Tag Archives: guided meditation

Make It Through Thanksgiving and Black Friday With These Meditations

The holiday season is a great time to spend with family and relax – but all of those people can get you kind of tense. Anxiety can also rise if you are planning to battle the behemoth crowds fighting for the best deals come Friday morning (Or is it Thursday night now? Thanksgiving is being attacked by consumerism). In times like these it is best to keep calm (and carry on!). We at Intent want you to enjoy this holiday and to help you not sweat the small stuff. So start your day off right with a guided meditation to help you start off centered and prepared for whatever comes your way.

This one is lead by Mallika Chopra:

Or maybe Deepak is more your style:

Note: There’s still time to join the Deepak & Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation for November. It’s completely free to sign up and could definitely come in handy over the long weekend! And if you want more “The Meditator” videos you can check them out on YouTube here.

If you find yourself getting worked up in the moment and don’t have five minutes to calm yourself with a mediation video or today’s challenge guided meditation, try this tip from Gabby Bernstein. Press your thumbs on both hands to the pads of each of your other fingers as you repeat, “Peace begins with me.” Remember to breathe. Say it as many times as you need until you find yourself centered again.

As a last resort just remember that soon there are going to be so many left overs, and pie. Pie makes everything better. Happy holidays!

Stumbling Onto The Path of Awakening

meditation2
My path to awakening began in 2005, when during a time of major transition and deep personal sadness, my mother suggested I might find relief with yoga. She put me in touch with her friend, Grace, a yoga instructor at a fitness center in Indianapolis where I wound up taking my first yoga class. Five years later, on an afternoon lunch break, a co-worker introduced me to meditation for the first time. Yoga and meditation would continue to flow in and out of my life like waves in the ocean. I would dabble here and there and then get distracted and return to the way things had always been. These practices were nothing more than nice things to do sometimes if I was in the mood, but I didn’t feel connected to them in any meaningful way. They were more like novelties.

Two years passed by and in April 2012 I sought a Jyotish (Vedic astrology) reading from Swati Jr*. Her words didn’t make sense to me logically back then, but something about what she shared did feel true on an emotional level. Like she was whispering to parts of me that were hidden away from myself.

Six months later, on October 1st, I was lured into Moksha Yoga LA by a $40 special membership rate advertised in bright paint across the huge windows of their studio. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the heat on that first day, but I didn’t stop. I pushed through all of the sensations that come along with participating in a hot yoga class and left the studio feeling a bit out of body.

My general perspective of everything felt lighter and more expansive. It seemed to me like I was in on a secret and the people walking and driving by me didn’t appear to know what I now knew. I just felt a strange happiness that’s hard to explain in words and I couldn’t wait to go back. By my second or third class, I distinctly remember getting the sense that I was being pulled towards something that would change my life.

Thirty-one days after that first class, my life appeared to implode. Within the span of one month, my live-in boyfriend of two years ended our relationship, I was forced to find a new place to live and before I’d even had time to unpack the boxes, I was given the news that I was being laid off from my job. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Fuck. My. Life.

The main thing that kept me sane during this time was my then brand new yoga practice. I felt something when I was in the studio everyday. Something that told me to keep coming back. I listened to that feeling and stuck with a near daily practice.

During the five months I was unemployed, I took off on a lot of hikes through Griffith Park, abused my library card and booked a last minute trip to Bali and The Gili Islands, where I traveled solo for three weeks and experienced a sense of mindfulness for the first time in my life.

I didn’t know at the time that what I was experiencing was mindfulness, but when I look back, I recognize that that’s what it was. Slipping under the surface of the water off the coast of Gili Trawangan, snorkeling for the first time in my life and feeling rolls of amazement take over my being as I laid eyes on a fantastical underwater world. Willing myself to stay present in the indescribable perfection I was feeling in those moments. Overcome with gratitude as I experienced the feeling of something new, something absolutely, mind-boggling new, for the first time that I could ever remember in my adult life.

Sleeping when I was tired, eating when I was hungry, listening to my instinct and sharing myself with the people around me without thought or reservation. I traveled with a backpack and my yoga mat, stopping to breathe in the air around me, talk with strangers, wander without purpose and just be. I wrote and cried and listened and laughed and swam and kissed and danced and rode bikes and practiced yoga, but most importantly, I let go of time and other people and expectations. I just was.

When I came home to Los Angeles I felt different. Really different. And really good.

Then at the end of June in 2013, I began meditating everyday. A few weeks later, I participated in a 21-day meditation challenge hosted by Deepak Chopra and that’s when things really started becoming more clear for me. I was transitioning into a new awareness of my life and I have never felt more certain that I am living exactly the life I’m supposed to be living right now.

Since this time, I’ve devoted almost every energy to exploring the possibilities with meditation because I’ve become fascinated by the universe living inside me. Also, I feel as if someone wiped a layer away from my heart and now I’m capable of feeling the world instead of just living through it.

I read books, watch videos, seek out people who practice regularly, ask questions, sign up for seminars and classes, and look for opportunities to learn more about higher consciousness at every moment of the day. Discovering and understanding myself and the energy field we all exist within, make up, and move through, feels like it’s my reason for being here. It feels like I’m supposed to be collecting this information so that I can share it and talk about it and live it fully.

***

Aubrey is passionate about living life all the way and believes that a daily meditation practice can help anyone move into a totally engaged state of being alive. She published a book about her old life and is now busy living her new life so that she can write a follow-up about how awesome the world becomes when you’re finally able to slow down and feel into your body. She creates free guided meditations about once a week and you can connect with her on Twitter @MokshaDestiny

If you’re interested, I send out free guided meditations about once-a-week. Sign up here!

Gabrielle Bernstein: Miracles and A Rad Guided Meditation

Sat Nam Spirit Junkies! This week I’m sharing a clip from my Miracles in LA lecture. In this video I discuss how stress blocks us in every area of life. Watch this video and follow the guided meditation on how to eradicate your ego, release stress and powerfully activate your energy. Practice this meditation daily and your life will begin to flow.

Ego Eradicator Meditation from gabriellebernstein on Vimeo.

 

More from Gabrielle:

How to Reduce Stress

A Meditation for Irrationality

A Meditation to Help Treat Addiction

Meditation: Who Am I?

Playground LoveI recently went on a silent retreat and in that experience was able to see the mind with more clarity and witness how it organizes itself. Having had no distractions, plenty of time and a deep intention, a lot was revealed that I’d love to share here and see what may resonate for you in your own investigation.

I realized most thoughts have a common detonator; they seem to point back to a “me” who is having them. The mind creates this character called “me” and then more thoughts are believed about who this person is or isn’t. Whether that’s a good me or a bad me, we seemingly imprison ourselves by buying into these beliefs about who we think we are; which are ultimately limiting and not entirely true.

There was a realization that this sense of a “me” or “ego” maintains the illusion of itself by believing stories based off the past or future. It needs the mind to sustain itself; it also needs time, which is only in the mind. It can be quite powerful to notice what is actually here when you’re not referencing a past or projecting a future…to deeply and intimately discover this moment.

I was able to see that every story the mind tells is only appearing now. Even if the story is about the future like, “This is going to take forever!” it’s just one thought appearing now. In this same way, any story about who I think I am is also just one story appearing now. All it takes is seeing through the thought appearing in this moment to wake up from this sense of a separate self.

As soon as we identify as a separate character, there is this sense of incompleteness or lack that will always look to to fill itself: to be, do or have more by searching somewhere other than here. This search will never end for the separate character because in identifying with a limited version of ourselves we mask our innate completeness. In a way this search is a deeper calling back home to our true Selves.

When we stop to truly investigate what’s here in this moment, you may notice something more magical and ordinary than you ever thought.

What if it was never about more in the future: our careers, ourselves, our relationships? What if this whole search was what actually maintained this sense of separation and kept us away from the realization of a deeper truth?

Instead of using more words and thoughts to point to a deeper experience, I have created a guided meditation to slow this process down so you can inquire and find out for yourself. When you have a few minutes of uninterrupted time, I invite you to sit in silence, watch this video and discover what is true now.

Many blessings,

Alyssa

3 Gorgeous Meditations to Kick Off the Week

Happy Monday!

If you’re like many active, busy people out there, Monday mornings can be rough. A new week brings a new set of responsibilities, activities, and concerns, and it can be hard not to feel like you’re jumping on an already-running treadmill. Even if it feels like you have a million things to accomplish this week and barely enough time to do it all, it’s important to get centered first and foremost. Your responsibilities won’t go anywhere, and the 10 minutes it takes for your mindfulness practice will pay off in the long run.

Here are 3 guided meditations to help you start your week on a fresh and centered note:

Transport yourself to Norweigen Hardangervidda National Park and become one with nature during this guided mediation with Deepak Chopra. Put your intent on your heart, focus on your breathing and let go.

Find peace in a grassy green field as Mallika Chopra reads a guided meditation. Set your intent on your heart, focus on your breathing and let yourself go.

Settle yourself in a secluded forest as Deepak Chopra reads two poems by Tagore. Tagore is known world wide for his metaphysical poetry, especially “Song Offerings” which earned him the first Nobel Prize for Literature for a non-European in 1913.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out the rest of our guided meditations!

Meditation: What Is It and What Are Its Benefits?

Have you ever meditated? Perhaps you’ve dabbled but haven’t found the right groove to make it a daily practice. Or perhaps you meditate multiple times a day and could talk for hours about its effect in your life. Whatever your relationship to the practice, many people out there have only heard the term, “meditation“, but have little understanding of what it actually means or how the practice developed. In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra defines meditation and discusses it’s history and context in Vedanta. He also explains some of the benefits of its practice. Take a look!

If this video inspires you to explore the benefits of meditation in your own life, then we encourage you to try it out! It might seem daunting to dive in right away, but by starting with short, daily meditations you will find it gets easier and easier over time. Here are two guided meditations to help you get started:

Do you have any tips for starting a meditation practice? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Meditate with Deepak Chopra to Find Love!

Erg Chebbi, Morocco, 12:35No one could say it better than John Lennon: “All you need is love.”

Love is what we strive and search for, the treasure we place above almost any other goal. Much to our confusion, there are also a million tips and tricks out there that will supposedly bring love into our lives, and yet many of these fall short of their promises. What if, on the other hand, we stopped trying to find love, and instead started living wholly and mindfully? This is where meditation comes in.

If your intention is to draw love into your life, then it might be equally accurate to say you want to experience wholeness, happiness, fulfillment, and confidence. Don’t a happy life and a happy self make for a happy relationship, after all?

Start a mindfulness practice that will promote these aims, and, in particular, let meditation be your guiding tool. Join Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey in a 21-Day Meditation Challenge. This course will be a 3-week meditation journey to the heart of true love… Discover the wonder that exists within and then watch all of your relationships unfold effortlessly, easily, and miraculously.

To get your meditative juices flowing, start with this lushly calming guided meditation with Deepak Chopra:

Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge makes meditation easy, fun, and inspiring, offering daily guided audio meditations via an online, interactive program. The all-new “Miraculous Relationships” challenge begins on August 5 with Deepak and Oprah guiding the 3-week experience. Participants will meditate and journal each day as they learn to embrace their true essence, expand their understanding of divine relationships, and experience an unparalleled connection to their world around. Participants can easily access the daily audio anytime, anywhere from their mobile phone, tablet or computer.

Visit The Chopra Center website to sign up and participate for free!

How to Teach Kids to Meditate (Grades K-5) – Part 1

Little BuddaThis is a script I wrote and loosely followed while teaching the children in my town’s public elementary school to meditate. I thought it might be helpful for other parents, teachers, and counselors who’d like to do it with their own children, with scouting troops, with church youth groups, with summer campers, and with classrooms. You can do it all at once if your group is attentive or break it into pieces over a couple of days. Use what works for you and your time constraints. My best advice in doing this is to be flexible and animated. Don’t be afraid to ad-lib or get silly. The kids will respond beautifully.

For children grades 2-5

Hi, my name is ________________.  I’m here to teach you a way to be happy. Not haha happy. Not that-was-a-funny-movie happy. Or I-love-ice-cream happy. Not even I-just-got-a-new-puppy happy. I mean heart happy. We’re going to use a tool to help us learn how to do that. Can anyone imagine what our special happiness tool could be?

The thing I’m thinking of is very close by. It’s free, it’s super easy to find and it does not require assembly or a special carrying case. It’s as close as your breath…. In fact, it IS your breath.

Just by breathing we can help ourselves find happiness. And we can use special breathing tricks to help us. But to be good at anything, what do we need to do? Practice! Right. Just like soccer or piano or drawing. If you want to be good at something, you need to practice.

But before we start practicing our breath work, I want you to help me with a check list.  You don’t need to raise your hand, just check a little box in your head if you’ve ever experienced the following things:

  • Had a big fight with someone at home
  • Forgot to turn in your homework
  • Couldn’t sleep because you kept thinking about something
  • Felt embarrassed in front of your friends
  • Worried about something happening in the world
  • Got the sillies and found yourself in trouble
  • Was scared on a carnival ride
  • Felt out of control with excitement before a big day
  • Knew the answer but felt shy to raise your hand in class
  • Got left out of a party or outing with friends

I’ve felt all of those things. And I bet you have, too. And if you haven’t yet, you will. No one is exempt from this. We all feel bad sometimes. We all mess things up. We all feel insecure.  You, me, the most popular kid in school, the bully down the hall, the star on the basketball court. Everyone. And it’s okay to feel these things. These feelings are important parts of being a person. The bad stuff lets us know when something’s wrong so we can work to ease those feelings when they’re no longer useful.  Once we acknowledge the bad stuff and send it packing, we can create more open space for the good stuff that reminds us how wonderful it feels to be alive. Each and every one of us deserves to know happiness and success, acceptance and love. And we can achieve these beneficial feelings when we activate our superpowers. We are all born with super strength. No one is exempt from that either. We’ll talk more on how to use your superpowers later but I don’t want you to forget you have them, so let’s pull on our super suits, tie on our super capes and adjust our flashy masks. Check to make sure our tool belts are on tight.

Okay, good. So when we can find a comfortable balance amongst all these feelings, we can feel peaceful. Composed.

What does composure mean? Let me try to help you understand. Listen to this.

(Play a bit of Mozart.)

Can you hear how everything is in harmony? All of the pieces of the orchestra are very different. Some are deep, some are light, some sound a little sad, some sound cheerful or even silly. But when they work together they create something balanced, productive and beautiful – something composed. In order to maintain this composure, the musicians need to practice. They need to dedicate time. They need to focus.

We are like that. In our lives, we juggle lots of different feelings. They’re all important. But when we can make all those diverse feelings work together and still feel balanced, we can maintain composure. When we can engage that composure throughout the day, our frequency begins to rise.

Frequency is a big word. It’s like the radio station our lives are tuned into. You can tune into frustration and negativity or you can tune into love and empowerment. Which one would you like to tune into?

Yes, me, too. So think of frequency like energy – and get those super suits ready. When it’s on the rise, we’re getting happier and happier. We can use our super powers to feel good and think clearly. And when our frequency rises, the people around us can feel it and believe it or not, our awesomely fast frequency helps others. Just by being fast. Superhero fast.

Understanding that we are all very much the same may help in relieving some of the confusion we feel when we’re angry or sad or anxious. And we can team up that understanding with meditation to cool our own jets and ease the stressful feelings we’re carrying around.

Who has heard the word meditation before?

Meditation is a quiet time to connect with our breath, to be still, to remember that right here, right now, we are alive and safe and okay. When we meditate, we remember to treat our bodies well, to use kind words with others and think before we speak, to think clear, useful thoughts. When our thoughts are good, our lives will be good.

For some people, this comes naturally. But most of us need to practice to achieve that state of peace and harmony, which we can find by taking a moment to TUNE IN.

Times to use meditation:

  • While taking exams and quizzes (you know the answers but your jitters keep you from remembering clearly)
  • Leading up to big celebrations, holidays, vacations or events (when you’re so excited that you’re having a hard time sitting still or thinking clearly)
  • Before games, recitals, performances (visualization helps you prepare by creating a vision for your future)
  • During arguments with friends or family members (taking time to breathe will calm you down so you can use your most compassionate voice)
  • In uncomfortable social situations (mindfulness will bring you back to your personal truth and keep you out of trouble when trouble is tempting)
  • To ease depression or sadness (bringing your thoughts to center will connect you to “what is” instead of “what was” or “what might be”)

There are many ways to meditate. But we always begin by breathing. So let’s sit straight in our seats, feet on the floor, spine long, chin tucked in, head reaching to the ceiling. Place your hands in your lap, palms up and close your eyes completely. Now think of yourself as breathing “on purpose”. Start with a deep inhale, filling your lungs as much as you can and releasing the breath, completely emptying your lungs. Try it two more times with me. Now breathe in and out through your nose naturally and notice the way your body feels from the inside. The chair supporting your weight, your hands relaxed on your legs, the air touching your skin, your soft belly rising and falling with every breath. If your thoughts get lost and you forget that you’re breathing, just gently bring yourself back to this place. Let’s breathe for one more minute and when the time is up, I’ll invite the bell as a signal to end this meditation.

(Wait one minute. Invite bell.)

A great tool to help us is this bell. You can think of the bell as a peaceful voice, inviting you to take a breath. You can accept this invitation each time you hear any bell. Keep your ears open for school bells, church bells, door bells – and use their sound as an opportunity to stop what you’re doing and breathe. Tell the people around you what you’re doing and invite them to stop and breathe, too. Use it as a reminder to think about your breath and about being connected to the earth and about being a perfectly imperfect human being. Listen to the way the bell resonates and stay still and quiet until you can no longer hear its sound.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

The Coolest Meditator In The World

The Dalai Lama @ The Vancouver Peace SummitHe turned 78 last Saturday and still says he meditates for three hours every day, starting at 4 am. He says he is just a simple monk and that kindness is his religion, calling for love and compassion to promote world peace.

When we met with the Dalai Lama he was standing on his veranda overlooking the beautiful Himalayan Mountain range, smiling and waving for us to come. We went to bow as is the tradition but he lifted us, took our hands, and said: “We are all equal here.”

We really didn’t know what to expect as he walked us into his sitting room. We imagined this spiritual leader to millions would be a serene Buddha-like figure sitting on a throne, yet he sat between us on his couch, still holding our hands, for forty-five minutes. He was the most ordinary person we ever hung out with. The world’s greatest meditator was simple and unassuming, he felt like our best friend, and he laughed a lot.

Ed and Deb Shapiro with the Dalai LamaJust by sitting with the Dalai Lama we realized the effect of his years of meditation, as his very presence emanated all those qualities that meditators seek, such as inner peace, loving kindness, authenticity, and mindful awareness. This is particularly seen in his devotion to ahimsa, non-injury, and his policy of non-violence, which is why he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

Research, such as that conducted by neuroscientist Richie Davidson, a friend of the Dalai Lama’s, at Wisconsin University, and shared in our book Be The Change, proves how meditation actually develops the part of our brain that increases compassion and loving kindness. “By training the mind, we can actually change the brain toward greater contentment,” says Dr. Davidson in Be The Change. “There is certainly evidence to show that meditation practices designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness change the brain in many positive ways.”

However, the mind desires endless entertainment and much prefers being distracted than facing the constant dramas racing around inside it. The idea of sitting still and watching our breath can appear boring, meaningless, even a time-waster, and not at all fun or creative. Yet meditation invites an undoing of what isn’t and a revealing of what is; we don’t become someone else, rather we become more who we really are, which is far from boring! It is about being fully present in this moment, no matter what we are doing: if washing the dishes, then let any thoughts and distractions dissolve into the soap bubbles; when eating, be aware of every bite, taste, and texture.

As the Dalai Lama wrote in the foreword to our book:

I strongly recommend anyone interested in meditation not to simply read what these people have to say, but to try it out. If you like it and its useful to you, keep it up. Treat this book as you would a cookery book. You wouldn’t merely read recipes with approval, you’d try them out. Some you’d like and would use again. Like cookery, meditation only makes sense if you put it into effect.

A regular practice of meditation can produce discernible changes in the brain in a matter of just six to eight weeks. To feel the difference in yourself try the practice below.

Weed Pulling Meditation

Find a comfortable and upright place to sit. Take a few deep breaths, then watch the flow of your breath as it enters and leaves.

Now bring your focus to your heart, and as you breathe in feel as if your heart is opening and softening; as you breathe out, release any tension or resistance. Sit here for a few minutes.

Now visualize yourself walking in a beautiful but overgrown garden. All sorts of colorful flowers surround you, but among them are numerous weeds.

You find a place to sit amidst the plants and mindfully begin to remove the weeds. Each one represents a negative aspect of yourself or your life. Name it as you remove it, and watch it leave your mind as you discard it.

The more weeds you remove the lighter you feel, as if a weight is being removed from you. As you do this, the flowers are growing stronger and brighter.

Stay here as long as you like. You may not have time to pull up all the weeds, so before you leave promise that you will be back again to remove some more.

When you are ready, silently repeat three times, “May I be happy, may my mind be like a beautiful garden.” Take a deep breath and let it go. Then fill the rest of your day with kindness and smiles.

* * *

Listen to our weekly LIVE radio show every Tuesday at 8:00pm EST: Going Out Of Your Mind.

Join our Be The Change Meditate e-Conference that will uplift and inspire you. 30 eclectic meditation teachers, including Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Mindful Nation, Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, Gangaji, Joan Borysenko, Seane Corn, neuroscientist Richie Davidson who proves how meditation affects the brain, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Stiles, and us, Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of the conference companion book, BE THE CHANGE: How Meditation Can Transform You and The World. Expect your life to never be the same again!

For more information: www.edanddebshapiro.com

photo by: Kris Krug

Better Breathing for a Better Life (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.33.10 PMWhen you find yourself in a situation where you get stressed, frightened or caught off guard, what’s the best thing to do?

Scream? Sometimes. : )

But seriously, what did mom or grandma or your loved one tell you to do?

Breathe.

Yes, it’s as simple as that.

But time and time again, while walking around the streets of San Francisco (and while being in the car with certain eh hem, friends with road rage) I witness screaming and feel their blood boiling. What good does that do?

I try to make it a practice to breathe deeply every morning.

Here’s how:

I love filling up my lungs and expunging all the air and imagining my lungs deflating like a balloon. I do this almost every morning with a 20-30 minute yoga routine.

I’m an early riser, so I like to take in the stillness of the morning silence with a meditation practice. People may get freaked out and discouraged about “not knowing how to meditate.” The truth is, there isn’t a “right way” to meditate. Simple focus on your breath, deep breath in…deep breath out.

Other times when I’m running and gunning, I just take three quick deep breaths. If you’re over-programmed like me and have a busy schedule, set a reminder on your phone to go off three times a day to remind you to breathe.

Here’s a video I made for you that will help you focus on your breathing. This is what I usually see on my morning run at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Breathe in when the waves come toward the shore. Breathe all the way out when the waves recede. It’s only a minute long, but the effects are long lasting.

Enjoy!

Feel better?

According to Men’s Journal, here are some stats about how deep breathing can be aaah-so-good for your health:

Relax: Breathing is an “accurate and honest barometer” of a person’s emotional state. Train your breathing to maintain your calm and lower stress levels.

Maximize Potential: The average person uses just 50 to 60 percent of his lung capacity. Breath training expands the lungs, and better oxygen intake means higher athletic performance.

Improve Health: Research suggests that developing proper breathing habits can play a role in treating conditions like asthma, acute bronchitis, ADHD and sleep apnea.

Don’t we all feel better after taking a few deep breaths? The next time you feel your panties or boxer briefs getting in a bunch, smile and relax (those butt cheeks). Namaste!

What other breathing exercises help you get through your day? If you follow our @goinspirego Instagram feed, you’ll notice that I often post pictures of beautiful cityscapes and snapshots of nature. Surprisingly, many people tell me the pictures remind them to slow down, be present and breathe. I’d love to hear/see what inspires you to breathe. Please share in the comments below.

Follow and like us on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...