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Old school

This week's episode is a recast from the earlier days of the podcast. I guide you through Hum Sa kriya technique with the additional use of a mantra, the sound 'gam' (my pronunciation sounds like I'm saying "gum" in my non-descript American English, and any ol' way you pronounce it is fine!). Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 516 - Practicing Mantra in Meditation - Recast May 21 2018"
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Breathing practice: Alternate nostril breathing
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Hum Sa with Gam mantra
  • A little re-grounding movement: Re-grounding series

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit vashishtha jogi, found on unsplash

What can you do with a mantra?

The word mantra means "mind tool" or something that "expands the mind". You can use it to focus the mind in meditation and in everyday life. By repeating a mantra, you can train your mind to stay focused on it... to the exclusion of other thinking. In meditation, the result can be a feeling of "expansion." In meditation and in life, reflection upon this "expansion" can yield a shift --or an expansion, if you will-- in your perspective. You might be more likely to observe your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which helps create just enough distance that you can act consciously rather than reactively.

 
Listen to "Ep 515 - An Everyday 'Mind Tool' - Recast Ep 147"
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

Here's a quick summary of what I discuss

  • Choose a mantra to use in meditation based on your gut instinct. Pick one you like from the 7 options I offer.
  • Use the same mantra throughout your day when you need to calm yourself down or reduce the effects of internal or external distractions.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit vita marija murenaite, found on unsplash

We all need comforting

Spending time being comfortable --being in comfort, in our comfort zone-- is a necessary part of moving forward in life. (So is time spent being challenged, but that's a topic for another time.) And there are many ways to return to comfort when you need to -- doing things you love, spending time with people who make you feel good, and adopting practices that help your nervous system move towards your "happy place," such as meditation and yoga 😉 More on that in the episode!

You can also ignore all that and just practice in the way that suits you best! Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 514 - Comforting Self + Humming Mantras Meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on comforting self/Self
  • A little lead-in movement: Seated side stretch
  • Breathing practice: Long exhale
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Humming Mantra
  • A little re-grounding movement: Kneeling lunge

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit peter de lucia, found on unsplash

There's more than one way to be present

There are many places in life where we're asked to "be present" -- and it doesn't always mean the same thing. Allowing some variation in the ways you show up in any given moment might make "being present" feel more manageable. I share a few thoughts on that in the episode -- plus how it relates to this week's technique. Enjoy!

 
Listen to "Ep 513 - Being Present + a Color Visualization Meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on being present and what we can borrow from meditation
  • A little lead-in movement: Seated cat / cow
  • Breathing practice: Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana)
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Color visualization
  • A little re-grounding movement: Downdog or Child's form

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit vlad kutepov, found on unsplash

It can start with the breath

It's fairly common knowledge that deep breathing is calming. Unfortunately, deep breathing as a practice that everyone knows well enough to call on every time it's needed is not yet standard. Which means it's always worth a friendly reminder that your breathing is a powerful avenue for shifting nervous system behavior. And with that shift comes an opening to changing your mood, how you feel, and how easily you can focus.

When you sit for meditation, allowing yourself the time to come to a place of breathing comfortably is so valuable! You can use this notion both before you start the episode or enter a class and to make yourself comfortable during the practice if a breathing technique or meditation practice sets you off balance in some way. More on that in the opening of the episode, with the basic take away being to embrace whatever you need to do to be comfortable in your breathing throughout!

Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 512 - Breathe Comfortably + Sat Yam Bubble Meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on INSPO
  • A little lead-in movement: Arm lift
  • Breathing practice: Padadirsasana
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Sat Yam Bubble
  • A little re-grounding movement: Cat / Cow

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!
 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit rowan heuvel, found on unsplash

Making moves with your mind

I sometimes refer to meditation as "mind moves" even though most of us, myself included, also think of meditation as "quieting the mind" or "stilling thoughts." That's because most practices involve moving your awareness, moving your mind, in order to create the conditions for stillness. (As someone who is more inclined to move than to be still, I find the use of movement to create stillness very freeing!)

Sometimes the practices I teach involve moving a light or a sound -- and today, I'm inviting you to move what you feel. Whatever you feel inside when you focus your awareness, you can use that to move your attention. (More on that in the episode.)

You can also ignore all that and just practice in the way that suits you best! Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 511 - Moving What You Feel + Figure 8 Breath" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on moving what you feel inside with your attention
  • A little lead-in movement: Seated forward fold
  • Breathing practice: 4-Part Breath
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Figure 8 Breath
  • A little re-grounding movement: Belly-down rest (savasana)

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 511 - Moving What You Feel + Figure 8 Breath" on Spreaker.
 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit vlad kutepov, found on unsplash

Choosing your journey

Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind without judgment or criticism. When you enter into the practice, you can bring effort and intention, curiosity and wonder. Once you've made the decision to practice, or to try, it's again your choice, at every moment, how to proceed.

There's choice in the type of practice you do, the object of focus, but even after that, when your mind wanders during meditation, when you notice it happening, you can choose to redirect your focus or not. You can choose to keep your eyes closed or to open them. You can choose to sit still for a set period of time or to let yourself get up in the middle of practice if you need.

In order to practice without judgment of our experience, it can be useful to remember that choosing to meditate is not the only choice you get to make. It doesn't have to be all in or not at all. I encourage you to let your meditation practice be exactly what it is on any given day, choosing from moment to moment how to be in it.

You can also ignore all that and just practice in the way that suits you best! Enjoy!

 
Listen to "Ep 510 - Choice + Hum Sa Meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on making choices during the practice of meditation
  • A little lead-in movement: Cat / cow
  • Breathing practice: Alternate nostril breath (nadi shodhana)
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Hum Sa
  • A little re-grounding movement: Child's form

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 510 - Choice + Hum Sa Meditation" on Spreaker.
 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit waldemar brandt, found on unsplash

You decide how to get ready

Meditation is a simple, if difficult practice. And yet, because our lives are complex and often messy, we're not always ready to jump right into the simplicity of the meditation practice.

This week, I talk about the importance of choosing what you need (and taking time to explore ideas and options) to prepare for meditation and to transition out of it. In the practice, I encourage you to do your own thing and/or try out the suggestions I offer to help you find your own thing. I hope it's helpful. Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 509 - Choice + Swaying Meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on making choices and taking action in meditation
  • A little lead-in movement: Seated camel
  • Breathing practice: Even ratio breathing (1:1)
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Swaying to center
  • A little re-grounding movement: Reclining ankle to knee

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 509 - Choice + Swaying Meditation" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit hoach le din, found on unsplash

What's with the chanting?

If you've been to my class enough times, you've probably heard me chant/sing Sanskrit mantras at the end of class. This is something I came to through my ISHTA studies. The "full" ISHTA meditation concludes with chanting several mantras. I learned them gradually, first listening in during group class, then chanting quietly while fumbling the words I didn't really know. I eventually learned them all, but even in those early days, just listening was powerful and soothing. And so along with learning to chant for my own practice, I began, timidly at first, sharing that with my students, chanting during the resting period at the end of class.

I generally don't like to sing, but the feeling of chanting is magical. For me, it's not the words (though I choose only mantras with meanings that resonate), it's not the melody (there isn't one), it's the vibration inside. Those of you who are singers probably know well what I'm talking about. But if you're not a singer, maybe chanting --or just humming-- can give your vibration a voice, too.

And if you're not sure why you should bother, well, only you can say for sure, but I can tell you that there is evidence that humming (and chanting) can help to soothe your nervous system -- and contribute to vagal tone when you don't really need soothing. (What is vagal tone? It's basically how easily you can move between being riled up and being calm.) Which means that if you like the humming, chanting, or singing, keep doing it! And invite others along to the party, it's good for all of us 🙂

 

Want to give it a try?

I shared the full series of meditation chants (called "regrounding mantras" or "samyama") on the Everyday Meditation podcast so that you can! Each mantra has two episodes. On the first, I share what I know about the mantra and break down the Sanskrit so that you can learn to repeat it. (My very loose interpretations of the mantras are based on what I learned in practice from my teachers, not literal translations -- if you want those, google can help!) On the second, I chant the mantra several times as you might in regular practice. You can listen or chant along.

 
Here are the links to the episodes:

Introduction: Intro to the Regrounding Mantras

Om Namah Shivaya: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Aim Saraswatiye Namaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Ram Ramaya Namaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Namo Narayanaya: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Hrid Hram Swaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Dum Durgaye Namaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Lakshmi vam Shree Kamala Darum Swaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Om Gam Ganapatiyeh Namaha: learn the mantra or practice chanting

Wrap up: Full Regrounding Series, all the mantras chanted in sequence, and Samyama and the Regrounding Series, my thoughts on the regrounding mantra series as a samyama (meditation) practice.

 
Be moving, be true, be you,
esther
 
 

photo credit rowan heuvel, found on unsplash

A-U-M or OM

One of the ISHTA meditation practices includes humming or chanting "Aahh" then "Uooo" then "Mmmm". These are the component sounds of "OM," which is also chanted for devotion and meditation, though I rarely use it that way. So I thought I'd give it a try and compare the two.

This week, I lead the A-U-M practice as I normally teach it. Next week, I'll lead us through a version chanting OM, instead of the component parts. Try one or both practices and let me know -- do you prefer one? If noticeably different for you, how so?

Or just practice and let it be what it is. Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 507 - A-U-M chanting meditation" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on chanting with A-U-M vs OM
  • A little lead-in movement: 90/90 pigeon
  • Breathing practice: Long exhale
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): A-U-M (chanting)
  • A little re-grounding movement: Reclining knock knees

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 507 - A-U-M chanting meditation" on Spreaker.

PS

"Om" is referred to as the "universal sound" and in the Hindu religion universal sound would also be the divine sound. In western yoga classes, it's practice both with or without deference to its history and context. I would saying I fall in the latter camp, having little knowledge of its religious purpose nor much capacity to wrap my head around there being one universal sound. I leave it to you whether to say or chant OM or A-U-M as you deem sound and right for you.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit zac bromell, found on unsplash

When you want to give up on stillness

Quieting the mind might be the "goal" of meditation, but there's a whole lot of process between sitting down to practice and getting to quiet. And some days that process is a whole lot of chatter and no quiet at all. On the podcast, I talk about learning to be ok with that, with the process of trying not to engage with the chatter, even though there might be days when it's more frustrating than calming (in the moment anyway).
Enjoy!
 
Listen to "Ep 506 - Being Ok with Meditation + Sat Yam" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on being ok with the process of meditation
  • A little lead-in movement: Cat / child's
  • Breathing practice: Alternate nostril breath (nadi shodhana)
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Sat Yam
  • A little re-grounding movement: Reclining rest

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 506 - Being Ok with Meditation + Sat Yam" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit mihaly koles, found on unsplash

We all change

We grow, we age, we change -- from year to year, day to day, and moment to moment. The other day I took a special delight in paying attention to my body changing from tense and tired to relaxed and ready to rest. It was a reminder of just how much is going on all the time, and just how powerful a familiar cue and some deep breathing can be! More on that in the episode, and while you listen, you might contemplate your own capacity for changes you want.

 
Listen to "Ep 505 - Experiencing Change + Hum Sa" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in this episode of Everyday Meditation?

  • Welcome + getting situated, with a few thoughts on experiencing change in the body as it happens
  • A little lead-in movement: Thread the needle
  • Breathing practice: Alternate Nostril Breathing (nadi shodhana)
  • Meditation technique (awareness kriya): Hum Sa
  • A little re-grounding movement: Seated camel

As always, I encourage you to make yourself at home in this practice: substitute, modify, do as you need to feel safe and present, including taking breaks!

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to carry with you? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember!

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 505 - Experiencing Change + Hum Sa" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit matt wojtas, found on unsplash

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