Controlling Your Thoughts

I need to meditate more. Because my anxiety is brutal lately.

I’d bought an amethyst crystal bracelet at Rock Star Crystals last week for “calm” and I thought it’d been working.  

Then I left a beautiful yoga class at Yoga Shanti, a studio across the street from my office that’s absolutely beautiful, last night and saw a Slack message from my boss and absolutely lost my shit. It was just a simple question but I made it mean that I did something wrong, when I’m 99.9% sure, I did not. I immediately text my boyfriend and began stressing him out. I felt really bad. I responded to the message when I got home and spent the rest of the night watching Orange is the New Black

I’m feeling like I need to tune back in and sit in quiet stillness more often. I have a meditation MP3 from from Kris Carr that is 14 minutes long.  It’s mostly just soothing music and Kris Carr reminding you every few minutes to keep counting your breath. I sat through it last night for the first time and it was Hard with a capital H. This means I need to do be doing it regularly

A year ago this would’ve been easy. I would’ve been going to the Be Society on a weekly basis and I probably would’ve gone to The Big Quiet at least twice by now. 

I made plans to go to the next Big Quiet in July with one of my yoga teacher friends. And I emailed a teacher of Transcendental Meditation who I’ve practiced with a few times in the past and signed up for his August TM course. It’s time to finally get serious with my TM training. Everyone swears by it. Oh, and I’m going on my first yoga retreat in July. Which I’m so excited for.

I need to journal more and not rely on others to talk me down off my Stress Cliffs of Death. I want to go take a Reki healing class too because those are always fun, too. 

I don’t think I need meds. I don’t want to take meds. I think meds are great for people who really, really need them, but I don’t want them yet. I want to continue to learn how to control my mind. 

True Power

I hesitated before purchasing a $50 ticket to Gabrielle Bernstein’s YogaJournal Conference talk last Friday night, but I’m glad I did buy the ticket eventually. I needed it. I’d been having a heavy week and all of the yoga classes in the world weren’t helping, so this was just the thing recenter myself. I’m glad I forked over $50 + fees to Ms. Bernstein for two hours of meditations and good times.

She said this was a sort-of new talk for her so she was nervous but as always, she was uplifting and her presence was powerful. (Hence the talk’s name, “True Power.”) A few very intense guided meditations to some incredible music later and I think it was safe to say that everyone in that room (750 of us, apparently) were feeling a lot better. She even insisted on us turning to our neighbor and telling them, with no sugar coating, what was on our minds at that moment. It took a lot of courage but hey, we were probably never going to see that person again, so why not?

I picked up a deck of “Miracles Now” cards before the talk started, too. My dude, the patient person he is, even obliged in picking out a card with me each morning on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings. He’s not really into the spiritual, granola-y stuff, but he’s humoring me. I’ll get him to start meditating someday. 

Anytime I think I’ve had my fill of Gabby’s talks, I’m always wrong and I’m always glad I went. If you haven’t seen her before, go. If you’re, like, sort-of curious, go. If you want to start out slowly, read Spirit Junkie (not her first book, but the first one I read). You (probably) won’t be sorry.

Epic Battle: Meditation vs. Anxiety

My spiritual guru Gabby Bernstein always says that when people tell her they don’t have time to meditate, she asks them if they have time to feel like shit. I think this is a pretty good way (although somewhat forceful) to convince people to meditate. 

I noticed as soon as I got into the office yesterday that I felt different and very anxious. I devolved into that hyper-paranoid person that I was (and still am, sometimes, just rarely) in previous years and it took a while to get back down to normalcy (what normalcy means to me, anyways). 

I spent a large part of the weekend with my dude and when I do that my meditation schedule usually hits the fan. I was still meditating for the last four days in my yoga classes but the morning and evening sessions weren’t happening. It’s not his fault; I usually just forget. Sometimes, and I’m trying to be better about this, I will sit for a session while he’s in the shower. 

Because J is great, he took note of my anxiety and ended up surprising me with a flower delivery yesterday afternoon. It was completely unexpected and immediately brightened up my Monday. 

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But incase a flower delivery isn’t an option for you, you can always turn back to your breath and sit in silence for a few minutes, coming back to a state of calm that’s always hiding somewhere inside of you. 

Meditating with a Cat

For better or for worse, I usually do my morning and evening meditations sitting on my meditation pillow on my bed. Different meditation experts say different things about whether or not it’s good to meditate where you sleep, but screw it. It works for me and if it works for you too, have at it.

It’s been an interesting time for the last almost two weeks adjusting to coexisting with another living creature. Cats are weird because they need you sometimes and want nothing to do with you other times. Don’t get me wrong: that’s a good thing. 

I digress. The one time Playbill (my cat) seems to always want me is whenever I’m meditating. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s wondering where the voice of my meditation MP3 is coming from and she absolutely-must-investigate-it-now or if that’s just what she likes to do. I haven’t gotten through a single session without opening at least one eye once because she jumps on the bed or mews (I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that cats just meow, for anything or nothing, and it doesn’t always mean something’s wrong). 

I’m sure I’ll figure out how to circumvent this issue eventually, right? Right. 

Why Meditating At Work Will Make You Better At Your Job

At my last job I started something called “ClubMed.” It was a 5-minute meditation/digital detox that we took every day at work in our library or smaller conference room. Sometimes we had three quarter’s of the office, sometimes we had 4 people. Everyone appreciated it and when I resigned I made sure to pick a leader who would keep it going (and to my knowledge it has!).

When I interviewed for my current job, I’d mentioned ClubMed as part of the company culture that I’d instilled because, why not? They could think it’s super granola-y but that’s not the end of the world. To my shock and delight, on my second day the CTO and marketing associate asked me if we were really going to “do it,” meaning meditate. I said sure and soon it enough it was a regular thing we were doing every day.

I sent this article to our ‘random’ Slack channel the other day and said, “VINDICATION!” 

I’ve always liked to take a break in the middle of the day because it clears my mind and I don’t have to look at a computer or phone for those five minutes. The above article also points how it will make you less likely to make mistakes and more detail-oriented, you’ll be more decisive, and you’re more likely to empower your colleagues because you’ll be more receptive to trying new things and not of the “this will never work” mindset (which is how, if we’re being totally honest, most of us live).

If you want any tips or ideas for how to bring meditation into your life or workspace, send me a message. It’s super easy if you approach it the right way. 

Why Meditating At Work Will Make You Better At Your Job

Naam Sound Meditation with Gong

On Tuesday I was Googling meditation classes in my ‘hood and I came across a yoga and meditation studio on West 72nd Street called Naam Yoga. My usual meditation group (which I inexcusably haven’t been to in, like, a month) wasn’t meet until 7pm and I didn’t feel like killing time in the area of my office for that long.

I went home, cooked dinner (zucchini noodles and chicken with tomato sauce and mozzarella chunks, so good), relaxed for about fifteen minutes and got back on the train to head to 72nd Street.

The studio is on the second floor of a walk-up between Amsterdam and Columbus, and there’s dim-lighting and a zen vibe when you walk in the door. I was greeted by a happy yogi in yoga pants (duh) and I said I was there for the 8pm Sound Meditation with Gong. I filled out some paperwork and decided to go for the special offer they’re doing right now: $30 for unlimited classes for 30 days. Otherwise this one class would’ve been $19. Pretty good deal!

We all sat up and started a series of meditations that incorporated sound and movement while sitting on our blankets/bolsters/various other props. After a half-hour or so, we laid down and started to “go inside” and he started to play (?) the gong.

I may or may not have fallen asleep during it. All I can be sure of is that I woke up in a much more relaxed state than I went in with.

So done.

This morning, just a few minutes ago actually, I finished doing 115 sit-ups (not crunches) for the last day of the Six Week Ab Challenge. I repeated the 6-Week Ab Challenge for the second time, this time on my own without a community on Facebook for support and accountability. 

And you know what? The support group helps a lot. i missed it a little bit!. And without having a spot to post every day that my sit-ups were done, I skipped a day here or there. But for the most part did all of my crunches (40/day the first week, increasing by 15/week until you’re at 115/day).

Leading up to and especially after the holidays I felt sloppy so I decided why the hell not, let’s do the ab work again! My abs look good, as in there’s toning there obviously, but they still look soft. I’m going to succumb to the fact that maybe I’m not supposed to have rock hard abs, but that’s okay.

After the first time i finished, I kept on doing 60-70 sit-ups every morning for stomach upkeep. But this time I’m not so sure. My morning routine consists of meditating, doing sit-ups, stretching, and doing the elliptical for 30 minutes. My least favorite part of that is the sit-ups. 

Instead of torturing myself (by which I mean the hassle of rolling and unrolling my yoga blanket as support – the struggle is real), I might skip them. Maybe I’ll do them at night instead. 

Fitness compromise with myself. 

Dwell in the feeling of what it is that you desire.

I’m not sure how, but I received an email from someone in Gabrielle Bernstein’s camp last week about an hour-long lecture that she was giving with Philosophy, and after checking my schedule, I happily RSVP’d.

I arrived a tad before 6pm, not remembering that it was first-come, first-serve, and I was at the end of a long line. They told us at the back that we probably wouldn’t get in as they were at capacity, but I stuck around with a few others anyways. You could say we willed ourselves in because just before the event started, fire codes be damned, and they let the few us that stuck around stand in the back. Total win.

Lots of my friends who read this will probably roll their eyes at the granola-y vibe of what she spoke about and that’s fine. Roll your eyes and keep living your life how it suits you. I digress!

Gabby Bernstein will always be my favorite. She spoke about manifestation and vision boards, of course. We meditated. She said the number one key to manifesting is to put what you want out there into the universe and then chill. Because the energy of being a maniac and trying to get something, anything, will drive it away from you. She also said to pick a sign and ask for it and ask for it often.

I needed this talk and I took this advice to heart with my search for the perfect(-ish) job. Every now and then I get into panic-mode about my job and that helps exactly no one.

So, pick a sign and chill out. Oh, and meditate. Always meditate.

Yoga Vs. The Others

I’ve gone to the occasional Pilates or barre class a couple of times a year. I took Pilates for a semester during my freshmen year of college, before I ever found yoga, and I felt, and looked, great.

It’s always really jarring to be in a Pilates or barre class now, after five-plus years of being a yogi. There’s no pranayama or intention-setting before, or “namaste” after. It’s always just “thanks for coming! See you next time!” And I’m always dumbstruck. “That’s it?” And there I am, left stranded on my mat, looking confused because as far I’m concerned, the class can’t possibly be over yet.

All three have tremendous health benefits. I might go to a barre class tonight, in fact, and I am now the proud owner of a barre DVD, but only yoga works on your mind, as well as your body.

Namaste.