Category Archives: Life

Is Corporate Mindfulness Training Just Zen Washing?

A recent study that highlights the benefits of daily meditation practices in the workplace has people talking about the commercialization of mindfulness, and whether it has gone too far.

Is mindfulness training the solution to burnout? 

It’s difficult to dispute the benefits of mindfulness, especially with a mounting stack of research published on the topic. One of the more recent studies—a paper published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes in early September, on how mindfulness impacts interpersonal relationships at work—is a good example of the empirical evidence pouring in. But are corporations and organizations now using mindfulness programs as a salve to treat overworked and highly stressed employees? 

See also 5 Mindfulness Practices to Rewire Your Brain and Improve Health

The study

In this particular study, a team of business professors researched how the behavior of employees changed when they participated in mindfulness practices at work. At a large insurance company in the U.S., the researchers had employees meditate between seven to ten minutes a day for five days and then fill out assessments in the morning and afternoon about their helpful behaviors for the day. At an IT consulting company in India, for one day, select employees underwent a brief mindfulness intervention in the morning and then their coworkers reported on how helpful they were that day. The final study was conducted in a lab with the aim of discovering why mindfulness practices make people more helpful, while the field experiments tested if mindfulness makes people more helpful. In the lab, participants were asked to either complete a 15-minute focused breathing meditation, a 15-minute loving kindness meditation, or listen to a New York Times article as a control. The participants then had to deliver bad news to a fictitious subordinate, and respond to a survey that …

The Best Meditation Pillows

Set your meditation practice up for success with a great foundation. Here are some of our favorite meditation cushions on Amazon right now.

While you can meditate anywhere, a cushion can help in a variety of physical or psychological ways. The right meditation pillow will lift your hips and roll them forward, so you can maintain a natural, comfortable curve of the spine. Whether your meditation practice is seasoned, or you are just starting, the right cushion for your body can make all the difference in your comfort and the length of time you can sit comfortably. Having a special pillow and/or a special place in your home to sit can also make your practice more enjoyable. While each of these four cushions are filled with buckwheat hulls and made of organic cotton covers, they vary in shape, density, and height, making for a unique experience with each. Our test staff ranged in stature from 5’2”, 125 lbs to 5’10”, 160 lbs.

The Best Gift

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Pillow

The Brentwood Homes model is made of a beautiful material and is the tallest of the four we reviewed. You could also rotate this cushion and place between your legs to meditate in a supported Rock Pose. The reviewer with the shortest torso and legs felt this cushion was too bulky, but buckwheat hulls could be removed to accommodate lower height preferences. Because this cushion is the tallest, it will likely be best for those with less hip flexibility. 

Because this cushion is so attractive, it could easily double as a beautiful additional living room seating option or accent pillow. Overall, reviewers felt this cushion would be the best gift due to the designer material. Plus, the taller height is forgiving to most bodies regardless of flexibility. Our 5’4” …

How Lockey Maisonneuve Transformed a Traumatic Past into An Empowering Future

Yoga teacher Lockey Maisonneuve, who often teaches in rehabilitation centers, schools, and prisons, is using her story to help empower others through the practice.

Lockey Maisonneuve

Her 2018 tell-all memoir A Girl Raised by Wolves unveiled her incredible journey through childhood prostitution, beating breast cancer, and surviving her estranged mother’s murder. Now, this yoga teacher—who often teaches in rehabilitation centers, schools, and prisons—is using her story to help empower others through the practice. 

See also Dig Deep to Heal and Change Your Life. 

The 108-second interview with Lockey

YOGA JOURNAL: Who’s your biggest inspiration right now and why?

Lockey Maisonneuve: I am constantly in awe of the addiction recovery patients I work with. I’ve learned more about facing adversity from these people than anyone I’ve ever met. I always tell them to be proud of themselves. It doesn’t matter what brought them to the program. If they woke up this morning and chose recovery over addiction, I will be there to support them in any way I can.

YJ: What’s your go-to mantra?

LM: My go-to mantra is, The Universe is conspiring to surprise and delight me. I read it somewhere a couple of years ago, and I connected with it. I believe there is a higher power outside of myself that is colluding to show me all the love and support I didn’t experience in my childhood.

YJ: What’s currently helping you change and grow?

LM: Book events and sharing my story with other trauma survivors. I have always believed that in order to heal, I must be of service to the community. Through shared experiences, we help mend each other and support each other’s growth.

YJ: What has changed your life most since your book came out?

LM: I used to tell myself a story that I was …

We Found Your Next Yoga Retreat Spot in Costa Rica

Kinkára, a new eco retreat center in Costa Rica, was designed based on geometric patterns found in nature. It features organic gardens, an open-air yoga shala, and fully furnished luxe canvas tents.

Kinkara, Costa Rica

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Located at the foot of the Talamanca Mountains in southern Costa Rica, Kinkára—which will celebrate its first year as a yoga and wellness destination in September—is a lush 880-acre property featuring a large mandala garden with rotating and seasonal herbs, vegetables, and flowers. At the center of the garden, organized in a geometric design intended to create positive energy flow, is an open-air wooden pavilion for yoga. “Each part of the property was designed and built to not only have a minimal environmental impact, but actually be regenerative for the land and surrounding ecosystem,” says cofounder David Comfort. For example, the yoga shala was constructed using wood from invasive tree species, such as rainbow eucalyptus, and other locally sourced building materials. The invasive trees were planted by ranchers long ago and the property now repurposes the wood for furniture and structures.

Kinkára’s tents include solar-powered lighting, plush bedding, USB charging pods, and Wi-Fi. Most retreats are customized and include farm-to-table meals (with fresh produce from the mandala garden), sound-healing ceremonies, guided asana and meditation, hiking, horseback riding, and waterfall swims.

See also Yoga Journal’s Best Yoga Retreats and Travel Spots Around the World.

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The Best Budget Wireless Headphones for Yoga

If you like to meditate or do yoga nidra in a bed you share with a partner, you’ll need some earbuds.

You don’t necessarily think of headphones when you think of yoga, but they can come in handy when you are trying to meditate or get a musical flow on when your roommate or partner is sleeping. Typical earphones have annoying cords that get in the way or get caught on things. And nothing bombs your routine like having to stop to put an earbud back in. If you use music to set the mood during your daily routine, you’ll need a set of wireless headphones. Check out our guide to some of the more modestly priced earphones on Amazon. 

See also Playlists.

Best Sports Headband Headphones: Lavince Wireless Sports Headband

Lavince Wireless Sports Headband

This choice from Lavince is comfortable to wear in bed and during practice – when you want to keep your hair and sweat off your face. Two speakers are hidden inside the sleek, lightweight, breathable, stretchy band. The powerful battery lasts eight hours and still works at a stunning 45 feet from your phone for maximum freedom of movement. It even has an 18-month warranty. A bonus microphone means you can take calls without your phone. Ding: It will take two hours to fully charge. $19.99; Buy Now.

Best Earbuds with Neck Strap: Anbes Wireless Earbuds

Anbes Wireless Earbuds

If your top concern is finding earbuds that will stay put during your routine, look no further than this pick from Anbes. These earbuds have an ear hook design that will keep them securely in your ear and three different tips for a customizable fit. And even if an earbud does fall, the neck strap will keep it securely around your neck instead of …

Boost Bliss (& Loosen Your Hips!) with This Restorative Gomukasana

It’s the perfect release following an energetic yoga practice.

Craving change but feeling too stuck, sluggish, or restless to take aim? Join John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com, and Larissa Hall Carlson, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, for Ayurveda 201: Six Weeks to Transformation and Bliss Through Ayurvedic Psychology. In this new online course, you’ll experience: unique yoga practices; inspiring discussions backed by science; and recipes, herbs, and a short, gentle cleanse. Sign up today!

After an energizing yoga flow, there’s one restorative pose that can help you boost harmony and bliss. (In Ayurveda, this easeful quality is called sattva.) This supported, supine variation of Gomukasana (Cow Face Pose) provides deep rest by elevating the legs and loosening tight hips. This soothing inertia rejuvenates!

See also 6 Bonus Sattva-Boosting Tips

You’ll need the following props: 2 blocks, 1 bolster, 1 blanket, and an eye pillow

Instructions

  • Place a block in the highest position about 6 inches from the bottom of your mat. From there place another block in the second-highest position about 6 inches up the mat.
  • Drape a bolster over the blocks to make a ramp for your legs.
  • Place folded blanket (and any additional supportive props you need) on the top half of the mat. 
  • Lay yourself down on the blanket with your knees pulled into your chest, placing your buttocks close to the bottom of the bolster ramp. 
  • Mindfully lengthen your left leg, crossing it to the right and placing your thigh on the bolster. Cross your right leg over y left thigh. 
  • Even out the weight in your hips and let both feet hang. 
  • Comfortably position your eye pillow, then broaden your shoulders and rest your hands on your belly. 
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes. Then reverse your leg crossing for another 1-3 minutes. 
  • Rest and renew!

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