We live in some hyper-connected times; stress levels are on the way up as attention spans are on the way down. Last year, after learning about the powerful impact meditation was having on students at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, we decided to give it a try in our health classes. In the second semester, we wanted to try a more structured approach, so we started using Smiling Mind, a free online resource from Australia.
At first, the idea of meditation might seem a little strange to the kids, so we introduce the concept by showing them this short TED talk by Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace. He does an excellent job of explaining what mediation is in a way that kids can understand. Starting a meditation practice might seem daunting, but with so many tools like this available online, any classroom teacher can implement their own practice right away.
Middle school boys can be some of the most resistant, so try a little positive peer pressure and show them this clip from ESPN news about mindfulness in the NBA. The growing body of research is impressive, and this article from the SF Gate highlights even more positive ways that meditation is impacting kids, especially in some of the tougher areas.
Next week: Mental Health — the latest tools, resources and lessons to support your curriculum… and your students. By creating a specific space to meditate, you automatically associate a certain mindset or intention with that area. Whatever it is, do your best to make sure the only thing that happens in this space is mindfulness and meditation.
You can place anything in this space that reminds you to mindful- incense, music, candles, and pictures- anything to get you in the mood.
Start at the toes and work your way up the legs, belly, chest, arms, shoulders, heart, and head.
By visualizing something peaceful, such as a beautiful landscape or peaceful imagery, your mind will naturally begin to calm down. A settled mind can much more easily dive into deeper states of awareness, so this can be a powerful tool.
Lifting the gaze slightly (with eyes closed) and focusing on this point gradually awakens a deeper level of consciousness. Matt is the Senior Editor of the Sivana blog, and an enthusiastic Yoga teacher and life voyager.
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Because one of the most common questions about meditation is "How do I start?", I decided to write a short guide. I usually meditate in a Burmese position because my hip muscles aren't flexible enough for half lotus. When I started meditation, I tried to concentrate on my breathing by counting from 1 to 10 and visualizing these numbers with my eyes closed.
If you are meditating in a Burmese, half lotus or full lotus positions, be aware of your posture. The attachment relationship between you and your child is the foundation for all future relationships.
NB: Many Silicon Valley giants (including Steve Jobs) set strict rules around iPad use so you aren’t alone in setting boundaries! The Pew Internet American Life Project  found families with multiple communication devices were less likely to eat dinner together. Using devices to entertain, distract or calm behaviour either at home or at a restaurant dinner table provides short-term gain for long-term pain = anti-social skills! Next holiday, leave your iPad and other devices at home – relax and connect with your environment, yourself, and your family. Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Eating Psychology Specialist + Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Viewing eating problems in this way is not a new phenomenon – transpersonal and psycho-spiritual schools of thought have held this context since at least last century!
As part of my own recovery and later research, I have read countless books on dieting, weight, body image and disordered eating. Anita Johnston has helped millions of women around the globe through her eating disorder treatment programs, conferences, retreats, online women’s circles and her soulful book, Eating In the Light of the Moon. Geneen Roth, one of my favourite authors on eating difficulties, writes that food, diet and weight related issues are an attempt to fix something that has never been broken. Women Food and God comes with guidelines to help you change your relationship with food for good.
I first heard of Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman throughout my psychotherapy training and have personally attended her BodySoul Rhythms® Intensives.
Addiction to perfection  addresses the hidden causes of compulsion through case studies, dreams and myths. Suggested to me by my therapist many years ago, Fat is a Feminist Issue is the first book that I read about fat that wasn’t a diet book! It will change the way you think about fat by challenging dominant mindsets about dieting, weight and body image. Based on scientific evidence, this book will show you how to give up the battle with fat, tune in to your body, boost health and self-esteem, find joy in movement and feel good in your body right now…regardless of your size.
Many books on eating disorders have largely focused on the relationship with the mother – this is only part of the story. This book is full of feminine spirit; it is nurturing, compassionate and provides essential tips for overcoming your obsession with dieting, weight and food.
50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, is jam packed with mindfulness skills, practices for relaxing the body in times of stress and ending your dependence on eating as a means of coping with difficult emotions.
If you are struggling with worries such as what to eat on a daily basis, dieting, loathing your body, looking outside of yourself to feel better – then this book is for you.
For years eating disorder sufferers have heard that they are ‘difficult to work with’, ‘stubborn’ and that their ‘disease’ or ‘mental illness’ is for life.
For more resources on eating difficulties – you can follow my Eating Disorders page on Pinterest.
Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and Master’s qualified psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy and helping women to find value, meaning and purpose out of their suffering.
In my recent Infographic: 20 Ways to Practice Gratitude, I spoke of finding value, meaning and purpose out of suffering as a gratitude practice.
Throughout history, there have been many inspirational people who have shown us that even through unimaginable suffering and tragedy in life; it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of major life crises. To find value, meaning and purpose out of life’s difficulties and to turn tragedy into a triumph, we are required to become present to life and to reach some level of acceptance of ‘what is’. Engage in a journey of self-discovery and self-inquiry – you will be amazed at what you find! Is your life energy trapped in maintaining cycles of anxiety, addiction, depression, eating problems, overspending or perfectionism for example? As you work through whatever it is that you have been numbing your life with, seek support from a therapist who holds a hopeful context and who is able to reframe life’s difficulties but who can also sit with, and bear, deep suffering. Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
In our size 0 and diet obsessed culture, feeling shame about our body is no longer only the domain of those suffering with an eating disorder. Increasingly it has become the norm for both women and men to be over identified with their body and uncomfortable in their own skin.
Join me every day this week as I share my favourite quotes, images, blogs and organisations in support of The Butterfly Foundation and their Body Image Awareness Week. Body Image Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about disordered eating and provides an opportunity to celebrate our bodies – unique, diverse, strong and beautiful! Head on over to ‘Join The Revolution and make positive body image your focus  – spread the word far and wide! Check out the full version of Roberto Assagioli’s Body Feelings Mind Mindfulness Meditation.
Sydney counsellor, life-coach & psychotherapist Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. Throughout her book, Maushart discusses the cultural implications of a disconnected society.
But…in the many years that I have worked as a counsellor and psychotherapist in the field of addictions, there has been a dramatic increase over the last few years in internet, iDevice and touchscreen based addictions. Other concerns associated with iAddiction highlighted in The Winter of Our Disconnect include an escalation in anger, anxiety, co-dependency, comparison, depression, disconnectedness, impatience, intolerance, low self-worth, obsessive compulsive behaviours, narcissism, an inability to relate, rude manners, risk taking and dangerous behaviours such as sexting, texting and driving, as well as a myriad of sleep issues. Subsequently, some of the issues related to sleep bankruptcy are anxiety, depression, hostility, attention deficits, a greater risk of drug and alcohol use, headaches, fatigue, stomach and back aches (Maushart 2010). The Winter of Our Disconnect shines the light on numerous sources of research regarding the impact of excessive screen time. From the first night of the experiment, Maushart noticed a change in the way her family communicated with each other. The children became more focused and their attention span, concentration and reading skills increased. They felt more connected listening to the same music on the radio (previously everyone was in their own world using iPods).

They all experienced a relief from their media devices even though they were expecting the 6 months to be hell. The children learnt more hobbies and spent time fostering new skills such as musical instruments, making clothes and cooking. The family connected with a sense of humour as they spent time reminiscing about stories from their past.
The children became more socially responsible, for example, the children turned up on time rather than texting last minute lateness and cancellations. Maushart asks us to consider, ‘How are we fostering digital dependency and unhealthy use in our relationships, family and home life?’ She recommends the following (pp.
If you are struggling with iAddiction, consider trying the above guidelines for healthy screen use as well as seeking support from a registered psychotherapist in your area to work through the underlying issues. Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Far too often, I find practitioners who have set “glass ceilings” for their clients, often citing the client’s complexities of need or lack of motivation as the reasons why they cannot progress any further.
A concept that has gained great ground over the last few years is that of ‘recovery capital’; a term used to describe the collection of personal, social and community resources that are available to individuals to help start and sustain recovery journeys. I get up in the morning because I have to, I have a vested interest in my work and my family – this is part of my capital.
If the individual suffering with addiction had no resources, no social buy in, why would they give up the one thing that in the short term comforts them and provides them with some purpose or connection? The New Economics Foundation (NEF) was commissioned to develop a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing. Holt Lundstad et al (2010) showed that having supportive relationships was a bigger predictor in decreasing mortality than giving up smoking.
Connecting or being connected works on a multiplicity of levels and is both intra (within) and interpersonal (between).  For the person suffering with addiction, it is about building or utilising existing networks of support, be that through family, friends, peers, mutual aid groups, the wider recovery community, community groups and associations. For the counsellor and psychotherapist, ‘connect’, is as much about how they connect to the client as to how they are connected in their own lives.
From a holistic perspective, it goes without saying that diet and physical activity play a key part in wellbeing and addiction recovery.
Finally, it is worth noting the significance of reframing recovery as a “learning process”  with opportunities to gain mastery over new skills, do what is important and experience greater autonomy with plenty of opportunities to give back and engage in altruistic activities. Many of us find that we are not performing our best at certain sports, sports that come easier to others, may present quite a challenge for us.A  One thing to make note of here is your dosha. Dosha refers to three basic metabolic principles connecting the mind, the body and biological humour.A  These three doshas are often described as the manifestations of natural forces at work in the body.
Pitta is the fire and water principle and exists within your body mainly as bile and acid, and is most closely associated with the digestive and elimination systems.
Kapha refers to the water and earth principle, relating to the respiratory system and mucous membranes, governing the majority of our physical composition.
Pittas are extremely competitive, competitive sports where they play on a team really get them going. Kaphas have a lot of stored-up energy, allowing them the ability to thrive during strenuous exercisea€”actually, they need to burn off that energy so that it doesna€™t turn to bulk.
Overall, the key to remember is that the best exercise for you is the one that you will actually do.
I understand the basic properties of the doshas, but what about combined doshic types whose needs conflict? Note: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the authors, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.
Equipping students with the skills needed to slow down and be mindful can help them as they struggle to find focus and calm in a world full of constant distractions.
Since we didn’t have time to implement the full Quiet Time program that they use, we started with a modified version, doing five minutes at the beginning of each class.
It’s a guided program, broken down by age range, and takes the kids through ten different levels, with meditations ranging from anywhere between 5-7 minutes long. Headspace is also a great app to use, but after you get to a certain level, you need to pay to use the program, whereas Smiling Mind is completely free. It’s nice for the older kids in that it’s broken down by intent – compassion, welcoming the day, dealing with anxiety — and has a timer for silent meditations, which they really enjoy. On Edutopia, there is even a bank of downloadable resources, including a letter to send home and a primer for teachers. When I shared it with my kids, they were able to come up with some great connections as to how meditation can help athletic performance, and a few of them even tried the Smiling Mind Sports Program at home. Truancy and suspension rates are down, test scores are up, and most importantly, these kids have a healthy coping skill that they can use for life. He strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue; not only for others, but for himself.
It has definitely changed my life for the better by preventing and releasing accumulated stress, decreasing tension-related pain in the shoulder area, affecting my digestion, decreasing anxiety and increasing emotional stability and joy for life. After about 20 minutes my front leg starts becoming numb, and if this bothers me too much I will switch on to Seiza position.
This is a very subjective matter, but you may have similar experiences with your practising. Part of this series has been picked up by Cambridge University and will be published there soon.
Connection builds inner security and a healthy sense of self – the best preventative medicine for addiction there is! If you cannot drive from A to B without checking your screen, it is time to check in with an addiction specialist! The great news…there is an increasing base of evidence to support this way of healing and working with food, weight and body image issues. Although not limited to these, here are some of my favourite books because they consider the soul sickness as well as the emotional and spiritual hungers that underlie eating problems.
She weaves together multicultural myths, folktales and legends with depth of insight and practical, transformational exercises.
Woodman’s work holds the context that a hunger for spiritual fulfilment is at the root of all addictions and eating disorders.
Woodman teaches that through discovering the wisdom and power of the feminine, it is possible to find freedom from addiction and eating disorders. Susie Orbach discusses from a feminist perspective what it means to be feminine, nurturing, sexy and confident.
In Father Hunger, Margo Maine explores the emptiness experienced by women whose fathers were physically or emotionally absent—a void that leads to unrealistic body image, yo-yo dieting, food fears and disordered eating patterns.
Written by two nutritionists with over 30+ years of experience, Intuitive Eating will guide you towards rebuilding a healthy body image, making peace with food, honouring your hunger and coping with your emotions without using food. It’s Not About the Food will help you to understand your relationship with food, your feelings and your thoughts. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. He turned his suffering into hope.  His attitude was one of optimism, even in the face of extreme adversity.
It feels scary and painful – so we get busy trying to avoid, sweep under the rug, numb, eradicate, check-out from, quick-fix, medicalize and medicate our crises and resulting symptoms. It may seem strange that something so limiting to your life-energy, can also be serving you in some way.
She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. Join together with others to challenge how we should look, feel and think about our bodies!’ (The Butterfly Foundation). The Pew Internet American Life Project found that families with multiple communication devices were less likely to eat dinner together. They also became more logical in their thinking and were able to hold more complex levels of conversation.
This taught the whole family tolerance of others, expanded their horizons and levels of consciousness. Maushart credits this to not using technology to stimulate, numb or distract themselves out of boredom. I see it as my job, and that of any counsellor or psychotherapist, to hold hope for the individual seeking recovery, until it can be fully internalised and experienced by the individual, whose current perception of themselves is often one of failure, helplessness and shame. Relationships and community ties are some of the things that help me to manage and adapt to adversity and the unexpected. This is especially pertinent when the individual is highly self-critical, may lack confidence or is trying to find evidence to confirm their self-limiting view of themselves and the world.

The NEF completed a large scale analysis of research on wellbeing, with a particular focus on ‘Positive Psychology’. Last week I was training a recovery coach, who self-managed his own recovery, exclusively using the 5TWB, monitoring his life around these 5 core behaviours. The importance of authentic relationships (quantity and quality) is essential to wellbeing. It is also about overcoming the possible barriers to relationship and connection: shame, stigma, attachment difficulties, limiting core beliefs, issues of trust, pride and social competence. Paradoxically the greater our sense of belonging, the greater our sense of autonomy is likely to be. For me, the application of mindfulness based psychologies and teaching to support the maintenance of recovery, resilience and wellbeing is also key and should now be the norm and a definite in any credible relapse prevention program. Each dosha is defined by two of the five natural elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. It resides in the spaces of your body, filling empty airspaces and channels, helping to govern the function of the nervous system.
Vatas are relatively flexible, loving exercise like Yoga and Pilates, where we can stretch and warm our muscles.
Swimming, diving, and other water sports are great for Pittas, because the water acts as a cooling agent, which is quite balancing for this dosha. Make sure that exercise is fun and keeps you focused on your end goal, whether it be general health, weight gain or weight loss. For example, I am a Vata-Kapha, and I love weight training and other exercises that allow me to really use my strength.
No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. In addition, the information and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of every contributor to Levitating Monkey.
The feedback from the kids was fantastic and you could really notice a shift in the energy after they were done.
It’s great for anyone who is just beginning their practice, and it’s an amazing tool for teachers as well.
Don't believe in those guides or blogs which say that you should aim for "one hour of meditation every day" as even 5 minutes can help you get more relaxed. Sitting on the floor will tilt your pelvis back which causes the back to round and the chest to cave in. The tips you will find in these books for recovery are based on self-exploration, care of the soul, intuition and mindfulness. Jodie is the Disordered Eating Consultant at Nungkari Treatment Centre, former Assistant Clinical Director at Eatfed, an approved service provider for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. In doing so, we miss the opportunity to find the value, meaning and purpose hidden within our anxieties, addictions, depressions, eating problems and physical illnesses.
However, extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, weight cycling, weight discrimination, poor health.
Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’, (you can read an excerpt here), post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW.
When she spoke of the family’s 6 month ‘experiment’ to friends, she continuously came up against, ‘are you sure you want to do this to the kids?’; likening internet, iDevices and screen time as a new ‘need’ wedged between Maslow’s basic and love needs. Some of these include biographical, psychological, social, neurobiological and spiritual concerns. Cocaine, binge drinking and playing the pokies are also a part of life but that doesn’t mean they are recommended practice, healthy or good for our overall wellbeing (Maushart 2010).
Family meals are consistently correlated with positive outcomes for children; those who eat family meals 5-7 times a week get better grades, have a sunnier outlook on life and have significantly fewer problems with drugs, alcohol, nicotine and eating disorders. Hope can be nurtured by exposure to success – people who have done it themselves and where recovery is visable. Having come up with a list of the key common findings, they were tasked with reducing these down to a simple and workable message that would support people to adopt behaviours that promote wellbeing, in a similar way that the public health message of ‘5 a day’ aims to encourage healthier eating. It is especially important for individuals addressing an addiction where their social needs and identity may be intimately linked to the culture of addiction they have lived in – with its rituals, beliefs, roles and relational networks. Because connection is so important, I would suggest that a more proactive approach to working with the client’s network of support is called for. Vatas also like exercises where they can have fun, because they tend to get bored easily; anything new and interesting gets their attention.A  No kidding! Whatever keeps your juices flowing, keeps you motivated and exercising is generally what is recommended. Avoid heavy, greasy foods to reduce congestion and counter the potential build-up of Kapha. Levitating Monkey acknowledges occasional differences in opinion and welcomes the exchange of different viewpoints.
The most important thing is that your level of arousal (as in psychological term, don't meditate with an erection) is sufficient i.e.
After a while, once I got better at concentrating I stopped the visualization and opened my eyes, focusing both eyes on the tip of my nose. After few months this feeling subsided and I felt like the whole meditation thing wasn't rewarding at all. If you are suffering – it is imperative that you find a treatment program with soul and a psychotherapist who can work at depth with the underlying issues.
She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. Whilst it is imperative to consider addiction from a holistic perspective, the primary issues underlying dependency and addiction problems are about relationship and connection; with self and other.
There is growing evidence of the significant impact that the therapist’s own expectations have on efficacy of interventions and this is particularly so in addictions. Also important for us Vatas is the chance to renew our spirit with a hot shower after exercise. Meditation has been studied extensively since the 50's, and it has been found to moderately improve anxiety and depression, significantly lower detection threshold for light stimuli of short duration when compared to non-meditators (meaning that those who meditate may be less prone to disturbing stimuli), activate the "relaxation response", reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic system, thus relaxing the meditator, and affect in many other, mostly positive ways.
Another good option is sitting on a chair but try to keep your back straight and don't lean on anything. This is a method from Astanga yoga which helps you concentrate by focusing your gaze on one point.I also turn off lights and light a candle in front of me. This state, which I here call plateau, was very tough in terms of discipline and self-control. Increasingly this is being backed up through a plethora of research in the field of early attachment relationships and neuroscience. I really recommend meditating every day so that it becomes a habit, even if this means that your meditation sessions will become shorter. When our will is trapped in maintaining cycles of dependency and addiction, our primary relationship is with the substance or process; in this case, our iPad, iPhone, or other screen based trapping. Avoid canned, processed food, junk food, hydrogenated oils and fats, excess alcohol, white sugar and eating on the go. I started meditating for 10 minutes and added 2 minutes every week until I was doing 30 minutes a day.
Sitting straight will strengthen your core muscles which will help sitting for longer periods of time. This lasted for about 2-3 months, after which I started getting another, new feeling - a feeling of peace and balance. Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat. You could maybe choose 5 minutes and add 1 minute every week or if you're feeling crazy motivated you can shoot straight for 30 minutes or even an hour. As you can see, I have a lot of unique things that I like to do while meditating, and I encourage you to find yours. The euphoria was gone, and so was the frustration, but this feeling of peace has helped me immensely in my daily life. I recommend choosing the progression method for few reasons: first, progression gives us a sense of accomplishment.
Some 'gurus' will probably be very strict about the methods but in my opinion meditation is a very personal thing and not everything works for everyone. Don't give up if you feel shitty after meditation, but just stick with it, practice deliberately and embrace the possible discomfort or negative feelings meditation brings. If this hurts your knee or hip place your foot on the ground inside your left thigh instead.

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Comments to «Starting meditation steps pdf»

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