Meditation: Relax Your Mind In The East Village
Meditation is like an acceptable version of napping—it recharges you, clears your head, and helps you escape your daily stresses. The practice is the perfect way to unwind, silence a frantic mind, and cope with the downtown pace of life. How can you pass that up?
You feel the essence of who you really are when you are in stillness, says yogi Alan Finger of Ishta Yoga in the East Village. The static in your mind settles; and you can can see your life more clearly. Meditation removes your fears and anxieties while keeping you happy throughout your day for no reason at all. Sounds like the cornerstone of true bliss and cheaper than therapy.
After your silence ends, you’ll be surprised at how easily these new-found senses of stillness and calm stay with you during your bustling day. “While the effects of other stress-reducing techniques wear off,” says Ethan Nichtern, director of the NYC-based nonprofit Interdependence Project, “meditation teaches you how to remain peaceful in the midst of living in the city—not just escape it.”
If you have have trouble getting to a quiet personal space on your own like most New Yorkers, sign up to meditate with a group or guide. The goal is to get in at least 20 minutes of meditation daily.
Here are some popular meditation spots in the East Village:
Allan Finger Sessions at Ishta Yoga
56 East 11th Street
302 Bowery NY, NY
Classes Ana Fox @ Dance Forum NY
20 East 17th Street
19 Clinton Street, Suite 205
Ilana Donna Arazie is a blogger and vlogger based in NYC who chronicles stories about living your best life in a big city. Her stories have been featured on the Associated Press, Chicago-Sun Times, Yahoo, The Travel Channel and other media outlets. She is the founder of Downtown Dharma.com , a site that is a bit of Cosmo meets Deepak Chopra, offering deep yet fun insights into finding peace and meaning.
Stuck In A Rut? 3 Quick Tips to Escape Mediocreland
Wake-up alarm sounds. Hit snooze button. Steal ten minutes more sleep. Groan. Take shower. Get dressed. Get coffee. Shuffle off to the subway. Head into work. Slump into chair. Check email. Check Facebook. Meet deadlines. Waste time chatting. Watch clock. Check Facebook again. Check clock. Sneak out early. Try to get a cab. Pack back into the subway. Go to gym. Get groceries. Make dinner. Watch TV. Check Facebook. Go to bed. Repeat.
Are you stuck in a rut and ready to change up the same ol’ routine? Motivational guru Shawn Anderson shares three quick rut-escaping tips for those who need emergency advice and are living the same day over…and over…and over:
TIP #1: Quit living in Mediocreland.
Stuck on mediocrity? Well, look in the mirror at the person responsible. It’s you. You created your average-ness…and you can un-create it, too. Want out of the rut? Quit making excuses, quit pointing fingers, and quit waiting for a miracle to fly you out of Mediocreland. If you’re ever going to leave the world of average, you need to start creating the changes you seek. Cast a vision. Create a plan. Take massive action. Passive residents are not allowed to fly.
TIP #2: Don’t expect an overnight miracle.
It’s impossible to go from “ice cold” (in the rut) to “red hot” (out of the rut) overnight. Massive change just doesn’t happen that way. Don’t expect it. Do expect, though, that you can grow to “red hot” if you hold yourself accountable to take one step a day towards the changes you want in your life. Single steps daily add up to big changes eventually.
TIP #3: Don’t wait for perfect.
Waiting for the perfect scenario to unfold before making changes? Your reasons to wait before taking action might sound good in your head now. The problem is that five years down the road those same reasons will probably still exist…and you’ll probably still be in a rut. Life is too short to wait for the stars to fall into perfect alignment before we take life action. Live and live now. Otherwise, waiting too long for the right risk-taking moment eventually leads to paralyzing fear…which leads to complacency…which leads to “I don’t care” acceptance.
“My feeling is ‘we get one life’ so why ever choose to live it with anything less than our deepest passion and most ardent dedication? We create the life we live…one way or another,” Anderson says.
Shawn Anderson is a six-time author, keynote speaker and motivational success coach. His “go the extra mile” philosophy and ability to produce results have been praised by political leaders, world record holders and media outlets across the world. His book titles include A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose. For more information, visit www.ShawnAnderson.com.
What Pharrell, The UN and Social Media Have To Do With Getting Happy
Did you know that tomorrow is International Happiness Day? Yes, the United Nations declared March 20 International Happiness Day, recognizing that happiness and well-being are essential parts in “progress” for nations around the world. Launched in 2012, the day aims to “(create) a happier society” which “requires action at all levels – not just from political leaders and institutions but also from us as individual citizens.
Even singer Pharrell Williams, still basking in the glow of his chart-topping and GRAMMY-nominated single, “Happy,” is even doing his part to spread the happiness movement. Starting on Monday March 10, fans are encouraged to post YouTube videos of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s catchy track Happy with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY, which they will then submit to Pharrell’s new website 24 Hours of Happiness. The musician will then pick the best submissions at noon from each time zone of the world, on March 20.
So, what else can we as haggard New Yorkers do to reclaim our happiness?
Project Happiness, which teaches the skills for greater well-being to students around the world, is working with Action for Happiness to bring together a network of like-minded organizations and people to expand happiness everywhere. One of the quickest ways to get involved is to celebrate acts of generosity, kindness, enthusiasm and connection — focused on bringing happiness to others. It’s easier than one may think to ACT:
A: Affirm the pledge – make a personal pledge to create more happiness in the world
C: Cheer Happy Heroes – celebrate the people who bring happiness to you and others
T: Take part – do something to mark the day and spread some happiness
Wherever you are in the world you can take part on the International Day of Happiness by:
• Cheering your Happy Heroes or using the #happyheroes hashtag on Twitter
• Sharing what you’re doing on the day using Cheers or the #happyday hashtag on Twitter.
C’mon, let’s get happy!
5 Places to Get Centered in the City.
Sinatra said it all when he sang the words, “I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep.” Waking up is the key here, for if you are spending your days in a trance from lack of sleep or you feel like a hamster on a wheel at work, then how are you ever going to be the king – or the queen – of the hill and top of the heap?
It’s easy to feel off-balance, especially if you live in New York City. External demands and the fast pace often result in internal pressure, which is inevitably affecting your day, your relationships, your mind and your body. So how can you get centered in the city?
Here are 5 places to get centered in the city:
- New York Open Center– Committed to holistic learning and world culture, NY Open Center offers a variety of programs including lectures, classes, certification programs, yoga, and volunteer opportunities. They attract amazing speakers/teachers like Dr. Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson and attract like-minded participants. They recently moved to a new location: 22 East 30th Street.
- Sacred Center New York – If you’re seeking a spiritual community that will support you in going deeper in your personal growth by giving you tools to live a prosperous life, then look no further. Sacred Center New York, led by the dynamic Rev. August Gold, holds a service each Sunday where Western teachings are blended with Eastern philosophies, music fills the room, and all are welcome. Classes and guest speakers like “The Secret’s” Lisa Nichols, are also offered each month.
- Meta Center New York – Dedicated to raising consciousness, healing, personal growth, transformation and creativity, the Meta Center offers workshops and lectures on all of these topics. This educational center has been Feng Shui aligned and you feel it the second you walk in. Founded by Jodi Serota, META stands for Multi-dimensional Education and Transformational Arts Center.
- Kabbalah Centre – If you want to get on the same, spiritual page as Demi, Ashton and Madonna, this is your place. Through classes, books, webinars and one-on-one instruction, you will learn how to apply the ancient wisdom of the Kabbalah – the study of how to receive fulfillment – to everyday life.
- Chopra Center & Spa – Deepak Chopra has created a space in the Dream Hotel to help “calm the chaotic lives of busy New Yorkers”. How much do we love this guy? This center offers workshops, yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic spa treatments designed to bring balance to the mind and body.Here’s to you getting centered in the city!
Stefanie Ziev is a Certified Life Coach who helps people discover what makes them happy by developing a healthy relationship with themselves the way they would a friend or a partner. Stefanie coaches individual and corporate clients, leads seminars and speaks to groups about a variety of topics related to consciously developing a healthy and committed relationship with one’s self and one’s life. Her approach is creative, fun, and direct as she holds clients accountable to themselves throughout this powerful and transformational process. For more infomation on Stefanie or her services go to www.ZievCoaching.com
Disconnect To Reconnect: National Day Of Unplugging March 7-8
So, we could probably all stand to put down our smart phones or close our laptops a little more. Let’s face it, we are in a digital age where Google meet ups often replace face to face meetings and people walk (dangerously) down NYC sidewalks with faces buried in their phones.
While computers and apps and smartphones are essentially there to make our lives easier and more efficient, ever feel like they’re running your lives? Are you laying in bed at night unable to sleep thinking…”maybe I’ll just check my Facebook feed” (guilty!), or perhaps you just can’t resist tweeting when you’re really enjoying really fab meal or particularly funny TV show.
Ever think of just enjoying the moment? Of really being present and not worrying about updating our status or checking our email. Imagine a lunch with friends where no one was tweeting or texting during the meal. Non existent these days!
There is something to say for the “good ol days” when technology was not a part of our every move, and more focus was put on the people and the essence of the moments we are experiencing. Now, I am probably more guilty that most (even my 2 year old can use my iPhone and much to my chagrin requests it first thing), but I think experiencing a day unplugged might just do us all some good.
Tomorrow is National Day of Unplugging. Thousands have pledged to unplug and recognize the importance of disconnecting (even if they can’t keep it up the whole day!). See more details HERE and maybe try it out with me?
Top Photo: Flickr
Abundance: Bringing It Forth
So, although it seems like the only thing that is overly abundant as of late is snow, I know that abundance exists beyond what we can see. This morning I took a yoga class at Living Yoga, and the theme (my how I love my yoga lessons) was abundance, which had me thinking well beyond the 75 minute class.
Abundance is something that’s been circling around my head lately. I recently watched on of Marie Forleo’s videos with guest Kate Northrop, both of whom I know and respect greatly. Their focus was abundance in finances and beyond, while this morning at yoga it was about a release of holding back or hoarding (whether energy or ideas or material possessions), and in turn allowing abundance to come forth.
In all, abundance really comes back to our energy, intention and faith in the renewal process. It’s this idea that when we give or empty out, abundance is right there behind us ready to fill in that space. The idea that there is plenty for all, and the Universe just needs us to release in order to give it right back to us, and our holding on to anything too tightly not only hinders that process, but in fact cuts us off from abundance in our lives.
All great teachings from the Buddha to the Bible re-iterate this, and my experience in life has shown me it’s true. Yet, whether ego, “sense”, or fear of being without, there are still there are days I hold on too tightly and hamper the little voice within that knows better. So, today I appreciated being reminded of the abundance that exists when we let go and choose it. Abundance is ours…we just have to bring it forth.
Self Love: Have It? 3 Steps To Get It.
I replied, “You just know.”
The moment I realized I loved myself was at a party with some of my girlfriends. The ladies at the party were part of my addiction-support group. We’d seen each other through all kinds of addictions like drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, you name it. For years, we’d been on a serious journey seeking self-love. Towards the end of the party, the hostess brought out a platter covered with fluffy pink cupcakes. I grabbed one, took a bite, and offered the rest to my friend. My girlfriends stopped and stared in shock.
How the hell can you possibly take only one bite and not want more!,” one said.
Without hesitation, I replied, “I love myself too much to eat the whole thing.” There, I realized my self-love.
I didn’t love myself overnight. I’d spent years avoiding my true feelings and the issues I’d acquired throughout my life. Through a serious dedication to change, I resurrected my relationship with myself.
How did I get here? The answer is simple. I showed up! One day at a time I showed up for my inner journey. Each day, I added new tools, meditated longer, prayed more and changed my mind. And, I continue showing up everyday. I continuously add new layers of love to the miraculous relationship with the woman that is me.
If you’re ready to put down that cupcake and love yourself, you can start showing up today. The first step is to be willing. With the slightest willingness, you will receive guidance to move forward. Begin now, by saying out loud, I am willing to love myself, today. For the next thirty days, recite this affirmation. Post it on your wall, your mirror and by your desk. Put it everywhere. Make the daily commitment to be willing to love yourself. By simply setting this intention, you are one step closer to self-love.
Second, get clear about how you’ve been un-loving towards yourself. Are you possibly overeating, drinking too much, staying in a bad relationship, reciting negative mantras in your head? Make a list of all the ways you’ve mistreated yourself. Carefully, look at the list and ask, Would I treat someone I love that way? Each time you act in a self-loathing way ask yourself that question. By calling yourself out, you witness your negative behavior and stop identifying with it. In the instant that you choose love over negativity, you create a shift and get one step closer to self-love.
Lastly, simply just hang with yourself. Once a day, spend ten minutes quiet and alone. Turn off your phone, stop tweeting and start chilling. Listen to your thoughts and check in with your body. Simply be aware of what your inner guide (~ing) is saying to you. When I practice this exercise, I hear awesome stuff. For instance, today I heard my ~ing say, “Go lie down for an hour and rest. You need it!” Had I not stopped to take the time to check in with my ~ing, I’d have never heard what I truly needed. Slow down and listen to the voice of your inner guide. This will get you one more step closer to self-love.
These three steps are a great start to any self-love journey. Be willing to affirm your desire and slow down enough to listen to the loving voice of your inner guide. One day at a time, you’ll get closer to the most rockin’ relationship with yourself.
Anyone who knows me has seen the ring I wear on my left hand. It is the ILoveMe ring which acts as a gentle reminder to love myself and others. My dear friend Arielle Feirman designed this ring and named it with me during a meditation. Check it out: Bewellwitharielle.com
Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, Spirit Junkie and the forthcoming book Miracles Now (published in April 2014). Gabrielle is also the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.
Instant Mood Boosters for the Winter Blues
So, it’s cold and wintery here in the big city. And, I know this time of year can be tough- the holidays are over, bills coming in, shorter days…I get it. But, I actually love this time of year because it means wearing comfy slippers and cuddling to keep warm! Here are 3 more instant mood boosters to kick the winter blues to the curb…
Tip #1 : Get Moving & Have Some Fun
When we take ourselves too seriously, we can end up in a rut. In the winter, it’s easier to drift into depression, because it’s colder and days are shorter. But, there’s so many fun things that come with cold, ice, and snow, so take advantage of them! Build a fire, and read firside stories, or look at family photos. Go ice skating, even if you’ve never done it! Wear padding and fall with the best of ‘em. Use the snow for a snowball packing party, making snow angels.
Often when I find myself moving toward a funk, I do something super-silly to get myself out of it. So, jump up and down, sing loud in the shower, do a tumble salt! Just make it a point to do something fun and take advantage of the season, instead of drowning in darkness!
Exercise also is a great remedy. It releases endorphins, lifting our mood and instantly making us feel better. Not to mention that done regularly, exercise increases our strength, self confidence and physical and mental health.
Tip #2: Make Your Home a Little Brighter
If the darkness is bringing you down, simply add more light to your space by changing your lightbulbs! Go green by switching them out with energy-efficient ones, and you’ll feel better just by turning on a brighter light. Make sure that your blinds are letting natural light in, and, if the walls are covered in old wallpaper or paint that just isn’t your style, this is a great time to tear it down and put on a fresh coat of a nice light-reflecting color! You can also simply brighten up your space by adding accessories that sparkle. Winter is the perfect time of year for using “crystal” accessories because they add an “ice” effect. You can even replace a light fixture, add pillows that pop, picture frames that glitter.
Tip #3: Warm Water with Lemon Works Wonders
If you’re feeling like you’ve added some pounds over the holidays, you are not alone!! The average American gains 7-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years alone. So, flush out the toxins with a cleansing drink!! I love this, because it’s not about deprivation it’s about adding something in! Just by adding warm water with lemon to your daily intake (8-8oz. glasses) you can easily lose 5 pounds of trapped bloat and flush out fat and toxins in just couple of weeks!
Modern Day Meditation: Finding Peace Anywhere
The other day I was reading Metro and came across an interview with a “meditation consultant.” Is this really a new line of work? What do meditation consultants do? Sit with you and breathe away stress? Where do I apply?
Then I read on. The interviewee, Andy Puddicombe, is a former monk who studied in monastaries all over India, Thailand, Nepal, Australia, and Russia for ten years. Even if I shaved my head to look like him, I wouldn’t attract his clientele—I’d only kill my love life.
Last year, Andy started a non-denominational initiative called Headspace in London, which introduces frenetic professionals to the benefits of meditation. He hosts events in cool spaces, conducts one-on-one private sessions, and even meditates with his clients online and via mobile phone. Since Andy and his partner launched Headspace, the London press has been all over the story. He’s been featured in Vogue, Time Out and other popular publications. He also just signed a book deal and has a TV show in development.
Hmm… maybe I could pull off a sexy bald ’do after all?
I had to meet Andy and talk more about his modern day meditation project.
Andy and I scheduled a call over Skype. Even through the small video screen, he casted a spell—he was jovial, warm, and extra smiley. The bald look really works for him. He’s not technically a monk anymore, and the position of “lady friend” is already filled.
We talked about my experience with meditation: which usually translates into feeling like I smoked something illegal. I explained how after I meditate, I feel present and grounded, glad to have my anxiety and fears vanish for at least a good day or so, before my next sitting.
Andy explains to me that scientific research suggests that after fifteen minutes of stillness, blood flow increases in the area of your brain associated with positive emotions.
The challenge for me has always been getting my butt to meditation classes at least 2–3 times a week. However, Andy promises that once you take his workshop, you will have the tools to practice on your own. He breaks down his lessons into three parts:
1. Approach: Andy offers a philosophical explanation on the importance of having the right attitude in life. For example, meditation is no different to life. To want things to be different from how they are now is to resist reality. When we resist reality we struggle with life. It’s a move away from acceptance. This applies to meditation because if you sit there trying to actually stop your thoughts and emotions, you move away from acceptance and, ultimately, away from peace of mind.
It’s a common mistake to make though, and explains why so many people get frustrated or anxious when learning meditation. So meditation is less about ‘changing’ the mind and more about ‘understanding’ the mind. When meditation is approached in this way, the potential for benefit is huge!
2. The Act of Meditation: Andy recommends sitting still for 10–15 minutes in the morning, so that meditating doesn’t become just another stressful item on your day’s to-do list.
3. Integration: You can integrate the practice into your daily life if you consider that meditation is about compassion and awareness. On the subway, use your commute as an opportunity to be mindful and present. Andy say’s that you have a choice: You can either sit there wishing you were somewhere else, or you can use a meditation technique to cultivate awareness and empathy for your fellow commuters. (Well, maybe not the flashers and disheveled, smelly teenage hipsters—best not to be too aware of some things.)
We both agreed that meditation would become the new yoga and sweep through the West. I asked him to teach me his secrets, so that I could become his disciple and start my own meditation business one day. He explained that although he has thought about going that route, right now he doesn’t feel comfortable claiming guru status and training other teachers.
Rats. I guess I’ll have to train with the Bhuddas directly. I wonder if any of them can be interviewed by Skype? Let me do some research and get back to you on that. Until then, catch ya on the subway.
Top Photo: Flickr
How To ACTually Make Your Desires Reality
So we’re nearly one month into 2014…how are you doing on those resolutions? Bottom line is about 90% of all resolutions fail, so perhaps it’s time to try something new this year. “Act as if” your goal has already happened instead! Instead of saying what you “will” do in 2014 – you will switch careers, you will lose weight, you will fall in love – visualize and EMBODY what you “will” look, feel and act like when these dreams come true! How will you carry yourself when you are healthier and love your body? How will you feel when you’re blissfully in love? What will you need to do to own to do this new career?
This week, I bought hot pink PurposeGirl sharpie markers to do book signings – acting as if my book is already published and I’m on tour! Years ago, I was still in corporate marketing, but I set on path to my dreams of being in the media by buying a fabulous dress for the Emmy’s! I’m not yet up for an Emmy, but, I’m on my way with my new Dr. Oz work and on my regular work on Sirius Radio. Buying that dress set me in motion toward my dream of inspiring millions! And this has helped my friends and clients too! One client said she was working toward a career in museums and found herself connected to top folks in the industry. After giving her this tip, one of my friends introduced herself as a personal shopper (instead of a lawyer) at a networking event and the next thing you know, she has new business cards.
Watch this week’s PurposeFull message to ACTUALIZE YOUR DESIRES!
It may sound crazy, but acting as if the dream has already happened begins to create the path to actualizing our dreams because you are creating neural pathways that begin to believe that the dream has already occurred. Acting as if sets you in motion to greater and greater action! Plus, by acting as if, you tell the Universe that you’re ready for the next step.
So, how can you “act as if” to make your dreams come true? Watch this week’s PurposeFULL message for more tips and WHY “acting as if” is SO important!
I’m ready for a big 2014 – and acting as if it’s already happened! First step for me – actualize the luxury vacation I need! I’m off to Turks & Caicos tomorrow!! While I’m away, I hope you live purposefully, love yourself and love life! Here’s to YOUR success!
Happy actualizing, my friend!
Carin Rockind (aka “PurposeGirl”) is the Woman’s Positive Psychologist. She is a life and career coach, motivational speaker and author. Her philosophy is simple: we each have a unique purpose on earth and we’d be happier if we were living it! As one of only 250 people in the world with her masters degree in Positive Psychology, the scientific study of happiness from Penn, her work is grounded in science yet fueled by love, spirit and lots of crazy life experiences. For more, check out www.purposegirl.com