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Benefits of Mindfulness

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is one of the many flavors of meditation out there.  The question becomes why choose this one over others, and we at Om Flux believe that you shouldn’t have to ever choose one over the other.  We provide the information to help you make decisions, but it all comes down to your own personal practice and what resonates with you.

With this article, we will look at some of the many benefits of Mindfulness meditation.

First of all, unlike other meditations such as Transcendental, Mindfulness meditation doesn’t have you detach from everything around you.  The goal of mindfulness is not to withdrawal from or transcend reality.  Rather, it is to develop a calm approach to reality.

Using the concept of labeling, for example, will help train you to simply acknowledge the emotions that you are having and then get back to your meditation.

This is the prime benefit of mindfulness meditation…the valuable skill of equanimity in the face of everyday stresses in modern society.  I have seen new students of meditation see benefits within a couple of weeks.  A student told me recently that she was in a staff meeting recently and there was some negativity going around the room.  She simply labeled her feelings as angered, then laughed as she realized that she’d put labeling to good use in her everyday life.  This completely diffused her anger.

Don’t let this simple situation fool you.  It is extremely powerful.  These simple little annoyances that build up in our psyche, can easily be diffused via mindfulness meditation.

And then what happens to our stress levels?  They go way down, as we realize that we don’t have to be fully invested emotionally.

Consistently practicing mindfulness meditation, we also become more intuitive.  Away goes the layers of programming that we create so that we pass through our day on auto-pilot.  Away goes the programming that we are subject to by the media, by our employers, by our colleagues, by our friends and family.

There is underneath all of this, a real you.  One that, unencumbered, is a magical being.

One becomes more compassionate in every day life, as well.  Compassion is perhaps the one characteristic that, if universally adopted, could end all of the world’s ills.

As we meditate, we realize our connection to one another intuitive, and for those who believe, our connection to God and the Universe.

This is why meditation is such a fundamental practice.  It drives our attitude and approach to everything in the world.  Fixing the software in our head is the greatest contributor to our happiness.

All for free, by practicing mindfulness meditation ten minutes a day…

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The post Benefits of Mindfulness appeared first on Om Flux.

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What to Think About When Meditating

What to think about when meditating

This is a common question I hear from some folks who are just getting into meditation.  It’s tough to convey an answer when some of the support knowledge is in place, but let’s try.

The real question is why you feel the need to purposely think of anything while meditating?

We seem to have a need to always be doing something in modern day society.  And that something isn’t always the best thing for us.  With meditation we look to simply be.  To be present in that moment.

Meditating while purposefully concentrating on specific thoughts isn’t really meditation, in the true sense of the word.

Creative Visualization

This is more so Creative Visualization and was popularized by an excellent book from Shatki Gawain, of the same name.  Also, it is very common for professional athletes to engage in visualization techniques to perfect aspects of their game and to put one in the mindset of the zone before competition.

And while a person may put themselves in a meditative state prior to engaging in Creative Visualization, it is not the same as true meditation.

I am not denigrating the practice of creative visualization.  I was a high level college hockey player and used creative visualization before every game, and even on non-game days during restful states such as before bed time.

What I am saying is that if you are seeking true meditation, then the goal is to have no goal at all.

Just sit.

Just be.

If you find yourself actively thinking and dwelling on certain thoughts, or planning, or playing back scenarios from the prior day, simply acknowledge the thought and get back to your meditation.

It really is as simple as that.

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The post What to Think About When Meditating appeared first on Om Flux.

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The Real Riches of Yoga

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Qigong: Attaining Peace With Our Bodies

qigong

This week’s feature story is about the fine skill of practicing Qigong.  

by Charlie Forness

I will be forty years old in a few weeks.  It wasn’t too long ago that I woke up most mornings feeling twice that age.  When one is young and possibly into athletics like I was, you had no trouble moving your body around.  It was dictated to you by a coach what you should do and how fast you should do it.

Of course for 99.9% of us, athletics stops for us at some point and we have to join the real world, perhaps settle into a desk job, then after several years our posture begins to resembles that of a praying mantis, or worse still, perhaps Monte Burns.

Why You Should be Interested in Qigong

If you’ve been reading along and have an interest in the articles we write and also that we curate on the topic of meditation, then Qigong is a natural extension of that.  Qigong marries the practice of gentle movement with focused attention, breathing and even a little meditation.  In my humble opinion, it is the precursor to getting your body back on track and I can tell you from experience that it is a practice that you’d want to undertake for a few weeks before beginning anything more vigorous like modern westernized yoga or any training you might do at the gym.

I workout as well, in the gym.  I actually enjoy lifting weights and I do often train for endurance races, however, just a few short months ago I was a whining, aching mess.  Qigong can be part of your regular workout regimen to help keep muscles supple and flexible as well.

Qigong is a practice with origins in Chinese Medicine.  What drew me to it was not just the promise of more mobility and flexibility, but also the sacred mindfulness of the practice and the possibilities inherent for increasing human potential.

Dragon and Tiger Qigong

Last year I found a teacher who taught me how to Dragon and Tiger Qigong after I’d mentioned to my doctor about having re-curring pain and lack of flexibility in my arms, shoulders and hips.

I was going to create my own practice video for this article but it appears that there are several good ones already out there.  Understand that in this one below, the demonstrator is only doing one or two repetitions of each exercise.  Ideally, your practice should contain twenty repetitions each side, or at least ten.  You can also do it as slow as the demonstrator or slightly faster, as you see fit.  The speed at which you do this obviously depends on how fast you do each repetition but I can generally fit my practice into less than fifteen minutes per day.

In my mind, the demonstrator is performing the exercises slower than I would.  He may actually be going this slow in order to show the exercises more effectively to the viewer, or perhaps he likes this speed, I cannot say.  However, the purpose is to in fact slow down, and not speed through this, so please find your own happy medium.

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The post Qigong: Attaining Peace With Our Bodies appeared first on Om Flux.

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Mindfulness Meditation – An Introduction to Get You Started Today

mindfulness meditation

In this week’s Feature story we take a look at Mindfulness Meditation and how to get a practice started right away, even if dolls freak you out…especially a bunch of smiling buddha dolls meditating in the grass.

Category: Beginner

I resisted getting into a mindfulness meditation practice for a long time.

Its utter simplicity through me off.  I thought that there had to be great ritual and circumstance and that I must seek training from a “certified” guru.

But this is not the case.

While a skilled meditation teacher can certainly help you in your progress, it’s not necessary to take this step if you are simply testing the waters to see which type of meditation practice is best for you.

Here is what you need to know to get started with Mindfulness Meditation.

First and foremost, we need to put to rest a common misconception regarding this type of meditation.  I’ve had many fellow students express that the reason that they’ve decided to explore meditation is because they want to “get away from it all” if only for a few minutes a day.

Mindfulness meditation is not about withdrawing from the world.  The purpose is to find equanimity in spite of everything that is going on around you.

So do not be discouraged when during your meditation you get distracted by the thoughts in your head.  It will happen.  You will not be establishing a mind without thoughts.  But to the degree that you can acknowledge the distracting thoughts and bring yourself back to the focus of your practice during your meditation session…that’s the key.

When you notice that you are distracted by a thought, perhaps you can try labeling the thought and then bring yourself back to the core of your practice.  For example, if you find yourself going over in your head what you will be preparing for dinner tonight, simply say, “I am planning” and then let the thought go.  Bring yourself back to the focus of your breath.

I am planning.

I am remembering.

I am emoting.

These are some of the common ones, and they are all okay.  We are not judging ourselves when we are meditating.

But let’s get into our practice, for that’s why we are here.  We need to sit on something, right?

How to Sit

First and foremost, with mindfulness meditation, you can more or less sit on anything you want to, with the following caveats.  If your are able to without great physical discomfort, you need to sit with your spine as straight as possible, and without your back being supported by anything.

That means if you decide to sit in a chair, try to sit nearer to the edge of it so that your back is not resting on the chair’s back rest.  If you truly need the support of the chair back or a wall, that do so for it’s better to meditate somehow than to give up the practice all together because you can’t get into posture.  The straight spine helps with one thing, anatomically, and that is it allows you to breathe deeply through your diaphragm.  If your posture is slouched, then your breathing will be quite a bit more shallow.

Additionally, you will be much less likely to fall asleep if you do not have the back support.

The other caveat with sitting for mindfulness meditation is that we want to try to sit so that the knees are lower than the hips.

I personally use both a Zabuton and a Zafu no matter which type of practice I do.  The Zabuton is a rectagular cushion that is typically an inch or so thick and the Zafu is a small, circular pillow that is six to eight inches thick and sits on top of the Zabuton.  Together they tend to look like this:

meditation cushions
However, you may not want to invest in any equipment before you decide whether meditation is something you want to add as a regular practice to your life, so you can simply place a couple of pillows on the floor and work with that while starting out.

There is also something called a Peace Bench, which can be used if you prefer to kneel while meditating.  I’ve spoken to several students with back pain from injuries and they love using the peace bench.

Peace Bench

The peace bench can even be placed on a folded blanket so that you have some additional padding for your knees.

There are, of course, several other options for meditation cushions, but we’ve covered the major one’s and you should be able to select one to begin your practice.

What to Meditate On

Once we are seated with legs crossed (if possible) we want to partially close our eyes so that they are at half slits.  Then we want to find a spot from four to eight feet in front of us to become our locus of focus.  When I say “focus” it is really a soft gaze.  We do not want to focus laser-like on a single spot.  We also want to make sure we are not tilting our head downward for this gaze.  Our head stays facing forward, but our eyes, due to the half-slit, are looking slightly downward.

Where to place your hands?  For now it is sufficient to just place the palms of your hands on your thighs, wherever it’s comfortable.

We will spend five minutes, starting out, for a week straight, seated in this posture.  And in the beginning we will simply count our breaths.  One inhale plus one exhale equals a count of one.  We will do this till we count to ten and then start over again.  If we lose our place, simply center again on our meditation and start at the count of one again.

If you can manage to keep your practice going daily for five minutes, then you may expand to ten minutes in week 2, and perhaps twenty minutes in week 3.  But as we like to say at Om Flux, some minutes are better than zero minutes, so if all you can manage is five minutes of mindfulness meditation per day, then that is better than nothing.  You will gain benefits with your practice.

I hope you’ve found value in this article and if you can think of anyone in your life whom you care for and think can benefit by this practice, please feel free to share this article.

Till next week…

The post Mindfulness Meditation – An Introduction to Get You Started Today appeared first on Om Flux.

next page next page close Find out for yourself what are the possessions and ideals that you do not desire. By knowing what you do not want, by elimination, you will unburden the mind, and only then will it understand the essential which is ever there.”
http://www.omflux.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is one of the many flavors of meditation out there.  The question becomes why choose this one over others, and we at Om Flux believe that you shouldn’t have to ever choose one over the other.  We provide the information to help you make decisions, but it all comes down to your own personal practice and what resonates with you.

With this article, we will look at some of the many benefits of Mindfulness meditation.

First of all, unlike other meditations such as Transcendental, Mindfulness meditation doesn’t have you detach from everything around you.  The goal of mindfulness is not to withdrawal from or transcend reality.  Rather, it is to develop a calm approach to reality.

Using the concept of labeling, for example, will help train you to simply acknowledge the emotions that you are having and then get back to your meditation.

This is the prime benefit of mindfulness meditation…the valuable skill of equanimity in the face of everyday stresses in modern society.  I have seen new students of meditation see benefits within a couple of weeks.  A student told me recently that she was in a staff meeting recently and there was some negativity going around the room.  She simply labeled her feelings as angered, then laughed as she realized that she’d put labeling to good use in her everyday life.  This completely diffused her anger.

Don’t let this simple situation fool you.  It is extremely powerful.  These simple little annoyances that build up in our psyche, can easily be diffused via mindfulness meditation.

And then what happens to our stress levels?  They go way down, as we realize that we don’t have to be fully invested emotionally.

Consistently practicing mindfulness meditation, we also become more intuitive.  Away goes the layers of programming that we create so that we pass through our day on auto-pilot.  Away goes the programming that we are subject to by the media, by our employers, by our colleagues, by our friends and family.

There is underneath all of this, a real you.  One that, unencumbered, is a magical being.

One becomes more compassionate in every day life, as well.  Compassion is perhaps the one characteristic that, if universally adopted, could end all of the world’s ills.

As we meditate, we realize our connection to one another intuitive, and for those who believe, our connection to God and the Universe.

This is why meditation is such a fundamental practice.  It drives our attitude and approach to everything in the world.  Fixing the software in our head is the greatest contributor to our happiness.

All for free, by practicing mindfulness meditation ten minutes a day…

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The post Benefits of Mindfulness appeared first on Om Flux.

article post
http://www.omflux.com/what-to-think-about-when-meditating/

What to think about when meditating

This is a common question I hear from some folks who are just getting into meditation.  It’s tough to convey an answer when some of the support knowledge is in place, but let’s try.

The real question is why you feel the need to purposely think of anything while meditating?

We seem to have a need to always be doing something in modern day society.  And that something isn’t always the best thing for us.  With meditation we look to simply be.  To be present in that moment.

Meditating while purposefully concentrating on specific thoughts isn’t really meditation, in the true sense of the word.

Creative Visualization

This is more so Creative Visualization and was popularized by an excellent book from Shatki Gawain, of the same name.  Also, it is very common for professional athletes to engage in visualization techniques to perfect aspects of their game and to put one in the mindset of the zone before competition.

And while a person may put themselves in a meditative state prior to engaging in Creative Visualization, it is not the same as true meditation.

I am not denigrating the practice of creative visualization.  I was a high level college hockey player and used creative visualization before every game, and even on non-game days during restful states such as before bed time.

What I am saying is that if you are seeking true meditation, then the goal is to have no goal at all.

Just sit.

Just be.

If you find yourself actively thinking and dwelling on certain thoughts, or planning, or playing back scenarios from the prior day, simply acknowledge the thought and get back to your meditation.

It really is as simple as that.

#seolinksdiv h3{ color:#000000; } #seolinksdiv ul li a{ color:#000000; } .form-table td {width: 0px;}

The post What to Think About When Meditating appeared first on Om Flux.

article post
http://www.dailycupofyoga.com/2013/01/19/the-real-riches-of-yoga/
article post
http://www.omflux.com/qigong-peace/

qigong

This week’s feature story is about the fine skill of practicing Qigong.  

by Charlie Forness

I will be forty years old in a few weeks.  It wasn’t too long ago that I woke up most mornings feeling twice that age.  When one is young and possibly into athletics like I was, you had no trouble moving your body around.  It was dictated to you by a coach what you should do and how fast you should do it.

Of course for 99.9% of us, athletics stops for us at some point and we have to join the real world, perhaps settle into a desk job, then after several years our posture begins to resembles that of a praying mantis, or worse still, perhaps Monte Burns.

Why You Should be Interested in Qigong

If you’ve been reading along and have an interest in the articles we write and also that we curate on the topic of meditation, then Qigong is a natural extension of that.  Qigong marries the practice of gentle movement with focused attention, breathing and even a little meditation.  In my humble opinion, it is the precursor to getting your body back on track and I can tell you from experience that it is a practice that you’d want to undertake for a few weeks before beginning anything more vigorous like modern westernized yoga or any training you might do at the gym.

I workout as well, in the gym.  I actually enjoy lifting weights and I do often train for endurance races, however, just a few short months ago I was a whining, aching mess.  Qigong can be part of your regular workout regimen to help keep muscles supple and flexible as well.

Qigong is a practice with origins in Chinese Medicine.  What drew me to it was not just the promise of more mobility and flexibility, but also the sacred mindfulness of the practice and the possibilities inherent for increasing human potential.

Dragon and Tiger Qigong

Last year I found a teacher who taught me how to Dragon and Tiger Qigong after I’d mentioned to my doctor about having re-curring pain and lack of flexibility in my arms, shoulders and hips.

I was going to create my own practice video for this article but it appears that there are several good ones already out there.  Understand that in this one below, the demonstrator is only doing one or two repetitions of each exercise.  Ideally, your practice should contain twenty repetitions each side, or at least ten.  You can also do it as slow as the demonstrator or slightly faster, as you see fit.  The speed at which you do this obviously depends on how fast you do each repetition but I can generally fit my practice into less than fifteen minutes per day.

In my mind, the demonstrator is performing the exercises slower than I would.  He may actually be going this slow in order to show the exercises more effectively to the viewer, or perhaps he likes this speed, I cannot say.  However, the purpose is to in fact slow down, and not speed through this, so please find your own happy medium.

#seolinksdiv h3{ color:#000000; } #seolinksdiv ul li a{ color:#000000; } .form-table td {width: 0px;}

The post Qigong: Attaining Peace With Our Bodies appeared first on Om Flux.

article post
http://www.omflux.com/mindfulness-meditation-today/

mindfulness meditation

In this week’s Feature story we take a look at Mindfulness Meditation and how to get a practice started right away, even if dolls freak you out…especially a bunch of smiling buddha dolls meditating in the grass.

Category: Beginner

I resisted getting into a mindfulness meditation practice for a long time.

Its utter simplicity through me off.  I thought that there had to be great ritual and circumstance and that I must seek training from a “certified” guru.

But this is not the case.

While a skilled meditation teacher can certainly help you in your progress, it’s not necessary to take this step if you are simply testing the waters to see which type of meditation practice is best for you.

Here is what you need to know to get started with Mindfulness Meditation.

First and foremost, we need to put to rest a common misconception regarding this type of meditation.  I’ve had many fellow students express that the reason that they’ve decided to explore meditation is because they want to “get away from it all” if only for a few minutes a day.

Mindfulness meditation is not about withdrawing from the world.  The purpose is to find equanimity in spite of everything that is going on around you.

So do not be discouraged when during your meditation you get distracted by the thoughts in your head.  It will happen.  You will not be establishing a mind without thoughts.  But to the degree that you can acknowledge the distracting thoughts and bring yourself back to the focus of your practice during your meditation session…that’s the key.

When you notice that you are distracted by a thought, perhaps you can try labeling the thought and then bring yourself back to the core of your practice.  For example, if you find yourself going over in your head what you will be preparing for dinner tonight, simply say, “I am planning” and then let the thought go.  Bring yourself back to the focus of your breath.

I am planning.

I am remembering.

I am emoting.

These are some of the common ones, and they are all okay.  We are not judging ourselves when we are meditating.

But let’s get into our practice, for that’s why we are here.  We need to sit on something, right?

How to Sit

First and foremost, with mindfulness meditation, you can more or less sit on anything you want to, with the following caveats.  If your are able to without great physical discomfort, you need to sit with your spine as straight as possible, and without your back being supported by anything.

That means if you decide to sit in a chair, try to sit nearer to the edge of it so that your back is not resting on the chair’s back rest.  If you truly need the support of the chair back or a wall, that do so for it’s better to meditate somehow than to give up the practice all together because you can’t get into posture.  The straight spine helps with one thing, anatomically, and that is it allows you to breathe deeply through your diaphragm.  If your posture is slouched, then your breathing will be quite a bit more shallow.

Additionally, you will be much less likely to fall asleep if you do not have the back support.

The other caveat with sitting for mindfulness meditation is that we want to try to sit so that the knees are lower than the hips.

I personally use both a Zabuton and a Zafu no matter which type of practice I do.  The Zabuton is a rectagular cushion that is typically an inch or so thick and the Zafu is a small, circular pillow that is six to eight inches thick and sits on top of the Zabuton.  Together they tend to look like this:

meditation cushions
However, you may not want to invest in any equipment before you decide whether meditation is something you want to add as a regular practice to your life, so you can simply place a couple of pillows on the floor and work with that while starting out.

There is also something called a Peace Bench, which can be used if you prefer to kneel while meditating.  I’ve spoken to several students with back pain from injuries and they love using the peace bench.

Peace Bench

The peace bench can even be placed on a folded blanket so that you have some additional padding for your knees.

There are, of course, several other options for meditation cushions, but we’ve covered the major one’s and you should be able to select one to begin your practice.

What to Meditate On

Once we are seated with legs crossed (if possible) we want to partially close our eyes so that they are at half slits.  Then we want to find a spot from four to eight feet in front of us to become our locus of focus.  When I say “focus” it is really a soft gaze.  We do not want to focus laser-like on a single spot.  We also want to make sure we are not tilting our head downward for this gaze.  Our head stays facing forward, but our eyes, due to the half-slit, are looking slightly downward.

Where to place your hands?  For now it is sufficient to just place the palms of your hands on your thighs, wherever it’s comfortable.

We will spend five minutes, starting out, for a week straight, seated in this posture.  And in the beginning we will simply count our breaths.  One inhale plus one exhale equals a count of one.  We will do this till we count to ten and then start over again.  If we lose our place, simply center again on our meditation and start at the count of one again.

If you can manage to keep your practice going daily for five minutes, then you may expand to ten minutes in week 2, and perhaps twenty minutes in week 3.  But as we like to say at Om Flux, some minutes are better than zero minutes, so if all you can manage is five minutes of mindfulness meditation per day, then that is better than nothing.  You will gain benefits with your practice.

I hope you’ve found value in this article and if you can think of anyone in your life whom you care for and think can benefit by this practice, please feel free to share this article.

Till next week…

The post Mindfulness Meditation – An Introduction to Get You Started Today appeared first on Om Flux.

article post
Find out for yourself what are the possessions and ideals that you do not desire. By knowing what you do not want, by elimination, you will unburden the mind, and only then will it understand the essential which is ever there.”
article post