power in the pause

What is a zafu, why and how should I use it?

catspaw cushionsA zafu is commonly referred to a cushion that supports you. At Catspaw Studio we fill ours with
organic buckwheat hulls so its supports and conforms to your body. If you practice yoga or meditation or just simply like to sit on the floor, it can help take the press off your back and make it easier to sit for an extended period of time. You can use it a variety  of ways.

A translation of zafu is a cushion for sitting, where “za” means “sitting” or “to sit,” and “fu” means “cushion, bolster, a long pillow or cushion that provides support”; it can also mean “strengthen, reinforce, boost, fortify, or renew.”

We use a zafu to support us. We also want to have support and good posture as explained by WindMind.

catspaw studioWhether you meditate, sitting on the floor every day is a good habit to get into.  At Catspaw Studio we use festive fabrics that inspire with the hope that you well take a moment.

the key is in the pause

 

 

 

cartoons by Matt Holman, and Ian Beck Cross

because sitting with your truth takes courage

journal - keeper of the treasureBecause sitting with your truth takes courage – spiritual growth is hard work, pause and ponder. Inside the Belly of the Whale journal is your journey.

Want to practice meditation but can’t get comfortable

Catspaw cushionsEveryone’s talking about how meditation and mindfulness and how it will be a great benefit to you.  You want to practice meditation but can’t get comfortable 🙁

The truth is, you have to prepare your body and notice if you have any body issues,  before sitting and focusing on the breath.

It is really challenging to sit in stillness as a beginner and even for someone that practices meditation a lot it can be hard to be still because life changes all the time.  We all need guidance from time to time. Questions to ask:

How long can I sit today? Can I sit on the floor? Are my hips and hamstrings tight today?

You can it on a chair or the floor or against the wall but it is still important to prepare your body before you sit because, if you’re not comfortable your meditation will always be about the physical discomfort.

Traditionally yoga was a practice to prepare the body to sit in meditation.

If you’re preparing a 5k run and you haven’t run in a year you might want to train a few weeks before the race. That is what coming to stillness is,  preparing your body to sit.

Prepare your body to sit, so you can be comfortable when you come to meditation.

Here is a short video from Yoga Journal.

 

Is there a color that inspires Pausing?

catspaw cushionsThere are all kinds of articles that the psychology of colors, and the topic is fascinating.  There are countless articles and books about how we respond to color. There is a lot of money spent on what will be the trendy colors for the seasons, for everything from cars to fashion.  When it comes to meditation cushions, yoga props or zafus, the tradition has been austere, dark solid colors. Is there a color that inspires pausing?  So the simple answer – the color that we choose for a cushion depends on our taste. (updated blog post)

 I started making meditation cushions because I wanted some festive meditation cushions and yoga props for my yoga classes.  At my core I’m an artist, so this wasn’t a stretch. 😉  I  choose colors that inspire, energize and calm.
 The article What Color is your Zafu? by  Elizabeth Marglin shares a quick list of what colors represent:

catspaw cushionsYellow: Stimulates joy and uplifts the mind

Orange: Stirs up energy and boosts confidence

Red: Excites the passions and helps overcome depression
Violet: Calms the emotions and deflects irritability
Blue: Soothes the spirit and also induces harmony
Green: Balances, heals, and relaxes
Black: Inspires both introspection and discipline
Brown: Encourages security and stability
Find the support you need.

Fat Tuesday may be your path to Mindfulness

Fat Tuesday may be your path to mindfulness.  I am not suggesting you over indulge and start Wednesday but  I am suggesting making a step toward mindfulness.
You can use Fat Tuesday as the spring board toward pressing the re-start button and go down a new path  even if you don’t follow the Christian season of Lent.
Do you practice mindfulness? Mindfulness lowers cortisol; less cortisol leads to decreased stress levels and increased energy levels. Mindfulness is totally healthy, completely positive, and it doesn’t cost a dime!

Who is Mindfulness For?

Mindfulness is for everyone. Don’t believe it? Well, consider this military personal  are being taught mindfulness to help them with their stress response! If military folks can benefit from mindfulness to cope with the rigors of service, surely we can all benefit from it to help tame the tension in our everyday lives.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness refers to simply being aware of your thoughts and emotions as you go through your life and the daily tasks that are a part of it. It’s about staying in the moment — you are present and truly observing the tiny things that mean so much.

How do I Practice Mindfulness?

Once you become aware of mindfulness, you can begin to identify little ways to practice it throughout the day. All it really takes is the consciousness to pause and take a moment to really see, feel, hear … use all the senses you can to take in that particular moment.

Here are some links that may help you get started after the festivities of Mardi Gras 😉

Minds at Attention: Military and Mindfulness                                                                                                                            A New Study Led by a University of Miami Neuroscientist Finds that Even Short-Form Mindfulness Meditation Training Can Help Active Duty Soldiers Perform Better and Improve Cognitive Resilience

Happify has a website and YouTube channel for ideas science and mindfulness and this sweet, short video is narrated by Sharon Salzberg lovingkindness guru and one of our favorite teachers.

Mindful Living Network just posted a blog by Dr Kathleen Hall 40 days of Mindful Living in for the Lenten season.

At Catspaw Studio we are committed pressing the pause button through yoga and meditation.  Contact us and let us know how we can help you move toward mindful living and not staying stuck on Fat Tuesday.

 cartoons by Cathy Thorne http://everydaypeoplecartoons.com/

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