All Articles Tagged "meditation"
I’ve spent many years living a double life. To the public, friends and family I was (and still am) a journalist, women’s empowerment, entrepreneur type of lady. But in the privacy of my own life I’ve spent the past 12 years as a meditating, holistic, healer, intuitive, scientist, and psychic type of lady. It’s been a really enlightening up and down journey to get where I am on the inside…to be able to develop this type of grounded relationship with my inner self. I always knew that whenever I had kids I would be introducing them early on to this “other” side of me. When I delivered my twin boys in 2012 the first few years were awesome but hectic and it wasn’t until recently that I was able to introduce them to some of my ways.
Now, when we go out places, while other New Yorkers are walking down the street rushing in their own zone, my four-year-olds are very aware of their environment. They acknowledge and thank the trees for providing oxygen, notice how bright the sunlight is, notice the colors or shapes of certain flowers. Our morning prayer/mantra on the way to school is “Thank you God for my life and for my family. I am awesome. I am powerful. I am a king.”
In addition to their morning mantra, about once a week I pull out all of my awesome stones (citrine, amethyst, rose quartz etc.) and allow them to touch them and observe the different textures and shapes. Then we hold hands and take deep breaths. Even though they can’t stay still for too long, they love touching the stones and are at least getting used to the concept of relaxing and being centered.
Check out some tips if you are interested in trying some:
1. Be an example. Teaching your kids tips on how to be more calm and balanced even in a stressful situation starts with you. They have to see that you are making an effort to do what you are teaching them. If you are new to meditation or relaxation techniques just be honest and tell your child you will learn and try it together.
2. Teach them how to connect with nature. Find ways when you are out and about to explain how important the sun, trees, earth are and how they are used in our everyday lives. For example, you can talk to them about water. Water is awesome because it can be use to bathe and cleanse, it can be use to cook with, you can swim in it etc. It’s just a way to get them to appreciate the natural world around them.
3. Create a meditation space. This can be a really fun and creative activity. Find a corner in a room and make a meditation area. Get a nice little mat or rug, make sure the space is clean and clear of clutter. You can even add the faux votive candles from the dollar store to create a zen space without the fire risk and you can add whatever decorative pictures or things you like.
4. Try meditation with a prize at the end to start. It may be hard to get your kids to sit still at first so you may have to use something to entice them. Make it a game in the beginning and see who can sit still the longest with their eyes closed taking big deep breaths and then have an end time after maybe about two minutes. Just explain that it’s a great way to relax especially when they are upset. Make sure you are sitting in comfortable clothing in a relaxed position. Every time you do it just increase the time by a minute or two so they gradually get used to the concept of being still to relax.
Have you introduced your kids to any zen like activities yet or do you plan to? What works for you?
You’ve probably already seen the stories about Robert W. Coleman Elementary School replacing detention with meditation for its students. The school has partnered with a group called Holistic Life Foundation to offer the children a mindfulness room where they can calm down, regroup and take their focus away from the negative feelings that get them into trouble. The meditation and mindfulness work recenters kids in the moment that they’ve committed an infraction, as well as at other times during the day when they might get riled up. But meditation isn’t just for children. It can have a positive impact on the emotions and behaviors of practitioners of all ages.
What do we mean by meditation?
Meditation is defined as the process by which one focuses their thoughts on one particular aspect of life. Casually, meditation means “deep thought,” but as a practice, it involves “resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state,” according to Yoga International.
In layman’s terms, meditation involves ridding your mind of worrisome thoughts and judgments — like whether you’ll get a promotion at work or how much you dislike your new neighbor — and focusing inward. When meditating, people focus their attention on a sound or a physical item. A mantra is such a sound, as its repetition encourages the practitioner to focus on the saying and the hearing of the words in order to get to a new state of consciousness.
This practice may sound odd to someone who isn’t familiar with meditation. But think of it as akin to prayer. If you pray, you focus your attention on God or another higher power, and you speak to that being while blocking out other stimuli. Meditation works in the same way except the goal isn’t to get closer to your higher power, it is to get closer inward, to yourself.
What about mindfulness?
Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand. Mindfulness is the process of simultaneously paying attention and letting go. During mindfulness meditation, practitioners focus their attention on an object, or a sound, or their breath, and remain detached from any thoughts or feelings or judgments that come about during their practice. For example, if one is practicing mindfulness meditation and their foot begins to itch, they acknowledge the feeling of itching — where it is in the body, it’s intensity — and then let it go without judging it, i.e. thinking that it should be scratched or worrying that the itching will detract from the meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is difficult to practice at first, but doing so has real emotional benefits. Researchers at Michigan State University recently found that people who practice mindfulness, or those who are naturally mindful, can regulate their negative emotions. In fact, mindfulness meditation has been used regularly in treatment for depression, borderline personality disorder, and other mental conditions that feature negative thought patterns.
How do I begin practicing meditation?
Starting a meditation practice is easy, as you don’t need any equipment. Here is an easy, beginners guide to mindfulness meditation that can help get you started.
- Sit comfortably. You don’t have to sit with your legs cross, just in any position that is comfortable for you.
- Close your eyes. Breathe.
- Pay attention to your breath, noticing your inhale and exhale, but not judging it. Try to maintain an even pattern of breathing, and try to keep your focus on your breath. If your mind wanders or you’re distracted, don’t worry. Just return to your breath.
- Continue for as long as you can, noting that the first time will be difficult, but the process will get easier the more you do it.
There are also mindfulness meditation websites, CDs and podcasts in which someone guides you through a meditation session. This is called “guided meditation” and it is helpful for people new to the practice.
Once you get used to meditation, you will be able to do it anywhere and at any time your thoughts or emotions get the better of you.
Over the years, it’s become tradition to punish a kid with detention or suspension when they act up. However, one Baltimore elementary school is taking a more artistic to combat unruliness: mindful meditation.
Upworthy featured Robert W. Coleman Elementary School on their site, shedding light on their newly-minted Mindful Moment Room a bright and peaceful space that replaces the bland traditional detention rooms. According to the site, “the room looks nothing like your standard windowless detention room. Instead, it’s filled with lamps, decorations, and plush purple pillows.” During the sessions, kids are encouraged to sit in the room, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, with the goal of helping them calm down and re-center. In addition, professionals join them to help them analyze their behavior and talk through what happened.
Mindful meditation as such has been around for quite some time, nearly thousands of years, and science has recently delved into just how it affects our minds and bodies. One study suggested that “mindful meditation could give practicing soldiers a kind of mental armor against disruptive emotions, and it can improve memory too.” Another also suggested it could “improve a person’s attention span and focus.”
While the results in individual studies don’t carry in every single situation, the kids of Robert W. Coleman have benefited greatly. “It’s amazing,” said Kirk Philips, the Holistic Me coordinator at the elementary school, which is a local non-profit that has partnered with the school. “You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.”
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Even in the later half of my 20s, I still find myself struggling with this thing called adulting. I still find myself kicking and screaming and protesting my way into my adult responsibilities. Five out of school and I still find myself struggling to accept that there are no more summer breaks, spring breaks, winter breaks or random holidays off. Work starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. and that’s about it. There are no excuses, and even in the midst of your slow acceptance that this is indeed your future, life does not wait for you to catch up. The pressures of life begin to pile up like the pile of paperwork that’s been accumulating over the course of the week on the corner of your desk. No matter how quickly hump day comes, it feels like you’re never getting over the mountain of work you have. According to a national poll conducted by the American Psychology Association, two-thirds of men and women experience significant stress at work. It was also revealed that one in four have confessed to missing work because of that. Your work responsibilities are important, but they should never be taken care of at the expense of your health. When it feels like that is what’s happening, that is when it’s important for you to stop and take a deep breath. Even though we openly express the importance of having a designated self-care day, preferably on the weekends, it’s also important to know a few self-care techniques to perform right at your desk or work space when things get overwhelming.
Set and Maintain Professional Boundaries
Jobs that are understaffed, startups, and small businesses will often tell you that you need to be a team player. That usually translates to “We know we need more staff, but we don’t plan on hiring since it’ll be more cost effective to just have everyone perform multiple job responsibilities.” While you do need to know how to productively work well with others in an office setting, it’s also okay to stick to your own job responsibilities. I mean, that is why they hired you in the first place, right? So if you work in IT and someone asks you to work with accounting, it’s okay to politely say that it is out of your area of knowledge and would be more of a burden than an opportunity for growth for you.
Balance Your Work Schedule
Work time is work time. Lunch time is lunch time. Breaks are for breaks. Use the time allotted for each wisely. Lunch and breaks are an opportunity for you to re-energize and decompress a little. Stress comes when you’re not just working during work time, but decided that you’re going to work during lunch and during your breaks, too.
It is also important to schedule each part of your day. Using the alarm on your phone can be very helpful in keeping you on track with your time management. It can be the tool you need to tell you when it’s time to stop, save and move on to the next task.
Take Self-Care Breaks
Some jobs give you breaks in the morning and in the afternoon after lunch. These are great, but you can also take additional three-minute self-care breaks right at your desk by turning your screen off and placing your phone on Do Not Disturb for three minutes while you do some deep breathing exercises and meditation. Incorporating some upper-body yoga techniques can help you recharge and relax.
Organize Your Work Space
One of the quickest ways to lose your mind is to sit in clutter for long periods of time. When your work space is unorganized and you can’t find things right away or you’ve lost important files and papers under a pile of more important files and papers, it’s time to do some organizing. Add some beauty to your work space with desk plants and pops of color. Make sure your work space is comfortable with the proper chairs and desk equipment.
Think Before You Agree
If you’re one of those employees who is eager to learn or if you’re one of those timid employees who is afraid to say no, it shouldn’t be a surprise when you find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of work you’ve chosen to take on. Keep in mind, a company is built and run by multiple people. If a duty is too overwhelming for you or if you know agreeing to take on a new assignment would be too much of a workload given the other tasks you have yet to complete, I guarantee there is someone else in the department who would be happy to assist or help lessen your burden.
You don’t have to save your self-care moments for the weekends when you should be carefree anyway. Self-Care days are much more needed during the workweek when things are getting real. If you integrate these strategies into your day to day, you won’t have to pray for hump day to hurry up or for Friday to slide through.
We love positive and powerful affirmations, they are a big deal because it’s important to learn how to combat negative thoughts with positive ones. We have the power to attract and manifest anything our hearts truly desire. Instead of starting the week off on a grumpy foot, consider reading the following positive and powerful affirmations that can change the pace of your day, as well as renew your mind and spirit. Are you ready? Mom, you got this!
“I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.”
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.