My Experience: Meditate Your Weight

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Yesterday I completed the final day’s meditation and journaling for the three-week journey that Tiffany Cruikshank offers in Meditate Your Weight. She’s a doctor who has been using this course with her own patients for years, helping them lose weight, and so she decided to publish it.

Around January, I’d become frustrated with the 5-10 pounds I’d gained over the past couple of years and I didn’t know what to do about it. I eat super healthy (or at least 80/20) and usually worked out 5 times a week. I thought I’d give a go at examining the mental side of things and see if that was my issue, as I suspected it was (because I’m really hard on myself mentally, about most things).

I love reading books like this – and one of Gabby Bernstein’s books that’s a 40 day mental work-out – because it gives me something to look forward to doing every morning. I really enjoyed checking the box of, ‘Yup, done!’ I also, and I HATE to admit this, loved the freedom from my Vedic meditation practice for three weeks. I think I just needed a break. I don’t know why, but I did. Don’t judge me.

Anyways, it’s a 3 week process to go through and unpack your mental baggage that you have about yourself as a person and the image of yourself; to discover what makes you feel good and what gifts you have to offer the world. It sounds cheesy, but it was helpful. The best day is probably day 18, which is the visualization meditation. Where you visualize (duh) yourself at your healthiest. It’s powerful. I felt really good after. I also really enjoyed the daily mantra one day of “My inner glow makes me radiant.” I might get that printed on a bracelet.  Stop it, I know it’s cheesy.

Did I lose any weight, you might be wondering. I lost a couple of pounds, but her message overall is to find your healthiest SELF, not your healthiest weight. She actually recommends throwing your scale out.

So, two thumbs up for this book. It’s good to work on your health mentally just as it is to work on it physically. I celebrated finishing it with a 5k and an iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop. #winning

Meditation for Prosperity

Five or so days before my yoga teacher training started, I was attending a ton of yoga classes, including kundalini yoga. I was still partially freaking out all the time about OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO AFTER TRAINING so when my kundalini teacher said, “We’re doing a kriya set for prosperity today!” I was all, “Yessss.”

She advised we do this for 40 days and then it would help bring us prosperity. I believe we’re all energy so anything to change my energy in the direction of prosperity sounded all good to me. I decided to try it. I was supposed to be done the day before Valentine’s Day, but I missed a few nights here and there so I continued doing it through last Friday. 

Now it’s over and I feel good about having done it for 40 or so days. Hopefully the ‘prosperity’ part will kick in soon. The actual meditation is past the jump!

Sit comfortably, placing your left hand over your left hand on your heart and close your eyes. For at least 3 minutes (11 minutes maximum), repeat to yourself: “I am bountiful, I am blissful, I am beautiful. Excel, excel, fearless!”

After that, flip both of your palms so the pinkie sides of your hands are touching and on your next exhale, flip the palms so the index sides of your fingers touch, and your left thumb is crossing over your right thumb under your palms. 

The word you chant, out loud this time, is “har,” which when pronounced correctly sounds like “hud.” So, for 3-11 minutes, chant “har” on your exhale while flipping your palms to face up and down. 

They say that doing this for more than 11 minutes is considered greedy, but 3 minutes is the absolute minimum.

Happy chanting! 

When It Gets Tough

I didn’t meditate last weekend, or on Monday. I was exhausted from training, and coming down with the beginnings of a cold, and all I wanted to do was relax. 

I fell off the wagon. I felt lazy. I started to beat myself up but stopped. I started up again on Tuesday and I’ve been consistent. But I need to get back to doing 20 minutes 2x/day. Vedic meditation really works it’s magic when it’s practiced twice a day. 

Even more aggravating though: I noticed that I’m very restless during my morning meditation. Like, more fidgety than usual. (And I fidget a lot, but that’s a story for another post.) I can’t sit still and it’s probably because my future is up in the air. I’m not really sure what I’m doing next. And although I’m not losing sleep over it this time, my mind is just constantly racing with thoughts of WHAT AM I DOING TODAY, etc. 

But as they say, when it’s hardest to sit still, that’s when you need it the most. So sit I will.

Tiny Wins

Today was most people’s first day back to work after a most likely stupidly long break for the holidays and such. I still have a week until yoga teacher training starts though, so I slept stupidly late today (for me, which is 9:40am) because Playbill wouldn’t stop meowing around 7am. Anyways, I had a series of small wins today and I wanted to log them here and hope it inspires you guys to log your own tiny wins:

AM Pilates Session: Last week I used Perkville points to book a 30 minute private pilates session and today was the day. It was my first time using pilates equipment and it was pretty interesting. I still like yoga better but I think I need to incorporate pilates at least once a week into my regimen. 

Sushi Lunch: Is sushi healthy? I caught up with an old work friend that I hadn’t seen in a month or more. We’re not super close, but it was good to see her. We went to Sushi Yusaka on 72nd street and it was really good. You know it’s going to be good when they haven’t opened the doors yet and there are already 20 people outside waiting to get in. I didn’t get any tempura rolls, so that’s a win for healthy eating right there.

To Do Lists: I combined my two different to-do list apps into one. And added a bunch of additional things “to do.”

Dairy Free: Another day dairy free! Note: I was not meat-free. Just giving myself a week off from consuming dairy. Second note: I’ve been way less bloated since Sunday!

Meditated Twice: Morning meditations are easy. I get up, I pee, I meditate. It’s the afternoon ones that I’ve been struggling to remember to do (mostly because it was the holidays, but whatever), but today I managed to sit for a second time.

Cooked: I made some kind of risotto and I’m about to make a big bowl of tabouli. I’ll also spiralize a bunch of vegetables to have on hand.  

Cleaned Up: I went through a couple of boxes that’ve been hiding under my bed and filed or threw away a big pile of papers. #declutteringFTW

Emails: In a moment of What’s Next panic last night, I sent a bunch of emails to a few recruiters that I know and a few contacts in the entertainment industry about any possible jobs. I received responses from all of my entertainment industry peeps and that made me feel really good. I made a couple of appointments with two recruiters this week, just so I’m at a good place when training is over, should I decide to take on a FT role again (as opposed to working several different part-time gigs, etc.).

Reading: I finished Breaking Vegan after only 2 days. It’s super inspiring and I truly believe that Jordan Younger is an actually fantastic person (this is just an assumption as I’ve not met her in person!). I’m not vegan, and never plan on being vegan, but this was a great read regardless. Next up: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve read her other two books so I’m looking forward to reading this one, too.

Game On.

Long time, no post! Apologies if you’ve noticed; I’ve been abroad. I knew that when I was in Poland for 10 days that my meditation practice would pause. It did when I went to Scandinavia last year and I made the decision to change my expectations and not to beat myself up over it. The last time I meditated was the morning was on the flight from Frankfurt to Krakow and I was OK with that. I was a little anxious that I would have trouble sleeping without meditation. But aside from that one day when I drank three cappuccinos (damn you, caffeine), I had zero trouble sleeping thanks to walking 12 hours a day (and the mulled wine, and pierogi, etc).

I started meditating again yesterday morning and it feels totally easy to slip back into my two 20 minute meditations a day. Six to seven AM are my time to meditate, check my email, and pet my cat again.

I’ll get more posts and photos up about my travels, but if you need to see photos in the meantime, you can head over to my Instagram

(Photo is of a church in Gdansk, Poland.)

Gabby B via Livestream

Last Tuesday, Gabrielle Bernstein kicked off the tour for her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, in New York at a church in the East Village. Since I’d just been to her last talk a few weeks prior, I decided to buy a streaming ticket so that J and I could watch it live together. I wanted him to experience but I figured an entire in-person night might be a bit overwhelming. 

The only thing I was curious of is whether or not Gabby’s presence would transcend my TV. She talks a lot about presence in her lectures and especially in her newest book. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but I wondered just how different it would be. After eating some sweet potato noodles, we settled onto my couch with Playbill tuned in, literally. 

Luckily, it was still worth it. She brought her A-game and she delivered as she told stories, a lot of which I’ve heard before but J hadn’t, and the meditations rocked, too.

If you don’t live in a city where Gabby tours to, fear not, and buy a live stream ticket. It’s almost as good, which is better than not being there at all.

MNDFL’s Meditation for Creativity with Emily Fletcher

Last Monday night, J and I went to the MNDFL Meditation in the EV for a meditation on creativity with Broadway veteran and founder of Ziva Meditation, Emily Fletcher (Chicago, A Chorus Line, The Producers, etc). I was intrigued because she was a former Broadway actress and who couldn’t benefit from being more creative? The cast of Small Mouth Sounds had been on the schedule as well (Fletcher is the meditation advisor for the show) but they were unable to make it. Eva Price, one of the producers of the play, attended, though, and talked about the experience of producing the play and trying to develop her own practice. 

We sat down and she first talked about her debilitating anxiety from being a swing in A Chorus Line (she wound up in the fetal position after she went on as Val for the first time) and asked her dressing roommate, who covered 6 roles (compared to her 4), how she stayed so cool and collected. Her dressing roommate introduced her to Vedic meditation (the training I completed in early August, though with a different teacher)  and her life was changed. She eventually spent 3 years training to be a teacher and opened her own studio (Ziva). 

She led us through her “Ziva Meditation,” which was like a body scan + light Vedic meditation + loving kindness meditation. She’s a really good teacher because she’s not too new agey. She knows her audience and qualified a lot of things that she said that she knew some people would be all skeptical about (ex. “as cheesy as it sounds, now visualize yourself sending love to everyone in this room”). 

I thanked her after and introduced myself, as did J, and she was super nice. Later on, I realized my Vedic teacher teaches at her studio sometimes so I might go check out one of his classes there, or one of hers.

As always, it was a really good time. I’m sure we’ll be back soon for another class, and sooner or later J will probably pick up his own practice. If you want to download Emily Fletcher’s free meditation, shoot over to Ziva Meditation and enter your email address and you’ll be able to download it for free!

Last Wednesday night I was invited to see Small Mouth Sounds by playwright Bess Wohl at the Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street. I’d been unable to attend the first “buzzmaker” event so I was super stoked to have another opportunity to see it. I mean, after all, could it be more perfect for me? A play about a silent meditation retreat? I think not. I brought J with me because he’s been getting a little more into meditation recently and enjoys seeing a play every now and then. 

The participants of the retreat are your basic stereotypes – obnoxious dedicated yogi, trainwreck white female, the couple who’s having issues, the grieving father, etc. We only hear the guru over the PA system (until the very end) and he’s not a very good guru because he sounds like he’s basically reading from a script. 

In yoga and meditation classes i’ve taken, we’re always told to be very mindful of what we discover in the silence between our breaths, the poses, etc, so a lot of what was being discovered onstage was ringing true to me. It’s always when we’re quietest that we learn the most (this is basically true in any situation in life). 

There are breakthroughs and deceptions, sexual encounters and realizations, and moments of comedy, too. Towards the end of the play, the guru begs his students to “PLEASE CHANGE” out of frustration at their lack of spiritual progress. Ironically, this leads to the most change that any of the characters experience throughout the entire week. 

The characters leave a little bit more woken up than when they arrived, but still basically the same. And so does the audience. I’d highly recommend Small Mouth Sounds, which is playing through October 8th.

For more information, check out this write up in Vanity Fair

All You Can Do

I’ve been practicing transcendental meditation (aka vedic meditation) for about 3 weeks now. I’ve been meditating twice daily since January 2013 so finding the time to meditate twice a day is easy and I’m really dedicated to fitting it in every day. i’ve been stealing away to a dark call room at my office for twenty minutes in the afternoon. It’s so nice to recharge. 

But my small roof gathering got in the way of my second meditation on Saturday night and I really beat myself up over it. For, like, two days. But I got over it. Beating myself up over it won’t change my missing the sitting.

Then it almost happened again tonight. The afternoon at work was busy and by the time I got home from the office, I didn’t have enough time to sit before my yoga class.

What to do. it’s generally suggested to do the second meditation between 2pm and 8pm because it’s an energizing meditation and you don’t want to be up all night if you do it at too late an hour. 

So, here’s what I did: I sat and meditated for 7 minutes while I waited for the train to come after yoga and then another 11 minutes once I was on the train. 18 minutes isn’t 20 minutes, but it’s better than nothing.

I’m not beating myself up this time. I got in a lot and I’m happy with it. 

Synchronicity

I completed my Vedic (aka Transcendental) meditation training this week and maybe I’m connecting things that are just coincidences, but after 5 days of practicing TM, I feel like there’s some synchronicity happening.

On Wednesday, I finally booked my plane ticket to Poland. That evening at the training, a couple came and the husband was Polish.

On Thursday, I was on the train home and I saw a dude wearing a Green Day t-shirt from their last world tour. Listed on the back of it was a city in Poland. Green Day had also just released Bang Bang that morning. 

Finally, yesterday I told my cousin that I was leaving for Poland on the 18th of October and she reminded me that the number 18 is a lucky number for Jews. The letters of the Hebrew word “chai” add up to 18 and I have a gold chai that I was given at my baby naming. (I just had to Google all of that, btw, because I am a #badjew.)