You guys ROCK!! You all had amazing questions and I had the BEST time answering them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating. Even if you didn’t submit any questions, read on because you are about to learn a TON!

Question:

When you’re stuck in old fear (panic and anxiety running away with your body) and you’re reliving old stories/past trauma – what is the best way to get grounded in the present and be mindful. This just happened to me this weekend, with the family. I prayed, but still I was stuck in the old fear.

Answer:

This is such a great question! The very best way to get grounded in the present moment is with your breath. Your breath is an anchor to the present moment, and you can’t be anywhere else if you are being really mindful and focused on your breath. A great breathing exercise to try is to match your inhale and exhale. So if it takes you four seconds to take a nice, slow breath in, make it take four seconds to exhale as well.

Question:

What do you when an entity visits you while trying to meditate? Do you every find yourself traveling to different dimensions?

Answer:

I am laughing because when I was reading the first part of the question I immediately thought of my dogs! They always sit with me while I meditate and occasionally my little one wants to curl up on my lap. But then I got to the second part of the question 🙂 Honestly, you may have run of the mill meditations where nothing funky happens to you, and you may have some crazy cool transcendental experiences or visits from Spirit. It is important to remember that no matter what you are reaping the benefits of meditation in body, mind and spirit. My suggestion is to just roll with any experience and sit with it after as you notice any feelings or sensations in your body. Then afterward, PLEASE call me because I want to hear about it!

Question:

What is your favorite type of meditation?

Answer:

That is a really hard one! I love them all! I think it is really important to experience many different kids of meditation so that you can decide what you like, and what feels comfortable and natural to you. I like to think of it this way…imagine you are in an ice cream shop picking a flavor of ice cream to eat. Some days you are in the mood for vanilla and some days rocky road. It is nice to have flavor options, and the best is being in a store that offers you tasters. You taste them all and then choose what you are in the mood for that day. That is how I feel about meditation.

It is important to try all the different kinds so you know what your options are. Every morning before I meditate I take a deep breath and as I exhale I listen to my body. Sometimes it is saying mantra, and sometimes breath work. Sometimes loving kindness, and others gratitude. I really pay attention to how I am feeling and that is how I choose what meditation I do each day.

I will be offering a program in 2015 which will offer you a “taster” of different flavors of meditation over the course of a few weeks, with the cherry on top being a call with me where we design a customized program tailored for you based on your likes and comfort level after you try many different kinds. It is going to be a delicious experience for everyone that participates! Stay tuned for more details, and be sure you are signed up for my newsletter so you don’t miss any info 🙂

Question:

What are your favorite, simple, mindfulness tips for those balancing work and motherhood?

Answer:

I believe in making any moment a mindful one. As a working mom you are probably balancing a crazy schedule, carpools, preparing meals, helping with homework, managing your kids’ busy class and social schedules and everything in between. Maybe you get to squeeze in a quick pedicure, a date night or a coffee with a friend once in a blue moon! If so, we have a lot in common!!

I am always practicing what I teach, and encouraging others to incorporate what really works into their lives as well. I am big on “mini-meditations” right now. For some people fitting mindfulness moments like these into their day is a big step and all they can manage, and for others they are a wonderful compliment to their daily practice. Think of them as little boosters to stay calm, present and grounded throughout the day 🙂

Instead of reaching for your phone at a traffic light and scrolling through Facebook, sit mindfully and take a few long, slow, deep breaths in and out of your nose.
Long line at the store? Perfect! Take and count ten nice long deep breaths.
Every button got pushed on the elevator? Awesome! Feel your rib cage expanding and contracting as you breathe.

Question:

Do you have any suggestions for meditating with an overactive, energetic hilarious dog?? I hope some of the inner and outer calm can transfer to her. can you chant or hum while you meditate?

Answer:

I am so glad I am not the only one that meditates with my fur babies! I would recommend laying on the floor next to your dog for a minute before you begin your meditation and see if you can get her calm down a bit. Give her a moment of attention in a really calm and gently way. She may get the hint that it is time to chillax a bit. If she is all over you and you are totally unfocused during your meditation than I would put her in another room. I know that would break your heart, but it is only for a few minutes.

Many people enjoy chanting during meditation. It is really personal, and you need to just do whatever feels right to you.

Question:

How do you protect your own light after your sessions when you’ve been dealing with a negative-minded individual? 

Answer:

If I feel like I have absorbed any negative energy during a session, I will ask the Universe to help me release it. I will literally set the intention to release it and ask that my positive energy be returned to me. Then I will maybe do something grounding like taking a walk, or having a hot tea.

Question:

What should I do if I become sleepy during meditation?

Answer:

I wonder what position you are sitting in that makes you feel sleepy. We have been programmed our entire lives to go to sleep when we lay down, so for this reason I really encourage my students to meditate sitting up, unless sleep is your goal. As amazing and restorative as sleep is, it is not meditating. The best position for meditation is to sit up comfortably with your back straight, and have an ever so slight tilt in your head. You can meditate on your couch, in a kitchen chair, or on a cushion on the floor. It is totally up to you and what you like.

I would also consider the time of day that you are meditating. Are you waiting until late in the day when you feel run down and tired? Maybe adjust your routine so that you meditate at the time of day when you feel most refreshed.

Question:

How do you use mala beads In your meditation practice? I saw the one in your gift post and they are beautiful… I would love to learn more about them.

Answer:

I love mala beads for their use in meditation and also for their beauty. There are so many different kinds with stones relating to your chakras which fascinate me as well! Mala beads are used to help you focus while you are meditating. You move them through your thumb and forefinger as you silently use a mantra. For example, let’s say you are counting your breaths. As you inhale you think 1, and as you exhale you think 2. You would move a bead each time you inhale or exhale and silently say the number to your yourself. If that is too hard to imagine, stay tuned and I will do a vlog on mala beads 🙂

Question:

What is your “go to” mantra when your mind wanders during meditation or do you simply allow and notice?

Answer:

If I am using a mantra my favorites are hum-seh(hum on the inhale-seh on the exhale), Om Shanti, Shanti Hum (Om Shanti on the inhale- Shanti Hum on the exhale), and Hineini (Hineini on the inhale-here I am on the exhale). The first two are Sanskrit, and the last is Hebrew.

Question:

I HATE meditating, but I know it’s so good for you – how do you recommend I get started?

Answer:

If you negative feelings toward meditating, I suggest that you reframe that in your mind. You can get rid of the word meditating all together, and just think about breathing mindfully for a few minutes every day.

You may hate meditating because you need some tips and tools that work for you, or you have misconceptions about what is supposed to happen during meditation. I can clear all that up in a class or private with you. I work in Houston and via Skype or Facetime. No pressure, but it’s an option 🙂

Question:

I just read something on FB last night that there was a Harvard study of people meditating daily for 8 weeks and it actually improved the gray matter in their brains – so now there are quantifiable benefits – cool huh (and just one more reason for me to actually start)

Answer:

There are tons of studies quantifying the benefits of meditation. They make for super interesting reading and incredible motivation! Meditation can actually rewire the pathways of your brain. It is amazing.

Question:

What are some tools and techniques that I can start teaching my kids to help out with tantrums and even when they have moments of anxiety.

Answer:

The best thing you can do in a moment when they are triggered is getting them to breathe. Model taking some nice, long, slow deep breaths, or have them count their breaths. They can also match their inhale and exhale. The key is to calm their nervous system, and breathing will do that as well as refocus them.

Question:

How about HUSBANDS?  Is there a way to sneak in a few ways to help them to start meditating (like sneaking in vegetables into your kids meals)?

Answer:

I wish! Maybe then my husband would be doing it too! Mark is incredibly supportive of my passion and career, but he doesn’t meditate….and I have offered some pretty good incentives 🙂

Question:

I’m just leaving a long time position and have no plans to jump right into any other job anytime soon. Part of my personal plan for my future (which starts this Saturday) is to make daily yoga and meditation a priority. Can you recommend any good programs or materials that could help me maximize my new practice?

Answer:

I began meditating with a book called 8 Minute Meditation and had a lot of success with it. I also cannot recommend my teacher’s book enough. It is called Soul Centered. I also give a great intro class :))

Question:

How would you explain meditation to a 10-12 year old child?

Answer:

I think visuals work really well for kids. I love this analogy from the book Generation Stressed. Imagine shaking up a snow globe and watching all the glitter fly around. Think of that glitter as your thoughts, emotions, feelings and worries. When you set the snow globe down all the glitter starts to settle. That is what happens in meditation. When you sit in stillness your thoughts and emotions settle down so that you can find the real you.

Whoohoo! You can see why my hand was cramping by the time I finished all these answers 🙂 I will do this again soon for sure. I can’t wait to see what comes up in the next round!

And the winner of the Gratitude is my Attitude shirt is…..Suzanne Vickery!!

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