Category Archives: Meditation

For the Love of Chocolate

This sweetheart season, use candy to be more mindful.

Make a date this Valentine’s Day to savor the gift of cocoa. Mindful eating encourages us to fully experience our food—its aroma, flavor, texture—and how it makes us feel. Eating chocolate is proven to calm nerves and promote happiness (it releases dopamine), and when we practice mindfulness as we consume it, we’re offered a window into our mind and its long-held associations with this food. With practice, mindful eating can help you be more present in other areas of your life—making you better equipped to handle anything that comes your way, whether sour or sweet.

  • Observe – Hold the chocolate in your hand. Mindfully take in what you see: What color is the wrapper? Is light reflecting off of it? Can you smell the candy? Feel its texture and its weight in your hand. Study it with curiosity.
  • Unwrap – Listen as you remove the candy from its wrapper. What sounds does it make? Do you smell anything? Keep focusing on shape, color, and texture. Does it feel soft or hard? Smooth or rough?
    scan Bring the chocolate toward your mouth, but don’t bite into it yet. How does your body react? Are you salivating? Can you feel anticipation arising elsewhere for the bite you’re about to take? What thoughts can you identify? Do you feel excited? Impatient? Hesitant? Observe your thoughts and feelings as though you’re watching them move through your mind like clouds in the sky.
  • Taste – Now, take a small bite, and let it linger on your tongue, slowly rolling the creamy morsel around in your mouth. Is it sweet? Salty? Bitter? Fruity? Nutty? Try not to judge the flavor or categorize it as good or bad—simply experience it. Slowly begin to chew, keeping mindful

Manifesting in Service to Others

Can’t seem to follow through on your goals? Try creating intentions that are rooted in service to all. Plus, find 5 meditations to help you discover your life purpose.

Lara Land 

January is here, and you’re probably getting inundated with sales pitches and articles on how to make this your greatest year yet. Some of you may even had tried these “life-changing” approaches in previous years with varying results. I applaud you for not giving up on trying to improve your life.

See also 3 Secrets for Setting New Year’s Intentions That Work

For those of you who have never succeeded in reaching your goals or maintaining them long-term, I offer this: It’s possible that your goals are not rooted enough in service. Goals which focus on individual success rather than universal success and happiness have a short shelf life. They may allow us to prosper for a short time, but the most sustainable visions are ones that include us all.

Here are some ways to bring service to your manifestations, creating prosperity both for yourself and others:

1. Ask why.

Once you have a goal in mind, ask yourself why you want it. Try to recognize when the ego is involved. Find the places where your dream connects to the greater good.

2. Look for the holes.

Sometimes, we think we are doing good but there could be variables in our plan which could negatively affect others. Explore your vision from multiple angles and include different perspectives in your evaluation.

3. Always give with an open heart. 

It’s how we give that’s most deeply felt by others. Resentment always leads to a cycle of loss. Work on yourself first, so that you can give freely without expecting anything back in return. 

See also A Heart-Opening Sequence to Expand Your

Tara Brach's Meditation for Self Compassion

Ask for love that’s always there. This practice will connect you to the compassion and tenderness that is surrounding you.

This practice will help you let the love surrounding you into your life. 

The deepest feelings of human suffering are those of being unlovable—shame, fear, hopelessness, and isolation. When you become lost in suffering, a key question to ask yourself is, Can I let in love?

Let me explain. I began the practice of letting in love from a greater source years ago when I was at a meditation retreat. It was just after the holidays, and I was drowning in feelings of shame and self-recrimination because I hadn’t been very present with my family. I tried arousing mindfulness and self-compassion, but an angry, shameful voice dug in its heels: I’m not OK. I’m selfish and unloving, and I don’t want to be this way!

Once the anger turned to helplessness, I began to cry. A deep part of me felt unlovable. I asked myself what this sad, vulnerable part of me needed most. Suddenly, I whispered out loud, “Please love me.” Over and over, a heartbroken plea: “Please love me.”

In this moment, I became aware of an intimate presence—a field of sentience and light surrounding me—that was entirely tender and compassionate. I bowed my head slightly and sensed a kiss on my brow, a blessing of pure acceptance and care. Something in me opened. I felt bathed in loving light.

See also How to Find Self-Love and Acceptance Through Grief and Fear

The more light I let in, the more any sense of separation fell away. Whatever arose—outside sounds, a memory of a friend who’d died, a wave of sorrow—was held in this luminous, open heart space. I remembered the words of one of my teachers: “Love …

YJ Tried It: 30 Days of Sleep Meditation

Here’s what happened after a month of listening soothing bedtime stories for adults.

Meditation is nonnegotiable when it comes to my everyday routine. Most of the time, it means dragging my meditation cushion out from under my living room couch and onto the tiny bit of floor space I have in my New York City apartment. From there, I pull out my smartphone, launch the Calm app, and listen to the Daily Calm—a 10-minute guided meditation that changes every day.

I’ve been using this app for more than a year and have found that holding myself accountable for meditating 10 minutes a day is what’s realistic, and it has had a noticeable impact on my life. I can always count on learning something new and finding my center in 10 minutes flat. I feel more grounded, and I’m less likely to react to annoyances such as a pushy New Yorker or a late subway train.

See also A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

My energy level was a different story. I don’t often struggle to fall asleep, but even after a restful seven to eight hours of shuteye, fatigue would creep up on me throughout the day. I’d find myself fighting the urge to curl up for a 20-minute nap. Sometimes I’d go for a quick hit of energy—pounding a pint of water or dancing around my living room—after a long day of work and before teaching an evening yoga class. I started to wonder: Was my quality of slumber lacking? And could guided sleep meditation help?

Generally speaking, this type of meditation means listening to an audio recording before bed that’s intended to help you notice the sensations of your body so you can relax and release worrying thoughts. By learning to shift your focus before bed, you …

Try This Meditation to Learn How to Witness (Not React to) Your Thoughts

You’ll need a pen and paper for this stream-of-consciousness practice.

Ever notice how easy it is to allow your mind to whisk you away from the present moment? Indulge in one little pesky insecurity, and, suddenly, you’re down and out in funk town. Well, there’s an antidote for that. In yoga philosophy, sakshi (witness) is the ability to notice your thoughts without identifying (or reacting) to them. Strengthening your inner observer will help you see thoughts—and situations—as they truly are without piling on assumptions that can result in an emotional tailspin. (Yeah, we’ve been there, too.) 

If you want to cultivate your sakshi, there’s a simple practice you can try. In this video, Rina Jakubowicz—yoga teacher, author of The Yoga Mind: 52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen Your Practice, and creator of a new class series, Empowered Vinyasa—leads you through a short stream-of-consciousness meditation to train yourself to track your thoughts without getting too attached. (You’ll need a pen and paper!)

Feel like you’ve lost your sense of Self in the noise of social media or societal expectations? It’s time to get on the mat and reclaim who you are. Join author and yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz for Empowered Vinyasa: Journey to Your Highest Self, a series of 10 yoga classes and companion dharma talks that zero in on principles of yoga philosophy—from The Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu spiritual tradition Vedanta—that are essential to self-exploration. Sign up today!

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 …

Best Free Online Guided Meditations for Beginners

You know meditation is good for you. But, maybe you’re not sure how to begin. Try one of these free guided meditations from experts we love.

Are you looking to advance your practice but don’t want to pay for an app subscription or membership at an expensive meditation studio? Look no further. We’ve compiled some of the best free online guided meditations that can help you relax, channel love and compassion, find self-forgiveness, and relieve anxiety.

See also This 6-Minute Sound Bath Is About to Change Your Day for the Better

6 Ways Yoga Can Help the Planet This Month

Millions of people around the world have made a pledge to demand climate justice this September. Here’s how yogis can participate.

As climate change activism heats up this month (the Global Climate Strike is taking place from September 20-27), yoga studios, teachers, and organizations are joining the call for a healthier environment and sustainable future. Eoin Finn, founder of Blissology and the EcoKarma foundation, encourages yogis to recognize their connection with nature and make preserving the planet a lifestyle. 

“We are one with the environment” says Finn. “Take breathing for example. Breathing brings the outer world inside of you. We take air into our bodies and it passes through us via our blood – it’s hard to separate where physiology ends and the environment begins. Our job as yogis is to create experiences and rituals in our practice where we feel this interconnection.” 

Amy Ippoliti, another renowned yoga teacher and environmental activist, pushes for action above all else. “We are deeply interconnected with all life on earth and the practice of yoga only heightens that awareness. Our actions need to be consistent and relentless. Let’s be clear.”

Here are six ways yogis can get involved in climate activism.

See also The Rise of Eco-Friendly Yoga Studios