Month: February 2018

Susan Piver

Susan Piver on the Benefits of Meditation

By Susan Piver // A comprehensive list of all the benefits of meditation would be very long indeed. My friend and fellow meditation teacher Jonathan Foust has said that if it were a medication, meditation would be heralded as the miracle drug of the century! Some of the benefits that have been demonstrated recently through modern scientific inquiry include the following: It relieves stress (by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol). It improves focus and memory (by raising the level of gamma waves). It prevents relapse into depression by 50 percent (according to studies by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, and Zindel Segal, PhD). It boosts immunity (in one study, meditators demonstrated higher levels of antibodies than nonmeditators in reaction to a vaccination). It actually makes you demonstrably happier (by reducing activation in the amygdala and increasing it in the prefrontal cortex). The health benefits don’t stop there. In addition, it has been demonstrated that meditation can help with the following: lowering blood pressure decreasing symptoms in illnesses with a stress-related component (ulcers, for example) decreasing serum cholesterol …

The Practice of Dropping: An Antidote for a Busy Life

By Brian Spielmann & De West // When we’re babies, the ability to grasp, which becomes fully developed around 9-12 months, is one of the most important developmental milestones. This core skill demonstrates planning, hand-eye coordination, muscular strength, and motor skills. As adult spiritual practitioners, we have the opposite issue: how do we stop grasping and let go? Our minds are constantly grasping and fixating, creating much suffering in our minds and tension in our bodies. As Mick Jagger says, “You can’t always get what you want.” And that grasping is where samsara begins. The Buddhist and Yogic traditions both offer clear, practical instructions on how to let go fully. When we integrate these traditions, working both with our body and our mental awareness, we have a powerful dual pathway to further relaxation and sense of peace. Take a Load Off The good news is that our thoughts and emotional baggage don’t actually exist. They come and they go, and we can let them arise with no judgment or need to push them away. We …

Family Retreat

“Being” Over “Doing”: Advice for Meaningful Family Life

By Leslie Gossett // There is a billboard on the interstate here—an advertisement for a popular gym. It says “More ways to do it all.” There is a picture of a happy–looking person doing various gym activities. I feel nauseated every time I pass that billboard. Perhaps it’s different where you live, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the pervading culture. Life is becoming more and more about doing and less and less about being. I work closely with many families here in this area. What continues to surprise me is not how busy they are, but how much they complain about being busy while having no support for changing that. Schools are increasingly more demanding of not just the student’s time, but also of family time. Sports practice, music rehearsals, and after school activities happen every day of the week. Games and performances take up weekend time. And many children, tweens, and teens have more than 2 hours of homework each day, in addition to their rehearsals and practices. Parents …

Mindful Eating

A Woman’s Biggest Obstacle to Mindful Eating

By Marcella Friel // If you are a woman struggling to heal your food, it’s very seductive to feel, deep down, that something is horribly wrong with you and to believe that, if you punish yourself enough by eating celery sticks instead of cookies, you’ll one day reach that ever-elusive Promised Land of a “perfect” diet and “perfect” body weight. When you fail to meet such tyrannical expectations, do you then turn the blame inward and double down on the celery sticks, at least until the next binge? *** Listen to food and body image coach Marcella Friel talk with Mimi Valiulis, Dean of Online Studies at Shambhala Online, about the single greatest obstacle women face on the path of healing their food. Join Marcella Friel for Women, Food, & Forgiveness: The Heroine’s Journey, May 2–6, 2018, at Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to learn more >>   About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty and personal transformation. Having cooked and taught in premier meditation and healing centers across North America …