Posts Tagged With: meditation

Yoga & Meditation for Veterans

It’s common knowledge how healing yoga and meditation is. The benefits of both are plentiful; not just for the body but for the mind and spirit. I came across an article in Yoga Journal discussing the healing powers of yoga and meditation for Veterans. The article itself doesn’t go into too much detail about the healing process. It does however, state the positive results that yoga and meditation provide for Veterans: decreased insomnia, anger, depression, anxiety, and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The article also interviewed five Veterans that have practiced yoga and meditation. The major themes of their experiences with yoga seemed to be it helped them accept themselves, opened their hearts, provided empowerment, and concentration.

Lastly, the article discusses the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans program. This is a really awesome training to do if you are already a yoga teacher or just want to give back to the Veteran community. For Veterans, this is a program that may be offered at a local VA Hospital! It’s a win win!

For more info & the slide show of the Veterans interviewed click below:

http://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/portraits-courage-5-veterans-healing-power-yoga/#slide-0

Check out the Mindful Yoga Therapy website for training opportunities and programs near you:

http://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/portraits-courage-5-veterans-healing-power-yoga/#slide-0

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How Yoga & Meditation Can Help Heal Addiction

It is common knowledge that if one is suffering from addiction, he or she will most likely frequent a Twelve-Step program. This is the Western approach to addiction. However, the Eastern approach to addiction is that it is not a separate disease, rather it is an over attachment within the condition of human suffering.

Kevin Griffin, the author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps and cofounder of the Buddhist Recovery Network (BRN), explains that addiction may be a “misguided spiritual search”. The longing for a spiritual connection may manifest itself as addiction. Addicts can be seen as sensation seekers, looking for something else in life, so why not satisfy that hunger with yoga and meditation?

Where do yoga, mindfulness and meditation come into play? Think about how addiction is the polar opposite of possessing a bodymind connection or maintaining a full and present mind. Through the integration of yoga and meditation with Twelve-Step programs, an addict can become more present and mindful of his or her thoughts and actions, instead of giving into impulsivities and cravings.

A recovering alcoholic, who has remained anonymous in this article attested to the following: “I wasn’t drinking, but my addictive tendencies were making the rounds in different areas of my life, so I still felt crazy and restless and unhappy. At the suggestion of a fellow recovering alcoholic, I signed up for a yoga class. In yoga postures, I got introduced to how frenetic and negative my thinking was, and I knew that that’s where the change needed to happen. Abstinence from alcohol wasn’t enough. Eventually I started a meditation practice, which is where I get to both observe and train my mind.”

For the full article and more information, click the link below:

http://kripalu.org/article/860/

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Thoughts on Meditation

I often read through hundreds of writings to try to understand what this elusive concept of meditation is. I watch teachers take firm stances on what technique is best, what style is best and they off course, side with themselves. Each time this happens I realize how lucky I am since this requires further exploration. From this, it has occurred to me that perhaps meditation is much simpler: no concepts, no formulas and therefore – total freedom.

Is meditation purely giving our attention completely to whatever is happening in the moment albeit writing, conversing, an activity,  or just anything? I have found in this state of pure attention there is a silence that exists, a space that arises filled with deep sounds with an overwhelming sense of love. A frontier beyond the frontier. Can meditation then be separate from life? A separate activity that one engages in or is it rather a state of being that is everyday life?

Perhaps it is being fully immersed in the Whole of Life…not dismissing anything – whether good or bad – since it seems to move beyond this and it is all part of living. Well, too not fall into the trap, I guess one must explore freely and find out for oneself…

SKY

“One has to find out for oneself, not through anybody. We have the authority of teachers, saviors and masters. If you really want to find out what meditation is, you have to set aside all authority completely”. ~J. Krishnamurti

Or hang out with this guy since they are always present!

DOG

Photos By: kaysha and luvi

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Silent Meditation Retreat before Finals

Spring 2013
Deepening your Mindfulness
1/2 Day Silent Meditation Retreat
May 4, 2013

Saturday from 10:30am – 3:00pm

Silent Pathway

Plan ahead and take advantage of this great opportunity in 1 months time!

An opportunity for renewal as we spend the day practicing together:
mindful yoga, walking, sitting, eating (lite lunch).
*All practices will be guided*

Registration fee: $70, pre-registration required
Newcomers welcome, some previous meditation experience helpful

Location:
In the BARN at Avalon Park & Preserve,
Shep Jones Lane – Stony Brook, Long Island

Please pre-register by emailing:
Dr.cherylkurash@gmail.com

Further info:
http://www.mindfulnessmeditationnyc.com/
&
http://www.avalonparkandpreserve.org/

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Yoga & Meditation on Fridays!

Only a few classes left of this double dose of goodness after spring break! Join us!

Mindfullness & Stress Reduction Group Spring 2013- C.Kurash

Yoga - Invigorate & Energize

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The Power of the Breath

BreatheIt is something we do each and every day without thought and without question. Our chest lengthens as our lungs expand and air enters and exits our mouths and noses. This act preserves our lives, yet its power goes unrecognized.

Breathing, respiration, oxygenating, whatever you may name it, is the act of passing air through our bodies in exchange with the environment. When we breathe, we come in contact with the existence of breath. Through complex biological and physical sciences, this act is analyzed and studied thoroughly, but in the art of meditation, we learn of a different function of breathing: Pranayama.

According to Yoga Journal, an online and printed resource for yoga-doers of all levels, Pranayama is the art of controlling one’s breath in order to provide energy to a tired body, to lift a down spirit, and to tame a wandering mind. This practice has originated in Middle-Eastern regions and has spread to the United States more recently. Yoga and meditation, though used interchangeably are two different practices, which share the same benefits through varying methods. Yoga is commonly known for movement of the body and muscular activity while Meditation is known for movement of the mind and emotional activity. Both practices place an equivalent emphasis upon “the breath.”

“The breath” is named such because ancient sages, also known as, wellness instructors, believed it to be its own entity within humans. They believed there was a distinct difference between “breathing” and “the breath.” “The breath” is known to be a singular existence and focal point while “breathing” is simply the act of passing air through our bodies. “The breath” allows one to bring Prana into our lives, what ancient sages believed to be the vital force of humanity. Prana is the idea that through the act of controlling “the breath,” we can find harmony and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purposes. It is also a method of being in touch with our inner spirituality and embracing the world for its gifts of oxygen, shelter, and nourishment.

A common misconception of the meditative practice is that it is tedious and difficult. However, the truth is anyone can meditate and it does not require a lot of time or a lot of effort, especially if one wishes to practice Pranayama. All you need is a few minutes to close your eyes or bring them to a soft gaze upon a near object and breathe. Rather than just inhaling and exhaling, as you do naturally, count to five as you inhale, take a brief pause, and count to five as you exhale. If you wish, you may lengthen your counts to suit your needs. Keep your inhales and exhales equal for a few times, then lengthen your inhale to perhaps a count of seven and keep your exhales to a count of 5. The numbers are not significant, compared to the notion of controlling your breath, and being aware of your body in the present moment. Simply embrace the movement of your breath as your posture changes with each inhale and exhale. Do this for as few or several moments as you’d like.

For more information regarding the act of Pranayama, a simple Google search will always suffice. Also, take a look around your local library for Yoga and Meditation books, movies, journals, and any other media you’d like. Long Island Media has several articles regarding this topic as well, specifically written by our own member Break the Norms. Simply search for yoga and meditation in our convenient search bar, or click on the Health and Wellness link in our toolbar underneath our Articles tab.

Remember, breathing can not only save your lives, but it can save your mind.

Written By: Angel McCarrick

Photo By: ronsho ©     License: Creative Commons

 

 

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Sitting

Outside-InNot only is meditation difficult because we are trying to focus the mind in one direction, but it is also difficult to literally just sit the body down on the ground and be still. When we sit it becomes quite clear that our backs are in pain, our hips are stiff and our legs fall asleep fairly quickly. This makes it almost impossible to focus the mind on anything else but the physical pain we feel – as if we needed another added distraction!

Below are some tips to help get the body comfy enough to sit still for the other million mental distractions to surface without the added physical strain. This technique is helpful so the body does not become a hinderance to the mind. Stretch and strengthen the body daily to prepare it for longer sits to explore the mind even deeper.

  • Sit either on the floor or in a chair with your back fully supported
  • Relax the shoulders away from the ears 
  • Extend the spine and keep the head and neck aligned with the spine
  • Let the hands fall naturally where they may
  • Be still and breathe until the body is ready to move out of stillness

“There is a wisdom inside of us that tells us what to do at certain moments. We can wake up that wisdom through meditation practice until, eventually, the process becomes quite natural for us and takes place on a subconscious level” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo By: Judy    License: Creative Commons

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