All posts filed under: Mind-Body

Andrew Holecek

The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

By Andrew Holecek // One of the most common questions around lucid dreaming is, “Why bother?” Life is already so busy, what’s in it for me? After forty years of exploring these special dreams, the scope and depth of their potential continues to astound me. The benefits are almost too good to be true. But the vast literature supports these claims, thousands of students I’ve worked with continue to verify them, and my own experience confirms these remarkable gains. Not everybody will experience these benefits. It all depends on how deeply you engage in the practices, how firmly you believe in them, and how patient and determined you are. Many people will be thrilled to simply indulge their lucid dreams and leave it at that. The entertainment value is enough. At the other end of the spectrum are those who pursue lucid dreaming and dream yoga as a lifetime path. These are the dream yogis and yoginis who realize that these practices can lead to complete enlightenment. Most people are somewhere in the middle. They …

Cyndi Lee

Radical Inclusivity and Just Showing Up

By Cyndi Lee // The other day a friend of mine texted to cancel our lunch date. The reason, she wrote, was that her body wasn’t feeling well and was telling her it needed to rest. After wishing her a delicious nap and a speedy recovery, I couldn’t help but wonder about this conversation between her and her body. I pondered how it could be that her body is not her and, if so, who is she that isn’t a body? Of course, this brings up age-old questions about the nature of consciousness, impermanence, and the definition of the true self. But what I’m really struck with is how we separate ourselves from ourselves. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which is typically translated as to yoke or bind, to join, unite or re-unite. In other words, yoga is relationship. Of course, we know that mind and body are part of each other. You cannot have a body without a mind or a mind without a body. But sometimes we forget. One …

[VIDEO] Zen Path of the Heart

By Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi and Ilia Shinko Perez, Roshi // Many spiritual practitioners are confused about what to do when feelings and emotions arise during meditation. Some traditions teach to treat the emotions like thoughts and let them go, returning to the breath. In Zen Path of the Heart, feeling sensations and emotions are welcomed and seen as necessary aspects of progress in the path of awakening. The sensations of emotions, when present, become the focal point of the concentrated mind and are held with nonjudgmental awareness. This gentle and kind acceptance of our present state allows feelings to come, run their course, and dissolve and transform. Allowing these emotional processes to unfold as they naturally need to heals the emotional wounds developed throughout one’s life, and thereby dissolving karmic habit patterns. Ongoing meditation develops the expansive container that can hold these emotional states without needing to eject into mental stories or repress the emotion through avoidance. The path to the recognition of our True Being must include everything: our feelings, our personality and our humanity. …

Why Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defense

By Maya Fliegel // I have always been intrigued by martial arts of all kinds. The discipline, the body-mind coordination, the strength and of course the bad-assery. The self-defense aspect of knowing martial arts seemed secondary to me at first. As a kid, I did Judo for a while and I liked it a lot. However, being a passionate, lifelong horseback rider, I had to decide at some point where I wanted to invest my resources—and horses won at that particular point in my life. Later in my 20s, I reconnected with martial arts. I was told about Aikido and thought I should really like it. However, I tried it and I didn’t. I just couldn’t connect with it at the time. Luckily, that same day I got an introduction to Jiu-Jjitsu; an art that I had barely heard of at that point, and had no concept of what it entailed. Nevertheless, it immediately clicked with me. So, why would I voluntarily let myself get tackled by a guy who is twice my size and …

The Search for Comfort Zones

By Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche // With every blink of the eye, with every breath, we are trying to find comfort—some kind of relief from the underlying agitation and unsettledness of our ordinary mind. We look to family or friends, to some source of stimulation, or to an infinite number of other external conditions that we hope will help us. When we listen to music, watch movies, or engage in any other form of entertainment, in one way we are enjoying it, but in another way it is also an example of using our ordinary mind to find comfort. Our search for this comfort arises from the primordial fear within our ordinary mind. We are all trying to find a comfort zone, and when our circumstances inevitably change and we are no longer in a comfort zone, our secure and hopeful world is gone. Even when we are getting what we want, we worry that we may lose our comfort zones. We worry about losing our job, our family, our relationship, our health, and anything else …

Brooke Binstock

The Three S’s: Stillness, Silence, and Spaciousness

By Brooke Binstock // When the three of us; Kelly Lindsey, Marissa Knox and I got together to talk about what to center our August retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center around, we easily settled on the theme of Stillness, Silence, and Spaciousness (the three S’s).  In our incredibly busy world full of opportunities for distraction and a tendency to keep a very full, often overflowing schedule, this focus seems almost essential. I’ll speak for myself as a small business owner and I’m certain my colleagues can agree, that unless I purposefully create space in my life, the plates will keep on spinning and the tasks will continue to stack up, often to the point of overwhelm or burn-out.  We must remind ourselves that there will never be that perfect moment in life where we can create space. It is something we must do intentionally. I think part of why it is challenging to slow down and create space for ourselves is because of the demands that life naturally throws our way.  We need to make money, …

Michael W. Taft

5 Reasons Your Mindfulness Practice Has Stalled & How to Reboot It

By Michael W. Taft // It happened to me, and it’s happened to many people I know. You have learned to sit still and follow your breath. You can directly contact the reality of the present moment. You can go deep. The power of meditation practice has made itself manifest, you’ve experienced real benefit, and it’s given you a significant edge on life. But year after year, you’re practice is not developing any further. You’re not gaining new insights and it’s not engendering new and positive behaviors anymore. The wind has gone out of your sails, and you’re in the doldrums. This is the definition of being “stuck in a good place.” Don’t get me wrong: it’s much better than not having a meditation practice at all, but now you’re treading water. If you don’t change something at this point, you’ll probably remain trapped on this plateau for a very long time, even the rest of your life. I’ve seen it happen to lots of people. I’ve taught meditation to thousands of people, and in my …

Lila Yoga

A Simple Visualization Meditation from Yogacharya Erica Kaufman

By Erica Kaufman // I developed this simple meditation to help people experience a state of yoga—where the mind is clean and clear. The feedback has been remarkable.  Visualizations like this tend to free us in a profound way and we actually experience limitless support as we sit. The tools of yoga are vast and highly useful. I grew up with yoga and am energized to support you in the many ways it feeds our soul and health. Imagine the divine sweet scent of the trees at Shambhala. Close your eyes and watch your breath. Regulate your pace and make the habitat for your breath spacious by sitting with a long spine and a broad chest. Comfortably slow and deepen your breath. Continue for a few minutes. Now take note of where your mind usually goes. Ask yourself: “what are the things that have been drawing my attention lately?” See them in your mind as a slide show. Just like cards, collect these slides and set them aside for now. Allow yourself to be in …