Posts Tagged With: Mindfulness

Words of Wisdom (Part 4): Aurelius

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Deemed the “philosopher king,” 2nd century emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius is one of the most well recognized stoic philosophers to date. In his most famous work Meditations, Aurelius explored through verses written to himself the deeper levels of one’s individuality, purpose, and benevolence. When we think of Roman emperors we usually think of decadent megalomaniacs, dramatic assassinations, or Russell Crowe fighting off tigers and the corruption of Joaquin Phoenix. Marcus Aurelius however spent much of his time studying and writing. As one of the last “good emperors” of Rome before its inevitable collapse, he maintained stability, peace, and freedom of expression of the people. His words written millennium ago are still cited in commencement speeches, yearbooks, intro to philosophy courses, and right here on his page.

SJC Wellness Top Five Quotes by Marcus Aurelius:

#5: “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
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#4: “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
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#3: “Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.”
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#2: “Humans have come into being for the sake of each other, so either teach them, or learn to bear them.”
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#1: “Look within, for within is the wellspring of virtue, which will not cease from flowing, if you do not cease from digging.”

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Categories: Green Room, Spirit | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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/

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving from Mindless to Mindful Learning

The focus on what students “know,” based on class grades and standardized test scores, versus how they  “acquire or apply” knowledge has left many students feeling bored, disconnected, and disenchanted from their educational journey by the time they get to college. What if someone told you that the mindless way you were taught to approach learning is actually limiting your college experience? Believe it or not, by simply changing your perspective and embracing a more mindful view of your academic life, you can create a better college experience! 

Mindful learning works in this way: when we are aware that we are engaging in a process (e.g., I’m learning about macroeconomics), we are much more clear about our intentions (I am learning something new), which allows us the freedom of exploration (I’m curious about macroeconomics), and limits our tendency to narrow our expectations (I want to learn versus I need to make an “A”), thus leading to increased learning. Here are the three simple principles to start learning in a mindful way:

1.      Flexibility is an academic strength

You’ve probably learned that the way to learn something new is by holding the concept constant and learning everything there is to know about it (or as much as it takes to pass the test). Though you may have experienced success using this method, do you feel you have actually learned the concept? The mindful way of learning encourages us to allow ourselves to take in information using our senses in a very basic way.  By exploring new information, we allow our curiosity to guide the process. You can look at different perspectives, create your own categories, or test your own ideas or theories. Instead of memorization, you actively engage the material by asking yourself questions and making concepts relevant to familiar situations. The goal here is to approach learning from an open and flexible perspective.

 2.  Context is key

We need to learn basic facts in school, but what is missing in the mindless way of learning are the situations relevant to the facts, or the context. Imagine how much more interesting learning would be if you engaged with facts as though you were reading a gossip blog, asking yourself questions like: “How does a kid with so many resources grow up to become a dictator?” or “What kind of work did Shakespeare do that allowed him to write almost 200 plays and sonnets?” By exploring the context of facts, you can explore information and take in more meaning with less effort. Further, when we consider the context, we increase our ability to correctly apply what we’ve learned. After all, the reason you’re in school is not necessarily just to pass classes, but to also learn how to create options and opportunities using what you’ve learned.

3.  This is the time to discover the usefulness of failure

Most successful people will tell you it was the experiences of not achieving their desired outcomes (or experiencing failure) that taught them the most, as it allowed them the opportunity to try another perspective. From a mindful perspective, there is no such thing as failure, just opportunities for exploration. The way in which you interpret the outcomes of your efforts influences your perceptions, which ultimately affects your motivation and experiences.

 If your goal is to earn an “A” on every exam, what happens when you don’t? Students can feel that their performance is an internal individual failure. This negative valuation can have an adverse effect on motivation. Consider what would happen if you focused on the process rather than the outcome. By approaching your own learning process with openness and curiosity, you give yourself the opportunity to observe the outcomes, which may lead to deeper learning, insight, and more appreciation for your own efforts.

By following these three simple principles, you can begin to learn in a mindful way that will allow you to get more out of your college experience.  

 If you would like to learn more about mindful learning here are some helpful links:

http://www.mindful.org/the-mindful-society/education/mindfulness-and-learning-what%E2%80%99s-the-connection

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz94BmOIroA&noredirect=1

http://www.modmind.org/

 

Contributed by Dr. Anissa Moody, Ph.D

 

 

 

 

Categories: Green Room, Mind | Tags: | 1 Comment

Trip for the Mind

Aristotle's School - The LandscapeOftentimes our mind becomes completely wrapped in the tendency to pressurize. We build and build more things to do, set impossible expectations for both ourselves and others, and then become subject to the eventual emotional fallout of this tendency.

I find the word “should” to be a red flag for such moments in our minds. When this word creeps in (as words are purely energetic manifestations of the unseen), it brings with it a huge weight that demands immediate action.

And off course this action brings with it the illusion that once completed, this pressurized weight will dissipate. If we don’t step-up to this illusionary demand, then we are left with feelings of turmoil. Too often does this word create ultimatums for ourselves and for others.

So what to do for such times?

  • First step, become aware of how often we say this mentally to ourselves and for others on a daily basis
  • Second step,  question the logic of this term in these moments
  • Third step, replace “should” with “could”
  • Fourth step, observe this transition and then act from this newfound space within

Are there times when this word is necessary? Off course there are, specifically during times of actual danger or ethical dilemmas when right action is required. However, it seems that this word is used more often than not in a way that is not helpful to us or anyone else for that matter. The goal here is to become aware of how we are using this word “should” so that we make conscious choices instead of falling prey to habitual negative unconscious patterns.

Perhaps this mental awareness exercise can help us to stop “shoulding” on ourselves:)!

Photo By: ava_babili

Categories: Green Room, Mind | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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