It’s Monday again and instead of feeling energized and getting ready to face the work week, why is it that most people hate going back to their respective workplaces?
It’s Monday again and instead of feeling energized and getting ready to face the work week, why is it that most people hate going back to their respective workplaces?
Yoga and meditation may not be the first thing that will come to mind when you imagine ways to become a good leader. One may think that these practices are not utilized in relating to other people; instead, they are used for purely personal relaxation and inner reflection. However, yoga and meditation were found out to be a beneficial practice especially in terms of relating with others; thus, it can be both useful in attaining personal needs and enhancing one’s abilities as an effective leader. As Dana Anderson, LPC, wrote in her article, “Mindfulness helps people develop the capacity to handle what life throws at them and creates emotional resilience.”
The following are the reasons why yoga and meditation can help develop excellent leadership skills.
Busy people, most notably students, employees, and businessmen, are often deprived of time. Even a short activity outside of work or school during the weekday is impossible.
Meditation is possibly one of the most effective ways to quickly reduce body tension and mental stress. However, this does not mean that one should enroll in formal meditation classes to avail of its benefits.
Anyone can do this in the comfort of their homes. Sometimes, the best time to do it is right before you sleep.
Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Take a deep breath and get ready to relax.” – Aaron E. Kaplan, PsyD.
Here are some ways you can meditate even on your bed right before your usual sleeping hours.
Turn On The Music And Reflect
Look for relaxing instrumentals that you can play while you do this quick meditation. All you need to have are a phone, speakers, and a dimmed room.
Check the room’s temperature and start playing the music softly. Find a suitable spot to do the Indian pose, close your eyes, and steady your breathing. You can ask yourselves questions to ponder on. You can also talk to yourself. Remember: this is about getting to know your inner self.
This activity can only take 5 minutes of your time. First-timers can even feel their intense emotions lower down a bit after the exercise. Don’t worry because the benefits of meditation will compound as you go on.
Listen To Guided Meditation
If you are too tired to think about the steps of meditation consciously, you can always resort to a guided one from the Internet. Video-hosting sites (such as YouTube) offer free audio guides for you to follow. Dr. Albina Tamalonis, PsyD, is an expert in guided meditation. She writes in one of her articles, “In what I call active guided meditation, the guided meditation evolves into a more complex and personalized trance. From my long experience with trance work, I have found that it is very important that the person is stimulated to action beyond the guided meditation. I guide you into a meditative state with a myriad of methods where you’re able to slow your mind down, focus inward on your thoughts and feelings, relax your body, and accept individually tailored ideas to help you.”
Looking for audio meditation is easy because you will feel that an expert is telling you what to do and what to think of. Most of these instructional audios also play soothing background music and soft sound effects. You can find guided meditation audio with background sound effects of sea waves, the rustling of the leaves, or even the sound of falling rain.
Read Instructional Materials Provided On The Internet
The Web is full of instructional materials that professionals themselves crafted for the benefit of the users. You can peruse these step-by-step resources if you want to make sure that the meditation you are about to do is right for you.
Note that meditation, regardless of how long you are doing it, usually brings benefits which can be equated to a full-blown vacation getaway if correctly done over time. Your goal is to figure out the part of the body where you are most tense. Then communicate with your mind, identify your feelings, and let go of the intense emotions. Try visualizing a large box where you can put all your feelings. It might be symbolic, but it can be a useful relaxation hack.
Formal meditation practices are not always possible for people whose schedule is often jam-packed. Meditation is also definitely not a fancy thing that only the privileged people can avail of. When you have practiced a lot of times, meditation can be a natural cure for stress and anxiety. Starting tonight, before bedtime, is an excellent beginning.
“When we are engaged in meditation or self-reflection, the object of our observation is the self. What you will see within yourself depends on how you look. The attitude and state of mind that you bring with you into your mindfulness meditation practice directly affects the degree to which you will benefit.” – Laura K. Schenck, LPC.
There are times that we feel all alone as if the world has turned its back on us, times that we could no longer see the path of success and development. Having these feelings is genuinely saddening that we tend to become depressed. An outpouring of negative thoughts continues to take in. Our ability to think with reasoning becomes paralyzed, our mind becomes preoccupied with unwanted and unimportant things that are causing anxiety to occur and lose our focus at the end. This is how our mind becomes distressed when there are some issues in life that we did not see coming thus making us blinded by negative thoughts. Dealing with this kind of emotional struggle is genuinely a difficult one. Our focus becomes distracted during this trying time; hence, it is difficult for us to identify what should come first because of so many things that have filled our mind.
Randy Withers, LPC, once wrote in his blog, “Many people experience symptoms of depression at some point in their lives, but the difference between feeling a little depressed and having major depression is the difference between a firecracker and a nuclear bomb.”
Yoga has evolved since it began in ancient times. In this modern-day, there are more than 20 forms of yoga invented for everyone. But here are the eight basic types of yoga to make it easier for you to determine which is the one for you.
Hatha yoga is known as a basic introduction to yoga. It features slow and gentle poses focused on breathing and relaxation. If you are a beginner looking where to start or you just prefer a more relaxed yoga session, this is perfect for you. It is not the most strenuous of yoga forms, but it will leave you with a relaxed body and a clear mind.
In an article written by Deborah Koshaba, PsyD, she stated, “There is a growing body of research to back up yoga’s mental health benefits. Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system.”
Vinyasa yoga comprises of connected movements and poses, followed by synchronized breathing. It is meant to be fluid and energetic. Upbeat music will be played to accompany this dance-like yoga. You will transition from one pose to another and learn how to link your breathing with movement. If you want a dynamic form of yoga, this is the one for you.
Similar to Vinyasa, this type of yoga also encourages you to synchronize breathing with movement. However, Ashtanga yoga has a more traditional approach. Classes are usually silent. Moreover, the sequence of the poses, from start to end, is always the same. Ashtanga yoga is for those who are familiar with fast-paced, vigorous workouts.
“The practice of ashtanga yoga,” wrote Tracy Ochester, PsyD, “asks much of its devotees. In response, we develop “grit”, a quality of determination and perseverance fueled by a deep passion for the practice and its effects. Ashtanga practitioners quickly discover that our behavior in everyday life impacts our practice.”
A guarantee of this type of yoga is you will sweat a lot. Bikram yoga classes are in artificially heated rooms, where the temperature can go up from 95 to 108°F. This temperature can aid you in doing flexible poses. It also encourages you to sweat, which expels toxins from your body. If you are up for a good workout that can detoxify your body and mind, Bikram yoga might be fit for you.
Iyengar yoga is all about the details. The focus of this yoga type is on precision, alignment, and breathing technique. Yoga props will also be involved. These props serve to improve posture and reduce the risk of injury.
Classes are usually held at a slow pace, allowing the students to learn the poses at their own pace. Iyengar yoga is suitable for people with an injury, chronic condition, or under rehabilitation.
Known as one of the oldest forms of yoga, Kundalini is for your inner energy. Movement and breathing are linked together with meditation and chanting. This form of yoga is designed to tap into your seven chakras. It starts from the base of your spine to the rest of your body. It also awakens your creative energy. For those seeking tranquility within the body and mind, Kundalini yoga is for you.
Jivamukti is a combination of Vinyasa-style movements and Sanskrit teachings. The theme of the classes changes every week. After the lessons, you will leave with new knowledge about yoga. If you are into physical fitness, meditation, and learning, this is the type of yoga for you.
“…”Many of the trainees in our teacher-training program brought Restorative Yoga into their
psychotherapy sessions, with tremendous results. Several psychotherapists contacted me to say that the fifteen minutes in which they did restorative poses without processing was incredibly powerful, but in a way that differed distinctly from the verbal breakthroughs they experienced.” – Bo Forbes, PsyD.
This type of yoga is the best recommendation for those who want to relax amid their busy lives. Also known as Yin yoga, it is slow-paced and meditative. It is done with props to help in holding the poses. Restorative yoga can help you in letting go of stress after a long day.
Starting on yoga might be confusing at first. But remember that it’s best to go back to the basics and pick the routine that suits your lifestyle.
“Spoiler alert: In marriage, there are other parts too: closeness brings about disagreements and arguments. It is inevitable; it is part of the deal and peculiarly necessary (arguments lead us to the reason we picked our partners, mastering how to repair them heals us.” – Yamel Corcoll-Iglesias, LMFT.
Marriage is a unification of two different people committed to becoming one; similar to the Yin and the Yang, two different energy combined creating harmony within. There comes a time that the peace will be disrupted by unforeseeable circumstances, and this is the time that the Yin and the Yang must maintain their balance to keep the harmony. Continue reading Keeping the Yin and the Yang in Marriage
When we hear the word “yoga,” we immediately think of a room filled with silence and serenity. Above all, we expect calmness, deep breaths, and intense meditation.
What if we told you there is an alternative to the typical yoga that involves laughing? Yes, laughter yoga exists, and it provides several mental and physical benefits too!
What Is Laughter Yoga
We all know how to laugh, and laughter is the best medicine. Well, laughter yoga is what you imagine it to be. It’s a room filled with people chuckling their hearts out.
Compared to other meditation styles, laughter yoga is a relatively new idea that focuses on the mind and body stimulation. It uses different laughter exercises coupled with some breathing techniques. With this combination, laughter yoga slowly teaches the body how to laugh even without any humor involved. Because of this technique, laughter yoga can benefit your immune system as well. How? Read on.
The Connection Between Laughter And Our Immune System
Our immune system relies on a highly efficient cleaning system within our body, called the lymphatic system. It is an intricate network made up of thin vessels. It is responsible for collecting waste materials our body contains. Then, it gets rid of the waste products through the spaces between cells. However, the process is much more complicated than this.
Now, what does laughter have to do with this system?
The lymphatic system doesn’t require any pumps to transport fluids, unlike our circulatory system. It always moves toward our hearts using inertia. However, we can also move it manually, and this is where laughter comes in.
Research shows that laughing can mimic the ideal diaphragmatic breathing. It makes a negative pressure intense enough to speed up the flow of lymphatic fluid by about 15 times the average flow rate. A faster flow of lymphatic fluid results in an increased number of lymphocytes. Consequently, increased lymphocytes in our blood system lead to better immunity for any disease.
Psychologist Annette Goodheart also explains, “Essentially, when we laugh, the body releases a ton of neurotransmitters and chemicals that stimulate our brain and immune systems. The sympathetic nervous system, too, is deadened, meaning we actually do get healthier. Natural endorphins are released, automatically relieving pain; beta-endorphins are a particular hormone involved in reducing pain levels.”
Stimulation of the lymphatic fluid happens through any muscular movement. But laughter still proves to be one of the best ways to achieve this. Plus, it also offers the least pain and the most enjoyment.
But aside from improving our immune system, laughter yoga can even help with our overall wellness. Laughing can engage our parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “happy hormones” we feel when we laugh. Once it is released, our stress level also goes down. A decrease in stress levels means that our body can resist bacterial infections better. With that also comes increased energy levels and an overall improved emotional state.
“Laughter yoga,” wrote Elizabeth Venart, LPC, “is a fun and uplifting wellness routine that combines playful laughter exercises with deep yoga breathing. The proven health benefits of laughter include reducing stress, improving mood, increasing cardiovascular health, and immune system functioning, providing pain relief, and helping people feel more relaxed.”
People who have religiously committed to laughter yoga find that their resistance to colds and viruses has significantly increased. Those who are previously prone to asthma have found that laughter yoga has helped improve their breathing capacity. You will enjoy the benefits of engaging in other physical activities without worrying about the shortness of breath or wheezing.
Laughter yoga has several benefits both to our mental and physical health. The lowered stress level it gives us is beneficial in strengthening our body’s defense mechanism against many diseases.
According to Dr. Nalin, PsyD, “Studies have revealed laugher has a powerful influence on our immune system, boosting our cells’ defenses against infection. When we laugh, certain brain neurochemicals, such as those responsible for our mood, are elevated, helping us attain a more positive state of mind.”
Aside from its health benefits, laughter yoga gives us a new perspective on meditation. It breaks the usual notion that meditation only involves silence and calmness. Through laughing, we go beyond the boundaries of traditional meditation, which may benefit more people in the long run.
A lot of attendees have expressed their amazement with the 2016 Scottsdale mediation workshop, even if already ended two years ago. There have been talks that another workshop is going to take place in the same area, which is why the previous attendees remembered how great their experience was before. Continue reading Why People Loved The 2016 Scottsdale Meditation Workshop
When somebody talks about meditation, we often picture someone on a pillow, with their legs crossed and eyes closed. Because of this favored interpretation, a lot of individuals say they don’t have time to meditate. For some, they’re not sure of what they should be thinking. Others find it a real challenge to sit still.
Thankfully, this practice isn’t “one size fits all.” There are other techniques and methods for practicing mindfulness. Here are some alternatives that may align better with your preferences.
One familiar image of the Buddha is of him laughing. So why not follow his example?
Mindful laughter can provide you with a feeling of lightness against all the issues we deal with every day. It elevates our mood by physically releasing happy hormones that help lower our stress levels.
“Studies have revealed laughter has a powerful influence on our immune system, boosting our cells’ defenses against infection,” Nalin says. “When we laugh, certain brain neurochemicals, such as those responsible for our mood, are elevated, helping us attain a more positive state of mind.” – Dr. Nalin, PsyD.
Moreover, practicing laughter meditation with other people forms a connection or bond between you. Your shared experience of joy is a moment away from the rest of the world. Though you may feel embarrassed at first, letting go of inhibitions will help you get the most out of it.
Movement And Dance
There’s no better alternative to traditional meditation than something that involves more movement itself. Dancing is one way to achieve physical wellness as well as mindfulness. Focusing on your actions and the music pulls you away from the troubles of the world. Many classes will have you leave your ego behind and just let your body move as it wants. Dancing may include jumping and flailing your limbs around. The idea is not to focus too much on making the right steps but to just let go.
Dr. Lori Baudino, PsyD and a dance therapist for children, says that dancing does not have to include the dance itself but just movement. “What’s so incredible is that when I show them they are already capable of moving and they are moving, there’s so much acceptance, and so much excitement about the control that they have, that they are capable. Then across the board, what’s so magical is they do tend to move more.”
For those who may want something less intense, there’s also hand movement meditation. It may be tempting to want to go all-out-superhero like Doctor Strange. However, this form of therapy would focus on slowly moving your hands.
Daily Life Practice
Despite their mindfulness, the practitioners of Zen Buddhism recognize that we all have daily tasks and activities to which to attend. That is why many follow the concept of samu. This concept refers to physical work that they do while still focusing on their thoughts.
One quick way to practice this is to slow down your pace. Cleaning the house, cooking your dinner, and taking a shower can become your way of meditating. Find mindfulness in the most mundane activities.
Nicole Martinez, PsyD, LCPC, advises that it’s not a great idea to be stressed out first thing in the morning. She says, “What we’re most importantly trying to avoid is continually hitting the snooze button, and feeling rushed out the door. Take the time to set one alarm and wake up right away when it goes off.”
If you’re yearning for something more advanced, this Buddhist practice may be for you. Zen masters make use of the koan, a riddle, story, or statement that doesn’t have a direct answer. Unlike the mind-benders that we’re used to, these types are more like a philosophical question.
Arriving at an answer is not the point of the koan. It’s more about realizing that we sometimes cannot find a satisfying solution or end to something. Accepting such a reality is what helps us become more at peace.
When it comes to meditation, the experience doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. Though some people find that some quiet time works best for them, others will discover mindfulness through other forms. We can meditate through laughter, dance, philosophical riddles, and activities that we already partake in daily.
Finding the right one for you can bring each of us closer to the peace we all seek.
For most students, going to school is a grueling task. Waking up every morning, doing their assignments, and studying for their exams will, at some point, only bring upon stress. Students nowadays are not only affected by external pressures but they also often deal with emotional stressors. Failing to cope with such stressors only worsens the student’s experience at school. That poor experience may only lead to them giving up at some point.
An excellent solution to this problem is the incorporation of new habits or routines. One of the reasons most students face this problem is due to the lack of hobbies or a companion. An example of a new hobby they may try out is meditation.
The Benefits Of Meditation
Meditation is a practice that aims to transform an individual’s mind. Through various techniques, an individual can train his or her brain to become more aware and have a healthy sense of perspective. Through this exercise, they may achieve a mentally clear and stable mind. Meditation also comes with several benefits. Listed below are some of its benefits for students.
Dr. Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC, supports this by writing, “Just a brief meditation episode can rejuvenate us when we are feeling tired. Like biofeedback, meditation can help us to learn to control our own blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. If we develop these skills, we can have control over the amount of stress we put on our body and quickly shut it down.”
Not only does meditation benefit you physically and emotionally, but it also improves your personality. Through meditation, you may gain a better understanding of yourself. Moreover, Sadhbh Joyce, Senior Psychologist at the Black Dog Institute, says, “Meditation allows us to take advantage of our brains’ neuroplasticity and effectively rewire it to enhance things such as concentration, focus, and memory.”
How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Life
Next, you may be wondering how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. As a student, the most effective time to do it would be as soon as you wake up or before going to bed.
For beginners, here is a step-by-step procedure you can follow when meditating at home.
Meditating will only take up a little of your time, and the benefits you receive from it are worth the effort. Why not give it a shot and get into this new hobby now? Break free from the stress of school and discover your full potential.
“Mindfulness meditation, in helping us bring full attention to the present moment, helps us reclaim our lives. It increases our capacity to be aware and in tune with our experiences, our feelings and emotions, our body, our mind and spirit. With mindfulness, we learn how to reconnect with ourselves, with life, and our humanity.” Andrea Colombu, LMFT.