Tapping is a simple way to bring awareness to your body. Try it before your next yoga sequence and notice how you feel.
Model Noemi Nunez demonstrates a technique from yoga teacher Tatiana Forero Puerta which can help calm your sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and activate your parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”).
During recovery, patients’ commitment to treatment may wane, says former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb: Apps help keep people engaged—an important aspect on the road to recovery.
Looking to supplement prescribing pain pills, some doctors are suggesting mindfulness and meditation apps to prevent misuse before it begins. Rex Marco, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston, recommends meditation apps such as Stop, Breathe, & Think to his patients suffering from chronic pain. And for good reason—in clinical trials mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce it by 57 percent.
Meditation apps may help curb addiction, too. In a recent study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers at the University of Southern California found that eight weeks of mindfulness training led to decreases in cravings and relapses among adults in rehab—even six months later. Apps are an easy, accessible way to practice at home, and several new ones targeting addiction are going beyond simple meditations with features such as trigger tracking, motivational messages, medication and mindfulness reminders, and on-demand group therapy.
Meditation teacher Shivani Hawkins shares tips for how to approach the practice in a way that invites self-awareness and authentic transformation.
Be a Gardener
Human development is a slow, organic process. There are times when everything blooms quickly, and there are seasons of hibernation when it seems like nothing is changing, but in fact a lot is happening underneath the surface. Inner transformation can seem as slow as a tree branch growing. However, we need to consistently nurture ourselves, be patient, and let things unfold in their own way.
Track the Discomfort
If you are caught in a loop of critical, anxious thoughts, such as Wow, I really messed up or I’m such a loser for reacting like that or I have to urgently fix this or else no one will like me, often underneath those thoughts is a deeply held self-shaming belief like I’m not good enough. Every one of these thoughts and beliefs will be localized in particular places or patterns in your body or breath. The next time you are caught in a seemingly endless loop of thoughts, instead of just watching your thoughts, also pay attention to your breath and track sensations in your body. Is your stomach in knots? Is your throat aching? Are you breathing hard? Gently identify where the pain or discomfort is in your body. Your mind may be all over the place, but your body tends to be much simpler. By placing your attention to the physical expression of your thoughts, you can more quickly identify what core beliefs are actually driving the wave of thoughts.
Overwhelmed with guilt, blame, and shame? Yoga Foster and Reclamation Ventures founder Nicole Cardoza invites you us to practice self-forgiveness and release whatever isn’t serving us you with this brief guided meditation.
Overwhelmed with guilt, blame, and shame? Yoga Foster and Reclamation Ventures founder Nicole Cardoza invites you to practice self-forgiveness and release whatever isn’t serving you with this brief guided meditation.
Try this pranayama meditation from yoga teacher and founder of Manduka, Peter Sterios, to quell the jitters.
My relationship with meditation is bittersweet. Early on, I sensed that it could be useful for my hyperactive mind, but sitting for long periods of time proved difficult: it was a never-ending saga of battles between the urgency to fidget away from painful sensations in my stiff body and the perceived obligation to remain still, follow instructions, and meditate the “correct” way.
Part of my struggle was that I believed that hatha yoga and meditation were separate. It took decades for me to recognize (mostly through practicing asana, which slowly prepared my mind for the rigors of sitting) the irony in this common misperception. The dichotomy in these two practices eventually showed me that the joy brought about by movement is a necessary component for learning how to sit quietly and contentedly. This insight allowed me to explore other stillness practices found in Patanjali’s eight-limbed system of hatha yoga, including conscious breathing exercises (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), and mental concentration (dharana)—techniques that, over time, transformed into merged awareness experiences (dhyana) and freedom from the fluctuations of the mind (samadhi).
In particular, I found pranayamic breath-retention practices powerful for building mental energy and creating deep inner tranquility and poise. Mastering breath retention, for example, involves a series of slow practices that can take years to develop, such as preliminary periods of deep relaxation and stillness in comfortable seated or supine positions. Retention practices, if used skillfully, can help ease anxiety, in part by showing you that the breath will always return. They can be a form of meditation by themselves or can be integrated into the practice of individual yoga poses or dynamic sequences.
Try this short meditation when you need a reminder that you are, and have, enough.
I come back to this meditation whenever I feel depleted in some way—from what’s happening in the world or on social media, or if I simply haven’t been able to cultivate the energy I need to get through the day. With this exercise, we remind ourselves of all the things that bring us joy, wonder, and awe. I hope you enjoy it.
First, find a comfortable seated position. Notice how your body feels, connected to the earth, in whichever way you choose, and allow yourself to be here, in this moment, in this breath. How does it feel to be here now? It may feel scary or uncomfortable or just right. Allow it to be without judgment, without shame. Notice how the present feels in your breath. Allow your breaths to be short and shallow, or long and deep. And as you breathe, notice if you have space for a little bit more air with every inhalation, perhaps drawing in and out through your nose. Give yourself permission to take in a little bit more air, and release it. Allow your breath to fill in through your nose, through your lungs, down into your belly, and then out again, exploring all of the space and capacity that you have.
Fill yourself with breath and then gently let it go. See if you can give yourself more time, allowing for a few more seconds to slow your inhalation and exhalation, making the most of each magical moment of breath.
Now with each inhalation, allow your body to fill the space around you, drawing up through the crown of your head, breathing into the widest parts of …