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Create the time for meditation

While we may have heard a daily meditation practice brings with it many benefits to our overall happiness and wellbeing, there’s often resistance to committing to it. Common resistances include thinking ‘I don’t have time’, ‘It’s boring to just sit still’, or ‘I am not good at it, my mind just runs the whole time’. These last two examples are similar to expecting an untrained puppy to sit still the first time it is asked. Whereas the first, simply requires you to have an honest conversation with yourself about what your priorities are, and perhaps shift the expectation of exactly how much time you need to dedicate towards mediating.

Just like your asana, meditation is a practice, not a performance. So a good place to begin is removing any outcome you perceive you need to achieve, which may be ‘successfully meditating’. I know this is one I’ve had in the past. Benefits and blessings will come to you over time, but for now, all you need to do is sit down, try to be still, and practice the meditation technique shown to you. If you don’t have one already, don’t worry, there is one included at the end of this blog.

Initially, sitting still for a period of time can be challenging, especially because we’re so use to ‘moving’ and ‘doing’ constantly. In our modern world, it seems even sleeping is becoming something we ‘do’, rather than being really enjoyed. So to begin, simply designate a specific time window, duration, and place to practice on a regular basis. Begin with five minutes, and set a timer so looking at the clock won’t distract you. Commit to practicing meditation before you have your breakfast in the morning, in a quiet corner or room in your home. Another option is to close the door at your office, and practice your meditation at your desk. Otherwise, you may choose to commit five minutes at the end of your yoga class, when you’re in savasana. Regardless of where and when, we can all create 5 minutes of space in our day. Over time, you can gradually lengthen your practice.

For most people the normal state of the mind is a constant chatter. Don’t be put off by this; Rather, use the stillness, use the quiet, to bring awareness and observation to how much your mind chatters. With repetition of practice, you can use this awareness to soften the chatter, and delve deeper into your consciousness. The associated benefits to this such as a calm mind, eased stress, anxiousness, and depression, healthier sleeping patterns, increased creativity, improved relationships, and self-appreciation and respect, make the practice even more enticing, and even easier to commit to.

Again, just like your asana practice, meditation will bring with it a new experience each day; some will seem ‘easier’ than others. If you a miss a day, feel distracted throughout, or finish early, just start again. Have faith your mind will come to settle down and feel at ease with regular practice and eventually longer periods of sitting. Be as gentle with yourself as you would a puppy you love, and allow your mind to learn to release in the same way it has learned to hold on.

Meditation Technique:

Sit or lie comfortably, with your spine straight. Set a timer on your phone or meditation application (we recommend 1 Giant Mind, or, Insight Timer) so as not to be distracted by looking at the clock. Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths in and out of your nose to calm your body down and prepare for meditation.

Next, place extra attention on your breath. Stilling breathing by your nose, bring your inhale and exhale to the same steady length, and then continue to observe your breath. Feel your chest rise on the inhale, and then the chest fall on the exhale. Feel the coolness of the air on the inhale, and warmth of the air on the exhale. Maintain your focus and observation on your breath. If at any point, you notice your mind wandering, gently come back to the awareness of the breath. For some extra support, you may choose to silently say in your mind ‘inhale’ as you breathe in, and ‘exhale’ as you breathe out.

At the end of your practice, give a statement of gratitude. For example, ‘I am thankful for making the time to do this meditation’, ‘I am thankful for my breath’, ‘I am thankful for how relaxed I feel’, or, anything that naturally arises in to give thanks for.

Some general recommendations to support your meditation practice include, not eating or consuming caffeine/ any other stimulants just prior to meditating, finding a private and quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, and keeping a journal to track your insights and progress.

Let us know how you’re going with your meditation practice. Leave us a comment on this post, share in our facebook group, or talk to any one of us at the studio! We look forward to hearing of how meditation is supporting and enriching you in your life.

Namaste

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

While many think yoga starts and finishes on the mat, the truth is yoga extends far beyond the classroom – it expands into your entire day, throughout your lifestyle choices, and deep into your mentality, morals and spirit. The physical expression of yoga, also known as Asana in sanskrit, is what you do for 90minutes when you visit the studio to do class. You’ll also do some breathing techniques, which is another integral component of yoga, called Pranayama. However, there are indeed 6 other limbs or components which together unite to be the system or science of living and being that we call Yoga. The eight limbs are –

  • YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
  • NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances
  • ASANA – Posture
  • PRANAYAMA – Breathing techniques
  • PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
  • DHARANA – Focused concentration
  • DHYANA – Meditative absorption 
  • SAMADHI – Bliss or enlightenment

1 Yama: The first limb yama refers to our interaction with the external world, and specifically the disciplines or practices we use to ensure peace within ourselves and with the environment around us. There are five yamas – Ahisma (non-violence), Satya (truthfullness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (right use of energy), and Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding). These yamas are unconditioned by time or place – which is to say, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practiced, we can still all aim to instil the yamas within us.

2 Niyama: The second limb, Niyama, are primarily our personal disciplines towards ourselves, but they still have meaning for our interactions with the outside world as well. There are five niyamas – Saucha (cleanliness), Santocha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study and study of spiritual texts), and Isvarapranidaha (surrender to a higher power). These disciplines are intended for us to explore ourselves beyond the layers, to discover our essence, and to (re)build our character,

3 Asana: The third limb explores the physical aspect of yoga – perhaps the one we are most familiar with. Yet, something we may not realise is that asana doesn’t refer to someone’s ability to do a handstand or an aesthetically impressive backbend; rather it means ‘seat’ in english, or more specifically, the seat you would take for the practice of meditation. You move through the sequence of postures to heal and harmonise your body from injury and illness, so as to sit steadily, comfortably and in stillness during meditation, without complaint.

4 Pranayama: The fourth limb can be broken down in two parts – Prana means breath, energy, or life force – it is the very essence the keeps us alive, as well as being the energy in the universe around us. The Chinese call it ‘Chi’ or ‘Qi’, and the Japanese, ‘Ki’. Yama refers to control and thus by breathing in a very specific way, or controlling our breath, we can improve our state of being.

5 Pratyahara: Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means to ‘withdraw’ or ‘draw back’, and ahara refers to the information we receive from our senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It’s useful to practice withdrawal from our senses when we sit down to meditate, want to achieve deep concentration, without distraction, or really be in the present moment. This can be achieved through focus on the breath (or pranayama).

6 Dharana: The sixth limb, Dharana, refers to ‘focused concentration’. Dha means ‘holding or maintaining’, and Ana means ‘other’ or ‘something else’. It’s closely linked to the previous limbs; In order to focus on something, the senses must withdraw so that all attention is put on that point of concentration, and in order to draw our senses in, we must focus and concentrate intently. Tratak or candle gazing, visualisation, and pranayama (focusing on the breath) are all practices of Dharana.

7 Dhyana: The seventh limb is ‘meditative absorption’ – when we become completely absorbed in the focus of our meditation and free of engagement with the activity of the mind.

8 Samadhi: The eighth limb Samadhi (Sama, same or equal, and Dhi, to see) refers to ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment’. This doesn’t mean to float away on cloud nine in a state of happiness; Rather, to have the ability to see equally, and realise the truth or reality that lies in front of us without any disturbance from the mind or pain in the body fluctuating and governing it. There is observation rather than attachment, and this is freedom.

While our attachments, aversions, desires and habits may creep back in and pull us out of Samadhi, continually practicing the 8 limbs of yoga will help to purify our mind and body until we can maintain Samadhi in a permanent state. This is when we attain Moksha, also known as Mukti, meaning a permanent state of being liberated, released and free. 

Do you practice the eight limbs of yoga already? What benefits and changes have you noticed in your own life since following these yogic principles? Please leave us a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear!

Yoga and Sleep Quality

(Hopefully) We all know sleep is crucial to our well-being, and it’s quality is a big determinant in how happy and healthy we are day to day – there’s no question we feel better after a good nights rest. However, most of us will encounter sleep disturbances through out our lives – in fact, one out of three people will experience insomnia at some point in their life.

A mere week of unrest or sleep deprivation can cause severe changes in mood: depression, decreases in emotional regulation, and obvious depletion. On the contrary, it seems that a good night’s rest can enhance the positive feelings and states of being. There’s really something to the idea of “sleeping off” difficult experiences.

So what does affect quality of sleep? Well, three common factors include stress, hormonal imbalances, and obesity. When you are experiencing one or more of these, your body is going to be operating more in the sympathetic nervous system state – also called ‘fight or flight”. This is a more heightened state of being, and it’s very hard for your body to relax, ‘let go’, enter sleep onset (the natural oncoming of sleep), and stay asleep through the night. You see, the body cannot tell the difference between an external and internal threat or imbalance – it only see that’s something’s not right and in order to survive, it must be switched on and ready to either fight or run away from the stressor.

How Yoga can improve sleep quality is that firstly, it helps move you into the parasympathetic nervous system – this is when you’re functioning more in a rest and digest state of being. The long slow breathing exercises, combined with stretching and stillness, help increase parasympathetic dominance. This is where stagnant energy has shifted, the mind has calmed, physical tension releases, and emotion dissipates. The stiffness has gone and in this state, its much easier to move into the natural onset of sleep.

Leading on from this, a second therapeutic benefit of yoga is that in this parasympathetic state, your body is more receptive to change and healing. Your endocrine (hormonal) system is gradually rebalanced, your muscular skeletal system is realigned and strengthened, leading to body transformation, and your mind-body connection is increased, improving awareness and confidence. You really do leave with a renewed mind and body, each time you come to a yoga class.

Researchers seem to agree. In one study on yoga and sleep, participants practiced Bikram yoga regularly over a two week period, and results showed they woke up fewer times in the night, a sign of better sleep quality.

A regular yoga practice can greatly improve your overall health, including the quality of sleep you achieve each night. Have you noticed any positive changes in your sleep or general health since practicing Bikram or Yin Yoga at our studio? We’d love to hear your stories and feedback!

Bikram Yoga Helps Improve Bone Mineral Density

In our last post, we looked at how Bikram Yoga (BY) helps with physical fitness. This week, we will discuss how BY improve bone mineral density, which is important all through out our lives, but especially as we age.

Maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) reflects the strength of bones, and is important in reducing instances of osteoporosis and falls-related fractures. Healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, regular exercise – especially resistance training, and impact based activities, help minimize BMD loss and reduce the risk of fractures later in life.

Yoga can be an excellent tool in helping maintain peak bone mass and slow down bone loss. We know some of the main components of the BY practice is balance, flexibility, lubrication of joints, increased range of motion, spinal alignment and a significant improvement in lower-limb strength. It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, where students use their own body weight to create resistance in the postures and torque on the bones to build bone density, much in the same way you build muscle strength (through Wolffs Law). Bones get stronger and stay strong when they are called upon to do more. Given all of this, your yoga practice helps keep you more stable and sturdy, helps reduce the risk of falls and fractures, and helps maintain BMD, especially for those who cannot engage in high-impact or more dynamic activity such as running.

A study in 2010, “Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women“, clearly shows this link between BY and a higher BMD – saying that BY practitioners had above average bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, hip and in total body scores. Even more impressive, each of the subjects had a total body calcium Z-score one standard deviation above the norm for their age and ethnic cohort. Please click on the highlighted title to read the article yourself.

If you have a story you’d like to share on how BY has helped with your own body, we’d love to hear, and if possible, feature you in our newsletter or on social media! Please talk to Sherry at reception, or send your story to info@bikramyoganorthbrisbane.com.au . You can follow us on Instagram @bikrambrisbane

How Bikram Yoga helps with your Physical Fitness

Over the next weeks, we are going to explore the benefits of the Bikram Yoga series, and will begin with how Bikram Yoga helps with your physical fitness.

Physical fitness consists of five fields of health (cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition), and six skill-related fields (balance, reaction time, speed, agility, power and coordination). The health related fields are particular interesting as they are associated with better overall health and lower risk of chronic disease, disability and mortality.

After reading through some research performed on a group of Bikram students over an eight week period in Colorado, USA (link is at bottom of this blog), the observed recordings and data proved what we all experience in our bodies from a consistent Bikram practice. The research results showed significant increase in both upper and lower body range of motion, balance, muscular endurance and strength, coordination, and reductions in back pain, adipose tissue (body fat), inflammation, and BMI due to the increased energy expenditure. Lastly, they did note a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals who were otherwise more sedentary, asthmatics and older. There were also recordings of improvements in hormonal-imbalances.

Of course how your nourish your body with food and lifestyle choices will influence your physical fitness as well, we cannot ignore that. However, the benefits of a regular Bikram practice will put you in good stead towards feeling your best and moving confidently as you age. The twenty-six postures and 2 breathing exercises systematically moves fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, stimulating each of the body’s system to perform optimally, it boosts detoxification, enhances coordination, flexibility and balance, and requires you to both use and improve your own body strength.

We love hearing from our students how their health and lives have changed since including Bikram into their routine. If you have story to share, please let us know at the studio, on our blog, or any of our social media pages. We are on instagram – @bikrambrisbane and facebook – Bikram Yoga Nundah.

We look forward to seeing you at the studio xx

You can look further at the studies here:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201303000-00035

June ’19 News

A warm hello to our community! We hope you are enjoying your time at the studio, and look forward to seeing you more in the hot room as the cooler months set in. We’ve added two state-of-the-art humidifiers to the hot room (you may have noticed the extra mist inside!), ensuring that we are still getting our sweat on each time we step on our mats for Bikram or Inferno Hot Pilates. Our Yin classes are still on every Thursday at 6:30pm, and Sundays at 6pm, our monthly silent class is on the last Sunday morning at 7am, and our Kundalini workshops have been added to the schedule every month now, by popular demand. We are even looking to at putting them on fortnightly, so please let us know if this is something you’re interested in.

We’d be so grateful as well if you could please post and check in on your social media when you come to class. Did you know, Before Yogananda died in 1952 he whispered to his student- “something called social media is coming… and if you don’t post and check in, it’s the same as not doing savasana at the end of class” but worse 😉  Help us promote our family business, we really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you to our teachers, for the knowledge and care you share to your students in your classes, carrying them through from start to end, and helping them feel better in themselves and their bodies. Thank you to our angels, for keeping our studio clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy! And thank you to our students, for coming to the studio and taking positive action towards being the best version of themselves possible. You are a big inspiration!

See you at the studio soon! Love Sherry and the team at BYNB xx

June Special – Members can bring a friend for free to our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates Class

We invite our members to bring a friend complimentary to one our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates class. It must be your friend’s first time to our studio.

Thinking of doing two Bikram classes in one day? Here is how to pace yourself:

Back to Back

So you’re going to do a double, good for you! There are two kinds of doubles that you could do: back to back (only 1/2 hour between classes) and a split double (one in the morning, one in the afternoon/evening.)

– Take it easy in your first class, pace yourself. Gently remind yourself that you are doing a double during the class. It can help give you perspective and keep focus. If you didn’t get through standing bow without falling out a lot, remind yourself that you are going to be doing it again in the next class, so don’t sweat it, just take note of what you want to focus on the next time. As it’s coming right up!

-Second class you may notice you’re more flexible. You might have more energy or you might be fatigued. Just notice how you are feeling and listen to your body. The second class usually feels as if it goes by quickly.

– Have something to drink in between classes that will replenish electrolytes and give you a little sugar. Fresh juice or coconut water is ideal. You might even try raw dates (just one or two), they digest very quickly and provide immediate fuel for your body to burn. Some people can even have a banana or some fruit, just not a lot – and give yourself at least 15 mins before the next class is going to start. Don’t ingest any protein or large amounts of fiber (like a smoothie) as it can take your body a while to break this down.

– Eat a fresh and balanced meal afterwards to replenish electrolytes and drink more water than usual.

Split Double

– Replenish your electrolytes after your first class. Drink water throughout the day. Set a goal of maybe two or three liters before your next class. Don’t drink it all at once!

-Try not to eat a really large meal in between your morning and evening classes. Try a couple of small meals instead. Have a snack two or three hours before taking your second class. Make it a healthy one. (nuts, fruit, veggies)

– The second class can be a bit of wild card depending on what you did with your day in between classes. Some people will feel more flexible others may feel rather tight in places they didn’t expect. Just take it one posture at time. Remember something you did in your morning class that worked for you and see if you can bring your attention to it.

-Have a juice/electrolyte drink or smoothie waiting for you after your second class.

Doubles in general:

-Avoid drinking alcohol on days that you are going to, or have done a double.
-Avoid excessive caffeine. (skip the afternoon latte before your second class!)
-Get to bed early the night before.
-Be proud of yourself!

They’re not as scary as your mind makes them out to be!

Anyway

This weeks blog – guest author, Mother Theresa

ANYWAY
Mother Theresa

”People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!
If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!
If you are successful, you will win
false friends and enemies.
Succeed anyway!
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building may be
destroyed overnight.
Build anyway!
People really need help
but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway!
Give the world the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway!

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.”

Are you struggling to find time to do your yoga?

Are you struggling to find time to do your yoga?

We are all so busy now a days that even doing our yoga can just feel stressful! I totally agree! And being stressed to do yoga really defeats the purpose. However, the amazing thing about yoga is that if you do make the time, the other parts of your life will run smoother and feel less overwhelming. So, it’s worth it, even 10 minutes a day will help, trust me!

But, where to start?

The first question you need to ask yourself is; do you truly want to do this? From the heart! Because if you do anything half-heartedly, it will fizzle out. If you do truly know this is what you want to do, then you will find a way. Otherwise you will find dozens of excuses not to do the yoga practice. There is always a good reason not to do it. I’ve heard them all – many from my own head. I don’t feel good, I’m tired, I’ll start tomorrow, I have to just make this one phone call or email, I need to shop for….

So, take a moment, close your eyes, relax, take your time and ask yourself, from the heart, “do I really want to make this time for myself, to care for my body and mind, is it important to me?” If you say yes, then tell yourself “ok, I will do it, I’m able to guide my life, I’m not at the mercy of my circumstances, I can make it happen!”

From here, it is a matter of being realistic, organized and disciplined. For example, at the start of the week, schedule in your classes to your calendar. Make it a non-negotiable that you will go to the 9:30am class Tuesday , Thursday and Friday, and you’ll do your grocery shopping, laundry, and catch ups with friends after that time. Even better, why not invite your friend to do class with you and grab a coffee after?. Do your banking on Mondays, volunteer at the school tuckshop on Wednesday mornings, have that dinner date on Friday night, and you’ll catch the sport matches Saturday morning.  Decide on the number of classes you want to do per week, and when it realistically will work for you – nights, mornings, or early mornings (we think early mornings are the best as it gets it done before 7:30am! You just have to commit to getting up earlier in the day).

Organising yourself at the start of the week helps to give you structure, rhythm and clarity. It helps in your decision making and to get stuff done! On the nights before your yoga class, pre-prepare your bag – put your yoga clothes, towel, mat and water bottle inside, so in the morning, you’re ready to go without any excuse or delays.

Want more tips on how to commit to your yoga class? Ask any of our teachers at the studio! They are here to support you.

Namaste x

Michael stays smoke-free and mentally calm through Bikram yoga

“I started Bikram yoga last January because wanted to lose 10 kilos of sexiness and to make sure I didn’t start smoking again. I still haven’t smoked yet and I owe that to Bikram yoga for sure. In 20 years I’ve never gone this long without smoking. Being able to breathe and heal and be good to myself physically and emotionally through practice has been better than smoking ever was.

The greatest benefit I’ve gotten from Bikram yoga is how it quiets the crazy inside me. Bikram calms my mind unlike anything else. Amongst the sweat and poses and savasanas, the jagged edges of my thoughts become smoothed and rounded, feelings become clarified, and the voice inside me becomes kinder and gentler. Bikram is like a sweatier version of Zanax.

I love how no two classes are the same, how a pose one day can vastly differ the very next in feel or fluidness, in difficulty or ease. I love when a breakthrough happens with a pose. It’s the sensation of falling or moving through water, as if the pose is happening to you. You find a new ceiling and a new you.

I love how if I miss class, my whole body feels it, misses it. It’s like driving and slamming on breaks. My body is at rest but feels like it’s still in motion, longs to continue the forward momentum from the previous day.

I love every teacher that has instructed me, corrected me, and encouraged me. More times than not, it has been their encouragement that has kept me going.

I love the sense of community you share with a group of otherwise strangers. It’s the feeling of having survived a great storm, some indescribable test and done it together in one collective spirit, while in your undies.”


Not a creative person? Meditation will change that

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  – Pablo Picasso.

Creative people. They’re the rock stars, authors, and artists of the world. They’re the ones we look up to for their imagination and their talent.

They’re special, aren’t they? Those creative artists who create the music, books, and art we turn to when we want to dream.

People flock to La Louvre in Paris, one of the most impressive art galleries in the world, oggling the works of artists like Gericault and Da Vinci. They were people born to create works of creative genius. Many dream that one day they may create works that would be one hundredth the creative brilliance of those paintings adorning the walls of France’s most important gallery.

Yet many think that only those alike to Da Vinci and Gericault were born for creative brilliance,  the rest of us are not. Right? If we were born with creative talent we would surely know about it, wouldn’t we? Talent like that couldn’t be hiding somewhere, unbeknownst to us. Could it?

But what if creative talent isn’t reserved for just the lucky few? What if creative talent is actually inside us all?

Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Sure enough, every child is indeed an artist. Give a two-year-old a crayon and they’ll draw you a picture. True, it might be a mangled mess completely uninterpretable until said child tells you it’s a cat, but they will grab that crayon and they will draw to their heart’s content; they will have a go.

Trouble is, most adults will not have a go. Give an adult a crayon and they’ll probably just put it right back in the box and tell you to grow up. It’s like the mere idea of being creative seems absurd to them.

We lose our creativity as we grow old. And no wonder. “Stress is a well-known creativity killer,” says psychologist Robert Epstein, PhD. “Time constraints are another.” As we age we are gradually exposed to both increasing levels of stress and tightening time constraints, and our creativity is stifled.

Stress and time-constraints kill creativity in many ways:

  • Stress prevents the mind from being playful, which is essential to creativity.
  • Stress makes us obsess over worries rather than thinking about possibilities.
  • Stress prevents us from living in the moment, cutting off our main source of inspiration.
  • Stress is tiring, sapping our creative energy.
  • Time constraints mean we’re forced to do things the way we know rather than looking for alternatives.
  • Both time constraints and stress make us hyper-focused on action and results, preventing us from looking outside the box, from considering alternative options, and, ultimately, from being creative.

Put all these factors together and it’s easy to see why the modern world is custom designed to kill the average adult’s creativity.

But that doesn’t mean adults cannot be creative. It just means we have to make a concerted effort to actually use our creative powers.

The key to reclaiming our creativity, perhaps surprisingly, is this: We need to chill out.

Sounds jovial. It’s actually both vital and incredibly accurate.

If we want to be creative we have to let our minds play. We have to stop being so darned focused on the time and on productivity and results. “Chilling out” truly is the answer.

To say we need to “chill out” really means we have to let go of stress so we can be more mentally flexible.

We can liken this to yoga.

Physical stress kills a yoga practice like mental stress kills creativity, and for precisely the same reason.

When we are tense (in other words, physically stressed) our muscles are cramped in one position, making it impossible for them to take up an asana.

Similarly, when we are mentally tense (stressed) the mind is too forced in one position, too focused on one way of looking at things, making it impossible to be creative.

We can solve both these problems in the same way.

When we are tense in yoga we don’t immediately stretch out into full expression of standing bow. We begin by helping the body to relax. Only once the body is relaxed we can then move with more ease and grace into the posture.

It’s the same with creativity.

When we’re mentally stressed we don’t pen A Tale Of Two Cities.  Rather, we have to take steps to relax the mind so that we can start to be more creative.

To relax the mind, we meditate. But in a specific way.

The majority of meditation techniques are focused. These are techniques in which we focus the mind on one thing, such as the breath. This, however, is not conducive to creativity because creativity is not about focusing on one view. It’s about being open to myriad different views.

The opposite of focused meditations is Open Monitoring.

These are meditations in which we do not focus on one thing, but rather we extend awareness to the entirety of our environment. It’s as though consciousness were butter in a warm pan. The butter expands evenly to cover the whole pan. Same with open monitoring meditation. Consciousness spreads evenly so we are aware of our whole environment.

If you have ever found yourself fully absorbed in beautiful scenery you will have experienced open monitoring meditation. It’s the state in which we feel one with our environment, when we seem to breathe with the world, when we are calm and yet aware of the fullness of our environment.

Scientific research proves that open monitoring is an incredibly powerful technique for creativity.

Cognitive psychologist Loenza Colzato studied the affect that open monitoring meditation has on divergent and convergent thinking. These are mental processes that enable us to come up with new ideas and bring those ideas together into one cohesive unit (such as when we conceptualise a story, first brainstorming ideas and then bringing them together into one story).

Colazato’s study showed that open monitoring meditation significantly improved these mental processes. This, Colzato said, showed that open monitoring meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for creativity.

The reason open monitoring meditation boosts creativity is, essentially, because it is freeing. It undoes the damage that too much stress and time constraints do to us.

As adults, it is far too easy to become hyper-focused on productivity and results, always choosing the trusted way rather than being free to experiment. It’s a self-imposed cage in which we cannot see the infinite possibilities that are always within us.

Open monitoring meditation opens the mind, limbering us up like those warm-up moves in yoga. It creates mental flexibility and freedom with which we can realise our creative potential.

Why not try open monitoring meditation today. It’s easy.

To do open monitoring meditation:

  1. Go somewhere quiet and relaxing, a place you would want to be one with (such as a beautiful countryside).
  2. Sit or lie down.
  3. Count your breaths up to 50 just to relax.
  4. Be aware of your senses. Listen, feel, smell, taste, and see the environment around you.
  5. Let your consciousness rhttp://dailycupofyoga.com/wp-admin/index.phpeach out so that you are aware of everything.
  6. If thoughts and feelings arise, let them come and go while still paying attention to the environment.
  7. Continue for 20 minutes.
  8. Notice how you feel more open, more relaxed, and freer.

Practice this technique whenever you want to get in touch with your creativity. It will open your mind and give you the mental freedom and flexibility with which to be creative.

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