Japa Whaaaaat? Japa Meditation and My top 8 tricks on how to do it!

58a3164303bccfc6baa5470573ad72cdBy now we’ve heard and know many benefits of meditating (less stress, stronger immune system, higher levels of creativity, and such). Most of us have also heard of chanting, in some form or another. When you mixed the two of those together, what do you get? Japa Meditation!

Japa meditation is a form of meditative relaxation where the deliberation is to focus completely on one word or mantra being repeated for a period of time. Meditation can be very intimidating when you’re first starting out—Just sit there and do nothing? But I have a giant “to-do” list for the day ahead and that’s all my mind keeps thinking of, not nothing! Stay with the practice. Japa Meditation can be a great way to start a regular meditation practice because it provides you a focus to relax the mind. I actually started doing Japa Meditation for my meditation practice without even knowing the name of it!

Here are my top 8 tips on how to do Japa Meditation:

1. Set a time and stick to it every day. Find a time of day where you can dedicate 10-15 minutes to yourself with few distractions around you. You can even set daily reminders using your smartphone or computer to keep yourself accountable. Consistency is key! Make it a ritual, like brushing your teeth. For me, mornings work best, while I still have a somewhat clear head before I get tossed into the midst of the day ahead. Remember, 15 minutes a day is only 1% of your entire day, so you can make the time!

2.Create a sacred place. Set up a spot that is free from clutter, somewhat quiet, and that is inviting to be in. You might add a statue of a deity (a Buddha or a Genesha statue), some photos of people you are dedicating your meditation to, fresh smelling flowers or incense, and maybe add some cushions or old pillows you can comfortably prop up on. Think of it as your sacred, peaceful place to return to.

3. Choose a word, phrase or mantra to repeat. Ask yourself, what are your intentions are for the day ahead? Does something in your life need some extra attention or awareness? Has a thought been lingering in your mind all night that you need to let go of? Your mantra can be as simple as one word (such as peace, love, release, free), using a phrase (I honor the love within me, Peace comes from within, Go slowly, Be easy), or using a mantra prayer (Om Namah Shivaya, Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu). Pick something that resonates with you and has positive personal significance.

4. Have some malas handy (literally). Malas are sacred and used for mantra practice and prayer, similar to the use of rosary beads in the Catholic religion to keep track or a count of the recitations of the mantra or prayer said. Generally handled in the left hand, one bead is counted for each recitation of the mantra, beginning with the first bead after the “guru” bead—the larger, more decorative bead at the mala’s end. The first bead is held between the index finger and thumb, and with each count the thumb pulls another bead in place over the index finger.

photo-265. Situate yourself in a comfortable seat. Remember those cushions or old pillows we talked about? They will be your sore bum savior! Especially if you’re new to meditation, the first five minutes or so might feel like a piece of cake, but the body isn’t used to sitting for such an extended period of time (thanks to the invention of chairs), particularly in the bum area. So, pad it up! And if your hips are tight, add some extra cushioning under your bum to elevate the hips a bit higher to protect those knees.

6.Start with simple breathing. Once you’re seated, for the first minute or so, close your eyes and begin to notice your breathing. Ask yourself, what are the natural qualities of your breath? Is it short and choppy? Or long and fluid-like? Don’t try to change it, just let it flow naturally. Over the next few rounds, see if you can begin to even out the length of your inhales and exhales, so it becomes one long, continuous breath. Focusing on simply breath to start can help to initially calm and settle the mind, shifting you out of your day so you can be more present and effective during your meditation.

7. Begin repeating your word/phrase/mantra. Try not to control the mantra to follow your breath. Instead, let the flow of the mantra come naturally. You can be repeating your mantra out loud or in your head. Most malas come in strands of 21 or 108 beads, so that’s quite a few repetitions! You may notice the mind wander away from your mantra after the first 30 repitions, or after the first 5! Both are fine, it’s a practice that takes dedication and focus. Becoming aware of how much the mind wanders is the whole point of this anyway! Remember, it’s a practice. Which brings me to my next tip…

8. Be kind to yourself. Your mind will wander, you will loose count, you will forget to meditate one day, or your daily routine will simply change one day and throw you off your mediation schedule. Part of that is acceptance. Accept where you are, learn from it, and try again tomorrow. And if you find yourself getting upset or angry about it, maybe meditation on that. 😉

Do you meditate, boho girl? We want to know all about your meditation tips and tricks! Share them with us in the comments below.

Sara Grossi is a 10-year cancer survivor, dedicated yogi, teacher and freelance graphic designer. Her creativity, passion and determination for living life flows to all who enter the room. On her mat, I have found courage, confidence, strength, happiness, fearlessness and her true self.

Screenshot 2014-05-21 15.36.27Check out more of Sara below:

Web: www.saragrossi.com
Facebook: Sara Grossi Yoga
Twitter: @SaraGrossiYoga

Confessions from a Boho Fashionista. 365 days of Summer: How to keep your California Soul All Year Round.

summerheartHey Boho Beauties,

Long hot days, road trips with our gal pals, and sun chasing on Cali’s best beaches are the best part of summertime. I’m dusting off my cut-offs and gypsy gear, and dreaming off all the special things that are going to happen under the heat of the boho sun. But I got to thinking: summertime isn’t just for summer! It helps a goddess out when the sun shines endlessly on her back, a lakefront cottage is never far, and weekend festivals are plentiful; But every gal who lives with intention knows that summer is a feeling and California is a mindset.

Here are my top 7 tips on how to keep your California soul all year round.

  1. Headstands – What do headstands and summertime have to do with one another? In the summertime we’re filled with endorphins and child-like wonder. Beach babes can literally feel the magic in the air. Headstands are a natural way to bring out the same type of chemical in the body, energize your soul, and will have you feeling like a child again.
  2. Spontaneity – There’s something about the heat of the summer that screams, “Go girl, do that thing you’ve been dreaming of!” Here’s the catch: there’s nothing stopping you from doing that thing all year round. Start practicing your special skills of spontaneity and see how totally fun it is!
  3. summer heart1Fashion – There’s so much to try out in the summer! From maxis to minis, and beach bags to tassles, a girl has got a lot of choice. But fashion is just as much fun in the winter and spring, so bring that same kind of whimsical wonder into your wardrobe, year round! I suggest Malas and moccassins as a trademark wardrobe piece for every summertime sister 😉
  4. Self Care – If you live in a cold climate, or your schedule doesn’t allow you time for the outdoors, it’s so important to bring the heart of the outdoors to your self-care regime! Take a bath with coconut candles, do a salt scrub, put on tiki music and meditate about the beauty of the beach. You’ll feel the spirit of the shore in no time!
  5. Hot Yoga – This type of yoga is every girls dream when the weather has you down, if you’re looking to tone up or get a better sleep, and of course, to feel the humidity of summertime! Check out a hot yoga studio near you to really reap all of the amazing benefits (trust me, you won’t regret it!)
  6. Travel – A boho gal has got to travel! From Bali to Australia, California to the Hawaiian Coast, there are so many places under the sun to see. But your travels don’t have to be far. It’s the idea of travel that will keep your California soul alive. Plan a trip with your besties to a local winery or spa. Find a fun yoga or meditation retreat and see what adventures might be waiting for you there!
  7. Vision Boarding – This is a very powerful practice for gypsy goddess and beach babes. In the summer, endorphins are wild and alive, which means our vision can be more clear. In colder or darker months it can be more of a challenge to keep the clarity of our dreams. This doesn’t mean your dreams aren’t still alive! You just need a little direction. Sit down with some colorful markers, inspiring pictures, and pretty paper, and envision all that you desire. It’s an instant way to feel good, remember your dreams and keep your California soul!

These are my favorite ways to keep my California soul alive, but tell me boho babes, what are yours? I know you’ve got some special ways to keep the summer sunshine with you all year round! Tell me all about it in the pink comment section above 😉

libpicPeace, Love and Magic from

Your Resident Boho Fashionista Libby xx.

 

 

 

Miracles Now with Miracle Worker, Gabrielle Bernstein.

 

 

gabbybtdpicWe caught up with one of our favourite mala wearing, boho fashionista who is the queen of intention setting and has a thing or two to share about miracles. New York times bestselling author, Gabrielle Bernstein is just about to release her new, inspiring, book Miracles Now, and we got to chat with her about everything miracles! In light of the beautiful new book she’s releasing this month, we thought we’d share what she had to say about this life changing guide to miracles.

 

miraclesnowcoverTell us about your new book, Miracles Now.

I love this book and I’m so psyched to share it with you. Miracles Now helps readers lessen stress and find peace—FAST! I handpicked 108 techniques to combat our most common problems—from addiction and anxiety to burnout and resentment. The exercises are inspired by some of my greatest spiritual teachings. Throughout the book, I offer up spirit-based principles, meditations and practical tools to help readers bust through blocks to live with more ease. I break down each technique Spirit Junkie style—with meditations, assessment questions and step-by-step guidance—while incorporating lessons from the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga. This book is meant for the busy, stressed person who simply wants to feel better fast.

How is Miracles Now different from all of your other books?

Each of my books has a unique format but a shared intention, which is to offer readers tools for releasing all the blocks to their true happiness and peace. Miracles Now shares that core intention through 108 short exercises that can be done anywhere, any time. This book is less self-reflective and more action oriented. I want it to put people into practice immediately so they can experience Miracles Now!

What made you write this book.

I write my books based on what I feel my readers need. I realized that so many people have packed schedules and lots to do, but they want to carve out a little time each day to create positive change and find peace in ways that are easy to follow and put into practice. In addition, I continuously witnessed my audience members and social media followers ask me for more practical tools to release their stress and boost their moods. People want to get to work and they want to feel better fast. This book is my response to that call.

The higher purpose of this book is to contribute to a greater global change. I believe that when more and more people begin to feel better, the positive collective energy supports the energy of the world. I believe that it is our collective energy that can save the world. This is the higher purpose for Miracles Now. I reinforce the book’s mission in its introduction, excerpted below:

Right now we’re in a special and powerful position, because the world is having a spiritual awakening. When energy speeds up there is no space for playing small, and nothing can remain hidden. At some point all lies are brought to the surface and truth comes forth no matter how hard we try to hide it. Cynics are filling the yoga studios and the spiritual choir is growing larger. There is a massive call for more lightworkers, and now is our time to rise up and bring more positivity to the world. When the masses begin to vibrate with an energy of love, the world will no longer be a container for war, violence and lies.

There are great Kundalini meditations throughout the book. Can you tell us more about them?

For this book I chose twelve of the most powerful Kundalini meditations for shifting your mood, changing your energy and reducing stress. I was mindful to include meditations that are easy for newcomers as I expect many of my readers may be new to meditation. A great meditation for beginners is what I’ve nicknamed Peace Is in Your Pulse. It improves your concentration and brings calm to even the most scattered mind.

Sit in Easy Pose (comfortably cross-legged on the floor) with a slight neck lock, which means your chin slightly down and your neck is straight.

Lightly close your eyes and focus on the space between your eyebrows (the third-eye point).

The mantra is Sat Nam (which means “truth identified”).

The hand position (mudra) is simple. Place the four fingers of your right hand on your left wrist and feel your pulse. The fingers are in a straight line, lightly pressed on the wrist so you can feel your pulse in each fingertip.

On each beat of your pulse, mentally hear the sound of Sat Nam.

This meditation is suggested for 11 minutes, but you can experience great benefits in just one minute. Practice it daily to develop your intuition and calm your mind.

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who wants to create positive change in their life. If you’re stressed out, anxious, fearful, stuck or simply ready to play bigger in your life, this book is for you.

If you have the slightest willingness to feel better, this book is for you.

It doesn’t matter where you are on your spiritual path. You can be a dedicated yogi with a 20-year practice, a hardcore cynic who thinks this stuff is woo-woo, or anywhere in between: No matter what, you’ll benefit a lot from these teachings. What’s most exciting about the book is that you can simply use one of the exercises on a daily basis and it WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I say that with conviction.

How should the reader use the book?

This book is fun and interactive. You can read it from start to finish and soak up the concepts, but there are other ways to approach it. I feel that book can also act like a tarot deck. You can set an intention for yourself and then open the book to any page. Mark my words: You will ALWAYS get the guidance you need most in that moment.

I think the best way to use this book is to surrender to the exercises. Let your intuition guide you through each page. When you land on exercise that excites you, DO IT. Practice it for 40 days and master it. Then share it! These tools are meant to be shared. The last lesson in the book is that you are the guru. Miracles Now empowers you with life-changing tools that you can share with the world. When these tools become yours, they are yours to share.

What are the spiritual teachings that influenced the lessons in the book?

As a student and teacher of  A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga and meditation, it has become my mission to translate these life-changing spiritual truths for all seekers. A Course in Miracles is a metaphysical self-taught curriculum based on the principle that when we choose love over fear we experience miraculous change. The Course emphasizes the practice of turning our fears over to the care of our inner guide and places strong emphasis on forgiveness. The Course teaches us that through the experience of forgiveness we will know true peace.

Kundalini is the yoga of awareness, which focuses on enhancing one’s intuition and strengthening the energy field. Kundalini aims to draw forth the creative potential of an individual to have strong values, be truthful and focus on compassion and consciousness.

It is a great honor to share the principles of both A Course in Miracles and Kundalini throughout this book. These tools helps the reader release everything that blocks their connection to their inner power. When you practice these techniques, fear melts away, inspiration springs up, and a sense of peace sets in. Most importantly, you build a relationship to the power within you — and this power connection is essential. The power I speak of is your connection to love. The more we tune into our own frequency of love, the more love will spread. When love is the trend there is no room for violence and war. Trust me when I say: Your practice is crucial in the awakening of the world. Each person’s energy matters.

gabbytweet1In the book you use social media in a really cool way. Can you share about this?

I love this part! I boiled down each lesson into a 140-character description — or Miracle Message — which can be tweeted, pinned on Pinterest, posted on Facebook, or shared on Instagram. Each Miracle Message ends with the hashtag #MiraclesNow so readers can connect, share miracles and spread inspiration. And e-book readers can share right from their devices.

If any readers want to share the instagram/Pinterest quotes from the book they can download them here:

http://gabbyb.tv/miracles-now-assets

How can we become a Miracle-Worker?

The moment you invite miracles into your own life you become a miracle worker. It’s as though you accept a spiritual invitation to live a life beyond the fear and doubt that you once knew. Stay committed to your desire to live in love and strengthen your faith in miracles. Then share your story with those who are in need. Your miraculous story has the power to save lives.

Share with us your journey and how it led to where you are now

In my early twenties I ran a nightlife PR firm in NYC. On the outside everything looked great, but on the inside I was a mess. I was seeking happiness, security and self-worth outside of myself. I regularly stayed up till 5 or 6 a.m. partying, and thanks to cocaine I weighed about 98 pounds. My friends had tried an intervention, but it didn’t work. Then, one night, I finally let it go. I wrote in my journal, “I need help. God, Universe, whoever is out there … I surrender.” The next morning, October 2, 2005, I woke up to a loud inner voice that said, “Get clean and you’ll have everything you want.” I knew I had no other choice than to listen.

I am happy it happened the way it did. I found God in my own way. I got clean. My conscious surrender was when I asked for help in my journal. I received an answer right away, and I have been sober since that day. I was desperately looking for happiness, and I was seeking everything good—peace and happiness—outside of myself.

For the past eight years I’ve been on a powerful journey inward, expanding my intuition and shifting my perceptions of the world. Through my own personal journey I have been guided to teach others to do the same.

stillnessgabbybOrder Gabby’s new book, Miracles Now TODAY, and get these three gifts from gabby:

Her ½ day workshop on Manifesting Miracles

  •  Her lecture on Living a Miraculous Life
  •  The audiobook intro to the book!

Click here for the gifts: www.gabbyb.tv/miracles

Find our soul sister, Gabrielle Bernstein here:

Web: www.gabbybtv.com
Facebook: Gabrielle Bernstein
Twitter: @GabbyBernstein
Instagram:@GabbyBernstein

 

 

 

Gina Silvestri, Life Coach & Nature Muse

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What do you do to inspire your community?
I activate the seed of potential in people so their consciousness sprouts, blooms, blossoms and soars! This aligns their energetic field with Source Energy, which then uplifts people around them, and raises the frequency of entire communities. This is what I was born to do. I first transformed my own life by healing 17 official medical diagnoses, releasing 150 pounds of weight (yes, a whole person!) naturally, myself, and then creating and tripling my home-based Spirit-Led business, so am now not only honoured, but ecstatic to be guiding others into manifesting the lives of their dreams!
What brought you to the mat for the first time + what keeps you there now?
I had been to many yoga classes in my early twenties, but before studying the work of Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, yoga was just stretching. I learned the mantra from him that I still say when I’m running, walking, and throughout the day, no matter what I am doing, the very one that initially broke through previous constricting barriers in my mind, allowing me to expand then later powerfully transform my life: “If not now, when?” The practice of living in full presence each and every moment keeps me going back. Returning to the mat regularly incorporates my body in this process, and grounds my energy by rooting it back to Mother Earth. This starts as soon as I take off my socks and shoes . . .
Who + What inspires you?
The propensity of life to flow forward and continuously expand truly inspires me. I feel it most intensely when I’m in the forest, surrounded by mountains. I love tapping into the interplay of energy between everything living, and immersing myself in the Source of it all, and remembering that I have access to it no matter where I may be on the planet. Sharing this learning, expansion and JOY with others allows me to feel most invigorated, alive, and aligned with my authentic purpose.
How do you set intentions in your life?
I look at the gorgeous tall trees on the West Coast of Canada where I live, smile, close my eyes, feel their presence, then begin speaking to them, with no words, just energetic emissions directly from my heart. The very first energy I send is Thank You…
Advice for yogis out there?
I have noticed that alignment with integrity – what you know to be truth for you, in every given moment, is an essential guiding force for human lives. If what we are doing, saying, and being feels true, then we are enabled to access our best selves, our best lives. When we trust, allow, and let go of all that stands in the way from acting upon that inner knowing and guidance, we strengthen our body, mind, spirit, and amazing things happen. This is the practice.
Your favourite mala bead and why?
Carnelian Mala of Abundance. Holding the essence of expansion into our highest potential, it assists Life Coaches like me in fulfilling our purpose. Its high energy reflects mine back to me, and I just want to swim in the smoky, earthy tribal colour of it. To dramatic pursuits!
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Stay Connected with Gina:

The Sweetheart Bundle

She radiates love, always cares for those around her and you know she will always be there to listen, chat and give you that precious hug. She is the definition of a Goddess; she carries grace and beauty with her. She is a Sweetheart. The Sweetheart Bundle includes the Sweetheart Mala, The Love Stack, The Iblza Scarf and an Itty Bitty Signature Soap. The Sweetheart Mala adds a little bit of love and sweetness to life. It is the key piece to keep you open and connected to seeing the love inside of everyone. It encourages you to always find the kindness in others and provides that piece of support when needed. 

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