What Mindfulness Really Means?
You mindfully do nothing at all, without external distraction. This moves you away from a state of doing, to a simple state of being. With this, meditation becomes a state of thoughtless awareness.
Thoughtless awareness is to be aware of your thoughts while not attaching any meaning to them. You Let thoughts flow in and out of your mind without getting caught up in your inner monologue.
Thoughts happen. They flit across your mind all the time, regardless of what you are doing. This brings a feeling of deep and lasting peace. It puts some space between the world in your mind and the world outside.
Meditating for as little as a few minutes can breathe life into your day. Practising over time can change the way you view the world. It can make you less reactive, and more compassionate.
Sitting in meditation is simultaneously one of life’s simplest and most complex endeavours. Doing so provides your brain an amazing restorative gift.
There is a physical change in the brain that reflects this. And we will talk about that in detail in our next blogpost.
In a nutshell – The “me” centre of your brain becomes less active. This is the default mode network (DMN) also known as your “monkey mind”. This part of the brain handles mind-wandering, ruminating and self-referential thoughts.
Meditation gives this centre a break.
This frees up energy to boost activity in the “us” centre of your brain. This part of the brain focusses on collaboration. It sees all beings as interconnected. This is how you connect to and as part of society.
Your outlook begins to shift, from “What can the world do for me?” to “What can I do for the world?” An amazing transformation takes place.
Meditation may seem like just sitting there. But anyone who has tried this knows how this can be hard work! By keeping your brain working while physically in a state of rest, you are working out your gray matter.
Why is this important? Because mediation helps you to protect your gray matter. You are taking steps to protect against aging brain diseases – Alzheimer’s and Dementia. While meditation may not cure brain degeneration, any step to help certainly goes a long way.
Sitting in meditation can trigger the release of “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine. By repeatedly sitting in a state of mindful relaxation, you are “rewiring” your brain. This habit forms new neural pathways towards this relaxed and positive state.
Cultivating a practise over time strengthens these pathways. Keep practising—forming new habits as well as kicking old ones takes time. Trust in your brain’s awesome abilities to do so.
Not sure where to start? We run a number of guided meditation sessions three times a week – drop by and give it a try.
Reiki – Healing with Intention
Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is Japanese for the Universal Life Energy which sustains our world. This one uniting energy is used in a variety of different ways by many cultures. Since ancient times, Reiki has become a healing tool in countries such as Japan, Tibet, and India. Reiki has now spread worldwide. Although Reiki is not affiliated with any religion or dogma, Islam embraces it. One Islamic translation of the Universal Life Energy is “Qudra”. The act of healing energy flowing from practitioner to client translates to “Baraka”. Reiki energy connects to the Source of our universe and our being.
During Reiki healing sessions, hands are placed on the receiver according to traditional methods. Yet, energy is not directed to specific areas within the body. Reiki energy directs itself. For example, someone’s symptoms may be a headache. However, the cause may from a stressful life situation. In this case, Reiki would for to help release the obvious pain. It would also subconsciously enable the person to recognize the source of the tension. This empowers them to find ways to resolve or release the stressful situation. In this way Reiki is a completely transformational method of deep healing.
The vast benefits of regular Reiki sessions completely encompass the entire mind/body/spirit connections. They increase the quality of life in every aspect. Reiki sessions involve no direct effort from the healer to send or direct energy. The energy uses its own intelligence as a guide. Practising Reiki is not dependent on any talent. Academic qualifications, special breathing techniques, years of regular practice or experience do not matter. Nor do you need to be able to meditate.
In order for Reiki to work, the client must accept responsibility for their own healing. For physical problems this can include seeking medical advice, therapy or taking medication. This must also include an active commitment to improve oneself. Reiki complements beginning a more active lifestyle or improving eating habits. Often, the drive to improve one’s circumstances is a natural effect. This can be a direct result of Reiki healing sessions. Reiki is a complement, never an alternative to seeking medical attention. Reiki practitioners are not licensed doctors or therapists. Your Reiki practitioner can recommend seeing a doctor or a therapist. They cannot and will not intervene further.
A criticism of Reiki that is often heard is that the healing that results from it is intangible. In modern science, results must be tangible, statistically significant, or measurable. There is little room for the subtle, the subjective or the metaphysical. Reiki can be felt, but not defined in neat, mathematical terms. Reiki has a difficult time being proven in real mathematical language. Perhaps it is not meant to be. Learning to let go of physical parameters is part of allowing Reiki energies to work. They work as they are, not as how we would like them to. Practitioners may feel frustrated; they may want to see measurable results immediately. None of our wants make any difference. Reiki is not of the ego. Reiki by itself is enough.
One of the most helpful aspects of Reiki is that it facilitates insight and self improvement. Reiki as a discipline outlines five precepts, or principles. You can adopt these into your daily life no matter who you are. The precepts are a part of the Reiki story. They are a journey towards learning about spiritual and physical healing. Embodiment of these qualities brings you closer to synchronicity. This is the harmony of the mind, body and spirit. The precepts are as follows:
Today, feel no anger.
Have no worries.
Show diligence in your undertakings.
Treat others with kindness.
Reiki facilitates a journey towards trusting the process, and trusting what is. Greatest success will occur just by allowing Reiki to work by itself. There is nothing that you can do wrong, Reiki will take care of everything. Reiki works for everyone who is open to being healed. It is a grid to which we can all be connected. Reiki is not a religion or a dogma. It is not dependent on any belief system. Reiki is healing energy, which will flow regardless of your belief. Practicing Reiki is a gift for yourself and anything you have the intent to heal. Trusting in the energetic flow of the Universe is one of life’s sweetest surrenders.
Join our Reiki Level 1 course to get hands on experience with Reiki. You will learn how it can positively affect your life and to be attuned to Usui Reiki Level 1.
This course is run by Usui Reiki Master Frances Irvine. It will be held at Serenity on the weekend of October 14-15, 9:30am-5:30pm both days. Cost is 145BD, and is inclusive of lunch and refreshments. Contact us directly at +973-36078904 to reserve a spot.
Yoga Mythbusters: Yoga is only for the flexible.
A huge misconception about yoga is that you have to be naturally flexible to practice yoga. So many people hesitate to try yoga for this reason. However, yoga is an ongoing process of synchronizing your body with your breathing.
Flexibility has little, if anything to do with it. You do not need to be able to bend into pretzel shapes, nor do you even need to be able to touch your toes. As long as you are breathing, you are doing yoga.
Yoga is a practise.
The aim is not to meet an end goal, but to embrace the ongoing journey. What you bring onto the mat on Day One does not necessarily indicate what you will end up with down the line. Beginning yoga is much like taking on any new endeavour. As long as you remain curious and open to learning, you will progress.
In practicing yoga, you stretch muscles in new and different ways. These muscles will adapt and will naturally become more flexible. Soon your body will open up and you will find a natural strength and flexibility in your musculature. Progress will flow effortlessly. All you need to do is show up on your mat – aware, breathing and present in the moment.
There are dozens of types of yoga, so it is easy to find a style that suits your unique body and your unique needs. Try different kinds and sample what’s out there. Yoga suits all body types and all flexibility types. Quite literally any body and every body. As long as you have a body and a sense of curiosity, yoga is for you.
If your poses begin to feel like a strain, stop. Wherever you are comfortable is where you are meant to be. Use of props can be hugely helpful in trying new poses and making you comfortable. Blocks, straps, bolsters – these are tools that are meant to be used. Do not shy away from them in an effort to “get it right by yourself”. You are not any less of a yogi for using props to help. Once you get into the pose you’ve been trying, any feelings of inadequacy will soon float away.
If you are beginning yoga, here are a few quick tips to help you on your way:
Just start practicing! Get on your mat and go.
- Pick one yoga pose and work on it. Here you can measure your progress.
- Got tight hamstrings? Forward folds are your best friend. You’ll be able to touch your toes in no time.
- You don’t need to dedicate hours to yoga. Just 5-10 minutes of stretching can completely invigorate your day.
- Pay attention to your breath. It should flow effortlessly. If your breathing catches or strains while in a pose, you are going too far. Stop and come back to where you are comfortable.
- Try different classes and different styles. Find a type and a teacher that work for you.
Beginner or advanced, flexible or not, practising yoga has one overarching message. As soon as you step on the mat, remember:
You are here, you are breathing, you are enough.