Archive for ‘mindfulness’

June 19, 2014

Falling Out of Love with Yoga

by mandy lipka

Image

Every once in a while, it happens.

I fall out of love with my yoga practice.

And for the first few days, weeks, sometimes months, my mindfulness depletes– my glass lowers to mindless– and I start playing the “should” game. I should be breathing more and sitting less. I should increase my home practice when I can’t get to the studio. I should start meditating during the work day to alleviate stress. And so it goes…

In every meditation class I’ve taken, it’s a lesson learned. We must stop focusing on how it should feel, what we think we should happen, how often we should practice. And, you know, bring a little compassion into being mindful of ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to come back to ourselves… to our breath.

After a few weeks of more-than-usual melancholy (yes, of course, I’m feeling the effects of Merc retro), my most common stressor reared its ugly head again. I took a breath, checked the time, and realized I was only steps away from a sanctuary. To my bright-side surprise, I would make it in time for my most peaceful and wholesome yoga class.

A few things changed in the studio (including a sub) that at first, had me out of water. It only took a few deep and equal Ujjayi breaths in my beloved Supta Baddha Konasana before my breathing got deeper, longer, and the world washed away.

I set my intention: Come back to myself.

Nearly halfway through the class, it occurred to me how good this felt. My hip flexors open, my psoas juicy, my sacrum releasing deep tension. Plenty of oxytocin flowing. Damn, this feels good. So good I could feel my ladybits joining in the fun… It’s like amazing make-up sex but even more satisfying for the soul.

When you say something like [I love you] with your whole being, not just with your mouth or your intellect, it can transform the world. – Thich Nhat Hanh

As the class came to an end and I breathed into my feet up the wall, I felt a tingling in my toes, vibrations in the soles; and with a blanketing in-breath of lavender, it hit me…

Tonight, I came back to myself.

Photo credit: HalfMoonYoga.org

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April 12, 2014

Mindfulness Meditation: An Infographic

by mandy lipka

One of my most influential yoga teachers shared this recently. I simply had to pass it on.

Mindfulness Infographic

Photo Credit: YogaInspiration.co

November 23, 2012

Event Info for “A Mindful Nation” Conversation Next Week (Newton, MA)

by mandy lipka

Do you feel it? The election took place only a couple of weeks ago. The lull in controversy and the end of the incredibly spiteful advertising offers great peace. No, the discussions aren’t over, but let’s take what we can get, shall we?

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October 17, 2012

Woman, You Are Beautiful

by mandy lipka

Today, UpWorthy posted this video and I simply had to share immediately. THIS is the path to mindfulness.

September 18, 2012

Tips for Mindful Working

by mandy lipka

In Wildmind’s latest newsletter, Kulananda shares Michael Chaskalson’s top tips for mindful working. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • If you walk to the bus stop, Tube or train station, turn off your phone. Feel your feet on the ground and the movement in your legs and hips. Notice how you’re breathing.
  • As you sit at your desk or workstation, take a few moments from time to time to tune in to your body sensations. Notice any tension that might be there and breathe into it – softening and easing.
  • Find ways of setting up mindfulness cues in your workspace. Perhaps when your phone rings you could use that as an opportunity to check in with your breathing.
  • Use your journey home as a way of making a transition. Walk or drive mindfully. Take your time.

For all 10 tips, check out the original post on Wildmind. Have more tips? Share below!

September 11, 2012

We Remember

by mandy lipka

A mindful moment in honor of the day that changed our worlds.

Sitting in World History next to one of my best friends, I watched NYC Skyline in awe as my field hockey coach turned on the TV just in time for us to witness the second tower. Pretty sure Kurt solidified his future with Marines in that instant. The shock, confusion, empathy, and pain were heavy on us all.

But what I truly will never forget is my first visit back to the towers while looking at colleges. Mom, Lauren and I stood watching the cleanup, reading the notes, smelling the flowers along the outskirts of the hole in our hearts. Just then, I noticed a little girl, not more than 4 years old, look up to her mother and say in the most incredible little voice, “Mommy, I miss daddy.”

March 19, 2012

Mindful Sip: Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy [Video]

by mandy lipka
March 3, 2012

Mindful Sip: Failure

by mandy lipka

In terms of meditation practices, failure is not an issue. There is no way to fail because you are not trying to get anywhere or feel anything in the first place. As long as you are willing to breathe and be in the state you are already in, you are practicing mindfulness. If you stay with it, you will no doubt notice that the mind changes, the body changes, everything changes. Meanwhile, you just sit, or do the body scan, or practice yoga. In time, both mindfulness and concentration deepen, and with this deepening comes more reliable access to relaxation, inner calmness, and sustained awareness. This can be accompanied by new insights concerning who you are and how you relate to the world.” / John Kabat-Zinn – Mind Body Medicine

March 2, 2012

MBSR: Week 6

by mandy lipka

The class opens with standing yoga to wake us up and then we move to a 45-50 min meditation, our longest to date. Before we dive into our reactions, A let’s us know after reading our mid-course evaluations that the teachers purposely do not assign any reading or provide and specific background info so that students rely on themselves. I actually provided that feedback myself in the evaluation that it surprised me to not have been given any history or background on John Kabat-Zinn. We hadn’t so much as talked about any modern discussions like the recent New York Time’s piece on mindful eating. A says thoughtfully, We want you to read your own life experience, very directly.

Reflecting on the last week of practice, folks discussed mindful driving and how it combats monotonous drives. Some even turned off the radio and focused on breathing. Though we are instructed not to listen to the CDs in the car, one classmate admitted to it and mentioned he enjoyed the guide and then letting go during long periods of silence. Not filling ever moment with media was refreshing, he recalled.

This is exactly how we translate our practice into everyday life. Another classmate recalled the experience in her own classroom. Even her kids noticed her change in disposition, her increased attentiveness, and in turn, they became more engaged. Another classmate recalled a very upsetting moment during the week when she thought someone had broken into her home. The cops showed up, the dog was frightened and she just couldn’t seem to access her mindfulness practice in the moment. Regardless, to calm herself down after all the commotion, she listened to the guided meditation. This helped calm her fight or flight response to the threat allowing her to fall asleep soundly that night.

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