Save for the lack of furniture, “A-901: Breathing Room” appears as an ordinary conference room. It sits squarely within the rest of the office, which buzzes with the steady meetings and conversations that characterize most corporate buildings. Soft mats, for sitting, are piled to one side of the room. Digital devices are not allowed.
A few times a week, dozens of employees gather in the …
Until not long ago, scientists studying the nervous system believed that the adult brain was incapable of growing new cells. That’s now known to be false. In fact new cells are being born in the brain all the time. If they’re needed (that is, if the part of the brain that they’re in is being used intensively) then those cells become wired in to the existing networks of nerves, and that part of the brain grows. On the other hand, if they’re not used, they’ll be reabsorbed.
Even without growing new cells, the brain is constantly developing and pruning connections, though. Every new memory you create, every thing you forget, every new piece of learning, … Read more »
Do you always live to – or beyond – your limits? Would you get less done if you took regular breaks?
Many people live in a ‘boom and bust’ way, otherwise known as the overactivity–underactivity cycle. To varying degrees, many of us swing between high energy and low energy.
We do less when we are feeling tired and unmotivated; then, when we feel more energetic, we hectically try to catch up on all the things that we’ve got behind with and end up overdoing it and getting stressed out. This tips us straight back into feeling … Read more »
Vidyamala’s online course, Mindfulness for Women, starts March 1. Click here for details.
Breathing properly is immediately helpful because the first thing most of us do when experiencing stress and pain – be it mental, emotional or physical – is inhibit our breathing. Try this short exercise:
Make a fist with one hand. Notice what’s happened to your breathing. You’ll probably notice you’re holding it. Now imagine breathing into the fist. What does it want to do? You’ll probably find it wants to release a little.
The fist in this exercise is a metaphor for any kind of discomfort or stress. When we are not aware, we automatically tense against the stresses of life with … Read more »
Although Buddhist meditation was originally practiced mostly by celibate monks and nuns, who were not only forbidden from having sex but even from having physical contact with the opposite sex, mindfulness practice can significantly enhance your love life. And by “love life” I don’t mean just sex, but your entire life with someone you’re emotionally and physically intimate with. But sex too!
First, being mindful helps us to be present for our partner. So much of the time when we’re with another person, we’re not really there. Nowadays it’s common to see couples sitting together in a cafe, but focused on their phones. A modern prayer for … Read more »
Vidyamala’s course, “Mindfulness for Women,” starts March 1, 2017
The Mindfulness for Women online course, starting March 1 on Wildmind, is based on the book I co-wrote with Journalist Claire Irvin. Claire hadn’t meditated before we worked on this project so she gamely kept a diary of her efforts which are accessible, often hilarious, and moving. Here’s her diary of her first attempt to meditate:
… Read more »
Claire’s Diary Week One: Body Scan
It’s 9.30 on a dark early-spring evening. My husband Stuart is away and I’ve finally got Amelie, six, to go to bed (she will take any opportunity to delay bedtime, and an absent parent is as good an excuse as any). On
A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting its shoes on.
Mindfulness is becoming ever more popular and is in danger of being seen as a panacea for all the problems that trouble the human mind. Even when the practice is divorced from the other elements that form part of a spiritual path, it can be a useful tool for self management and helping to create greater contentment for our lives.
Practicing mindfulness can help us to work out …
One common concern about self-compassion is that it’ll make us lazy and self-indulgent — that if we become more self-compassionate we’ll lack motivation. Self-indulgence means avoiding difficulties, which may benefit us in the short term, but which is detrimental in the long term. Self-indulgence is when we cop out. So we might imagine that when faced with doing something difficult, we’ll let ourselves off the hook in order to be “kind” to ourselves. But that’s the opposite of what actually happens.
Self-compassion means giving yourself support, understanding, and encouragement when you face difficult experiences. It helps you to face your difficulties.
Self-compassion recognizes that your long-term happiness is served not by avoiding challenges, but in … Read more »
During times of direct uncertainty caused by a change of political power everyone is impacted. And no matter what side we are on, everyone experiences suffering of some kind. Suffering is the first noble truth and no one can escape that. Buddhist Teachers are often asked how do we practise during turbulent times, when civil liberties and freedoms are being taken away?
As Buddhists we have to remember that while some of us may think our civil liberties and freedoms are being taken away, there are other people who think they are gaining freedoms and civil liberties. That some of these people were perhaps angry when the government of their choice was not in power.… Read more »
I am proud to come from New Zealand, which in 1893 became the first country in the world in which women gained the right to vote. More recently, New Zealand was also the first democracy to have all key Government roles fulfilled by women, e.g. Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Governor General. I also come from a long tradition of strong women and I feel I owe it to my courageous and heroic forebears to do all that I can to stand tall and true in my own life.
I want to let other women know about how mindfulness has transformed my life over the past thirty years, and how it can transform their lives … Read more »