As you prepare for the busy holiday week, what are you most looking forward to? What are your hopes and intentions for the week ahead?
Are you pausing regularly to check in with yourself and re-center, or are you officially in “survival mode,” rushing from one task to another on your to-do list?
In this week’s practice, Holly reflects on how many of us live in such a way that separates us from the joy that is right here in front of us, in the present moment as it unfolds.
Mindfulness itself is a practice that invites us into a state of being that is naturally imbued with a deep sense of gratitude. As we learn to inhabit and acknowledge our bodies, it is impossible to deny or overlook the miracle of simply existing. This heightened gratitude is the source of much of the peace and well-being that mindfulness offers.
As you take 8 minutes of your time to pause for practice with Holly, she will guide you through simple tools that can pay dividends through your entire holiday week.
Deepening your breath and nurturing an appreciation for this abundant and ever-present source of life
Sensory experience–a deeper awareness of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches that make this holiday truly meaningful.
Connection–the ability to be present with those you love–to see and hear and create the space for them to be appreciated and cherished exactly as they are.
This Thanksgiving, our wish is that you can do more than just survive. Our wish is that you can use mindfulness to bring yourself into direct contact with the people, food, and experiences that offer richness, contentment, meaning, and joy.
Everything you are looking for is already here, within you. This week, may you have the eyes to see those you love, ears to hear the words and sounds of that which matters most, and a heart that is open and overwhelmed to the profound gift of all of it…to be right here, right now.
Don’t miss it. A simple pause is all it takes to make this Thanksgiving a true feast in every sense of the word.
This week, we build on last week’s practice about stress. At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we are particularly interested in the mind-body connection. We believe that our bodies are one of our clearest maps to the parts of us that need healing.
As we learn to listen to our bodies, rather than ignoring them, complaining about them, or quickly popping pills to shut them up, we can uncover a wealth of understanding about what our souls truly long for.
This meditation guides the viewer through a gentle body scan based in traditional body wisdom. Ancient traditions associate different parts of the body with different mental/emotional dynamics. As we open our minds and hearts to truly listening to and honoring the body’s signals, we gain access to unprecedented ways to love ourselves better, and can truly heal what keeps complaining.
This week, we talk about how mindfulness can help us deal with stress. Mindfulness is, in fact, at the cutting edge of stress management. From Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction to the Wim Hof method, the benefits of strategies that reconnect us to our bodies and train our minds are so powerful and clearly documented, that they have created great interest in the scientific community.
At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we provide a structure to help people establish and commit to a Daily Practice of simple mindfulness tools and meditation. This consistent practice creates muscle memory that can actually transform the way we move through life. One of the biggest shifts you will see if you commit to such a practice is a huge improvement in the way y9u are able to manage stress.
In order to work effectively with stress, we have to understand where it comes from. You might consider how you experience stress? Let’s return to the four aspects of self: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Physical: Where do you feel stress in your body? What parts of your physical body often feel tight, or experience chronic pain?
Emotional: How does stress manifest in your emotional self? What emotions typically arise when you find yourself in a stressful situation?
Mental: Let’s pause here–because I am going to suggest that THIS part of you is the birthplace of your stress.
This week, let’s try an experiment: any time you feel stress, you might try to trace it back to the thoughts that created the stress. Were you focusing on the past? The future? Were you obsessing about a problem? Comparing yourself to somebody else? Were you believing that life was supposed to be another way?
You might observe yourself, and watch how these types of thought patterns create physical responses or tightening in the body. You might observe how your emotions build and respond to these types of thoughts with unhelpful, protective, or distracting emotional reactions that somehow help you cope with the stress of your fearful thinking.
Through mindfulness, we learn to re-train the mind to rest in the spiritual self, which we can find in the present moment, through the body. We use anchors of breath, contact points, and the aliveness of the inner body to redirect our awareness and find what can seem so elusive in this fast-paced, modern world.
Today’s meditation builds on our practice of emptying our cup.
Last week, we explored how to empty our cup physically–through our breath, through strong cardio movement, through releasing and relaxing our physical body.
We also explored how to empty our cup by finding the present moment, using the mantra: “I am here. Here I am.”
Our intention was to practice noticing when we lose ourselves in past thinking or future thinking, and then to use our breath and mantra to bring ourselves gently back to the present moment.
How did that go for you this week? Were you able to wiggle just a little more space, a little more presence in your day to day life?
This week, we use this same empty cup concept to find presence in a deeper way: by identifying with the aliveness we feel in our inner body as our essential “I Am.”
We also contrast this inner peace to how we feel when we primarily identify with the roles we play, or other ways we describe or define ourselves.
If you have read this far–I’m so glad! But I am going to encourage you to stop reading, and instead click on the video so you can experience this meditation for yourself–in your own body, mind, and spirit.
When it comes to awakening, the truth is this: it’s not something you can attain by reading about it. You have to do the work for yourself to know for yourself. You have to go inward. There is simply no substitute.
Thanks for joining us! We hope this meditation increases your feelings of peace, love, joy, and connection, not just today, but throughout your week, anytime you need it.
At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we often talk about emptying our cup. This is a reference to the Zen parable of the Empty Cup, which symbolizes our fundamental requirement for deep learning and growth.
As the story goes, an enthusiastic young student comes to study under a great master. The master invites him to sit, and he begins to pour him some tea. The student’s cup fills to overflowing, and still, the master continues to pour, tea now spilling over across the table and into the student’s lap. “Stop! The cup is full! It’s full!” shouts the student in confusion and shock. “Ah, yes, your cup is full, my young friend. So there is no room for me to pour the tea. Likewise, there is no room in your head or heart for new ideas. There is no room for me to teach you anything.”
We can empty our cup in many ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Today, let’s explore ways we can use our physical body to empty our cup.
First, we can use our breath to empty our cup. Ujjayi breath is used in yoga practice, and it means “victorious over our thoughts.” Ujjayi breath is inhaled deeply through the nose and then exhaled back out of the nose with a slight constriction in the back of the throat. This technique produces a “Darth Vader”-type sound and helps to activate the body’s Relaxation Response. Such breath should be loud enough and big enough to feel all-engrossing, helping us to redirect our attention from thoughts and emotions, and into the present moment through the body.
Second, we can use exercise to empty our cup. Strong cardio movements paired with intentional exhales can provide a significant release in mind, body, and spirit. In our Daily Practice at Lifehouse Body & Soul, the first half of class is packed with intense cardio, exaggerated arm movements, and plenty of jumps and kicks. Sometimes we are encouraged to “throw a temper tantrum,” providing a safe and appropriate way to express difficult and powerful emotions like rage, anger, or frustration. All of this physical release serves us to help empty our cup.
Third, we can use our bodies to help us find an empty cup in the present moment. To do this, we must become more aware of how cluttered our minds and hearts are. Is there room in our head for a Higher Power’s enlightenment? Or are we so filled with our own stories, opinions, and fears that there is no room to pour the tea? We can start to notice when we are stuck in our heads reliving the past, or spinning our wheels worrying about the future.
When we use our bodies to anchor us into the present moment, we can find freedom and rest from depression, anxiety, and incessant feelings of overwhelm. We can learn to direct our awareness towards our breath and bodily sensations, and out of our busy minds.
Our bodies can become our most powerful spiritual tool. They point us toward a pathway to peace. They remove us from the noise and chaos. They help us cut through the confusion and ground us into what actually is–right here and now.
This week, let’s practice noticing when our cup is full–when we feel cluttered, confused, or overwhelmed. Let’s notice when we come charging in with a strong opinion, with expectations, or stuck in past or future.
Let’s practice using our simple breath to empty our cup and find our spiritual center, the place of peace that always resides inside us when we feel for the present moment.
Welcome to More Than Mindfulness with Lifehousefit.com. I’m Becky Moller, and I’m so excited to be able to offer you this free weekly content. We’ve been running our in-person fitness, mindfulness and meditation studio in Salem, UT for about a year now. We’ve got so many tips, tools, and strategies we’d love to share with you to help you live your best life without adding any to-dos to your checklist.
Mindfulness and meditation is more about HOW you live in your body and move through life than adding more tasks to what you do on a day-to-day basis. So…my goal with this weekly content is to deliver something short and sweet that actually alters the way you experience your week and helps you engage with life in the most optimal, healthy, and fulfilling ways.
We’re just getting started, so if you like what you hear and it’s helpful, give us a thumbs up and share us with your friends. If you have questions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to get these mindfulness tips each week, we’d love to have you opt-in to our mailing list here.
So today I just want to introduce you to mindfulness and meditation, because this might be completely new to some of you. Some of you might think meditation is some weird thing only yoga people do, or that you have to have dreadlocks or not shave your armpits to be into meditation, but I’m here to tell you that meditation and mindfulness is about the simplest, most natural way you can learn to move through life. In fact, I would even say that you are innately wired to move through life in a meditative and mindful way, that you were born with this ability. So, we are just trying to help you relearn something you already know how to do. Something you’ve lost along the way that can bring you back into this beautiful alignment with the very best that is within you.
So, today we are going to use very simple meditation and mindfulness to kind of tap into and bring awareness to the different parts of our identity. Now this is not meant to be comprehensive–certainly there a multitude of ways that we can define ourselves and different aspects of identity. But for our purposes, we are going to focus in on 4 aspects of the Self. These are: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
Now as we move through these, I am going to actually have you use meditation as we go. Why do we use meditation? Because meditation allows us to tap into this deeper self, this Higher wisdom that’s available to us through this meditative state. We find this state by dropping into the body. When I ask you to drop into the body, here’s what that means.
Close the eyes, soften the gaze.
Deepen the breath
Clear the mind–bring the focus into the breath and the experience of the body.
With eyes closed, you might take 3 deep slow breaths, sending the breath all the way down to the space just below your belly button. Try to even out the inhale and the exhale, and to find a pause at the top of the breath, and the bottom of the breath. Allow the breath to clear the mind, to let your total focus simply follow the breath.
See how that feels? One of my favorite things about a mindful approach to meditation is that it’s so simple. It’s so easy! Even ONE conscious breath can be a meditation, can shift the way I am moving through a moment.
So remember this is a PRACTICE–not a destination. We’re building muscle memory, so when we’re faced with a challenge, a difficulty, a stress, we intuitively turn to these simple tools that help us move through whatever we are experiencing in a more skillful, mindful way.
So let’s use this space we’ve created to bring some awareness and curiosity to these different aspects of self. And what I really want you to explore and consider, is:
Which part of you is driving in your life right now?
You might consider how much of your day you spend lost in thought? How often are you physically in one place, but in your mind you are somewhere far away? You might even go back to the moment you woke up this morning and try to notice what happened in your mind? Did a whole set of narratives, troubles, worries, and anxieties flood in? Can you turn off your mind when you want to? Are you using your mind in conscious and skillful ways? Or is your mind using you?
If you could name the predominant emotional energy that flows through your life right now, what would it be? Do you feel you understand this emotion? Do you know where it comes from? Do you know what to do with it? How much of your life do you find yourself reacting to strong emotions, rather than wisely responding?
You might allow yourself to consider how much your physical sense of self is driving your life right now. Maybe you suffer from chronic pain and feel trapped by it. Perhaps you struggle with body anxiety, stress, and comparison–constantly feeling unsettled about what you look like, how your body feels in your clothes, how your body compares to others. Is your day-to-day existence an ongoing wrestle with appetites or physical urges that pull you into self-defeating behaviors that limit you or cause harm to yourself or others?
First and foremost, you might allow yourself to explore and consider what your spiritual Self means to you? Do you picture yourself in religious settings? Maybe you are drawing a complete blank. Maybe there is even a sense of rejection, trauma, betrayal, or skepticism at the thought of a spiritual Self.
You might open your mind and expand your idea of spirituality as an essential element of your human experience–even the essence of who you truly are. Perhaps consider the last time you felt deeply connected, at peace, whole, and safe. Maybe you were at a beloved place from your childhood, maybe a beautiful spot in nature. Maybe you were with somebody you loved.
See if you can bring awareness to the space around your heart. Feel a warmth there, a tingling sensation. Sense into your fingertips and toes, feel a sense of aliveness, an energy that lives within you. Recognize this energy as the awareness that lives inside your body. You might even name this aliveness as your spiritual Self: the essence of who you are, beyond thought, beyond emotion, beyond physicality. Recognize this place of peace, this spiritual center, as your home, as your connection to your Highest Self, and to a Higher Power. This is the place within you that organically aligns you with wise action; that intuitively knows your next right step.
How much of your life are you living here?
Okay, so are you ready for your assignment this week? This week, I want you to practice awareness of all these aspects of yourself. I want you to just notice where you like to hang out, which part of you likes to take the wheel and be the driver. No judgment, no stress, just noticing. What’s happening inside of me? Which part is driving me day to day?
And I want you to maybe consider the idea that this spiritual essence is really the part that you want driving. And that finding this part of you, this spiritual center, is really a skillful integration of all your other parts–that each part of you is divinely designed to help you come back to your spiritual home.
The more aware you are of what is happening mentally, emotionally, and physically in each moment…the more capable you are of actually creating the space to let your spiritual center take the lead.
So let’s practice! And as we observe with loving compassion, let’s remember that a mindful pause, even as simple as one conscious breath, can be your most direct pathway back to the most powerful part of your multi-faceted Self.
Most people come to health and fitness programs looking for one thing: a sense of control over their body. We want to force ourselves into the agenda we have created for ourselves–the picture perfect body we may have taped on our bedroom mirror or a certain pant size we have in mind.
But control-tactics are a bit like band-aids. They can cover up a problem effectively for awhile, but they do not have the power to heal. When we are misaligned with our bodies–on either end of the spectrum–this is a manifestation that something inside of us is broken. There is a wound that is calling for healing. We can cover up the discomfort with short-lived control tactics, or we can take the more permanent approach. We can heal what’s actually hurting.
At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we take the slow-cooker approach to health and body image. No extreme diets or crazy workout regimens. We are steady, strong, and consistent. We know that healing wounds takes time, but has permanent effect. The first step toward this permanent shift is completely counterintuitive to the typical control-based approach: it is to accept and allow your body and your life to be exactly as it is.
There is nothing more universal to our human journey than our bodies. And at the same time, we are swimming in a culture of confusion around what our bodies are and aren’t, what they should be, and what they can get us. We use them and abuse them. We try to hide them or we try to use them to secure our value. Somehow, we have pit ourselves against them. The body becomes the enemy: something to be conquered, subdued, overcome, or ignored.
But in reality, our body is our most loyal friend. It willingly carries every burden we place on it and does all in its power to protect us from pain. Even down to our smallest cells, it stores and remembers every joy, every hurt. Our body is the physical manifestation of the way we approach life, the ways we have armored ourselves, and the deepest beliefs we have clung to to protect ourselves from the unmanageable.
Our journey of awakening to the Highest that is within us cannot be undertaken without making peace with the body: the sacred vehicle through which we experience life. At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we are not here to overcome, achieve, or produce any outcome that can be outwardly shown. We are here to learn how to love and honor the body as our greatest tool of spiritual discernment. As we nourish it, move it, and listen to it mindfully, we naturally come into alignment with the very best version of ourselves.