Mindful Mondays

Mindful Mondays are brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE. These quick one minute exercises are sure to help you start your week off on a positive note! Check back here each week for a new Monday message!

Feeling up to digging a bit deeper into mindfulness? Don't miss our guided Mindfulness Sessions!

 

Today, let’s reflect on this quote by Alan Watts:
“The meaning of being alive is just to be alive… It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around i a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
Sit with this idea today. Notice if your mind wants to rationalize the words or meaning. Rather than analyzing the sentiment, simply let it stew. Consciousness over cognition.
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

Today we focus on love. 
Mentally recite this mantra as you sit in stillness and experience the magnitude of your own heart: “Give love” (as you breathe in) + “And receive love” (as you breathe out). 
The key is repetition. The more time you can devote to this practice today, the greater you will feel its effects.
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

Rocket launches start with a countdown…
But this exercise promises a cosmic sense of calm with a countdown!
Find a comfortable seat - in a chair, or on the floor. Sit upright, spine tall. Allow the eyelids to drop shut.
Take a long, slow, deep breath in, and then just as slowly, breathe it out. As the air flows out of the lungs, silently say “ten.”
Repeat your exaggerated inhalation and exhalation again. This time silently say “nine” as you empty the air. 
Continue like this all the way to “zero.” Be careful not to rush. If the mind starts to jump or become aggravated, simply start again from “ten.” 
—Brought to you by Joie Schmitz of YOGA\VIVRE.

Take a comfortable, cross-legged seat on the floor. Feel the lift and structure of your spine and the suppleness of your skin and muscles. Close your eyes and allow your imagination to take over!
Visualize your whole body glowing red. Picture yourself — the way you are seated, the expression on your face, the space you hold — drenched in the color red. 
Begin to expand your aura. Add a layer of orange to your being. Again, notice with your mind’s eye the colors that cover and surround you. Continue slowly adding layers of color to your field of energy, one at a time — yellow, green, blue, violet, and finally a layer of clear, bright, white light. Pause between the layers to appreciate the beauty of each color that encompasses you and the energy that expands out from your body through all your layers of color. 
When you’ve placed your final, white layer, linger a while in your breath and mentally gaze at the brilliant rainbow that starts with you, ends with you and holds you in this moment.

 

Here’s one the kids will love! 
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor; spine tall. Interlace all of your fingers except for your pointer fingers — let those extend out long and press together, making a unicorn horn.
Place your unicorn horn on the crown of your head. Relax your shoulders and begin to take long, deep breaths. Focus your attention on your magical horn. The energy in your body will travel through you, and continue upward and out into the cosmos, creating a profound sense of grandness. 
 

Today, let’s go behind the eyes, behind the mind, behind the scenes…

Take a hand towel and fold it to form a long, thin strip. Rest on your back with the folded towel draped over your eyes and the ends of the towel covering your ears. Relax everything. 
Sometimes the work we need to do on ourselves is so simple. Take this time to ease away from sights and sounds and thoughts… simply hang out in the space behind the scenes.

 

Let’s explore a spectrum of emotions in the space of the heart. Take a comfortable seat anywhere to begin.

Start by making fists and “bumping” your fists right at the center of your chest. Hold this hand position for a few breaths and feel your heart’s strength compounding. 
Next, press your palms together in “prayer” and rest your thumbs at on your sternum. Allow the hand gesture, which can be associated with gratitude and humility, to bring a quality of softness to your heart space. Melt into these sensations for several breaths.

Finally, extend your arms straight out from your sides, palms open wide and fingers extended enthusiastically. Breathe big, as though you could fill up the entire space between your arms with your heart’s energy and ever-expanding love.
 

I have fallen in love with a Kundalini Yoga class offered by Marilyn Hyde at The Studio on Liberty. Today’s mindful exercise was inspired by some of the work we do in that class.
Situate yourself near a window. Stand so that the window is directly to your left side side. Separate your feet a little wider than your hips and soften your knees. Close your eyes gently and notice the view from behind your eyelids - it is here where you will focus all of your attention for the duration of the exercise. 

Without moving your lower body, rotate your head and torso to the left, so that you turn to face the window - breathe IN while you are doing this. Immediately rotate your torso to the right, so that you turn to face away from the window - breathe OUT while you are doing this. Repeat these torso twists synchronized with your breath for 1 minute. Your arms can sway with the motion. 
Most importantly, keep watch behind closed eyes - there is light as you turn to toward the window, and there is dark as you turn away from the window. This play of light and dark is symbolic of life. We all experience both. Each is part of the whole. — May this practice encourage you to embrace the play between the lightness and dark in your own life.
 

Let yourself drop into complete stillness at each pause-point in this breathing exercise. It is in those moments that you can experience so much!
Take a comfortable seat on the floor. Your legs can be crossed or you can sit on your shins - just make sure your spine is tall. Close your eyes. Take your arms out to the sides of your body and let your fingertips rest on the floor beside you. Inhale and raise your arms all the way up over head until the palm touch. (Do this without looking!) 
Then begin your exhale: 

Keep your palms pressed together, empty just 1/3 of the air in your lungs and lower your thumb knuckles to your forehead, at the point between the eyebrows. Pause and hold.
Breathe out another 1/3 of the air in your body and slide your thumb knuckles down to your sternum. Pause and hold.
Completely empty the lungs and return your fingertips to the ground next to your body - arms outstretched. Pause and hold.

Repeat this breathing pattern of big, smooth inhales and exhales with pause points for one minute, or as long as you have to devote to this practice today. Remember that you are whole; complete in and of yourself. 
 

The sun rising to bring us a brand new day… 
The feeling of a warm cup of coffee in your hands…
The hum of people and cars and machines moving and buzzing and working…
Crossing something off of your To-Do list…
Taking time to do nothing at all…
Being really good at your job…
Giving a compliment…
Receiving a compliment…
A delicious meal…
A good laugh…
A good cry…
A deep breath…
Life is filled with things to celebrate. We don’t have to wait for a milestone or a holiday or a weekend to rejoice in all the goodness that abounds. Let your whole life be a celebration! Mark each moment as something special and marvel in the wonder of the world. Don’t be shy — this life is for our enjoyment. To fully experience it is to celebrate it.