As a yoga teacher, I see this almost daily, expressed physically in class when the student on the mat is eager and willing to do “more” to deepen the postures: stretch further, kick harder, engage muscles with the dedication of an olympic champion.
But when the pose requires letting go and doing less instead of more, resistance sets in and sometimes even confusion, a lack of understanding for how to do less.
“Doing” embodies a more tangible thought process and effort.
“Letting go,” on the other hand, feels like doing “nothing” and is counter-intuitive. I see students (and myself) experience this as labored breathing, physical pain, and ultimately in reaching and maintaining a plateau in improvement both on and off the mat.
When I first opened my yoga studio in 2007 and started teaching yoga and meditation, few of my student had ever seen a mala. Today, they are integrated into pop culture for fashion, but few people actually know how to use them aside from a funky outfit accessory.
If you struggle with meditation and are seeking an easy way to begin, mala beads may be the answer.
A mala is a string of beads, sometimes separated by tiny knots. Traditionally the beads were made of sandalwood or hard, round seeds, but today you can find them made from various types of wood, crystals, or gemstones.
A standard string has 108 beads plus one additional distinct bead or tag, so you can mark the beginning and the end of the circle.
Mala bracelets are also popular and may have 18, 27, or 54 beads.
Malas are a meditation tool. Each bead on the string is one inhale and exhale, one breath per bead, or one word or phrase of a chant, mantra, or prayer. (Similar...
Sitting in meditation is the last thing I’ve wanted to do lately... and then I feel bad about myself for ditching it because I’m usually so disciplined with my meditation practice.
To compromise, I’ve replaced daily meditation with writing morning pages.
I have so much fun and success from this ritual, I need to share it with you so you can try it for yourself.
Morning journaling is a practice I’ve been in and out of the last 4 years. Through stream of consciousness journaling, I’ve uncovered both questions and answers about myself and what to do next. These grow in my subconscious mind first, show up on the page second, and then slowly take tangible shape in my life.
If meditation isn’t your thing, but you want to clear your mind and reset yourself, try journaling. A few minutes of practically illegible scribbles on a page each morning can direct you toward profound life changes!
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