Body Strength Challenge 3 (Plank)

(video 55sec) Here is the third body strength exercise that Personal Trainer, Joey Hunter, challenged me with. She asked me how long can I hold 3 simple exercises & what goes through my mind as I do them?

I decided to see what would happen if I did each exercise a second time while practicing mindfulness. Would it change my experience? Would I be able to hold it longer?

Above is the third exercise, a plank, done ‘normally’ and while voicing my stream if conscious.

Below is me doing it mindfully! (video 1:16min)

Try this yourself! On your hands and the balls of your feet, hold your body as straight as you can and  and see how long you can hold it. Then do it while practicing mindfulness meditation and see if you can hold it longer.

Body Strength Challenge 2 (Wall Squat)

(video 49sec) Here is the second body strength exercise that Personal Trainer, Joey Hunter, gave me. She asked me how long can I hold a few simple exercises & what goes through my mind as I do them?

I decided to see what would happen if I did each exercise a second time while practicing mindfulness. Would it change my experience? Would I be able to hold it longer?

Above is the first exercise, a wall squat, done ‘normally’ and while voicing my stream if conscious.

Below is me doing it mindfully! (video 2:04min)

Try this yourself! Put your back against a wall, thighs parallel to the ground and see how long you can hold it. Then do it while practicing mindfulness meditation and see if you can hold it longer.

Body Strength Challenge 1 (Static Arm Hold)

(video 2:38min) Personal Trainer, Joey Hunter, gave me some body strength challenges: how long can I hold a few simple exercises & what goes through my mind as I do them?

I decided to see what would happen if I did the exercise a second time while practicing mindfulness. Would it change my experience? Would I be able to hold it longer?

Above is the first exercise, a static arm hold, done ‘normally’ and while voicing my stream if conscious.

Below is me doing it mindfully! (video 3:57min)

Try this yourself! Hold a water bottle at arms length & time how long you can hold it. Then do it while practicing mindfulness meditation and see if you can hold it longer.

Why is it important to practice mindfulness regularly?

(video: 5:31 min) Does mindfulness ever become permanent? Will I ever be mindful all the time with out having to practice it regularly?

Well yes. And no.
Yes in that you can reach a stage where mindfulness is something you’re doing all of the time, as a behavior, a habit or an state of being.

And no in that until it becomes an ingrained habit, you need to keep reinforcing the behavior by practicing it!

Why? Because your brain learns and changes based on your behaviors. What you do today is changing your brain. You’re either creating & maintaining neurological structures for mindfulness today or you’re creating structures for something else.

Thanks to Dr Lara Boyd on TEDxVancouver for making the relationship between our daily behaviors and our brain so clear.

Help! Can’t Concentrate!

(video: 2:49min) Every 3 months or so I drink a cup of coffee (love the bitter + sweet!)… and then remember why I don’t do it often! I get super jittery, my mind goes 3-million miles an hour and I can’t concentrate! Yikes!

Yesterday, I had this experience while working at a coffee shop, and after struggling for a while I stopped and practiced mindfulness for a few minutes.

Whew! That 3-minutes saved my day! After that I could focus again. I was really thankful to have that tool handy.

Next time you can’t concentrate, take 3-minutes to practice, and see if it helps!

What to Do When You Feel Bad

(video: 9:44) Confused? Angry? Guilty? Sad? Depressed? Anxious?Overwhelmed? …?

What to do?
Mindfulness gives us a great tool: notice how you feel. Feel it. Observe it from the inside – feel how it feels to feel what you are feeling. What does it feel like to feel confused right now? What does it feel like to feel angry right now? Ask and feel and remember the whole time that you are asking the question, that you are exploring, that a part of you is doing the noticing, the observing, the exploring and taking notes.

This is incredibly powerful because it allows us to feel what we’re feeling and learn from it at the same time.

Maybe all we learn is what it feels like to feel confused. Already this is a million times better than being lost in confusion, where confusion is our entire experience & we can’t gain from it because we’re drowimg in it.

Bringing in the noticing is like popping our heads out of the water. Suddenly we have a bit of breathing room. We’re not drowning anymore. We can look down and see that we’re up to our neck in confusion. We have a whole new perspective on the situation. We can see that we’re in it versus being overwhelmed by it.

And then what?… You’re welcome to watch the video for my recent experiences with the next steps.

Meditation Practice: Walking and Counting

MME Album Art(3:16min) Another way to bring mindfulness into your daily life through walking is to count each step. The idea is that if you are aware of yourself enough to count your steps, then you are being mindful. I your mind drifts off and you lose count, simply bring you attention back to walking and start over with your counting.

Meditation Practice: Walking with Awareness

  1. Anytime you find yourself walking somewhere, bring your attention into your body and notice that you are walking.
  2. Keep your attention focused on what is happening in this moment by counting each step that you take.
  3. To keep you focused and not mindlessly counting, count up to 5 and then start over at 5 again. When this gets easy, count to 10 and then start over. Play with it over time and see how high of a number you can consistently count to and stay present.
  4. Enjoy!

Be kind and gentle, remembering that noticing that your thoughts is an important part of the practice.

 

To Download:

Click on the Download button below.

If it does not download automatically:

  1. A new window will open with an audio player (like the player above).
  2. Right click on the player and choose “Download File” or “Download Video”
  3. iPhone users will want to first copy the meditation into iTunes (on your computer) and then sync with your iPhone.

Note that you are welcome to download and share this files as many times as you like provided you do so in it’s entirety and it is used for personal or educational uses only (no commercial uses).

Download

 

 

Meditation Practice: Walking With Awareness

MME Album Art(8:34min) Want to bring mindfulness into your daily life? One way to do that is to walk mindfully. Most of us walk at least some every day, to the front door, to the coffee machine, the elevator, the bathroom, across the street, etc. This meditation helps you bring mindfulness into your daily life by practicing walking mindfully, noticing every step. Begin by practicing in a quiet place, getting used to it, creating a new habit and then begin taking a few mindful steps every day. You could pick a daily walk, like walking to the bathroom or your car, and take 3 mindful steps every day when you do that. When that is easy, do 5 and then 7 and so on. Soon you will be taking the whole walk mindfully and noticing how this simple exercise affects other parts of your day as well.

Meditation Practice: Walking with Awareness

  1. Start standing in a quiet space where you can walk at least 10 paces in a line or a circle.
  2. Close your eyes and notice your breathing for a few breaths.
  3. Shift your attention to your feet and feel the sensation of your natural body weight pressing down into the floor.
  4. Slowly shift your weight to one foot, feeling the sensations in your feet as your weight shifts.
  5. Slowly lift your other foot, place it in front of you and slowly begin shifting your weight onto your front foot feeling the sensations in your feet as you move.
  6. Continue walking slowly, feeling the sensations in your feet.
  7. If you notice that you have become lost in thought, pause and stop moving. Close your eyes and find your breath again. Bring your attention to your feet again and when you’re ready, open your eyes and begin again walking slowly.
  8. When you get to the end of your space, slowly turn around, feeling the sensations in your feet as you do so and go back to the start. Continue on your line or circle until you feel complete or your practice bells rings to tell you your time is finished.

Be kind and gentle, remembering that noticing that your thoughts is an important part of the practice.

 

To Download:

Click on the Download button below.

If it does not download automatically:

  1. A new window will open with an audio player (like the player above).
  2. Right click on the player and choose “Download File” or “Download Video”
  3. iPhone users will want to first copy the meditation into iTunes (on your computer) and then sync with your iPhone.

Note that you are welcome to download and share this files as many times as you like provided you do so in it’s entirety and it is used for personal or educational uses only (no commercial uses).

Download

 

 

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

(video: 2:45) Having a hard time sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?
You want to start running, but you can’t get out of bed? You want to practice meditation everyday after lunch, but you’re just too busy?

The trick is to remember why you want to do it… BEFORE you do it. Laying there in bed, motivate yourself by remembering how good you feel when you exercise. Let tuer good feeling motivate you to get up and go running! Sitting at lunch, remember how calm and collected you feel when you meditate. Let that sense of peace motivate you to take a few minutes before you rush off.

You know you’ll feel better! Remember that feeling before you do things and mer that good feeling be your motivation!

Happy New Year!

How to Deal with Discomfort


Feeling too uncomfortable to practice?

That’s normal!

You don’t have to practice if you don’t want to!

And when you feel ready, take a few minutes and simply notice what comes up. Be present to whatever happens.

You may notice yourself…
not wanting to think or feel whatever you’re thinking or feeling. Keep noticing that. Stay with it. Stay present. Remember that whatever you are thinking or feeling will change eventually. EVERYTHING does. And if you stay present with it, and don’t try to change or fix it, it will naturally change (on it’s own) even faster.

You may notice yourself…
diving into the stories around why you are thinking and feeling those things. You may notice yourself adding fuel and building up the pain! Keep noticing that. Stay present, simply observing yourself doing that. It will change on it’s own eventually, especially if you stay present and just notice versus try to change or fix it. And if you do start changing or fixing it, simply notice THAT!

It is the noticing that is the key. The more you can simply notice, the more you allow whatever is here to be here. If you try to change or fix, inevitably you repress it and that locks it into place. Things that we’re repressing, we are holding and thus we can’t let go of them. If you can wait it out, simply observing, you will reach a point where you don’t need to repress any of it and your innate wisdom will surface with the answer for how to solve what ever is happening. It will not feel like repression or denial. You won’t feel that you need to make it stop. Instead, you will see the wisdom of what is happening, the undercurrents and the reasons and often the situation will reveal itself as useful and helpful… it will usually naturally end at that point.

Eventually, you may cultivate the willingness to notice whatever you are thinking and feeling… Not because you like it or want to be thinking or feeling whatever you are thinking and feeling… Simply because it is here. You will stay present because you will know the wisdom of this process.

Play with it and see if this works for you.