We’re popping on our Urban Priestess Malas and channeling some seriously divine Ashley Turner energy! We just can’t wait for this amazing event coming up April 21-25, where our Ambassador Ashley Turner will host a free, online meditation summit with 30 of the world’s best spiritual gurus and goddesses. Go put your fav Mala on and check out this amazing event, boho babes!
Our buddhaful Ambassador, Ashley Turner, is hosting an amazing free meditation summit that begins this April 21, 2014. Some of our favourite goddesses and yogi gurus are going to be there, so we just had to ask her all about meditation and what it’s all about. We were blessed to learn her secret skills. Here’s what this modern day Urban Priestess had to teach us.
Meditation is one of the most crucial aspects to cultivate more peace and happiness in life. It is literally the first thing I recommend to all my students and clients to build self-esteem and intuition, hear your truth, make wise, skillful choices, improve communication, increase creativity and productivity and let go.
We can be in one of two states – either the mind is running us or we are running our mind.
My mentor, Dr. Ron Alexander, speaks of MIND STRENGTH and the changes that can occur as we begin the process of training the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.
Here’s the breakdown of how meditation works.
There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities we do. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency and calm the mind.
Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in.
5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works
1. Gamma State - In the Gamma state, the brain waves are at frequencies ranging from approximately 30 – 100Hz. This is the state of hyperactivity in the brain and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why Tony Robbins and other educators have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around – to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information and lasting change in one’s “state”.
If overstimulated, it can lead to anxiety.
2. Beta State - The Beta state, which is where we function for most of the day, is associated with the alert mindstate of the prefrontal cortex. Brain wave frequencies in this state range from 13 – 30Hz and this is a state of the “working” or ‘thinking mind’: analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.
3. Alpha State - Brain waves in the Alpha state range from 9 – 13Hz. This is the state where brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We become more calm, peaceful and anchored. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a thorough yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness and at peace. This is often accompanied by an inner and/or outer glow – sometimes felt as “spacey”. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).
4. Theta State - When brain waves range from 4 – 8Hz in the Theta state, we are able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The Theta state is associated with the 6th Chakra (3rd eye), so in this state we are able to practice visualization.
5. Delta State - The final state is the Delta state, where brain waves range from 1 – 3 Hz. Tibetan monks that have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
A Simple Meditation: How to Meditate
A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem, so as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to calm and slow down.
1.To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes and as much as possible eliminate any stimulus that may distract you.
2. Watch your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in. Flowing out. Don’t try to change it in any way. Just notice.
3. Silently repeat the mantra: “Breathing In. Breathing Out.” As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm.
4. Consistency is Key. Try to do this breath meditation for 10 – 15 minutes first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation practice, particularly if it is difficult to sit still as you begin. Shorter meditation sessions on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks.
Meditation is the #1 Tool I recommend to ALL my clients + students!
We’ve all heard it at the beginning of yoga class: “Take this time to set an intention.” When I hear this instruction at the beginning of class, sometimes my mind goes totally blank, and I become stressed before the asana part of class even starts. My mind starts spinning… I can’t even think of an intention!? Seriously?! That should be the easy part.
Other times, I sit there and think to myself, My intention is to be healthy–no, happy!… or more mindful? Wait! Is that selfish? Maybe I should be a vessel for world peace? Or dedicate my practice to orphans.. Yeah! Orphans! But what about the cancer patients?… and so it goes.. What can I say? I’m either a blank canvas or ideas (and guilt) come spewing so fast they can barely be contained. It doesn’t have to be this way. In my heart, I know that an intention can be a simple, beautiful truth about you and why you practice.
Here are a 5 simple tips for intention setting during yoga class and beyond.
1. Don’t force it. It nothing immediately pops into your head, that’s OK! It enough to just breathe and be at ease in the moment. (Isn’t that why you come in the first place? That’s a perfectly lovely intention!)
2. Go with it! When something does come up, go with it! Intentions don’t have to be grandiose or selfless–it’s much better to be authentic and honor the thoughts that come up naturally.
3. To-do lists are not welcome here. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what you “intend” to get done later in the day, but intentions are more about connection than completing tasks.
4. Jot it down, and revisit it often. When an intention comes to you, write it down the first chance you get. Then, revisit it often and make adjustments as necessary. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is a great way to get clear about who you want to be and what you put out into the world.
5. Consider making your intention your mantra–something you come back to when you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, or any time you need a reminder that you are a beautiful, talented, capable, strong person who is loved by many. You’ve got this! And the world is a better place because you’re committed to staying true to you.
And, yes, wearing a symbol that reminds you of your intention is also a lovely way to help you focus on it as you move about your day. One of my favorites is the Kris Carr I Am Love mala because my intention right now is to infuse my every action with love for myself, for those I love easily, and especially those who are hard to love.
She’s a nationally recognized nutrition expert, published author and serious goddess. We sat down with Keri Glassman to talk about the things that inspire her to live a healthy, soulful life and here’s what she had to say!
What have you done recently to inspire people to live a more nutritious life?
I recently was the nutrition judge on the show Cook Your Ass Off on upwave on HLN. When I first heard of the show, I thought “I LOVE this idea! How has it not been done before?!” People seek out health information everywhere – tv, magazines, online, apps, professionals etc. And people love cooking competitions. Yet the concept of adding the health element to the competition had never been done. I’m a nutritionist – my passion is teaching health – and food of course – so this format I fell in love with. My message on the show was simple – healthy does not mean deprivation or lack of flavor. The healthiest, best foods for you are naturally incredibly tasty. I loved being able to help show America how real and healthy food can taste amazing!
What brought you to the mat for the first time?
I am naturally a quick-paced, high energy type of person who like everyone else has to confront stress (and I own it!). I always say out of all the pillars of a nutritious life, stress is the pillar that I’ve had to work on the hardest. I’m not naturally a calm person; I’m naturally a revved-up person. So learning to take it down a notch with yoga was not inherent for me. I’m naturally more of a runner, spinner kind of person. But, it was definitely something I needed in my life. Exercise was always my therapy and I also meditate. I usually do my own little quick mini-meditations, sometimes just an 8-count breath. It only made sense to marry the two and start practicing yoga.
Who and what inspires you?
My kids, Rex and Maizy!! It may sound cliche, but I think once you have children there is this constant, reminder and reason to always raise your bar. Simply, they keep you in check. They inspire me to be and do my best in everything from work to parenting and everything in between.
What advice do you have for all the boho yogis out there!
Healthy living is not just about eating and exercise. I always say that there are 8 pillars of a Nutritious Life that are all equally important to overall health and wellness. These pillars encompass everything from food to hydration to sleep to sex. They work together in harmony to create a healthier mind and body. If you skimp on sleep, you might be too tired to work out, and you might also make poorer food choices, and so on. Everything from your environment to the liquids you put in your body to the food you consume to your relationships to pampering yourself work together from a behavioural aspect and also a physiological aspect to create the best “you” possible.
Oh yeah… and what is your favourite mala and why?!
Hands down, my favourite mala would have to be the Rock Your Bliss Mala, it’s all about creating the life of your dreams through clear intention setting, mad love + truth, and radical positive energy. So, if you need me, I am here rocking my bliss right now!
It’s not all pretzel shaped seated positions, quiet yoga rooms and closed eyes. Meditation can happen anytime, anywhere. And get this, goddesses: it’s a serious game changer in so many ways.
My favourite way to meditate is when I’m moving. That’s right gypsy babes, I meditate when I’m cutting up collard greens, brushing my teeth in the a.m, and cruising to class mid-day. You see, meditation is all about breathing, slowing down your thoughts and turning inward, so get ready to move and make meditation fun!
Here are my top 3 Fav ways to meditate while I move:
Bohemian fact: most gals love to dance (hip-hop, freestyle, interpretive, you name it!). Next time your breaking a sweat in your living room or at the studio, match your breath to those sweet movements and think about two things that you are seriously grateful for. Turn this into a gratitude meditation so that body, breath and mind are all connected in a big boho dance.
Preparing food for yourself and the ones you adore is a spiritual practice on it’s own. You’re making food from your hands and offering it to yourself and the people you care for. Combine this with some loving thoughts and deep breaths and you’ve got yourself a recipe for relaxation. Next time your prepping in your kitchen, match your movements with slow inhales and longer exhales. Think of who you’re making this divine dish for and the nutrients you’ll be providing for them.
3. Big Walks in the Great Outdoors
Think of the last time you took a walk outside. Felt fab, right? That’s because we were meant to be in nature! Find a friend, go outside and get to your breath. Think about what makes you thankful for that friend and infuse those thoughts into your long breaths in and slow breaths out. Walks outside are super rad because you get to drink in all that’s good for you in nature. So go, beauties, grab a pal and breathe big on your walk outside.
I’ve made moving and meditating a staple in my life. It’s such a great way to keep close to my intentions and stay grounded. All of this breath talk makes me want to get moving, so I’m heading off to do just that. Next time you’re in the mood to get connected, put your Visionary Mala on and start moving!
Peace, Love and Magic from Bohemia xx
We sat down with Juliana Lavell, native of British Columbia, yoga instructor, writer for the Elephant Journal and artist, to chat about what keeps her inspired and how she sets her intentions. Here is what she had to share with our community.
What inspires me?
The sound of little birds singing in the morning, deep conscious breathing, vibrant colours on my paint brush to name a few. I have a 5 year old daughter who is like a magical absorbent sponge, she looks to me for grounded, strong and soft energy. She is a daily reminder of my own innocence and inspiration to keep coming back to my mat. Knowing it is my inward journey to wholeness that will ultimately shine sparkles of light into the lives around me.
That is the essence of my teaching and purpose in life; to continue to unravel the layers of myself, make my way back to my highest sensation of truth and ideally let my offerings come from that space. Whether it be an expression of art, cooking, breathing or teaching a yoga class. Meditation, and embracing all parts of myself, the light and the dark, and settling back into the space where I can be at peace with it all.
I host a yoga inspired art workshop called “Finding Your Inner Artist”, I often tell my students to forget about an idea of perfection and go for what resonates, whether its a shape or colour. That is where we find our yoga or union!
My intention always roots back to loving kindness towards myself, what the yogis refer to as Ahimsa. Some days that means taking rest, some days that means acknowledging and moving through things I resist, in a pose, a relationship or something I’m procrastinating about.
My advice for the boho yogis out there? Let go of the need to seek approval from others. Be the raddest, baddest, truest expression of your authentic self. Seek teachers, friends and hobbies that resonate with you. Take opinions from others as well-intending gestures but integrate into your heart and your life only what resonates with you on a deep level. Your are the pearl making itself beautiful inside your oyster.
Stay connected with your inner compass, knowing that sometimes it is the places we resist the most in our selves and in our lives that tend to lead to the spaces of greatest growth; rich fertile ground for yourself to blossom!
My favourite Mala right now is the “Serendipity Mala” with adventurine. I love the quote “The best things in life just happen”. Be open to the universe and you will be a magnet for unforeseen opportunities to come your way.
See more of Juliana here: