Tag Archives: meditation

No mat required

The practice of yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises does not require a yoga mat or being inside. Anytime, anywhere you can be mindful and practice. While in SC I took time to practice outside on the beach. Practicing in nature is one of the most beautiful ways to really get grounded.

Oct24

Meditative Knitting

 

 

I’ve written before on how I think knitting and yoga are related. How the meditative nature of knitting helps reduce stress. Well I was reminded of this when I started knitting a new project. It was a small kerchief scarf. The pattern basically has you repeating the same stitch over and over again until you run out of yarn. It is a very simple project and the repetitive meditative nature is clear.

As I was knitting to stay focused and keep my stitches even my mantra was my pattern. “knit, knit, knit, knit” and so on. Every so often I would check that I wasn’t slouching and that my breathing was steady. It is easy to get caught up in a project and forget to take care of your posture, but like any repetitive motion you need to be mindful of your movements to not cause injury. When you spend hours in a row knitting it can cause your hands to cramp if you are gripping the yarn and needles too tightly. I find that taking periodic breaks to do minor stretches and take a few deep breaths help me out. As you become a more experienced knitter that just becomes part of the knitting – being balanced with your breath and you move through the project.

If you are not a knitter, but want to start, I recommend first making something simple like this scarf, because the chunky yarn knits up quickly and you will have a finished product within hours. (email me for pattern: info@lizalaird.com) Or if you want to learn to meditate, but are unable to “just sit there”, knitting is a great way to be introduced to the idea of a one pointed focus and sitting still.

Using a super chunky yarn does make a project knit up faster, but I also love using a thick yarn because of the texture. It highlights the stitches so much more and is super cozy. In the fall and winter I love nothing more than a super thick chunky knit scarf or poncho to keep me cozy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Light Practice: No matter if you are knitting or sitting writing an email pause and check in with your posture and breath. See if you can keep the breath deep and steady. Also, see if you can keep a tall spine so you are not slouching forward.

Oct16

I Choose My Own Adventure

Using a daily mantra or intention is a powerful way to live authentically. When making decisions throughout your day always keeping the mantra in mind.

This week I have been using the mantra ‘I choose my own adventure”. So before making any decisions – from what I am going to eat, to the style yoga class I am going to take – I think ‘I choose my own adventure’. It is a playful way to remind yourself that you are in control of your happiness and that it is the small stuff that builds up to the bigger picture of your life.

If you are pondering bigger life decisions like what job to take or masters program to go into, the same principle applies. Before making a choice you use your mantra to help you. Think of those storybooks when you were a kid that gave you the option of picking the ending to read.

By choosing your own adventure you are not being pushed around by life, but writing your own story. You get to choose your happiness and how you get there.

Live Light Practice:

For one day use “I choose my own adventure” as your mantra. No matter if it is choosing the route to work, or the afternoon snack you have. Look at each choice as an adventure along your path of life.

Oct08

Start a Morning Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting a daily morning practice of yoga and meditation can seem daunting. By beginning with a short and small easy practice you are more likely to stick with it and then add to it as it becomes a habit.

When I first started my meditations in the mornings I would only meditate for 1 min. I would set an alarm on my phone and sit in the same spot in my apartment each time. As this became a habit to sit in the mornings I then added time to my alarm.

Live Light Practice:

Pick a small space in your home where you can meditate and practice a few simple yoga postures each morning. Try to start at the same time each morning and set a timer so you do not have to worry about timing.

Try to have quiet in the space around you and soon the mind will follow. Over the seven days you will discover the power of silence and starting your day with a clear mind and body.

Before starting your daily practice set an intention. Perhaps it is to let go, be present, create ease in your life. Keep the intention in mind each day as you practice and it will help you from skipping a day.

Here are 7 days of practices to get you started with a daily morning practice.

Day 1:

Timer 1 minute – in a comfortable crossed legged position slowly twist to the right, twist to the left and then fold forward. After about 30 seconds of movement sit in stillness for the remaining 30 seconds for meditation. If you are newer to meditation focus on your breathing by repeating to yourself “inhale, exhale” as you breathe.

Day 2:

Timer 2 minutes – in a comfortable crossed legged position slowly twist to the right, twist to the left and then fold forward. After 1 minute of movement sit in stillness for a 1 minute meditation.

Day 3:

Timer 3 minutes – start on your hands and knees and take 10 breaths to move you through cat-cow stretches to awaken the spine. Then make your way into a cross legged position and gently twist to the right and then to the left. Then sitting with an erect spine use the remaining time focus on your inhales and exhales in meditation.

Day 4:

Timer 4 minutes – start on your hands and knees and take 10 breaths to move you through cat-cow stretches to awaken the spine. Then make your way into a cross legged position and gently fold forward for 8 breaths. Use an inhale to sit upright for meditation.

Day 5:

Timer 5 minutes – start on your hands and knees and take 10 breaths moving through cat-cow stretches. Gently shift into a child’s pose for 5 breaths. Then make your way into a comfortable seated posture for meditation.

Day 6:

Timer 6 minutes – start on your hands and knees and take 10 breaths moving through cat-cow stretches. Shift into a child’s pose for one breath and then into a downward facing dog. Move from child’s pose to downward facing dog pose 5 times using the breath to guide you. After last time shift into your seated posture for meditation.

Day 7:

Timer 7 minutes – start on your hands and knees and take 10 breaths moving through cat-cow stretches. Shift into a child’s pose for one breath and then into a downward facing dog. Move from child’s pose to downward facing dog pose 5 times using the breath to guide you. After 5th time hold down-dog for a few breaths. Then shift into your seated posture for meditation.

 

These simple morning practices are to provide an accessible way to start yoga and meditation as a daily habit. Good luck and enjoy!

Shanti,

Liza

 

 

Sep13