All Articles Tagged "meditation"
by Abiola Abrams
You need to feel empowered if you’re going to answer your big calling and change the world, right? Stress is an epidemic among women any time of year. At any given time you are juggling your kids, your beau, your work, your home, your hair, and you life! Add to that the energy of the holidays and this can be an overwhelming time. Inner peace can take a back seat.
Well, the cure for chaos lies in our center, the mind-body-spirit, the breath. However, nothing can be more annoying that someone saying, “Just breathe,” when things are falling apart! I feel you. For years I believed that I was unable to meditate. I had a narrow limited view that meditation had to be me sitting in a dark room, breathing and mentally vacant for hours. I couldn’t sit for 3 minutes without wondering about the grocery list, my new pink stilettos, or trying to take over the world. Then I learned that I didn’t have the whole picture when it comes to meditation.
There’s no need to feel guilty or hard on yourself if you’re not into traditional meditation. I have women feeling the need to apologize to me for not meditating. Do you! If you have peace and calm through other means, work it! No need to jump on any bandwagon ever.
Every religion and religious text includes some meditative form of getting connected to our source. Ministers like Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Rick Warren may refer to meditation as “breath prayers.” As an empowerment coach and advice columnist, I teach meditation as a healing modality because there is nothing more powerful than us getting reconnected to our breath. Yoga is also a breath connection practice.
Here are Powerful Ways to Meditate When You Hate Meditation:
Set your alarm for 15 minutes and try any practice on the list. Light a candle or don’t. Play calming music or don’t. Pipe up the incense or not. Sit comfortably or lie down. Your meditation practice is yours and yours alone.
1. Chanting Meditation.
Remember in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” when Angela Bassett as Tina Turner found peace in the Buddhist practice of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo? That was chanting, which can be found in different forms with different names in churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues.
Chanting “ahhh” is said to be the sounds of creation and the “om” mantra is said the sound of the universe. Research transcendental and Japa meditation for more information. Dr. Wayne Dyer has a book and Japa meditation album called Getting in the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation” that may offer guidance.
2. Prayer Beads as a Meditation Tool.
People ask the difference between prayer and meditation. For some of us it’s one in the same. Another description is that prayer and meditation is the cycle of us asking for guidance and receiving guidance.
Prayer beads are used in many religious traditions. According to Wikipedia, prayer bead users include Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and practitioners of “Islam, Sikhism and the Bahá’í Faith to mark the repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions, such as the rosary of Virgin Mary in Christianity, and dhikr (remembrance of God) in Islam.”
I have seen people praying with their rosary beads and mala beads in New York City on the subway and even in jury duty. This is proof that you don’t even have to use the word meditating to be meditating. My mala beads help me find a meditative re-connection even on the grocery line. Claim your calm. Reconnect with your power.
3. Singing and Dancing as Meditation.
There’s a reason why praise from every tradition includes us raising our voices and swaying our beautiful bodies in exultation and celebration. When you’re singing, chanting, and dancing, you’re in the moment. You are not thinking of the past or the future. You are right there, raised up in the joy of the second. Ask gospel choir members or the whirling dervishes. This connection is sacred. This is meditation.
4. Food Meditation.
Mindfulness is being present. Self-being is the term I created to describe the state of being powerfully present. For some this is an easier way to access the idea of meditation. Mindful eating is a meditative practice. With every bite think of the hands that have prepared it, the farmers who grew it, the spices and tastes. Be present on your plate, observing the smells and the colors of the meal. Any food can be a meditation from green beans to rich dark chocolate. Yes!
5. Guided Meditation Visualization.
Some of us like the practice of having someone gently guide us through our meditation. Then our minds don’t have to feel like we are focusing on not focusing. Check out life coach Iyanla Vanzant’s meditation series. Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith offers a free meditation on his site and so do I. (That’s me in the featured photo today!) These are often a combination of meditation and guided visualization. Do what works for you and chuck the rest.
Other practices include Laughing Meditation, Freewriting, Journal Meditation, Walking Meditation, Mandala Meditation, Labyrinth Meditation, Firestarter Meditation, Koan Meditation, Crystal Meditation, Body Scan Meditation, LovingKindness, and Chakra Meditations.
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams is the author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” nominated for an African American Literary Award in self-help. She gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to Ebony and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Abiola is also the creator of the African Goddess Affirmation Cards. Tweet @abiolaTV.
As I sat sifting through the spreadsheet I had created at work, I couldn’t help but smile and think about the guy I was currently dating. We would FaceTime during my work hours while he was still at home. We texted all day and talked on the phone all night. We even had the luxury of seeing each other every day. I was in love, and even though I had been in a long-term relationship before then, it was the first time that I had experienced such strong emotions towards someone else. So, as I sat, sorting through my documents and thinking, a strong sensation shot down my spine and spread throughout my arms, legs and neck. My breathing shortened and the feeling was amazing. I had no idea what was happening, but I was pretty sure I had somehow thought myself into an orgasm. All the signs were there as I sat in my office trying to figure out what the hell just happened. It was as if my entire body had gone into an intense state of relaxation. So, as a psuedo-researcher of things, I Googled “can you orgasm without being touched?” That’s where I discovered energy orgasms. I had to text my friends about this phenomenon.
What Is An Energy Orgasm?
An energy orgasm is achieved through a series of controlled breathing and muscle clenching techniques. They create a sensation without being touched. Energy orgasms, in my opinion, can be an extremely spiritual experience and an empowering one for women. The notion of being so deeply connected to oneself and someone else to trigger that kind of pleasure is powerful. It requires one to center themselves and to completely empty their minds. For me, all it took was contentment and an extreme case of lust and infatuation.
What’s The Difference Between Energy Orgasms And Conventional Ones?
Although there is no scientific research that shows any significant difference between an energy induced orgasm and a conventional one, Dr. Barry Komisaruk, writer of The Science of Orgasm, found that the pleasure centers of the brain associated with orgasm light up in women who think themselves to orgasm in exactly the same way as in women who orgasm through more conventional means (i.e., sex, masturbation). And we all know the health benefits of orgasms. They are great stress relievers and a way to connect with your partner. However, energy orgasms require you to be relaxed and to fully let go. This happens through various mental exercises and breathing techniques that allow you to connect with yourself. It is said that women who can perfect the art of energy orgasms also have even more intense orgasms when engaging in sex with a partner.
How Can You Experience This?
After speaking with a sex coach who goes by Barbara, she suggests closing your eyes, relaxing and using your imagination to concentrate on something or someone that produces arousal. Her technique is to practice deep breathing until you can feel yourself getting lighter and your mind clearing. While inhaling and exhaling deeply, also expand and contract your pelvic muscles, intensifying the contractions with every exhale. This will create a tingling and tight feeling in the clitoral area as sensitivity increases. According to her, this is the blood flowing in and out of each vessel, stimulating the nerve fibers and producing powerful feelings of ecstasy and intense pleasure.
Who knew a dirty mind and some deep breathing could trigger such a pleasurable sensation? Do tell. Have you ever tried to have an energy orgasm. If you were successful, how was it?
You may have heard folks throwing around the word “chakras” but what does this mean? And what does it matter to you? Is this just some mumbo jumbo?
The concept of chakras is not as confusing as it seems. Just like we have arteries and veins running through our bodies, we have chakras. Chakras are basically areas of spiritual energy. When our chakras are out of balance, naturally our lives are out of balance.
You can juice up your meditation game by focusing on the healing energy in any of the chakra areas. The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel, so you can picture a wheel or gorgeous lotus flower spinning in each chakra area from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Picture yourself standing on the ground with cleansing white light shooting up throughout your feet, pull it in, receive it and allow it to spread throughout your body.
Now you may be wondering, well if these chakras are so important, Abiola, how come I’ve never heard of them? This is actually a question I received when I announced that I was creating a chakra clearing class. Just because we haven’t focused on something before doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to us having our most bombshell lives.
You may have never given gravity a second thought either, but it is still doing its thing, right?
Let’s break it down, chakra by chakra…
Your Root Chakra:
Affirmation: I am always safe and protected.
Do you feel anxious and worried or unstable?
The root chakra is all about feeling safe in the world. This is very important for us as women. Many of the decisions we make are in response to not feeling secure in our sacred bombshell bodies, not feeling safe in our lives.
Your Sacral Chakra:
Affirmation: I deserve and welcome pleasure into my life.
Do you try to numb or avoid your own feelings or constantly find your emotions out of control?
The sacral chakra is all about pleasure, creativity and feeling good. The sacral chakra also represents sexuality, passion, and bliss. The sacral chakra is located below the belly button. When this chakra is in balance you feel comfortable with intimacy and happiness.
Your Naval Chakra:
Affirmation: I feel confident and respected.
Do you feel like you never get what you want or do you feel a need to be overly aggressive to get respect?
The naval chakra is about you standing confidently in your sacred bombshell power. The naval chakra represents self-worth. When the belly button chakra is balanced, you have healthy self-esteem.
Your Heart Chakra:
Affirmation: I am wrapped in the arms of unconditional love.
Are you stuck in grief or anger?
The heart chakra represents your love and compassion for others. The heart chakra represents inner peace and healthy relationships. When the heart chakra is balanced you easily give and receive love and your relationships are on point.
Your Throat Chakra:
Affirmation: I express myself easily and effortlessly.
Do you feel uneasy expressing yourself or feel the need to dominate the conversation?
When the throat chakra is in balance you communicate easily. The throat chakra is about finding your voice and speaking your truth. Yes!
Your Third Eye Chakra:
Affirmation: I trust my intuition.
Do you always need everybody and her mama to weigh in on your decisions?
The third eye chakra is about your intuition and connection to receiving guidance. This chakra is located in the center of your forehead. When the third eye chakra is in balance, you trust your own insight.
Your Crown Chakra:
Affirmation: I am open to receiving wisdom.
Do you feel sadness, a lack of purpose, or difficulty concentrating?
The crown chakra is all about inspiration and bliss, and connection to your Source. Located on the top of your stylish coif, the energy color is violet.
And there you have it, everything you need to know to get your chakras on fleek!
Abiola Abrams, the Midwife for Your Inspired Life, is the author of the award-winning “Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love” and founder of the Sacred Business Academy’s “Become the Guru Bootcamp” for business bombshells. Get Abiola’s free Self-Worth Kit at http://OwnYourBombshell.com.
If you thought meditation is just for serious yogis and those on a “spiritual journey,” you’re missing out. Meditation can help you with very practical, real-life matters like finances, health, and even love. Here is how meditation could save your love life.
Every day we wake up with so much to do and so little time in which to do it. We have goals that we want reached “yesterday” and personal lives balanced on the edge of a pin. It makes sense that many people are feeling the need to “take it easy,” and “stop to smell the roses.” But how easy is it really? Thanks to our phones, which go wherever we do, inner peace is now just a swipe away. These popular meditation apps are for when you find yourself hiding in the bathroom just wanting a few minutes to yourself.
Meditation and practices related to it have taken the world by storm. There have been all sorts of benefits linked to meditation, including relieving stress, improving concentration, and becoming more patient. Since meditation has become so popular, it’s no surprise that celebrities have jumped on the band wagon as well. Here are 15 celebs who practice some form of meditation.
Tina Turner is one of the many celebs who has used meditation in order to overcome a tough obstacle in life. For more than 30 years, she has been an avid follower and supporter of meditation, especially due to her strong support of Buddhist beliefs. Tina Turner even credits meditation for allowing her to gain the inner confidence and courage that she needed in order to leave her abusive ex-husband, Ike Turner.
Don’t you love that quiet lull the office falls into between Christmas and New Year’s Day? With clients and coworkers traveling for the holidays, the workplace can feel like an adult version of Home Alone. But, there are better things to do with your downtime than playing Facebook games or building towers out of office supplies with your cubicle mates. This is the perfect time of year to gain perspective on 2012, and get focused for the New Year. Follow these steps to make sure your mind is right for 2013.
I’m not going to lie, 2012 has been a rough year. I know many people share that sentiment, as I know most of my friends do. For me, the year started with the loss of my favorite entertainer, Whitney Houston, then one of my favorite aunts (I only have two), and it ended with the loss of my dear friend, celebrity make-up artist Ross Burton. And, of course, the entire nation and world is mourning the recent tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. On so many levels, I think we are all in need of a collective healing.
Not one for ever wallowing in sadness, I am super excited about the holidays because what better time to celebrate life, make wrongs right and be hopeful for a brighter future? Yes, leading up to [today] has been trying, but the closer [we got] to it, the more I [was] able to focus on the rejuvenation that the holiday season can bring. I’m taking the opportunity to do some things to recharge my spirit and truly embrace the beauty of the season.
Check out a few practical ways to heal a troubled spirit on Essence.com.
From Psychology Today:
“The manic defence is the tendency, when presented with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, to distract the conscious mind either with a flurry of activity or with the opposite thoughts or feelings. A general example of the manic defence is the person who spends all of his time rushing around from one task to the next, and who is unable to tolerate even short periods of inactivity. For this person, even leisure time consists in a series of discrete programmed activities that he needs to submit to in order to tick off from an actual or mental list. One needs only observe the expression on his face as he ploughs through yet another family outing, cultural event, or gruelling exercise routine to realize that his aim in life is not so much to live in the present moment as it is to work down his never-ending list. If one asks him how he is doing, he is most likely to respond with an artificial smile and a robotic response along the lines of, ‘Fine, thank you—very busy of course!’ In many cases, he is not fine at all, but confused, exhausted, and fundamentally unhappy.”
Been there, done that. And I’m riddled with constant anxiety to prove it.
It seems the older I get, the harder it is for me to sit still. I end up feeling guilty and think that all this still sitting is wasting time. I should be doing something. But what? Well, there is always the two loads of laundry needed to be cleaned, vacuuming that could be done, checking in with family members I haven’t spoken to in a while; another chapter in my long-awaited-by-nobody- novel needed to be written…and so forth and so on. There is always something to do.
I’m not surprised to read the newest statistics, which say that Americans on average are taking fewer vacation days than before. The most popular cited reasons included “fear of being replaced” and “too much work.” And then there’s also such a thing as “leisure sickness” that plays a part in those numbers, where workaholics will feel sick during down times like vacation and weekends. As a society we are fed a constant stream of messages that tell us that being busy is a good thing. Successful people are busy. Therefore, if you want to be successful in life too, you better get busy.
Growing up, I was always taught that an idle hand was the devil’s playground. Therefore, “free time” was time to be used to find something new to do. This notion was enforced by my mother, who always sent me to clean something after fielding my complaints about being bored and was reinforced during visits to my father in upstate Pennsylvania, who hated to see me sitting around or just watching television and would demand, “why don’t you go find something to do?” Even as I got older and found things to do, my “doing of stuff” wasn’t sufficient enough. At Friendly’s Restaurant, which was my first real job with a legal paycheck, the popular phrase among the wait staff of managers was, “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”
On the constant hunt for “something to do” meant that while I was busy, for some reason, I still didn’t seem to accomplish much. I was occupied but also aimless and unfulfilled. “Fun” if that is what you called it – had to be pre-planned and penciled in. And usually I found myself mentally – in some cases physically – in too many places and spaces. Like the time that I was working two jobs and involved in a number of volunteer community service projects and saying “yes” to just about every invite and opportunity that came my way. Sure, I was busy. I had timetables and deadlines, agendas and outputs too. But I was also unnecessarily stressed, and I for damn sure wasn’t happy. And not to mention, I was exhausted. I needed to relax. But how?
One day I decided to schedule in some relaxation by way of a local Women of Color meditation sit-in group. I thought being in the presence of experienced meditators would help bring about a sense of calm and peace, which I needed in my life. However, I found it hard to relax due to thoughts about what I was doing and if I was doing it right. At one point during the session, we did a walking meditation, where we went outside and walked silently up and down the pavement. The point was to be able to clear the mind while in a real world circumstance, yet all I kept thinking was, “What if someone sees me and wonders, ‘what the heck is she doing?’” Even in the act of doing nothing I was finding myself worrying and stressing about something.
It’s only been fairly recently that I began to allow myself permission to do absolutely nothing. Sure, I still have my to-do list and I still sometimes worry about what other folks think. However, I will regularly deviate from my internal nonsense to do something spontaneous, something superficially beneficial for me, like paint my toenails a pretty color or hookie from work to go see a movie or just sit peacefully and think about things. Everything doesn’t have to have an agenda, nor does it have to be perfect. It’s okay to live in the moment, and yes, the dishes can wait until tomorrow.
Around this time of year it’s easy to get bogged down with stress, doubt, anxieties and all of the other little nasties life can throw your way.
But no matter what you’re up against, you have the power, not to change your situation but certainly to change your outlook.
Get some tips and tricks on ways you can improve your mental clarity at Hello Beautiful.com.