Tag Archives: mindfulness

Spiritually Empowered Women…

Women all around the world are beginning to realize that being spiritually connected is their key to happiness and abundance. As they connect to Spirit, they listen and trust, and begin to realize their true value. When connected to Spirit, they find that magic happens and prosperity flows.

Women are spearheading our future. And spiritual women are leading the way. They’re "tapped in" and they’re using their innate gifts to serve the world. Spiritually empowered women aren’t concerned with getting ahead at the detriment of others. They won't do jobs or perform services just for the money.

Neither can they take unconscious advantage of the Earth's natural resources and her inhabitants. That was the old way. The new way is feminine. It is full of collaboration, community, creativity, fostering, nurturing and supporting one another.

Spiritually Empowered Women

So, you may wonder, how do women become spiritually empowered? The answers are simple…

They think less and feel more:

They realize their body always knows the truth. They tap their femininity, intuition, softness, gut feelings and embody their nurturing essence. They use tools like yoga and meditation to move their awareness from their head to their heart. They also nurture themselves with massages, hot baths, and eat healthy meals.

Within their body is where the deepest part of their essence abides. And the freer they feel to trust themselves the more they develop the courage the change themselves and to change and serve others.

They start where they are at:

They don’t wait until they finish the next course, or book, or work their way up to a six figure income. Spiritually empowered women begin living their dream life, now. They question that little voice that says “you’re not ready yet.” They instinctively know that if they don't love what they do, no amount of money will make them love it.

Each spiritually empowered woman has a unique purpose here on earth. That purpose becomes their passion and their service to the world. They do what they love, and they do it NOW! They are fully aware that the world needs the gifts that only they have. This enables them to raise their energetic vibration through living in alignment and balance with their Spirit.

They commit themselves to remaining mindful and to live with awareness:

They remain open, willing, tolerant and forgiving. They set intentions daily that re-affirm their deepest commitment to living a spiritually infused life. By creating daily rituals they reinforce and ignite their spirit. They familiarize themselves with their innermost thoughts and beliefs; those separate from their family, friends or partner. They challenge their fearful and limited beliefs, consciously releasing the past.

They create a sense of community:

By aligning with like-minded souls who nurture, inspire, encourage, support, they are able to remain accountable. They may join a women's circle or brainstorming group. They might attend community events at a yoga studio. They learn to uplift and empower other women. Spiritually empowered women see other women's success and beauty as proof of their own potential.

They are bold and take risks:

Spiritually empowered women are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They don't feel the need to wait to be praised, discovered, or validated by another. They don't worry about what other people think. Oftentimes they don’t follow another’s path but instead clear their own path by walking it courageously.

Spiritually empowered women strive to be living fully in the present moment. They have learned to love themselves without judgment or undue criticism. They surrender their desires and thoughts and reunite with the love essence that is always within. They share, serve, and smile and the Universe rewards them for it.

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Veganism – Getting Started

Adding love and compassion to your life with a plant-based diet is not as hard as you might think.

Everyone has heard the phrase, “every journey begins with the first step.” And that first step is prompted by desire. There are many reasons to transition to a vegan lifestyle and everyone’s reason is going to be slightly different. A large percentage of vegans believe that there is a solid link between animal foods and a host of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension for example. Some people adapt a plant-based diet because they simply love animals and don’t want to be a repository for their corpses. There are other reasons like the environment, religion, weight loss and the list goes on. Whatever particular reason you choose, you will inevitably end up widening the circle of compassion in this world. Your mind and body will soar to new levels health and well-being.

George Bernard Shaw: “Animals are my friends…and I don't eat my friends.”

When starting off, don’t try to be a perfect vegan, just do the best you can. Every day it gets a little bit easier. With a little time and experimentation you’ll find a strategy that works for you. If you’re one of those rare individuals that feels eliminating all meat, fish, and dairy foods all at once works for you, then do it. If you need more time to adjust to a vegan diet, just take it slowly and start eliminating non-vegan items from your diet every day (or week). Make changes that you feel comfortable with, at your own pace. Some start by giving up red meat and fowl but continue eating fish (Pescatarian). Others give up fish in addition to meat and poultry but continue to consume dairy products and eggs (lacto-ovo Vegetarian).

For many people it helps to network with other vegans through blogs, web sites etc. You will soon learn much from the vegan community and will become a more informed consumer.

Stay away from processed foods, fast foods and avoid ingredients like hydrogenated/trans fats and refined sugars. Read labels, some companies remove the word “animal” from their ingredient labels to deceive the consumer. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t know what it is, or if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

It’s not all hard to eat out at non-vegan restaurants if you’re a little selective. It just takes some time to learn what to order and adjust. Some restaurants now inform their customers that they’re “vegan friendly.” Quite a few restaurants will accommodate you and cook your veggies etc. without dairy or lard. It’s not always a good idea to proclaim you’re vegan because there’s still a lot of people that don’t understand that. Simply tell them you’re vegetarian and allergic to dairy (milk, butter & eggs). They’re more likely to take your request seriously if you say you have an allergy.

The best food you can eat is the food you prepare for yourself. Although some people are challenged to find sufficient time or energy to cook, but when they can, look at cooking as creative time. Put on some appropriate music, have fun and create. Whenever possible set some time aside during the week to make some vegan “go to” options. These will come in handy at a later date when you’re tired or short on time. Cooked grains last quite a few days in the refrigerator (like rice, quinoa & farro). Add a quick stir-fry to them or make a cold salad with cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. Learn to sprout seeds (alfalfa, lentil seeds and mung beans are easy). Consider starting a small indoor herb garden, growing cilantro, basil and rosemary are popular choices and are simple to grow.

Mindfulness is one of the most important things a vegan can practice. Mindfulness itself can and will change your life and the way you eat. Never eat in front of a computer screen or television set. Instead sit somewhere quietly or with family or friends and enjoy the food. The practice of mindfulness, combine with eating slowly will help you eat less and enjoy food more. You will also find yourself practicing mindfulness in other areas of your life.

Remind yourself daily that the key to kicking meat and dairy is giving yourself enough time to feel the wonderful and extraordinary changes as they take place in your mind and body.

Stay tuned…Coming soon “Vegan Substitutes for Animal Products”

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Choose Peace – Embrace Life


Choose Peace – Embrace LifeAs humans our bodies have preconditioned responses to threats and/or challenges, whether they’re real or perceived, anything from the attack of a tiger to hostile words from a coworker tends to prompt the “fight or flight” reaction. This automatic response triggers the production and release of adrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstreams. Unless we are confronted with an actual physical attack (in which case we need to fight or run away), the fight or flight response can itself be physically harmful and literally cause pain and suffering. If this response arises without real situations, we tend to succumb to a series of conditioned or habitual responses. In our relationships with each other, we may see the other person as our enemy and fail to recognize that they may be facing their own set of fears and challenges.

So how can we prevent responding to another as if they were a charging tiger? One way is to consciously choose a peaceful interaction which will defuse an otherwise awkward, unfavorable or even aggressive reaction. By becoming mindful of yourself you expand your awareness and develop your ability to remain calmly present in nearly any situation. You can always choose to focus your attention on your breath and the sensations you feel pulsing through your body, and this will bring you back in touch with the universal needs that we all share as human beings.

Spiritual traditions down through the ages and recent scientific research both agree that focusing on your breath and remaining aware of bodily sensations have huge benefits for us as we relate to others and the world at large. We are then no longer bound to acting out old habitual patterns and we have the opportunity to become aware of the reaction, and remain present with it, enabling us to choose to stay connected with the very source of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, in turn giving us a larger sense of life and keeping us in touch with our basic and collective human needs.

There are many ways to choose peace and embrace life and some of the easiest are…

Be grateful. The more things you can find to be grateful for on a regular basis, the more you will improve your mental, physical and emotional health, along with your overall outlook on life. Gratitude stimulates the production of the hormonal neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for feeling good and influencing human behavior in many positive ways. Keep reminding yourself that a little gratitude goes a long way, and communicating your gratitude in words and actions will greatly increase your personal peace.

Become your own best friend. This promotes a sense of peace that radiates from within. The Buddha has reportedly said “You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Loving-kindness and compassion start with you and once you’re able to recognize that they originate within you, you can generate a feeling of warmth and love for others so that they may also get a taste of that peace and know it’s the same peace that resides within them.

Practice becoming empathetic. Empathy and compassion are powerful tools for making peace with others. The active principle of empathy is found through understanding, to “stand under” rather than to judge from above. Seek to become more sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings and you’ll automatically become tolerant and forgiving; essential qualities for establishing peace and embracing life.

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500

Mindfulness: Benefits & Cultivation…

Mindfulness benefits…

As hinted at by the definitions in the previous post, “Mindfulness – What’s the Buzz”, increasing mindfulness helps one to become more focused, more creative, happier, healthier, more relaxed, and in control, and obviously, it can also help you more fully appreciate each precious “now” moment (which is all we have in reality).

There have been quite a few recent studies related to mindfulness and they have demonstrated that mindfulness training has the potential to:

1. Improve mental function, including memory and academic performance. In one particular study, students who did attention-building exercises had increased focus (with less mind-wandering), better short-term memory, and better performance on exams like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is believed to be un-coachable.

2. Greatly help with weight loss and increased awareness, resulting in eating healthier foods. Mindful eating is paying attention to each and every bite and chewing slowly while paying attention to the sensory experience of eating (Harvard Medical School, “Womens Health”). Those who participated in mindfulness studies also lower calorie foods, even when they were hungrier than control groups.

3. Lead to better decision-making abilities. A number of experiments associate mindfulness meditation and the development of a natural tendency to be more mindfully aware with being less prone to the “sunk-cost bias,” a common tendency to stick with lost causes, such as a toxic relationship or dead-end job, simply because of one’s time and energy that has already been invested. Source: British Psychological Society (BPS) Research Digest.

4. Reduce stress and help cope with a variety of chronic health issues. A meta-analysis of 20 empirical reports found mindfulness increased both mental and physical well-being in patients with chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, and more according to Elsevier Health Sciences.

5. Improve immune function and create positive, physical changes in the brain that produced a sense of psychological well-being. The researchers measured brain activity before and after volunteers were trained in mindfulness meditation for eight-weeks, before determining these results (Psychosomatic Medicine).

These are in addition to all the other brain benefits we’ve seen from mindfulness meditation, e.g.; better focus, more creativity, less anxiety and depression, and more compassion, just to name a few.

How to Practice Cultivating Mindfulness…

Unfortunately, becoming mindful isn’t as simple as flipping a switch and then all of a sudden you’re locked into mindfulness for the rest of your life, although it is something you can cultivate.

By curbing distractions and just refusing to multitask for a time can help you focus more, but distraction-arresting tools might turn out to just be a sort of crutch. True mindfulness requires that you be more aware in even the busiest and most stressful situations and this is often when its usefulness as a tool is most appreciated.

An easy and effective way to get started is to set up triggers (or cues) to pull you back into the present moment whenever your mind begins to wander throughout that day. Take eating for example, remember to savor each bite, putting your fork down in between. While at work, you can set an chime, leave a post-it note or other reminder at regular intervals to remind you to pause and bring awareness into the moment. By pausing before you respond others will also help you to become more mindful in your relationships. Practices like receptive appreciation and consciously letting go of control work well to help you return to the present.

In the GRE study cited (#1 above), the mindfulness training that lead to better memory and learning involved the following six steps:

1. Sitting in an upright posture on the floor with legs crossed (or in a chair with legs straight) and gazing downward.

2. Distinguishing between naturally arising thoughts and elaborate thinking processes.

3. Minimizing the distracting quality of past and future concerns by reframing them as mental visualizations occurring in the present moment.

4. Using awareness of the breath (while breathing naturally) as an anchor for attention during meditation.

5. Repeatedly counting consecutive inhalations (or exhalations) for up to 21 counts.

6. Allowing the mind to return to a restful state naturally instead trying to suppress the the constant flow of thoughts.

This training may be called “mindfulness meditation” and it is one of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness. It’s an exercise for the brain, and it’s good to do it throughout all your daily activities, applying it to everything you encounter or experience.

Mindfulness is a concept reflected throughout Buddhism and no doubt the Buddha, who taught the middle way between secular (worldly) and spiritual concerns, would have agreed that there is a time for using mindfulness to discover both inner and outer truths, a time for using it to survive various challenges and tests, and a time to let go of mindfulness so that practical problems and situations may be addressed and used for creative and meaningful changes and purposes.

*Of related interest, click on: The Importance of Meditation to Yoga Practice

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.

Mindfulness – What’s the Buzz?


It seems as if the word “mindfulness” is seen and heard just about everywhere today, used to promote everything from weight loss regimes to being more productive at home and on the job. Being the hot topic that it is, mindfulness (like meditation) is getting more attention as more and more  studies reveal its many benefits. In some circles it may be viewed as psycho-babble, but there’s mounting evidence that being more mindful will enhance nearly every single aspect of your life; and this is spite of some common misconceptions; one being, it doesn’t take hours of sitting in padmasana (the lotus pose) to get you there.

“Mindfulness” has become a catch-all word that has many synonyms (awareness, attention, focus, presence, vigilance, etc.). The antonyms are not simply “mindlessness,” but also distractedness, inattention, apathy, heedlessness, etc.).

Mindfulness is a state of mind but can also be practiced as a type of meditation. Ironically, mindfulness can’t be developed by force. Sheer determination and willpower won’t do you much good at all. As a matter of fact, it will likely hinder progress. A mindful state is not attained by struggle. It gradually grows by simple realizing; letting go and just settling down in the present moment and allowing yourself to get comfortable with whatever experience is presenting itself. Now, this does not mean that mindfulness will happen all by itself. Energy is needed, effort is required. But this effort is not to be mistaken for force, instead it is cultivated by a gentle effort, almost an “effortless” effort. So the meditator cultivates the state of mindfulness by unceasingly reminding themselves in a gently way to maintain conscious awareness of whatever is happening right now. Perseverance and a light, easy touch are the secrets. Mindfulness is cultivated and deepened by constantly “pulling” oneself back into a state of awareness, gently, ever so gently. Whenever you’re exhibiting the state of mindfulness, you’ll find you’re fully engrossed in whatever happens to be going on around you.

You can also think of mindfulness as allowing yourself to be fully in the present moment. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center) defines it as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally; as if your life depended on it.” Although that seems to be a simple definition, being engaged 100% doesn’t necessarily come easy, especially in this modern world of endless distractions. It means actively listening and using all your senses (in even mundane situations like washing the dishes or getting dressed in the morning.

Rooted in Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is considered extremely important on the path to enlightenment. Enlightenment (aka, bodhi) is a state of being where greed, hatred, delusion and other forms of negativity have been transcended and are absent from the mind. Mindfulness is actually an antidote to delusion and is considered as such a “siddhi” (a power developed from spiritual practice).

In a state of mindfulness, you see yourself exactly as you are. You see your own selfish behavior. You see your own suffering. And you see how you create that suffering. You see how you hurt others. You pierce right through the layer of lies that you normally tell yourself and you see what is really there. Mindfulness leads to wisdom

Mindfulness is not about trying to achieve anything, or make anything happen, it is just looking, observing without judging. So, desire and aversion are not involved in any way and competition and struggle really have no place in the process. Mindfulness does not aim at any particular thing, it just sees whatever is already present. The mindful state has a broader, deeper and larger function than concentration. It is an all-encompassing function, whereas concentration is exclusive, it singles out one item and ignores everything else. Mindfulness is all inclusive, standing back from any sort of focused attention and watching with a broad perspective, quickly realizing any changes that occur.

If you want to grow in mindfulness, patient acceptance of “what is” is the only course to follow. It grows one way and only one way; by continuous practice of mindfulness itself, by simply returning to that mindful state, and that means being extremely patient with yourself. Progress cannot be forced and it can’t be hurried, it proceeds according to own pace.

In summary, mindfulness is all about deliberately tuning in and being consciously aware of every experience. In William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence” he describes the results of this kind of attentiveness… 

“To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.” 

Stay tuned, We will continue on this subject with “Mindfulness Benefits” and “How to Practice Cultivating Mindfulness”

*Of related interest, click on: The Importance of Meditation to Yoga Practice

*Rae Indigo is ERYT500.