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Move & Meditate Fall Foliage Retreat in Vermont

Have you ever seen the fall foliage in Vermont?  When was the last time you took a full weekend for yourself and disconnected from your smartphone, your laptop, your weekend routine and just recharged?

Move & Meditate is back!  Take a minute to reflect on all the emotional energy and effort you put into everything that you do in your life – your work, family, friends, community, travel, health, etc.  Our lives are very busy and clearly over-scheduled; sometimes we forget how restorative and renewing it can be to take any time away from our daily routine to recharge and connect deeply with ourselves and others in nature.

Here are five great reasons to join us on our weekend retreat, October 4-6, 2019.

1. – Yoga with Betty Riaz – We open and close our days with some gentle and restorative yoga. One of the reasons yoga is so inspiring to me is because the practice is always changing as we change, every time I practice. If you’ve ever been to our old Move & Meditate classes at Stil Studio, you know that Betty is never short on creative variations and poses to help us go deeper.

The process of connecting our heart, mind, body, and breath really embodies mindfulness. We will tap into some physical openings which can lead to emotional breakthroughs. And, if you haven’t taken Betty’s famous Spa Yoga class, then that is the # 1 reason you should attend… we close out the days with her Spa class. It’s like a “spa day” for your body and mind.

2. – Meditations with Andy, The Boston Buddha – We will sit comfortably and focus on the art of just being, by listening and observing our mind. When we become still we are able to self observe, self reflect, in that moment, without judgement – this is Pure Awareness. Throughout the 3 days we will explore various types of meditations – Silent, Mantra & Sutra Meditation Techniques, Mindfulness Practices, Loving Kindness Meditation, Eating and Hiking Meditations, and other sense work.

We call it our “practice”, because we will always be practicing to become more awake from moment to moment. We’re learning how to train and integrate the body, heart, and mind – like anything we want to cultivate in our life, this takes practice.

3. – Fun Activities and Group Work – Enlightenment is a team sport. There will be creative activities and group discussions. These exercises amplify our awareness into the deeper conditioning that creates our unconscious reactions and decisions in our lives. We’ll see that there are scores of subtle ways in which we are communicating with each other, where we’re getting a sense of what’s going on inside the other person. The more sophisticated we become at reading other people, the more connectivity we experience. Being in a space, sharing with others, is sometimes the mirror we need to remember that everything we need to be happy is within us.

4. – Fall in Vermont – There’s a reason why meditation retreats and temples have traditionally been built on high mountaintops like the Himalayas or deep in the forests – TO GET AWAY… physically removing ourselves from the distractions in our usual routine. Getting out into nature and breaking away from the typical story-lines of our lives, helps us tap into our own deeper awareness. The new Dharma Home in Vermont is breathtaking! It sits on a significant amount of land that is filled with wonderful healing qualities, waterfalls, hiking trails, and the powerful and beauty of nature.

Talk about Meditation For Everyone! The Dharma home offers an incredibly relaxed setting for the explorations of our inner and outer landscapes.

5. – Expanding your Community – At the end of the day, life is all about relationships. Being immersed all weekend, surrounded by others working from their best self, is one of the most important anchors for maintaining and deepening our meditation practice. It’s uplifting to be surrounded by other people exploring and navigating these age old practices and sharing great meals together!

If this sounds like something that would interest you, we’d love to spend the weekend with you. If you’re ready to completely unplug, recharge, and reset, let us know. It just may be the perfect antidote to the constant noise of busy, over-scheduled, work-driven lives – and the restorative benefits are many.

LIMITED to 10 PEOPLE:

$695 per person shared room

$250 to reserve

Potluck first night!

Email betty@gmail.com for details.

To sign up click the title below to register:

Fall Foliage Meditation and Yoga Retreat

Middle School Mindfulness

Lawrence School Brookline

Today was the our last Middle School Mindfulness Workshop for this school year. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy these classes.

Spending time with my friends, faculty, students, and all the Brookline teachers at the Lawrence School, Heath School, Loring School, Milton Academy, and the Brown Middle School in Newton this season, we’ve seen the general atmosphere in the classrooms become more balanced and some classes even seemed to slow down.  I wish I recorded the first meditation we did in January vs. the one we did yesterday – total relaxation!

I’ve seen students use the breath to slow down when they’re overexcited, or become frustrated when they don’t know the outcome of the activity that we were doing.  One of the phrases that we come back to every season is, “catch yourself“.  Everyone can be impulsive, but if you can catch yourself before you act on that impulse, I consider that self awareness to be the magic moment in mindfulness – and a huge success.

Mindful Educators

It’s pretty cool to see the kids do this first hand.  More students are now able to bring that reflective quality to their attention and actions. Once they learn to stabilize their attention, they can start to shift their awareness to BEING and then noticing how they feel – through meditation.

It was amazing to have had such wonderful support this season.  It’s deeply gratifying, particularly when I get to review all their feedback=).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching  students HOW to pay attention, through self awareness and meditation, is still fairly new, but I’m certain that it has the potential to make a positive impact in our community.  Have a great summer!

Finding The Present In The Moments This Holiday Season

It’s that time again and there’s so much to do – shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, planning, and traveling.  We are wrapped up in our own personal busyness during the holiday season and the flurry of emotions that come with getting together with friends and family; some, of course you disagree with… on just about everything. I think we can all agree that the holiday season can be incredibly stressful. If you’re like me and have tried everything else, maybe a little meditation can help you cope with your holiday stress. Continue reading “Finding The Present In The Moments This Holiday Season”

5 Tips That Will Help You Meditate On The Go

I’m lucky that I get to travel for my work as a meditation teacher, so I know how delays, busy airports, traveling from hotel to hotel – and just being constantly on the go – can

not only run you down physically and emotionally, but it can totally derail your meditation practice. Establishing a regular meditation practice can seem easy when you’re at home and in control of your schedule, but traveling has a way of throwing that schedule out the window.

Faith meditating @ Yotel Boston

New time zones, new clients, new places, the anxiety levels are high when we are in a new environment and in general it’s harder to relax our minds. So what better way to stay calm and steady in these turbulent times than taking your meditation practice on the road with you?

Here are five ways you can keep a consistent meditation practice going while you are traveling: Continue reading “5 Tips That Will Help You Meditate On The Go”

Developing Emotional Intelligence with Meditation

 

IMG_1764What an incredible honor to be a part of the Massachusetts General Hospital education conference earlier this month which helped educators and parents with strategies to ensure kids find success in the classroom. I had the privilege of speaking about the effects of stress, how meditation aids us in managing stress and helps us self-reflect in the moment (so we are able to make better choices when we’re stressed) and then led the group in a guided meditation. The Q & A resulted in discussing about our experiences and how we can use mindfulness in the classroom, by practicing it ourselves.

We unpacked so much during the day. I personally learned a ton about epilepsy – I listened to two powerful patient presentations on living with epilepsy, watched an eye opening presentation on applied behavioral analysis with assistive technology from Mark Matoune, and was amazed by a tremendous presentation by Sarah Ward, on Executive Function skills for youth. She had great tips on how to maximize brain function abilities for kids, especially how to manage time effectively.

For more information: http://mghcme.org/courses/course-detail/epilepsy_and_education_conference

YOTEL Boston introduces ‘Meditation Mondays’ with The Boston Buddha!

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Sky Lounge at YOTEL Boston, 65 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA

WHAT: Newly opened YOTEL Boston, the affordable luxury hotel inspired by first-class air travel, introduces ‘Meditation Mondays’ with The Boston Buddha, Andy Kelley, beginning Monday, September 18 at Sky Lounge!

Locals and hotel guests alike are welcomed to the Seaport hotel’s rooftop Sky Lounge for 30-minute guided meditation set against the backdrop of Boston’s skyline. Andy Kelley will help attendees hone their focus and mindfulness, Mondays from 8-8:30am, so they can tackle the workweek ahead.

 ‘Meditation Mondays’ is just the latest wellness offering from YOTEL. The hotel brand also produces Mindfresh, a series of 5-minute meditation and relaxation videos available for viewing in-cabin and on the YOTEL app.

Research shows that how we spend the first hour of the morning often sets the pace for the day. Why not, wake up and start the day & work week feeling relaxed and recharged? Attend ‘Meditation Mondays’ in PJs, athleticwear or business clothes and leave feeling happier, focused and energized. The series is a definite antidote for anyone with a case of the Mondays!

WHEN:     Monday mornings starting September 18th, 8-8:30am

COST:     $15 per session; complimentary for YOTEL guests

To book reservations, visit: https://yotelmeditationmondays.eventbrite.com

CONTACT:            Phone: (617) 377-4747

Web:     www.yotel.com/boston

Freedom To Choose

 

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”   – Victor Frankl

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South Rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ

This has always been my favorite mindfulness quote.  We all need to look for the spaces between the stimulus and the response. That awareness begins with a pause. That self reflecting ability – in the moment noticing. In that pause we begin to notice what’s really happening (worrying about the future… a flash of irritation – a craving for food). With that realization, we allow what’s there – to be there – without reacting. In these moments, we enter a space of freedom – the freedom to choose.

After your meditation – or at a time where you feel relaxed – identify several situations during the day where you become or slip into a moderately reactive mode. Look for signs of anxiety or irritation. For example, for me it’s getting my son up for school. I can catch myself “mindful yelling”.  For you it may be, getting caught in traffic, a deadline for a project, feeling tired, overwhelmed at work, or being criticized by a loved one.

Select ONE area and for the next week have the intention to pause for a few breaths and become aware inwardly when you’re in those situations.

In that moment of pausing – that awareness – take real interest in what’s happening inside you… An uneasy feeling? Tension? Numbness? Pressure? Are you aware of anger, anxiety, or cravings? What are you feeling? Be with whatever sensation or emotion is present.

Then, take a few full breaths relaxing with each of breath and then resume your daily activity.

Notice the difference between being caught reacting all the time and being aware and awake. Honor these moments because it’s a deep awakening inside you.

Let me know how it goes.

-Andy

Breathing Yourself Back To The Moment

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?” – Tao Te Ching

 
Whenever I’m creating a new guided meditation, it gives me the opportunity to work with my own experiences with the subject matter. I had plenty of time to explore my experience with impatience last week – with a stomach bug that is going around – that’s for sure.  I was trying to rush things and trying to move a little too fast before my body was ready… until I realized that I could just “breathe myself back

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Impatience

to this moment” and not worry so much about the future.  This helped me relax and get back into the natural flow of my life and let my body heal naturally.  I notice when we’re impatient, we are really just trying to make things different or better than they are.

When we want to change our lives in some way, we tend to focus a lot on the future – how awesome it’s going to be when we reach that goal. We look to that immediate result.  It’s like when we’re riding a bicycle… we’re always pedaling past the present moment.  Say we want to go from Southie to Cape Cod… we’re in Southie, but our attention is really focused on how great it will be when we get to the Cape.  We feel that things will be so much better when we get to the Cape, so we push and try to pedal as fast as we can to get away from Southie.

Our present moment patience is also constantly being hijacked by our smart phones, autopilot choices, and our knee jerk reactions to the speed of our lives.  We constantly react to stressful situations and become way too ridged and inflexible in our choice making ability.  Mindfulness can help us drop down into the actual feelings that are there, so we can reflect and get a sense of what’s really going on.  Using the breath as our anchor, we breathe ourselves back to the moment.  This helps us disconnect from that reactive panic button that we all have, and frees up a little space – allowing more thoughtful and creative choices to bring us back to the moment. Be patient… this takes time.

The next time you feel impatient, check in with your body. What do you feel? Chances are you’ll feel some irritation. Let yourself be with that. You might find that “breathing yourself back to the present moment” helps. Take a moment for yourself to recognize that your life can become your meditation if you choose to approach it with this kind of awareness.

As we move into next week, I put the challenge out there for all of us to meditate for 10 minutes every morning and anytime throughout the day you feel impatient – work on enduring the present moment by “breathing yourself back to the moment”!

I hope this helps!

The Mindful Olympics

Last Morning Mindfulness class of the semester. The Mindful Olympics! 15288686_10154730770488245_8990616644689605828_oThe kids favorite class. We tried to put all together as the students collaborate and combine their efforts to make an important difference in the world – and connect them to the larger community… and let’s be honest, they just really want to beat me in the competition😜.

We worked on our perspective taking these last few weeks. We played “Mirrors” and tried to mindfully consider other viewpoints – besides our own. We discussed how we can’t literally put ourselves in certain peoples shoes because they won’t fit – or we wouldn’t choose to wear them because we are all so different – and that’s great! Amazing group of kids!

Does Meditation get easier over time?

 

“Every meditation is like a snowflake, no two are the same.” – davidji

It’s a great question and one that students, friends, and colleagues ask me often.  There are plenty of days I ask myself the same thsnowgaing.  My answer is that for me personally, some days are easier than others and we need to try to accept the present moment as it is – without trying to change it or make it different.
Continue reading “Does Meditation get easier over time?”