insights. It is not just for writers and artists — though they will find it intensely useful. Inspiration Meditation is for anyone who wants to master the art of conscious creation and apply it to any aspect of life.

A long-time teacher of creative and imaginative practice, Orna lives in London and writes, publishes and teaches around the globe. She has a dedicated belief in the power of the published word to transform and liberate. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.

As for the photos, I took them in the early spring of 2012 on a trip to Kyoto, one of my favorite cities because of its contemplative beauty. Hope you don’t mind my walk down memory lane…

Kyoto-Meditation

Unraveling The Science Behind Yoga’s Benefits

“If there was a drug that could mimic the effects of yoga, it would probably be the world’s best-selling drug.” ~Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D.

Thought this was a pretty interesting interview with John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, who led a five-year study that revealed how yoga and meditation practice affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. It’s science, people!

5 Tips for Practicing Walking Meditation

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It is true, we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return–prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again–if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man–then you are ready for a walk.

Walking by Henry David Thoreau

I have an admission to make:  I’m a terrible yogi.  My poses aren’t always exact, I don’t practice regularly, and I can’t stay focused.

While I often practice at home, I do have a couple of teachers I work with on rare occasion, both of whom remind me to accept where I am and to be at peace with my own yoga style.

In the past year, I’ve supplemented my yoga practice with walking meditation (which is exactly what it sounds like).  I work for myself and find it quite hard to truly relax and clear my mind, but with walking meditation, I get some clear head space and a bit of physical fitness at the same time.  Here are some of my lessons learned that you can incorporate into your routine.

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1. Choosing a route is really, really important.

On a good walk, when really clearing my mind and trying to deepen my breathing, I can totally zen out.  And, while zen, I have tripped over many curbs in my neighborhood.  Thankfully no bruises except to my ego!  I also prefer routes with fewer pedestrians and bikes, so I can enjoy the open space.

The best routes for a walking meditation are biking/hiking trails where you don’t have to worry too much about traffic or big curbs, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.  It sounds obvious, but I missed the memo the first couple of times.

2. Ditch the smartphone (or go airplane mode).

The urge to check my smartphone is so great that I really can’t go on a meditative walk with it.  But, I like to have the timer and be able to use the phone if needed, so when I do bring it, I put it into airplane mode.

Personally, I don’t like to go on my walks with music – I find my mind can slip into the zone much faster and longer without any tunes.  You might be different; I do encourage you to try a few walks without headphones before you write it off.

3. It’s about going deep, not walking far.

In my experience, it is better to do 2 laps around the neighborhood dog park and get a deep sense of clarity instead of walking a few miles just to get the mileage in.  This is a walking meditation, not a power walk.   Don’t worry about how fast you walk or how far you go.  Focus on what is happening on the inside.

4. Speaking of focus, start from your feet and end with the top of your head.

Walking meditation is a meditation, so the focus is internal.  Start with your feet – notice how they feel hitting the ground.  Notice the feeling, the rhythm, of your legs in motion.  How fast is your heartbeat?  Are your arms relaxed – how do they swing?

Just like in yoga, clarify your breathing: deep, steady breaths.  Focus on those feelings of your feet and legs and hands in motion, which will help clear your mind.

5. Make your walking meditation what you want it to be.

You have permission to make your walking meditation whatever you want it be.  Make it what you need.  Some people will say that it’s not really meditation.  But if you’re getting the peace of mind and mental relief you need, does it matter what anyone thinks?

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[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Andy Hayes, the founder of Plum Deluxe, a community of friends and family who enjoy life’s luxuries, big and small. Connect with him on Pinterest or Facebook.]

 

Swapping Fear for Fierceness

camillia-lee-yoga-colorsHey lovely you. Is something calling you? Do you feel like there’s more out there? Is there more you want to do in the world? Are you afraid to take the next step?

As a graduate of Fear 400 for Life, I’m here to tell you that I understand being afraid. I spent the first two decades of my life afraid of parties. Meeting new people. Trying new things. High school gym class. So, that was fun.

Enter decade three, and all of a sudden things changed. I learned something about fear that I’ll never forget. Are you ready? Here it is…

FEAR IS JUST A FEELING-STATE

Take a second and read that again. Did it really sink in?

The Power of Compassionate Curiosity

Here’s how you’ll know if the power in that statement truly landed with you. Think of the thing you’re most afraid of right now. Really. It’ll only take a second. Do you feel afraid already? Good.

Now instead of trying to change the way you feel, take your attention deeper into exactly what you feel.  Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where does fear show up in your body?
  • What area of your body holds the strongest physical sensation right now?
  • What specifically do you feel in that area?

While you’re answering these questions, breathe more deeply.

I have a hunch you’re starting to feel less afraid. That’s because instead of giving over to fear, you’ve gotten compassionately curious about it. Fear is just a feeling-state, just like joy, happiness, or love. It rises, crests, and falls—waves on the surface of your ocean.

You’re not your feeling-states; you’re the ocean beneath the waves.

All feeling-states pass, including fear. And they pass even faster if we face them with compassionate curiosity…

COMPASSIONATE CURIOSITY TRUMPS FEAR

How Knowing Fear Can Change Your Life

What would be different if every time you felt fear you helped it pass through you, instead of cowering? Imagine the things you could do, the people you’d meet, the accomplishments and goals you’d master.

Imagine your destiny.

It’s calling you, and it’s only a feeling-state that’s standing in your way. You’ve got the power. Breathe through it, let it pass, and let it go. Keep going. You’ve got this.

xL

karmym - breathe

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Editor’s note: Enjoy another fantastic guest post from Lindsey Lewis–life coach and yoga teacher. Stay up to date with her latest at www.libreliving.comFacebook, and Twitter.

Photo credit: Camillia Lee and Karmym

A 5 Step Guide To Waking Up Inside Your Dreams

Fall into a lucid dream

Yoga has many benefits and I’m sure it’s improved your life in so many ways, but for a few minutes let’s concentrate on the heightened sense of awareness you’ve developed in your yoga practice. Maybe you’ve noticed you don’t breeze through life like a zombie as much as you used to, or perhaps you haven’t noticed anything. Today you’re finally going to learn how to use your heightened sense of awareness to change your life.

I want to talk to you about lucid dreaming. Do you wake up in the morning with a smile on your face when you remember dreaming of something magical? What if I was to tell you it was possible to pass into that magical dream world fully aware of everything that was going on? Not only that, but once you’re inside a lucid dream you can manipulate it in any way you want.

Why learn how to lucid dream?

Once inside a lucid dream you have the ability to:

  • Reprogram your mind by rehearsing frightful or stressful situations without the threat of embarrassment. (Practice talking to an audience of people without choking on stage)
  • Unleash your full creativity stored deep inside your subconscious mind that is hard to access when awake. (Artists and musicians can come up with ideas based on scenery and music they see and hear inside the dream world)
  • Ask your true self any questions and it will give you the answer. (Ask the dream, “Where do I really want to be 5 years from now and what will I do to get there?)
  • Visit anywhere you’ve already been, or visit somewhere new and let your subconscious mind populate the environment. (Perform a yoga session next to a waterfall in a lush rainforest)

You’re only limited by your imagination, but I’m sure you can see how waking up inside your dreams could change your life in ways you’ve never imagined. Did I tell you it’s also possible to fly because the laws of physics only exist if you want them to?

The 5 step process

It’s possible to trick your conscious mind into switching on while you’re already inside a dream, but I want to show you how to do something that will blow your mind. You’re going to lie down in your bed, close your eyes and pass into the dream world without losing consciousness.

Step 1 – Building up your dream memory

Even if you already have good dream recall it’s important to keep expanding your memory muscle because you want to remember everything. If you don’t usually remember your dreams you can start now. When you wake up in the morning you need to keep your eyes closed and stay still. Go over the last thing you can remember for 2-5 minutes then write it down in a journal

Step 2 – The preparation stage

In order to pass straight into a lucid dream you need to be about to enter the REM stage of sleep. Unfortunately this isn’t right before bedtime, so you will need to set your alarm to wake you up after about 6 hours of sleep. You could also attempt the technique if you go for an afternoon nap. Once you wake up you should stand for a few minutes then lie down on your back and close your eyes.

Step 3 – Getting into the trance state

Now we’re getting to the serious stuff. Hopefully you don’t find this stage too difficult, especially if you’ve practiced meditation before. Focus on the back of your head until you kill your inner-voice and pass into the trance state. When I say focus I don’t want you to think about anything.

You need to gently focus your awareness onto the feelings in the back of your head where it touches the pillow. You can also watch the back of your head through your mind’s eye. You’ll know when you’re inside the trance state because you’ll be able to carry out step 4.

Step 4 – Sending your body to the brink of sleep

At this point you’re still focusing your awareness onto the back of your head. Imagine your mind and head are two separate entities and they are sitting on top of each other. You need to imagine your mind is slowly sinking into your pillow. If you are in the trance state you should be able to feel it sinking backwards. There is no set limit to how long this stage should take, but you will get quicker in time.

The idea here is to truly believe your body is falling asleep and your mind is sinking. By now you’re going to be feeling some strange sensations inside your body. You just need to learn to accept them. Remember to keep your awareness focused on your sinking mind until your body is nearly asleep and you’re ready to execute step 5.

Step 5 – Passing into the dream world

This is where your heightened awareness built up through years of yoga will come in very handy. You need to take your awareness and shift it outside your body. If you can’t hold onto your awareness you will just pass into a regular dream.

To shift my awareness away from the back of my head I like to focus it onto a state of nothingness. Cease any thoughts from now on and just exist in pure awareness. If your body is at the brink of sleep it will now fade away and you will eventually end up inside a lucid dream.

Take your time

I know those 5 steps might seem easy, but don’t expect to succeed on your first attempt. Some people will, but most people won’t. Steps 3-5 might take a little time, so don’t be surprised if it takes you a week to jump through each of the last 3 steps.

You can practice steps 3 and 4 whenever you want, but don’t expect to pass into a lucid dream unless you carry out the technique before you enter REM sleep. I can promise you waking up inside your dreams will change your life. I know because it’s completely changed mine.

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[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Jamie Alexander.  When Jamie isn't flying through space, jumping out of helicopters, or exploring haunted houses you can find him at LucidAbility.com where he talks about everything related to lucid dreaming.]

Photo credit: Erin on flickr

A Few Tips on How to Create a Relaxing Home Meditation Space

The importance of quiet time in our daily lives cannot be overstated. After a stressful day either at work or at home, taking a moment to shed the feelings of tight anxiety and the constant pressure to accomplish everything on our to-do lists can do wonders for both the body and mind.

Finding the place and the time to do this, however, can be a challenge, especially if you live in a full house or find it hard to get away from work. Fortunately, creating a place of peace in the center of a stormy life, and also making it eco-friendly, is easier than you might think. All you need is:

  • A small corner or space, even if you need to convert it to other use during the day
  • A set of comfortable cushions or a cozy chair
  • A way of dividing that area from the rest of the house, even if it’s for a short period of time
  • A little creativity and an open mind about found and available materials

Creating your meditation space

file0001145901225Whether you’re able to dedicate a whole room to meditation or you’re only able to convert a small corner for a few minutes a day, creating your place for meditation is important for two reasons:

  1. It is a visual reminder that you should take time to shake off all of the negative feelings that have accumulated throughout the day.
  2. It allows you to separate yourself from the rest of the world, if even for a short time, and focus on personal restoration.

Additionally, keeping a focus on reusing materials found around your home and eco-friendly products can create a space that’s both easy on your wallet and your environment.

Even if you have a large living space, there typically isn’t much room to incorporate a permanent space for relaxation. And for those dealing with tight quarters, creating multi-functional spaces is almost a necessity. To create your personal green meditation retreat, either temporarily or permanently:

  • Designate a corner of your living space to be dedicated to this purpose. It can simply be the corner of your bedroom, a window ledge or even a part of your kitchen.
  • Find a way to divide it from the rest of the room. You can do this with:
    • A small folding screen, which you can create with four or five old plantation shutters, connecting them with a set of hinges, or with cloth stretched between thin wooden frames and hinged together.
    • A re-purposed sheet, curtain or tapestry that can be hung from the ceiling.
    • Use a low-VOC paint to give that section of the room a different shade or soothing color.
  • Fill the space with comfortable cushions. Cushions from a couch that has seen better days, for example, make excellent floor pillows and are easy to re-cover. Additionally, you can get creative with slip covers made from different types of cloth such as worn-out shirts, pants and bed sheets.
  • Use hanging plants that thrive indoors, like philodendron, to bring life to the space.
  • Add a relaxing light, such as a salt lamp or low-watt lamp, to help settle your nerves and calm your spirit. Be sure to use CFL bulbs as they last up to ten times as long as a regular light bulb and help conserve on energy usage!
  • If pleasant smells help you relax, you can create a scented room mist with 20 drops of essential oil(s) in one quart of distilled water poured into a recycled spray bottle. Shake together and allow the solution to sit for at least 24 hours before using.

NOTE: Keep a small visual reminder out during the day to remind yourself to meditate. This could be one of your favorite cushions, the softly lit lamp or a wall hanging.

When it comes to relaxing at the end of the day, you don’t need to memorize a special chant, twist yourself into uncomfortable positions or buy a bunch of new cushions and clothing to achieve a sense of peace. Simply create a comforting corner in your home that you can put together quickly and easily, and spend a few minutes focusing on the sound of your own heart or thinking positive thoughts about a friend or loved one. The important thing is that you take the time to focus on leaving your stress behind and either continuing or wrapping up your day with a peaceful mind.

What are some ways you’ve found to create a meditation space? What are some materials you’ve re-purposed or re-used to create a relaxing environment?

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[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Garret Stembridge, a member of Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self storage facilities. In Tennessee, you can visit this Memphis Self Storage Facility]

Crowdfunding Meditation Across the World: See & Do Together Could Use a Little Spare Change

saagara--meditate with the world--see and do together

[UPDATE: Check out this new video describing the project...]

How cool would it be to meditate with millions of people across the world at the same time?  It would be totally awesome!

Well, we’re big fans of the mindfulness-based tech company, Saagara, which recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to aid in the development of a new meditation app that will hopefully stretch the limits of global meditation.  The new campaign platform, See & Do Together, will work in tandem with their upcoming app, Universal Meditation, to allow users to engage in group meditation without actually sharing a physical space. Saagara hopes to use this platform to attain one of their ultimate goals: one million people meditating in unison regardless of location.

Saagara’s goal is to raise $150,000 to fund the completion of this project and I’m sure they’d be happy for any spare change you can grub out of the couch to help the cause of bringing millions together in meditation.

Here’s a little video about the project:

If nothing else, you should check out the See & Do Together Facebook page for some inspiring meditation quotes and graphics.  These are a few of my favorites.

saagara--group meditation

saagara--look inside

saagara--still the mind

saagara--thoreau

saagara--conquer the mindIf you’re interested in donating, I also found this video that lays out the awards for the different donation levels.

Have a great weekend and namaste!

10 Minutes of Mindfulness Can Change the World

Most of us would love to make meditation a part of our lives.  Unfortunately, when we actually get around to trying it (rather than just reading or thinking about it), we feel distracted, think we’re doing it wrong, or feel like we just can’t spare the time.  It’s a real mental battle just to push the distractions away for a few minutes of silence.

Mindfulness expert, Andy Puddicombe, has a simple message about how we approach meditation.  In the short video below he shares his belief that meditation—even just a little bit!—is critical to a healthy mind and life, and thinks everyone has the ability and time to do it.  He explains how, with just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day, we can change the way we see the world.

How can you argue with 10 minutes?  I think you’ll find his message inspiring enough that you’ll want to take a few extra minutes for a little meditation at the beginning or end of your next yoga practice.

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Photo credit: Camillia Lee

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