Meditation Monday

Om is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras. It is composed of three sounds a-u-m. In Sanskrit, the A and U combine to become O.

Pranayama is the regulation of breath through techniques and exercises.
Vedas are Hindu scripture dating between 1500-1200 bce.
Why Aum?
The tradition of yoga includes the devotional practice of the chant. Aum, the simplest chant, is a call for unity at the beginning and end of each class. It is the distillation of all sound. I sat in meditation one day and heard the Aum of the ocean, the Aum of the fog horn, and the Aum of my cat snoring, all at once. Anywhere on earth, if you pause to listen, you will hear the great unifier Aum. Aum requires that we rest in the present moment.
We are vibrational beings.
When we sing together each of us calls forth from within a vibration and merges it with the vibration of others; it is a generous, unifying gesture. Chanting together quickly brings students- who may arrive with individual burdens or joys- to a state of equalizing vibration. We tune ourselves to each other at the most basic level and so announce our intention to practice together.
Physically, the chant clears the lungs, throat, mouth, and sinuses and stimulates essential juice (rasa). Chanting awakens the soft palate, that sheath just under the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. Chanting warms the chest, the area around the heart, and prepares the body for pranayama. The chant will purify the subtle body as well, bringing balance and tone to an overwrought nervous system.
Newton’s first law tells us that energy is neither created nor destroyed. Sound accretes and transforms but never dies. Some of the Sanskrit chants we sing are ancient, dating back to the Vedas. Through the gift of our voices we can harness the energy and intention of yogis who lived several thousand years ago. The vibration of the music exists whether we choose to chant or not, when we take it into ourselves and send it out again through our own channels, we are keeping alive its healing properties.
When a student feels uncomfortable chanting in class, silent participation is best. The vibration passes through everyone in the room.
Music – and the voices engaged in it- has the power to heal.
-Judith Mcclain, 2007

Mediation Monday

We’re bringing it back! Here is today’s new Meditation Monday by Madison Adams!

1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
“she was full of good intentions”
2. the healing process of a wound.

1. Today, my intention is to let go of worry; to allow my thoughts and energies to flow through my fingers, and into this keyboard.

2. Today, my intention is to love myself so that I may love others just as deeply.

Start small. Set an intention every day. Today, I will wear two different socks, and be o.k. with it. Today, I will find a new recipe that revolves around vegetables so I have more in my diet. Today, I will bring a warm beverage to a Salvation Army bell ringer. Today, instead of retaliating when I have been hurt, I will remove myself from the situation, and talk about it later.

You may be surprised to find that intentions that seem grand to most, become second nature to you.

-Madison Adams

Meditation Monday

This plastic ring of mine is an endless circle of strength.
It knows no boundaries other than the one it makes on its own.
I know no boundaries.
This ring of beauty, grace, intelligence, and wonder.
It swallows me into a vortex of joy that never leaves,
Even when I must.
This never ending smile of mine relentlessly calls me.
Play, grow, amaze, and allow my fears to become just a thought
That disintegrates with every fumble.
This hula hoop of mine is my weapon of choice
In a battle against a sedentary, negative, unfulfilled existence.
My love to share.

Meditation Monday

I attribute myself to being the Princess and the Pea. Sleep, to me, is precious. It is our body’s way of accepting the beating it took through out the day, forgiving you for it, and allowing you to feel safe while it mends and rejuvinates. Sleep is necessary for physiological and mental functions that we aren’t even aware of, unless you’re like me and lucid dream, eventually waking up feeling like you just ran for your life. I wake up when the sheets are tangled and when the blanket is falling off the bed. I have to sleep with a fan on and if the coyotes (or Chupa Cabre as I like to call them) are out, no fan can block out their blood curdling, child murdering cries.

So… I lay on my back and silently, slowly say my mantra for sleep.

My toes are relaxed.
My toes are relaxed.
My toes are completely relaxed.

My ankles are relaxed.
My ankles are relaxed.
My ankles are completely relaxed.

My knees are relaxed.
My knees are relaxed.
My knees are completely relaxed.

My hips are relaxed.
My hips are relaxed.
My hips are completely relaxed.

My fingers are relaxed.
My fingers are relaxed.
My fingers are completely relaxed.

My elbows are relaxed.
My elbows are relaxed.
My elbows are completely relaxed.

My shoulders are relaxed.
My shoulders are relaxed.
My shoulders are completely relaxed.

My neck is relaxed.
My neck is relaxed.
My neck is completely relaxed.

…I would go to my face, but I haven’t made it that far.


Meditation Monday

A Favorite Quote

You should never lose site of the importance of having a realistic attitude- of being very sensitive to and respectful of the concrete reality of your situation as you proceed on the patch toward your ultimate goal. Recognize the difficulties inherent in your path, and the fact that it may take time and consistent effort. It’s also important to make a clear distinction in your mind between your ideals and the standards by which you judge your progress.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Meditation Monday

Ode To Feet

At one point in my life, I really hated my feet. They are small with hobbit-like qualities; not the kind of feet any girl wants. Vienna sausage toes- add glitter, pearl, or color changing polish and you get… Fancy Vienna sausage toes. These oh-so-fancy feet are even a half size different. You are useless! What good are you, feet?!

So good.

So good, in fact, I’m learning to really love them. They march to the beats of my own percussion. They support me even when I’m not feeling as strong as they are. They dance my blues away. They hike me up the Tetons, and balance me in natarajasana. They wear a symbol for my siblings proudly. They are the classiest in Betsy and ready for battle in Earth.

But, I love them most when they’re just havin’ a groovy, tattooed, glittered mini sausage wiggling, grass loving, hang out at the arboretum kind of day.


Meditation Monday

We are starting a new weekly column called Meditation Monday by a new contributor Madison. Check back every Monday for some advice on mediation and how it can help you find some calmness in a crazy world.


  1. think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
  2. think deeply or carefully about (something).

Meditation, by definition, is very overwhelming to me. I tried to picture myself sitting in full lotus (cross-leg tops of feet on tops of thighs) fingers in OK formation, and chanting. Ridiculous. Not happening. I toned it down a little and just sat quietly on a pillow on my floor. This was nice and all, but my mind was racing. First the conflicts of the day repeated over and over, then the meals I ate (which I felt guilty about), then songs- some I was happy to think about, others I wish never existed-, then more food, and worrying. So much worrying. This meditation shit isn’t working. I only THINK the whole time! Aren’t I supposed to be able to CLEAR my mind so I can focus? This is impossible and definitely not relaxing. So I asked my therapist, “What am I doing wrong!?” What he told me changed everything.

What if I didn’t focus on what the dictionary told me meditation is? What if I sat down and contemplated on what meditation means to me and what I can get out of it?

The mind is one big rolodex of information. When it’s racing and experiencing multiple emotions all in 1 day, the little cards that were once in order are flying all over the place, creating a giant mess. How could anyone make sense of any information that’s there if nothing is where it should be? What if I went home, sat down, and ALLOWED my mind to wander instead of fight it?

I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. My definition of Meditate started like this: to sit in silence for a period of time and let go.

I did just that. I allowed the good and bad songs, allowed the food I ate and wanted to eat, allowed the negativity that was spewed all over me at work, allowed the overdue hospital bills and car insurance bill and whatever other worries I had. I let it all flow freely like evil ooze under the streets of NYC. And to my surprise, they left as quickly as they came. Some of them returned only to be pushed aside by thoughts of my dog as a puppy, my little sister’s Santa-like laugh, my brother playing the Beatles on piano, maple muffins with chocolate ganache sprinkled with bacon. I only sat for 3 min the first time. I knew that if I sat longer I may expect something Disney-esq to happen so I decided that 3 min was a good enough time. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to meditate every day. That didn’t happen at all. I was bummed and felt so much guilt. So I when I did meditate again, I allowed myself to forgive myself.

My mind felt like I just prepared my house for family on Christmas eve.

My definition of meditate changed: to sit in quiet for a period of time, allow, accept, and forgive.

Sometimes I would sit outside and listen to the wind while letting my rolodex re-file itself. Sometimes I would light a candle because I wanted to smell nice things while my rolodex was re-filing itself. Enhancing my senses sometimes brought up things that my mind had filed under Miscellaneous and hid in the proverbial closet. Sometimes I sat for longer and sometimes I cried. But every time, I allowed my thoughts to come forward. I accepted them for what they were, thoughts, and I allowed them to pass. I forgave myself for any negative emotion I had, for anyone who had cast their negativity on me. This meditation thing was really starting to make sense!

One day at a time. Yesterday happened. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. All you can do is allow today, accept what it brings you, forgive yourself, and allow it to pass when you go to sleep.It only takes 3 min.