Mardi Gras Superfood Parfait

How are you celebrating Mardi Gras?  Not everyone can go to New Orleans to attend the parades.  Chances are that you’re eating some Fat Tuesday-themed goodies, such as King Cake.  I’ve never been to Mardi Gras or even tried King Cake – maybe the artificial colorings used to decorate the cakes is a bit too scary for me! Continue reading

How Do I Meditate?

In my piece last week, I explained the WHY of my meditation, why I use the practice of daily meditation to calm and silence my mind.  Now I’m going to explain the HOW of my meditation and how I reach this feeling of deep peace.
For me, there are two key components for reaching this meditative state. Continue reading

Why Do I Meditate?

Do you have a daily mediation practice?
While I don’t consider myself an expert in meditation, I do have some experience.  Early last summer, I found myself looking for ways to calm myself down – to quiet the constant chatter inside my head, to slow my rapidly beating heart, to find peace in a single moment of time.  I tried going to yoga class more often, but being in a room full of other people only cause more feelings of stress and anxiety.  Plus, finding the “right” yoga class to fit into my own schedule was difficult, I’d make excuses and not get to any class.  I needed a way to FIND serenity when I NEEDED serenity, something I could do at ANY time and in ANY place.  The answer – MEDITATION.
I DEFINE MEDITATION AS A STATE OF DEEP PEACE THAT OCCURS WHEN THE MIND IS CALM AND SILENT.
Why do I want to calm and silent my mind?  I’m no different than anyone else, living in these times of over-stimulation.  There is a constant noise around me at all times, I’m in an environment where I can hear both nature and highways simultaneously.  I live in a world which is rarely “unplugged”, as our reliance on iPhones, mobile computer devices, and other electronics is constant and often necessary.  As much as I thrive in the home that I have created for myself and my family, I need a daily “escape”, a way to clear my mind and block out the distractions that come from living in this modern era.  My escape is meditation and my body craves the benefits of this practice.
What are the benefits of meditation?  There are both physical and mental benefits to quieting the mind.  Being on the floor, in child’s pose, helps to stretch my lower back, hips, thighs, kneed, and ankles.  This feels particularly good after a long night’s sleep.  The position also relaxes my neck, spine and shoulders, and causes blood to flow towards my brain, which results in a natural feeling of calmness.  If getting down onto the floor isn’t possible, meditation can easily be done while sitting upright in a chair, with legs uncrossed, shoulders relaxed, and both feet resting comfortably on the floor.  Regardless if one meditates on the floor or while seated in a chair, every cell in the body is filled with more energy as you meditate.  The greater physiological benefits include decreased blood pressure, improvement to the immune system and disease-fighting ability, increased serotonin production to improve mood, and an overall increase in energy.  Along with the physical benefits are numerous mental benefits, including increased happiness and creativity, decreased anxiety, and improvement of emotional stability.
I can’t begin to express how meditation has led to my calmest, happiest, and most balanced days that I can ever recall.  I start each day refreshed and able to handle any curve-balls that are thrown in my direction.
If you are not currently meditation, do you want to add this valuable practice to your daily routine?  I’ll give you some time to think about it, and will share with you HOW I meditate next week.