#practicepausing

Why Meditation Just Works

Anyone who has mastered meditation already knows that it offers them unlimited benefits, including complete

relaxation and inner knowledge. That said, people new to the art may not be convinced. However, a new wealth of information is showing us that meditation works.

Let’s start by creating a working definition of meditation. Simply put, meditation consists of sitting quietly and focusing. Many advanced meditation experts focus on their breath or a phrase of one or more words (called a mantra) to keep their concentration on one repeating idea.

Repeating a mantra enough times eventually strips it of its meaning: this phenomenon is called semantic satiation. It occurs when your body and mind have experienced an excessive stimulation. In self-defense, the mind will lower its acuteness. This experience is related to the way that smells decrease in severity.

As a result, a mantra becomes nothing but meaningless sounds. This is important: stripping the word of its sounds takes away its definition. Soon, you’re just focusing your mind on repeating meaningless sound.

That repetition will increase your concentration by essentially “mesmerizing” your mind. It will force your mind to eliminate outside thoughts and open up for greater focus.

Once your mind has reached that zen-like state of calm, you can start truly concentrating on important aspects of your life. Simply lowering your stress levels might be enough. However, you can also fixate on fixing problematic areas in your life, such as low self-esteem or eating too much.

DSC_0078If you’re still struggling to master meditation, contact us today. We offer a wide range of meditation products that can help you earn the calm you deserve.

Transitions

The month of May,  seems to be full of transitions.
People graduate from school, the school year ends, you start a new job and the list goes on. There are all kinds of transitions, from seasons,  relationships, moving to a new city, home, school.  I can’t forget the big ones, birth, weddings and death. 

New Beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ― Lao Tzu

On this Memorial Day we will give pause to those that have transitioned from life to death in the broad sense,  we honor those who have died serving.
When I come to my yoga mat or teach a class we are practicing how to transition from one pose or asana to another, sometimes called flow or vinyasa.
We come to the top our mat and start with our hands at heart center then we reach up to the ceiling in a little back bend – transition, then coming to a forward fold – transition and then we find ourselves in down dog.  All of these little transitions we have made gracefully and with intention.
Looking at the definition of the word transition changing from one state or condition to another.
tran·si·tion
tranˈziSH(ə)n,tranˈsiSH(ə)n/
noun
plural noun: transitions
  1. 1.
    the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
    “students in transition from one program to another”
verb
NORTH AMERICAN
3rd person present: transitions
  1. 1.
    undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.
    “the network ought to be built by the federal government and then transitioned into private industry”

Change is hard for a lot of us, but if we look at it from the perspective of  when we are on our yoga mats it might not seem so challenging – I know easier said than done, because somedays the flow from one pose to another is smooth, balanced and gracefully with breath guiding the way and other days movements are stiff, heavy and not balance or gracefully and breathing is choppy . We keep coming back to our practice, because we know that everyday is different.

The flow of life can be easy or difficult but looking toward it as practice that we work on daily, just like keeping our body, mind and spirit flowing so we don’t become stiff and rigid and be without flow.

contact Catspaw Studio at catspawguru (at) gmail (dot) com

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What Color is your Meditation Cushion?

meditation cushions by catspaw cushionsThere 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.

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 try to 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:

Yellow: 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
 The Psychology of Color Guide for Designers on Pinographics is a fascinating article with more detail.
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