Notice the Thought, But Don’t Think It.

  
Notice the thought, but don’t think it. 

“What the heck?” my daughter scoffed, incredulous as she read that line over my shoulder, “That doesn’t even make any sense, that’s impossible.” I was as dismissive of it as she was initially, but alas, the sentiment has been rattling around in my head for the last few weeks and I’m awfully close to obsessing on it. 

How do you respond to it? Are you wondering how it could be possible to do such a thing? Does it sound like nonsense or perhaps it has a ring to it, a distillation of your need to get control over your own thoughts? 

I think it’s fair to say that when considering meditation many believe that it is a way to master our minds, to elicit some control over our thoughts. I also think that many immediately realize the futility of that pursuit and we give up on the idea altogether. 

So let's explore the veracity of the claim that we have any control at all over our thoughts. As an experiment, an inventory, grab a pen and paper and set a timer for five minutes then write down every thought you have. 

My bet? You wouldn’t even make it to three minutes. Our brains are whirring non-stop, unconsciously filling with thoughts in seemingly unconnected ways. That snub you suffered from that mean Jennifer on the playground in fifth grade to that new haircut you’ve been considering to that adorable pooch from the Westminster Dog Show and on. Indeed, controlling our thoughts is an impossible task. So if we don’t have a way to control them how can we change the way our minds are working if they’re not working for us? 

We can change how we feel about the thought, how we respond to the thought. 

That’s what I think “Notice the thought, don’t think it” really means, to consider how the thought makes you feel, why do you feel the way you feel about the thought and instead of being at the mercy of the emotions the thought might stir in you, rather you start making conscious, deliberate choices to feel those feelings or not. 

So, without thinking about them, what are your thoughts?
 
Written by Hot Feet yoga instructor Stacy

The Benefits of Gratitude

 

 

We are in full swing of the holiday season, which means a lot of extra get togethers, parties, and time with friends and family. This can be really fun and also add a touch of stress. Adding in a bit of gratitude to the mix can really boost our moods, relationships, and health. 

 

There have been many studies done about gratitude. One study was conducted by two psychologists from the University of California, Davis and the University of Miami. They had a group of people that they divided into three groups. They were all asked to write a couple of sentences each week for ten weeks. One group wrote about things they were grateful for. The second group wrote about things that irritated them. The third group wrote about events in their lives that affected them, neither positive or negative.

 

After the ten weeks, the gratitude group were more optimistic, exercised more, and felt better about their lives. 

 

What are the benefits of gratitude?

 

·      Gratitude improves mental health and general well being

·      Gratitude strengthens relationships

·      Gratitude frees us from toxin emotions

·      Grateful people have higher self-esteem and feelings of self-worth

·      Grateful people are more resilient under stress

 

How can we add more gratitude in our daily lives?

 

·       Tell someone you are grateful for them

·       Write a quick note to someone and send in the mail or leave on the bathroom mirror or their desk at work

·       Write something you are grateful for on a piece of paper or journal just for yourself

·       Send a nice text to someone new each day during the holiday season

·       Invite someone over for coffee or dinner as a thank you for their friendship

 

 

Want to read more inspiring articles about gratitude? Here are the articles that inspired me:

 

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude

How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

Why Gratitude Is Good

Author: Alli Shircliff

A Meditation Practice for Improving Memory & More!

There are many things that we cannot change as we get older, good thing memory loss does not have to be one. A growing body of research suggests that a mind-body exercise could improve memory and cognitive function in older adults: specifically Kirtan Kriya meditation.

Studies conducted by the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation have shown that this particular meditation can be particularly helpful for the aging adult. The practice boosts cognition and help reverse perceived memory loss in older adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD).

Kirtan Kriya, a type of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition, has been practiced for thousands of years to help bring the body, mind and emotions into balance to enable healing. This non religious form for meditation combines mudra (hand gesture), mantra (vocalization), visualization, and regulated breathing. The combination is a powerful stimulus for the brain.

It is a very detailed meditation that can most easily be practiced with a qualified Kundalini instructor. However, here is a link to a description of the practice to get you started at home.

Resource: http://alzheimersprevention.org/research/kirtan-kriya-yoga-exercise/

How do you practice Kirtan Kriya?    

  1. Repeat the Saa Taa Naa Maa sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight. Your focus of concentration is the L form (see illustration), while your eyes are closed. With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out the middle of your forehead (your third eye point).
  2. For two minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  3. For the next two minutes, sing in a whisper.
  4. For the next four minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  5. Then reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, and then out loud for two minutes, for a total of twelve minutes.
  6. To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

The mudras, or finger positions, are very important in this kriya (see illustration below).

Kirtan Kriya finger positions (mudras)

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

Kristen O'Connor
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor 

Family Yoga!

When I had my first daughter 3 plus year ago I had no idea how to take everything I had been learning during my years of yoga practicing and teaching and apply it to how to be a compassionate, patient, and loving mother. I did have a great example to follow and I am thankful for a mom who was all those things.

It is one thing to embody compassion in the quiet morning hours when I choose to meditate, but it is another to try to live up to that expectation every hour of the day and in the middle of the night.

As I am encouraging her to think of something happy, we sing a quiet song together. We hug.  My daughter and I take a deep breath, and we both feel better. We are learning it together how to approach each new moment as mother and daughter. She taught me a mantra to go with a hand gesture meditation I wanted to share with her. "I feel much better".

The beauty and simplicity of those words stunned me and made me feel better. We try it together.

Touching the thumb to the tip of each finger repeat out loud.

Index finger: I

Middle finger: Feel

Ring finger: Much

Pinky finger: Better

I wish that there was never a time when I felt anger or frustration, but I have these feelings. I am aware of them.

When I do yoga with my 3 year old I do not teach her, I share it with her and try not to get in her way, but keep her coming back. I try to remember just how lucky I am to be joining in that moment with her whatever it looks like.

Today I have another daughter and I feel like it is yet again a whole new experience in being present. However, this time I am able to take a step back and see so much more clearly. Of course hindsight is always 20/20, but in this case the gift of presence is truly 20/20.

Make life an effortless and enjoyable game, why not? It doesn't mean that there are no times for serious, but to live in a state of stress is not good for anyone in the family, so why not make it fun for everyone.

Kristen O'Connor
Hot Feet Fitness Yoga Instructor

Nourish ~A Self-Care Women's Yoga Retreat~

Hot Feet is all about wellness and we know that retreats can be a way to make big leaps forward in our understanding and commitment to our health. In conjunction with 3 local health and fitness businesses the studio will be sponsoring a self-care and yoga retreat called Nourish. This retreat is for women only. Come and spend the weekend with other women like yourself who want to be inspired and learn how to take care of you! The weekend includes 4 yoga classes, a cooking class, a 2hr beach hike, a meditation class, and a swag bag to take home to inspire you in your self care journey. We promise, you will leave with new tools, feel rested, be radically empowered, and beyond all things, nourished. 

Check out this great summary from one of the retreat leaders Carrie Johnson on her blog TravelingYogiBear.

https://travelingyogibear.com/2016/09/01/nourish-retreat-planning/

We hope you will join us in November!

In Health, 

Teanna Gentry 
Director of Operations