How to Meditate

Anyone can learn to meditate as it is a fairly simple process but it is the discipline of daily meditation that is not easy!

Here are some pointers and instructions to help you get started if you have never meditated before. It is good to become familiar with these things before going to the meditations page and selecting your fist meditation. Have a friendly attitude toward learning to meditate. Rather than making it another “to do” on your long list, choose to meditate because you desire to connect to God through your spirit. Do not bring judgement into your meditation as to whether or not you are doing it just right. And let all your striving go… just show up and be still.

Where: Do everything possible, to have a place in your home that is set aside for you to have solitude and silence. Above is a photo of my window seat at home. It is one of the places where I like to sit and my goldfish and plants are close by. Your “spot” can be anywhere in your home but put something there to make it special for you. If you are meditating after your yoga practice then you may just remain on your mat. If you are doing your daily meditation separately from your yoga workout, then you may sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. If you are sitting on the floor you may want to sit on a cushion or folded blanket. It’s OK to give yourself permission to have a sacred place that is just for you, where you will not be bothered. This is a good example to your family, demonstrating that finding inner peace and calm is important to everyone’s overall physical and spiritual health. I would encourage you to teach this to your children while they are young.

How: Don’t fuss too much with how you are sitting although you do want to sit with the best posture that you are able to. Engage the muscles in your core to hold you upright and let all other muscles in your body relax. Especially relax your face, neck and shoulders. Now, close your eyes and take your attention to your breath. Breathe in through your nose drawing your breath deep into your belly and then up into your chest. After your lungs are completely full of air, begin a slow, controlled exhale. By breathing out slowly it will help your body to relax more. Keep repeating this relaxing slow breath. Now comes the most difficult part – allowing your mind a rest from all of its daily, continuous chatter. Clear your mind of worry, thoughts and “to do” lists.. Give yourself permission to “just” sit in silence with no thoughts. It is not an easy thing to do but over time with practice it will begin to come more easily to you. If thoughts continue to come to mind, gently send them off like passing clouds and keep returning your attention to your mindful breath. Practice this slow breath and sit with a clear mind, begin your practice with just two or three minutes.

Once you know where you will meditate each day and you know how to sit and do the basic breathing, you are ready to choose one of the meditations from the Yoga Bird meditations page. Do your very best to not think other thoughts but just listen to the meditation that I will be sharing with you. You may select a meditation by length or by subject. If you find one that particularly speaks to you, listen to it for several days so that it become a part of the fabric of your soul.

Psalm 119:15 (EVS) “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

I pray that this practice of meditating will relieve stress and help you to relax. I pray that the inner mindfulness that you will master will help you to savor life, change habits, to live more simply and slowly and to be present in everything that you do. Most importantly I pray that once you get your body and mind to sit quietly, that you will be able to listen with your spirit and to hear the voice of God speaking to you. Jesus frequently went away to find solitude and silence so that He could listen and commune with his Father.

May Love be with you, as you practice.

December 26, 2013 1 Comment

Benefits of Meditation

The other week, I sat down at my computer to pay bills online. The next thing I knew, about 10 minutes had passed and I had just purchased a children’s book from Amazon! Ha! I have no idea why my crazy train of thought (and my clicking-skills) took me from paying bills to buying children’s books. Our minds are a beautiful, amazing creation but often they are off and running and a bit out of our conscious control.

Our stream of present thoughts are interconnected with our past and unfortunately, studies show that we tend to ponder (re-hash) negative thoughts much more than positive ones. We are very capable of shaping life-affirming stories but because of our sinful nature we tend to pay more attention to our negative stories than our positive ones.

Of course, God, in his infinite love and wisdom knows this about our minds and our thoughts and therefore instructs us to be vigilant to meditate on His perfect advice. With meditation we learn to move ourselves past our anxious thoughts, control our scattered brains and calm our constant mind-chatter, bringing us the reward of a better life.

Joshua 1:8 (NLT) “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

Romans 12: 2 (NLT) . . . “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

These benefits to our mind/soul immediately translate into our physical body as well. Meditating on the things of God will decrease blood pressure and hypertension. Meditating can lower cholesterol, improve our immune system and decrease, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. It helps with managing stress at work and with patience and forgiveness in our relationships.

Psalm 104:34 “May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Begin a practice of meditating for a few minutes every day, it will change your life for the better! If you don’t know how or where to start, begin with the meditations that are prepared for you here on the Yoga Bird website. You can do this in your home or take your smart phone and a set of headphones outside to a favorite spot. Even if you choose not to do a short yoga class each day, try not to skip meditating on the things of God each day, for these benefits are greater than those of exercise.

I Timothy 4:8 (CJB) “Although physical exercise does have some value, godliness is valuable for everything, since it holds promise both for the present life and for the life to come.”

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Sweet Sleep

It’s one of my earliest memories. I was three, my brother, Rob, five and it was nap time, the most dreaded part of the day. Rob and I, being the youngest of the brood of nine, were the only ones left that had to interrupt our glorious play to stop and take a nap. Ugh, I didn’t want to miss a thing!! So how does a mother of nine get her tiny house quiet enough for the two youngest to go to sleep while the other seven are running around? – – Her secret? A very dark room and the magic FAN! On HIGH. A blanket wrapped around each tiny head pretending to be Batman and Little Red Riding Hood. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My seasoned mother knew her children needed to sleep or they would pay the price, in fact the whole family suffers the consequences from a family member who hasn’t had enough sleep. To this day, nothing can lull me to sleep quite like the sound of an old, metal box fan. They sound much better than the flimsy, plastic ones. (I always have my eye out for one when I go to auctions and thrift stores.) When my husband and I were dating in college and I learned that he always went to sleep with a fan running, I knew we were kindred spirits.

So… who in your family, does not get enough sleep? Your kids? You? Starting today, how about you make seven to eight hours of sleep, a priority in your life? Wow! Think how good that would feel. Getting enough sleep will extend your lifespan, prevent weight gain, increase your immune system, ward of stress, help you to be more patient and make you a pleasant member of your family. To make it happen, you’ll need a plan and discipline to be successful. I encourage you to do ALL you can to sleep well, before going down the road of using sleep aids. Here are some ideas that have been helpful to me.

Set the scene. Keep your bedroom for sleeping only. No computers or TV. Make your room as dark as possible. Install pulldown blackout shades if needed. Keep your bedroom cool while sleeping. Invest in an awesome pillow. I like the Tony Little HoMedics Micropedic Sleep Pillow which runs about $40.00. Worth every penny! Get a decent set of bedsheets and different weighted blankets for the seasons. Buy a beautiful smelling candle and create a space that’s yours and is for sleeping! All this can be done for under a $100.00, the extra sleep will make everything better and it will improve your over all health, saving you thousands in avoided Dr visits.

Eat to Sleep: What we eat plays huge roll in either aiding our sleep or disrupting our sleep. Here is a good article from the blog “Pick The Brain” giving you a list of the best food suggestions to get a good night’s rest! Check it out and make the needed changes to your diet. Set good examples for your children and teach them how to eat right, to sleep better and live their best life.

Be Brave: If you are suffering from true insomnia it is possible that your nervous system has become upset because of underlying, unresolved issues – most often involving relationships. Through prayer ask God for help. Gather up your courage to seek professional advice from a counselor who can help you work through these difficulties. There is no shame in that and a noble thing to do. It is scary! But has the potential for great rewards, not just to your sleep but for bringing calm and peace to whole your life.

Making sleep a priority in our busy, bright, fast paced world is smart and good preventive living.

Making sleep a priority in our busy, bright, fast paced world is smart and good preventive living. Be brave and make the changes that you need to, to get a full night’s rest. And remember, you could always try . . . wrapping a blanket around your head and asking Grandma if you may have her old metal box fan. Ha! 🙂
What’s your “Why?”

Written by guest blogger and new Yoga Bird, Julie Jarnagin

(Part 1)

I’m so excited and feel blessed to be here. When I discovered Yoga Bird a few months ago, I told Joyce that I would love to share about my journey as a new Yoga Bird.

A little about me: I’m 35-years-old. I live in Oklahoma with my husband, two wonderful active boys who are seven and almost two. I’m an author; I write sweet and inspirational romance novels. And I work full time for a local homebuilder.

My yoga background: I’ve been interested in yoga for many years. The pace of it and the focus on not just the body, but the mind and the spirit, have always been appealing to me. However, I never found classes that fit my schedule or aligned with my Christian values like Yoga Bird does.

Taking time away from my family is something I don’t take lightly. So before subscribing to Yoga Bird, I looked at the “why” behind the decision. For me it was:

* Being healthier and calmer makes me a better wife and a better mother to my boys.

* It’s a way to take care of my body that I actually enjoy—not dread.

* It slows me down in the midst of my busy life and schedule.

I’m so thankful that God led me here, and I’m excited about what’s to come.

Tell me about you? What brings you here? What draws you to yoga and/or Christian meditation?

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment