Recently in our final days of onsite training for Urban Zen at Wexner Heritage Village, the Rabbi Cary Kozberg joined us to deliver a most inspiring maybe even, life changing speech. He commented that Urban Zen offers people “Sabbath moments” in their daily busy, stressful lives. He spoke about the Sabbath as a time to “just be”. I then received a book recommendation from a dear friend and co-worker; ‘Sabbath Keeping’ by Lynne Baab. She too mentions “Sabbath moments” but encourages us to take an entire 24 hour period to really receive the benefits of the Sabbath. I did not grow up in a religious family. I sometimes attended church with friends’ families. My family and I currently do not attend church however, I do believe in God and would like to encourage my children to have a reverence for God and his creations. After listening to the Rabbi and reading ‘Sabbath Keeping’, I’m setting an intention to have a day where my family and I unplug, take a walk together and, enjoy a meal together. We may create certain rituals around this Sabbath day as well to remind us of our relationship to God and this world and, to remind us of the gifts that we receive.
How do you and your family celebrate and enjoy the Sabbath?
“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”
― Mark Buchanan
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Tagged community, contemplative time, family, family time, healthy-living, intention, little inspiration, meditation, presence, present moment, quiet, relaxation, rest, Sabbath, self-care, stress, transformation, Urban Zen
A Heart of Love made by Gail Spirit Sky
It is etiquette to turn off your cell phone upon entering a yoga studio. This practice helps us to drop into the present moment and tune into our breath, sensations and the community in the room. I’ve taken this practice off the mat and into my life. This summer I’ve dedicated Tuesdays to spending time with both my kids. During this time, I’m not checking email or Instagram, I’m present to my kids and our experiences together. Our connections have strengthened from this practice of disconnecting from the digital world and connecting to each other. We laugh and “play” together. I get to really listen to my children and bear witness to their hopes, dreams and thoughts on life. I’ve noticed how my teenage daughter is also able to stay present to us and, not check her phone every time she hears a chime signaling a new text. I notice I feel less stressed and therefore, my family is less stressed. I know this time with my kids is so precious and fleeting. I want them to know that I’m really there for them. I also want to instill a practice/habit in them that they learn to stay connected to those in front of them instead of the virtual world. I can’t help but wonder, what message are we sending our loved ones when they are trying to talk to us and, we are so focused on our phone.
Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson
“We’re living in an era where capturing moments using our phones is more important than actually living these moments with whoever is beside us.” Unknown
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Tagged breath awareness, connection, contemplative time, family time, intention, Jesse Jackson, mindful parenting, mindfulness, parenting, presence, present moment
Bhramari (pronounced brah mah REE), which means the “buzzing of the bees” according to Dr. Timothy McCall. Bhramari is a breath practice that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the calming nervous system by lengthening the exhalation. Bhramari can help reduce anxiety and bring one’s focus into the present moment. I recently taught Bhramari in my prenatal yoga classes. I often teach them pranayama practices that lengthen their exhalation to bring about a sense of calm as well as relax the muscles of the body. These practices are helpful in labor as well when a woman needs to stay calm and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Even if you’re not pregnant, you can still benefit from Bhramari breath. I invite you to give it a try.
Practice: Sitting comfortably with the natural curves of the spine, close your eyes if it’s comfortable and feel the parts of the body in contact with the floor, feel the hips resting on their support, and notice your breath moving in and out of your nose. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose making a humming sound. Repeat maybe 3 more times then, on the last round, cover the ears and feel how the awareness of the vibrations increases. Sit in silence for a few more breaths noticing the silence.
This is a great practice at the beginning of your meditation session to quiet the mind. Children enjoy this practice too!
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh
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Tagged anxiety, beautiful nature, bee breath, Bhramari, breath awareness, calming breath practices, contemplative time, gentle yoga, health, healthy-living, labor techniques, meditation, mindfulness, pranayama, prenatal yoga, presence, relaxation, self-care, stress
“We believe that it takes a strong back and a soft front to face the world.” Roshi Joan Halifax
Are you being called to serve? Do you have a passion to help your loved ones who may be living with terminal illness? Do you want to work with persons undergoing cancer treatment and be able to offer them comfort? You may have heard me mention Urban Zen here. Urban Zen is the calm in the chaos. Urban Zen Integrative Therapy is a very powerful yet simple way to help people that are dealing with pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion. Let’s face it, all of us at one point or another have suffered from one of these issues. Urban Zen is being offered in hospitals, outpatient centers, rehab and hospice centers, universities, schools as well as, corporations and in other countries. Urban Zen Integrative Therapy is meant to serve as a compliment to modern medicine and it really works. For example, I have worked with patients suffering from nausea and pain at a level 8 on a scale of 1-10 and after 15 minutes of using the Urban Zen modalities, these levels dropped to a 4. The modalities used in Urban Zen are, gentle movements, Reiki, Essential oils, Body scan meditation, Breath awareness and simple breath practices and, Restorative yoga poses. I feel so blessed to have gone through this training and to be doing this work! UZ has changed my life in so many profound ways! I can nurture myself, my family and friends when they are not well. I have developed the ability to be present and, let’s face it, being present for others, to really listen and see someone, is a missing piece in our health care system and in our world. I’m so excited to share this with you as there will be an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Training this year offered in Columbus, Ohio through Yoga on High. Here is the link to there site and more information about the training. There is an informational conference call on June 3.
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Tagged breath awareness, community, compassion, Essential oils, gentle yoga, health, health care, healthy-living, little inspiration, meditation, mindfulness, presence, reiki, restorative yoga, Roshi Joan Halifax, self-care, Urban Zen
I had the pleasure of attending a week long training far from home for 5 days. During this week, I chose to be media free. I set my intentions on clearing my mind to be open to receive what I needed to from this important training. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the internet, I read several blogs a day and find much inspiration and information for family life as well as topics for my yoga classes. I found subs for all my classes and set a vacation text on my email and as I was signing off the computer, I already felt a sigh of relief. I still have an “old-fashioned” flip phone so I couldn’t even use my phone to read emails. I actually felt very free. I’m a very social person and long for person to person contact. It saddens me to see families together but, not together because they are all engrossed in their phones. As a matter of fact one time an older gentleman sitting at our Whole Foods, there to entertain the patrons dining with his accordion, commented on the fact that we were an “engaged family”, talking with each other and that he enjoyed seeing this. Turning off our digital contact every once in awhile can allow us to turn on our personal human contact and build truly lasting emotionally connected relationships. Believe me it is not all peaceful in our family but talking to each other and spending time really connected without digital interruption, allows us to feel supported, heard and loved.
Back to the training, I got to meet and really get to know some amazing women. We could have talked forever and in just 4 nights together I created new endearing friendships. My mind felt clear and I felt no anxiety which, I sometimes suffer after long bouts on the computer when I feel I have so much to do but do not know where to start.
I’m offering you a gift for this Holiday Season, maybe spend one or more days free of all media, that is, no TV, no internet and limit your calls to really be present to those around you. Maybe take walks together or cook or bake together or enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or tea together. I would love to hear how this works for you!