Facilitating the evolution of the standard of healthcare from one of managing disease to one of fostering health.

Categories
Meditation Mindfulness Yoga

Mindful Minute New Years Resolutions

1. Get Your ZZZ’s

When you don’t get enough sleep, or the quality of your sleep is not restful, it takes a giant toll on your mind and body. It probably comes as no surprise that even short-term sleep deficiencies can negatively impact your mental and performance state. For a better quality of life during your waking hours, including the ability to focus and be present and mindful during your day-to-day, make your goal for this new year in 2022 to get the sleep your body needs.

2. Design a Morning Routine for Success

But the first thing you do when you wake up will set the tone for your entire day. If you want to move through your day with ease, energy, awareness and confidence, start your day with activities that encourage those states of mind. If you want to move through your day feeling anxious and irritated, there are things you can do to incite those feelings, too, although I wouldn’t recommend them.

3. Quit a Bad Habit

It can feel daunting to break a bad habit that you’ve been struggling with for years, but it’s not as hard as you might think if you have a solid plan. Just as you learned to do the thing you’re trying not to do – you can unlearn it, too. It takes 30 days to learn a new habit and 30 days to break one as well.

4. Learn to Be More Patient

While the thought of waiting for something you want or need seems easy in theory, it is much more arduous in practice. The good news is that even the most impatient people can improve patience. And there are ample opportunities to practice being patient, given the inevitable inconveniences, annoyances, and unplanned challenges that show up pretty much all the time. So you want to get better at patience? You must practice patience. 

5. Walk

Walking meditation is a great way to slow down your mind and movements. We spend too much of our time rushing from point A to point B. Walking meditation is an opportunity to do just the opposite — think of walking meditation as a slow stroll without any other purpose or destination except to stroll — and be with any experiences that come up while putting one foot in front of the other. 

6. Sign Up for a Meditation Class

Meditation is the ultimate practice to add to your days to practice mindfulness. To jump start your practice, try making your 2022 goal to sign up for and commit to a class. It’ll answer any questions you have as you get started and help you make it a habit. I recommend MBSR, or mindfulness-based stress reduction, an eight-week program. You will love the accountability, structure, and camaraderie that came with learning as a group. Try our  online version of the MBSR program.

7. Prioritize

At the beginning of each day (or end of each day for the following day), make a to-do list that only includes three things. You may be tempted to add more than three things, but don’t. If you’re feeling stressed and it’s because you have too much to do, take five minutes to write down all that’s swimming in your head, and then prioritize. Remember, if your to-do list is overwhelmed, chances are you are, too.

8. Schedule Device-Free Time Each Week

One of the biggest roadblocks to maintaining a peaceful mindset is technology. Between our laptops, tablets and smart phones, as a culture, we have become slaves to notifications, dings and beeps.

Try designating device-free windows of time where you ditch your device and stay in the present moment, instead.

9. Go Outside

Spend at least 10 minutes outside each day connecting with nature as your 2022 goal. Feel the wind, listen to the birds, notice the flowers, smile at the passers-by…

10. Practice Yoga

Mindful movement is a great way to practice mindfulness, especially if it’s hard for you to sit still.

In yoga, we start with the body—allowing the body and breath to lead, and the mind to follow. Many people find their way to meditation and mindfulness through yoga because it’s easier to focus on the physical body first. For me, it was the entry point to the entire world of mindfulness.

Plus, it can be a great way to get some exercise, stretch your body, and break a sweat.

11. Get Some Exercise

If yoga isn’t your thing, choose your own exercise to anchor your mind. Check out our list different types of yoga, you would be surprised how many poses your body can go into! But really, any activity that puts you in that heightened state of awareness will do.

12. Develop Your Curiosity Muscles

When you’re curious, problem solving becomes easier because you see more options, paths, and ways of solving a problem than your non-curious counterparts. You question more; you gather more opinions; you don’t stop at the first solution – which can lead to greater possibilities. And, curiosity can definitely help you stay present and mindful to all that surrounds you.

13. Go on a Retreat or Plan a Relaxing Getaway

Make your 2022 goal to plan a mindfulness getaway. Getting away from your day-to-day life and spending some hard-earned down time in a new place is a great way to infuse a giant dose of mindfulness into your year. The trick is: don’t over-plan your trip!

14. Practice Gratitude

It’s easy to be thankful for things and people and gestures that do us right. But it’s also easy to quickly forget. Practicing gratitude — actively — is becoming more aware of the things you treasure and appreciate in your life, leaving behind a sense of happiness and mindfulness, bundled up and stashed in your heart. 

15. Eat Mindfully

mindful eating is also incredibly rewarding. When you appreciate and taste each detail of your meal, it’s a truly enjoyable experience and practice in patience. Start your 2022 goal by eating one meal a week mindfully and see how it feels. 

16. Spend Quality Time Connecting with Loved Ones

Go to dinner, play a game, have a conversation — and try to keep your smart phone resting on the sidelines to really connect with your present company. You can also try this mindful listening practice to connect even deeper with those around you.

17. Learn How to Say No

Saying NO is one of the most difficult things on earth. Learning to say no is one of the most important skills to have in order to focus on the things you really care about in life. 

18. Listen to Music

Instead of flipping the TV on as soon as you get home or phoning a friend, tune into some relaxing music at the end of the workday. Music is a powerful tool to boost your mood, spark an emotion, and calm your soul. Check out these two music playlists — created for meditation, but perfect for unwinding any time.

19. Space Out Activities on Your Calendar

Ever notice when you move from one activity to the next is often where you rush the most? Getting from point A to point B can be stressful. What if there’s a point A ½ that we didn’t quite plan for?

Creating bigger cushions in your day and planning to arrive a few minutes early will allow you to meet unforeseen traffic unfazed, and allow you to take a few deep, mindful breaths with that extra time before your next meeting, activity, or event begins.

20. Meditate

And of course, this list would not be complete without adding meditation as an option for your 2022 goal. Meditation makes you more focused, productive, creative, compassionate, less stressed, and overall a healthier and happier human. Need I say more?

Categories
Yoga

Yoga Types

Deborah Norris, Ph.D. is a yoga professional instructor, trainer and teacher at The Mindfulness Center, ™, based in Washington, D.C. She is Psychologist-in-Residence and Director of the Psychobiology of Healing Program at American University, and past professor at Georgetown University Medical School and is renowned for her online meditation teacher programs, The Science of Mindful Awareness (SOMA). Dr. Norris tells us the many different types of yoga.

Mindfulness V. Meditation

progressional yoga therapy

What Is Yoga?

Plain and simple, yoga is the union between the body, mind, and spirit. It is a place of discovery and connection with your own body that encompasses balance, proper stretching techniques, breathing, meditation, centering the mind and spirit — that’s yoga in its real form.”

However, you’ll find that every type of yoga has a slightly different definition or interpretation. That is why we see things like goat yoga (a.k.a. doing yoga with goats running and jumping around) popping up alongside traditional forms like Iyengar and ashtanga.

But above all, yoga ignores the “no pain, no gain” philosophy that’s rife in fitness communities. Yoga is not a place to push through, go beyond your edge, or ignore your body. The primary tenet is ahimsa, or non-harming, and that starts with choosing the right type of yoga for you.


The Mindfulness Center


Vigorous Vinyasas

Vinyasa-style yoga combines a series of flowing postures with rhythmic breathing for an intense body-mind workout. Here are a few different types:

Ashtanga

The practice of Ashtanga that’s getting mainstream attention today is a fast-paced series of sequential postures practiced by the late yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois, who lived in Mysore, India. Jois was later accused of assault, but yogis continue to practice Ashtanga worldwide, making it one of the most popular schools of yoga around.

The system is based on six series of asanas which increase in difficulty, allowing students to work at their own pace. In class, you’ll be led nonstop through one or more of the series. There’s no time for adjustments with this type of yoga—you’ll be encouraged to breathe as you move from pose to pose. Be prepared to sweat.

Power Yoga

In 1995, Bender Birch set out to challenge Americans’ understanding of what it really means to be fit with her book Power Yoga. Bender Birch’s intention was to give a Western spin to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, a challenging and disciplined series of poses designed to create heat and energy flow.

“Most people wouldn’t take a class called Ashtanga Yoga, because they had no idea what it meant. Power Yoga, on the other hand, was something Americans could relate to and know that they’d get a good workout,” says Bender Birch.

This type of yoga’s popularity has spread to health clubs across the country and has taken on a broad range of applications. The common thread is a rigorous workout that develops strength and flexibility while keeping students on the move. For specifics, consult individual instructors before signing up for a class. For more information visit Thom Birch and Beryl Bender Birch’s website, power-yoga.com.

Kundalini Yoga

Yogi Bhajan, teacher, and spiritual leader, brought this style of yoga to the West in the late 1960s. “Kundalini” in Sanskrit translates to “life force energy” (known as prana or chi in the yoga community), which is thought to be tightly coiled at the base of the spine. These yoga sequences are carefully designed to stimulate or unlock this energy and to reduce stress and negative thinking. “You get to elevate your consciousness and feel great,” says Veronica Parker, an E-RYT 200, and a certified kundalini yoga teacher.

This is accomplished by challenging both mind and body with chanting, singing, meditation, and kriyas (specific series of poses paired with breath work and chanting). You might notice everyone is wearing white, as it’s believed to deflect negativity and increase your aura. Typically, a kundalini class starts with a mantra (a focus for the class), then includes breathing exercises, warmups to get the body moving, increasingly more challenging poses, and a final relaxation and meditation, says Parker.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit words for sun and moon, and it’s designed to balance opposing forces. The balance in hatha yoga might come from strength and flexibility, physical and mental energy, or breath and the body. “Hatha is a blanket term for many different ‘styles’ and schools that use the body as a means for self-inquiry,” says Jennifer Campbell-Overbeeke, E-RYT 500.

It’s often used as a catch-all term for the physical side of yoga, is more traditional in nature, or is billed as yoga for beginners.

To be considered hatha, classes must include a mix of asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation, so other types of yoga — like Iyengar, ashtanga, or Bikram — are technically considered to be hatha yoga as well.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga consists of six series of specific poses taught in order. Each pose and each series is “given” to a student when their teacher decides they have mastered the previous one. This is a very physical, flow-style yoga with spiritual components — you might remember it as the type Madonna did in the late ’90s. Ashtanga teachers give hands-on adjustments, and in Mysore-style studios (named after the city where the practice’s guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, lived and taught), each student has a unique practice.

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is often taught as “led” classes in the West, where the first or second series is taught from start to finish over the course of 90 minutes to two hours. There is no music played in ashtanga classes.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slower style of yoga in which poses are held for a minute and eventually up to five minutes or more. It is a type of yoga with roots in martial arts as well as yoga, and it’s designed to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. The practice focuses on the hips, lower back, and thighs and uses props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to let gravity do the work, helping to relax. While other forms of yoga focus on the major muscle groups, yin yoga targets the body’s connective tissues.

Yin also aids recovery from hard workouts. “Adding a deep stretch and holding class like yin can be extremely beneficial to a strong body,” says Megan Kearney, a Yoga Medicine instructor. Holding poses longer benefits the mind as well as the body, providing a chance to practice being still. “This is a beautiful practice that honors stillness,” says Moore-Tucker. “This style of practice is a great balance for vinyasa flow.”

Virtual Qi Gong

Iyengar Yoga

This type of yoga became popular in the US in the 1970s. Iyengar yoga is known for the high level of training required of its teachers and for its resourceful use of props. While considered optional in many practices, multiple props are used in Iyengar classes — including chairs, walls, and benches, in addition to more common ones like straps, blocks, and bolsters.

Paul Keoni Chun, an E-RYT 200, likes this more static form of yoga for older adults, since it “emphsizes detailed alignment and longer holds of positions.” Iyengar yoga is usually less intense than other types of yoga, although that can vary based on the instructor or class. But generally, it’s suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Choudhury developed Bikram yoga. It is a form of hot yoga. These classes, like ashtanga classes, consist of a set series of poses performed in the same order, and the practice has strict rules. Each class is 90 minutes, with 26 postures and two breathing exercises, and the room must be 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Additionally, instructors do not adjust students.

Since Bikram yoga has so many rules, many studios simply call their classes “hot yoga” so they can customize their offerings. Devotees of hot yoga tout the massive amount of sweat and the added flexibility the practice gives them.

“Practicing yoga in a heated environment allows students to get deeper into postures, improves circulation, and aids in detoxifying the body,” says Natalie Sleik, RYT 200, who teaches hot power yoga.

Power Yoga

Like vinyasa yoga, power yoga traces its roots to ashtanga but is less regimented and is more open to interpretation by individual teachers. “Power yoga is generally more active and is done at a quicker pace than other styles of yoga,” says Chun.

Sleik adds that “power yoga strengthens the muscles while also increasing flexibility. The variation of sequences keeps the brain engaged while you work all muscle groups in the body.”

Power yoga can be hot yoga or not, and some studios offer a mix of power and slow flow yoga to ease students into this intense practice. Fans of power yoga may also like buti yoga, which is just as physical but also includes tribal dance, primal movements, and plenty of core work.

Who Might Like It: Those who like ashtanga but want less rigidity, anyone who wants a good workout, and anyone who wants a less spiritual yoga practice.

The Mindfulness Center

Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda yoga is a form of hatha yoga based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. Classes are generally relaxing: while most yoga classes end with savasana (a final relaxation/corpse pose), Sivananda starts with this pose, then moves into breathing exercises, sun salutations, and then 12 basic asanas.

Designed to support overall health and wellness, Sivananda yoga is appropriate for all levels and ages.

Who Might Like It: Those looking for a gentler form of yoga, anyone who wants a more spiritual practice.

The Mindfulness Center

Restorative Yoga

If you walked by a restorative yoga class, you might think everyone was taking a nap on their mats. This form of yoga uses props to support the body. The goal is to completely relax into poses, which are held for at least five minutes but often longer. This means that you might only do a handful of poses in a class, and it’s perfectly acceptable to drift into sleep during them.

Some teachers might even lead you through yoga nidra – a guided meditation that allows you to hover blissfully between sleep and wake. One hour in yoga nidra is said to equal a few hours of shuteye, and while that can be a good self-care tool, it can’t replace a healthy night’s sleep.

Though all different types of yoga can aid stress relief and brain health, restorative yoga places its focus on down-regulating the nervous system. Restorative yoga can benefit those who need to chill out and de-stress, and it can also be used as part of your rest-day self-care.

Who Might Like It: Anyone who needs to de-stress, those dealing with pain, and someone who struggles to relax.

Prenatal Yoga

Yoga can be a wonderful workout for moms-to-be. It often focuses on easing pains associated with pregnancy, such as sore hips or an aching low back. Prenatal yogaprovides stress relief, exercise, and self-care in one session, and the breathing exercises can come in handy during labor and delivery.

Since this is a practice designed specifically for moms-to-be, it excludes poses that might be too taxing or unsafe for the changing body. (But make sure you check in with your doctor before beginning a yoga practice, if you are pregnant.) Yoga for pregnancy, such as the Active Maternity series on Beachbody On Demand, also often includes plenty of exercises to prepare your body for delivery, like squats and pelvic floor work.

Who Might Like It: Moms-to-be and new moms who are easing back into exercise.

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga — sometimes called anti-gravity yoga — is relatively new, but quickly catching on. It involves traditional yoga poses with the added support of a strong, silky hammock that hangs from the ceiling. The hammock is used as a supportive prop in poses like pigeon or downward dog, and helps you more easily perform inverted poses (like headstands and handstands) that might be beyond your abilities or comfort levels. It’s also used for a cocoon-like savasana (the final resting pose at the end of a yoga class). Classes can be either physically challenging or relaxing.

Acro yoga

Acro yoga takes familiar yoga poses — like downward dog or plank — and makes them double the fun (and sometimes double the work) by adding a partner. One partner serves as the “base” on the ground, while the other is the “flyer” who contorts themselves on the soles of the base’s feet. (A spotter should always be involved for safety).

This type of yoga helps you playfully explore your mind-body connection, develops effective communication skills with a partner, and aids in setting appropriate boundaries.

If you work as a base, it builds a strong lower body and core. Working as a flyer requires flexibility and strength, not to mention trust.

Who Might Like It: Those who enjoy practicing with a partner, couples looking to build trust and intimacy, or anyone with an adventurous streak who likes to go upside down.

Categories
Meditation

Mindfulness V. Meditation

 

Mindfulness v. Meditation

Dr Deborah Norris explains the difference:

 

 

While we hear the terms “mindfulness” and “meditation” almost interchangeably, there is an important difference and relationship between the two words.  By understanding this relationship, we can deepen our comprehension of both the practice and its outcomes.

The difference between meditation and mindfulness is that one is a practice and the other is a state of being. Meditation is what we are doing when we are sitting on the cushion with our eyes closed, or however you practice.  Mindfulness is what we gain as a result of the practice. Meditation is to strength training as mindfulness is to being strong. As a result of strength training, we become strong. As a result of practicing meditation, we become mindful. Just as being strong is a state of being, mindful is also a state of being. By closing your eyes and witnessing yourself breathing – meditating, palpable shifts begin occurring within you, potentially changing your state of being. Mindfulness is arising within you.

“Mindfulness” is now also used to refer to a specific type of meditation, as in Mindfulness Meditation, as opposed to Transcendental Meditation or Kundalini Meditation, and many other forms of practice.  What all forms of meditation practice share in common is the use of a single point of focus to begin to still the mind. In closed-monitoring practices, one remains focused on that single point. What varies with the different practices is where we aim that point of focus. Transcendental meditation focuses on a mantra repeated over and over. Kundalini focuses on ecstatic awareness.  Compassion meditation practices focus on sensations from the heart. Other forms of the practice may focus on a visual experience or point, such as a candle. And others may focus on a sound, such as a chime, or singing bowl. Transcendental Meditators remain in that closed-monitoring state, continually focused on their mantra.

 

In Mindfulness Meditation the point of focus is sensate awareness of interoceptive experiences. This can include the full gamut of sensations that may arise in the body, including sensations of the breath moving in, through and from the body, circulation, digestion, a specific body part, or the felt sense of thoughts flowing through the head. It may also include sensations of pain, or relief, hunger, or satiety, etc, noticing where in the body these sensations are arising. In Mindfulness Meditation, one can shift at any time to open monitoring – that is, letting go of the single point of focus, and noticing and experiencing anything that arises in the sensate awareness.  One may start the practice focused on the sensations of breathing, and perhaps once the mind is stilled, shift to a broader perspective of anything that comes up. This is similar to focusing on a specific point on the horizon, and then stepping back, expanding both the breadth and the depth of the perception, and noticing the full horizon!

I define Mindfulness Meditation as being in a curious state of awareness. During the practice, we continually invite ourselves back to curiosity about the sensate experiences of being. What do I feel like, and where in the body do I feel it? This practice activates specific regions of the brain, and measureable growth occurs in these regions. Mindfulness Meditation is associated with activation and growth in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a part of the brain that regulates self-awareness, self-regulation and self-control. The behavioral consequence of this practice and growth of the ACC is greater feelings of self-integration, control, and resilience. We feel more open-minded, aware and present – more mindful.

Since different forms of meditation practice have been found to have different effects on the structure and function of our brain, our biochemistry, and behavioral outcomes, it is relevant to pick the type of meditation practice that works best for you. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to be one of the most effective self-care practices for the relief of chronic pain. Something about directing our attention towards pain facilitates the actual resolution of pain. Mindfulness Meditation is also effective in rebalancing the brain biochemistry and even helping to restore balance to hormones such as cortisol, thyroid hormones, estrogen, testosterone, insulin, growth hormones, and mineral corticoids regulating bone density. (Yes, sitting on a cushion meditating has been found to improve insulin function, and in other studies, to increase bone density!)

All forms of meditation lead to enhanced states of being.  Just like all forms of exercise improve overall well being. At different times in our lives, we may find different forms of exercise more appropriate for our condition.  I encourage exploring the meditation practice that works for you. What makes you feel better? The exploration itself is part of the practice that leads to greater mindfulness.


Interested in Meditation Training?  Learn more by watching our Meditation Training Playlist on Youtube!

Categories
Yoga

Professional Yoga Therapy Certification

(800 hr) What’s Included In The Program:

THE 800 HR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS

  1. Core Clinical Module: Professional Yoga Therapy BasicsThe Core Clinical Module provides training in the range of tools and practices available to the yoga therapist, including asana, bandhas, mudra, and pranayama. In this module, students learn the application of yoga therapy for specific health conditions including pain, trauma, hypertension, neurological conditions, the side effects of chemotherapy, and more. Yoga Therapy is an inherently integrative practice, simultaneously affecting the body, mind, cognition, emotions and the breath. Students learn different viewpoints of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual tools of yoga therapy. This module teaches the knowledge, skills, and ability of a professional yoga therapist to work with a range of clinical conditions, in groups or individually. Yoga therapy is considered a process for self-exploration, discovery, and transformation.
  2. Yoga Research & Science Certificate ModuleStudents who complete this module on Bridging the Ancient Practice and Modern Science of Healing along with Research Methodology in Yoga and Mind-Body Medicine will receive a certificate in Yoga Research. This certificate module in Yoga Therapy Science and Research is appropriate for anyone interested in conducting or assisting with the conduct of research in mind-body or other integrative approaches to health and well-being. It is also appropriate for yoga and other integrative practitioners who are interested in staying up-to-date on the most current medical science available in order to integrate state-of-the-art care into their practice.
  3. Yoga Therapy For Mental Health Certificate ModuleStudents who complete the two modules on Principles of the Therapeutic Relationship and Yoga Therapy Principles & Skills will receive a Certificate in Yoga Therapy for Mental Health. This certification program is appropriate for mental health providers interested in the yoga therapy perspective on behavioral health and well-being. As well as yoga instructors looking to incorporate a greater understanding of the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation into their teaching.
  4. Meditation Teacher Certificate Module“Become certified as a Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, with a specific focus on the therapeutic benefits and clinical application of mindfulness, for group or one-on-one instruction.
  5. Beginners Ayerveda Certificate ModuleStudents in The Science of Ayurveda: A Translation between Two Cultures will gain knowledge of Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga that informs yoga therapy. Students will learn Ayurvedic principles for categorizing illness as well as common pathologies and disorders of all the major systems, including symptoms, management, illness trajectories, and contraindications, as relevant to the work of a yoga therapist. Students learn about setting priorities: symptoms/pacification (shamana [short term]) and purification/ strengthening (shodhana).
  6. MentorshipThe Professional Yoga Therapy Training Mentorship component ensures students feel comfortable and supported in leading their Yoga Therapy Practicum, in which program participants will practice yoga therapy in supervised and unsupervised environments. Mentorship will cover documentation of practicum as well as protocol development and more.
  7. PracticumThe Mindfulness Center offers an opportunity for our yoga therapists in training to provide clinical services in a supervised clinical environment through The Mindfulness Center. As a not-for-profit charitable, educational and research organization, The Mindfulness Center provides wellness services to our community. Supervised clinical practice experience provides students with the opportunity to lead yoga therapy sessions for both group and one-on-one client sessions; while also affording our community in need with yoga therapy services and classes. Students are required to contribute a minimum of 150 clinical hours to the community.
  8. Professional Yoga Therapist CertificateConduct research in complementary and alternative medicine, write grants and proposals for other scientific funding opportunities. Work closely with the Executive Director, Dr. Deborah Norris. Apply the broad realm of the science of mind-body therapies, including theory, practice, mechanisms of action, clinical measures and outcomes, research design. Familiarity with federal granting agencies, their application procedures and interests, as well as private foundation sources of support. Post-doctoral and other post-graduate students may apply directly to Deborah Norris, Ph.D., Executive Director.
Categories
Meditation Mindfulness

Meditation Techniques for Covid Relief

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!