Meditation isn’t just a practice of sitting in stillness, it’s a practice of presence, focus, flow, letting go, and freedom. And, in many ways, creating art can have the same effect. From pottery to dance, there are many ways to experience art as mediation. One way to get into that meditative state in art is through painting with watercolors. “The way watercolors practically have a mind of their own, blending together in unexpected ways, reminds me of how beautiful it can be to lean into the unknown and unexpected — not just in painting, but in your own life,” says watercolor artist Liv Lane.
The world we live in requires, almost demands, a lot of us. Our time and energy, our hearts, minds, and bodies, are all given certain expectations, limitations, and confines to operate within. The demands of the external world can leave us distant and disconnected from the parts of ourselves that are able to choose; to choose how we spend our time, where our energy goes, and choose all the ways we serve our hearts, minds, and bodies in the best ways possible. When we’re being pulled in so many directions all at once focusing on the cultivation of resilience can be challenging; ironically, this exact challenge is what helps to strengthen our resilience.
Not many of us are tapped into our creative potential all of the time, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could access it more often? Creativity is innate to our being, but it can feel difficult to move beyond the noise of the mind enough to tap into this place on a regular basis. Meditation provides us the chance to step into the seat of the witness and calm down our mental chatter– making it easier to access this creative nature.
It seems like everyone's looking for a way to boost brain function these days. Currently, estimates show that around 55 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with dementia, while 6 million children are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)[*][*].
We are all different, at least from a physical and mental perspective. We each have our own likes and dislikes, our ways of reacting to situations, the health challenges we might face, and a myriad of other unique qualities. It would be a very boring world if we were all the same, these differences are what make life interesting. The science of Ayurveda recognizes these differences and categorizes them as combinations of three energies known as the Doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Knowing your doshic combination, or Ayurvedic body-type, opens a whole treasury of guidelines to balance and support all areas of life.
One of the incomplete views of the self that many of us have grown up with comes from an interpretation of the Cartesian maxim “I think; therefore I am.” Descartes shared that statement not to define what it means to be human but rather as a discovery of a statement that could not be refuted. Nevertheless, as a culture we seem to have adopted that statement as a definition of who we are: that our ability to think is synonymous with being sentient.
If you’re feeling dull, foggy, or uninspired this spring, you’re not alone. While spring can bring the energy of excitement and renewal, it is also Kapha season, which can lead to feeling heavy, low, and sluggish when imbalanced. A meditation and breath-work practice are fantastic ways to clear any stagnation in the mind and create space for new energy and ideas.
Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesha, whose curved trunk and massive body shines like a million suns and showers his blessings on everyone. Oh Lord Ganesha, kindly remove all obstacles, always and forever from all my activities and endeavors. - Ganesh Invocation
Familiarizing ourselves with the dominant doshas of the season and acknowledging what feels in (and out) of balance in our own constitution allows us to choose activities, foods, and even meditations that can support us through changes in seasons and in our personal lives.
The word meditation covers a wide list of activities and conjures up images ranging from yogis sitting in lonely mountain caves, to churchgoers in quiet contemplation or a kirtan group chanting sacred verses. What these all have in common is a focused awareness, which means being fully present in the moment.
When we think about health for the physical body, we often think about aerobic movement. It can be easy to forget that slow, mindful movement also provides benefits. Mindful walks outside, with and without shoes, energize and support the physical body and the mind. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this practice, and here are three.