The Boston Buddha Blog

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Patriots Day 2008

Running The Boston Marathon? Come and gain a mental training advantage on us!  Take Move & Meditate at Stil Studio for FREE on Monday 4/14 OR Thursday evening 4/17!

It has been an exhausting year and a very cold training season.  As a runner myself, I can really relate to the strong emotions the runners will feel this year as they make their way to the starting line.  I understand the lifestyle, the passion for the sport, and the anxiety (which many will deny having) – from tapering struggles, to obsessive race day weather watching, to wondering if one will actually sleep the night before – these distractions can derail all the hard work a runner has put in this winter.  I do understand a little something about The Boston Marathon, having completed three myself (2001, 2008, 2011) – I know how hard it is to sit and do nothing that week before… waiting, while all your friends and family are in town wanting to see you and tour this great city.

I’ve also seen enough media coverage this year to know that there must be a balance on how much a runner takes in – so you don’t expend all your emotional energy well before the race begins.


That’s why this week Stil Studio and The Boston Buddha will be dedicating our MOVE & MEDITATE class to anyone running The Boston Marathon – FREE.  Stop by on Monday night 6:30 to 7:30 PM or Thursday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  We will settle in with some light stretching to help calm your nerves and overcome any doubts you may have.

The theme and meditation for next week will be on letting go of difficult emotions.

MOVE & MEDITATE is a weekly class at Stil Studio (Legacy Place in Dedham) that combines the balance of a gentle flow with a healthy amount of relaxation and meditation, to help students recharge and melt away stress from every part of their body.
On Mondays (Betty Riaz & Andy Kelley) and Thursdays (Jen Howell & Andy Kelley) the class consists of a 30-minute simple slow flow Vinyasa series in a dimly lit room followed by a 25-minute guided meditation, based on themes ranging from willpower to releasing anger.

This class can fill up quick so register in advance here:
or call the studio 781.407.9642



bodhiNegative experiences are an essential part of life.  As the Buddha said, ” Life is suffering”.  It’s the First Nobel Truth.  This week in our Move & Meditate class we will learn different techniques to help us learn from our suffering and cultivate the positive in our life.

The first way to deal with a negative experience is to BE with it.  The first question I asked myself when I notice that I’m stressed or suffering is, ” What need is not being met right now?”.  So often we are motivated to escape that negative experience as soon as we are in it, that we can’t find the root of the problem.  If we can embrace and be with the negative experience, that helps us look for strategies to address that need that is not being met.   So, we want to be with the experience, feel the experience, observe the experience.

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IMG_1757The brain shifts between two modes of operation – a reflective mode and a reactive mode.

The Reflective Mind – that ideal self, the authentic you, the you that is aware that you are making thoughtful decisions.

The Reactive Mind – the protector, instinct, quick decision making, reacts to the stimulus.  It runs on a reward system and wants to feel better now.

When we operate from the reactive mode we tend to focus on the short-term.  We’re desperate to avoid any pain and conflict – operating from fear, instinct, and stress.

This mode drives us to make choices that seem like a good idea right now… because we get pleasure and avoid pain.  However, this leads to avoiding things that are not necessarily in our best interest. We will put off something that makes us anxious or indulge in something that seems to help us to calm down at that moment but not helpful in the long term.

It’s not long after making that short term decision that we start to judge our decision.  We get down on our self.

When we meditate we learn to become more aware of that inner critic voice, the inner parent – that voice is always seems disappointed in you. Anything with an attitude of criticism tends to push us back to that reactive mode.

What we need is a “buddy”… we need to befriend ourselves… and that is why I think that one of the most important elements of mindfulness and meditation is cultivating self-compassion.

When mindfulness is practiced in a very reflective way, it significantly increases our self-compassion. It changes our relationship to our self – because we start to let go of the judgment and blame and start to see the situation with more clarity.

I hope this helps!




Meditation AppFrom time to time people ask me if I use guided meditations, meditation timers, and other “brain game” apps.  While I don’t use them often, I think they’re super helpful in finding your practice – especially in the beginning.  Guided meditations are great for people (like me) that need to be frequently re-directed back to the object of our attention.  For these people, there’s not enough stimulation coming in to keep them interested enough to want to stay with the practice – so they give up meditating entirely.

Guided meditations help increase the activity by using thought skillfully (instead of letting the thoughts use you).   iTunes has lots of different options available for meditation timers and there are so many free timers.  Here are a few apps that I use the most.

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