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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 ūüôĀ

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?

supportive cushion by 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 Рthe 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. ūüėČ ¬†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
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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 ūüėČ

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

Surprises When Beginning a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness practice is the of focusing your attention on the present moment, on your physical presence and surroundings as well as the thoughts traveling through your mind. Through consistent practice of mindfulness, you can train your mind to cultivate this awareness in order to increase focus, stabilize emotions, and improve your overall health.

Mindfulness may sound like a simple concept, but if you are beginning a daily practice of mindfulness, you may encounter a few surprises.

Animation by Happify  for guided meditations and other mindfulness-building activities designed by experts. Narrated by Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier

You Already Know How to Do It

Mindfulness is not a special state of awareness. It is the focusing of your attention on that which you are already capable, your current state. You do not need to change or aspire to something better but only accept yourself as you are in that moment.

Mindfulness is Not Just About the Mind 

Mindfulness is also about listening to your body and being aware of your surroundings in the present moment. A simple mindfulness meditation often begins with focus on the breath and how it moves through your body. When you notice thoughts or feelings pushing for your attention, you can accept their existence, let them go, and focus again on the breath and body.

There Are Many Ways to Practice Mindfulness

While sitting, standing, or moving, you can focus your awareness on your body, your surroundings, and the transitory nature of your thoughts. You might want to practice mindfulness meditation by sitting in a comfortable chair or on a cushion and focusing on your breath, or by repeating a single word or phrase, for ten minutes. However, physical activities such as yoga can also become practices in mindfulness.

To ease your introduction to mindfulness meditation,¬†contact us¬†for more information about our¬†zafus¬†‚Äď cushions and other products. We’re happy to help.

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