Holistic Health & Wellness

Mindfulness Meditation to Reduce Anxiety During COVID-19

Mindfulness means intentionally bringing our awareness into the present moment, without judgment.

Meditation is the practice of using a technique to train our attention and awareness, intentionally. 

The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

But if our present includes the uncertainty of a global pandemic, what should we do?

This is an unprecedented time. Our minds are occupied with a new “normal” and overwhelming input from outside sources.  On a daily basis we are scrambling to multitask like never before: coping with stay-at-home restrictions, discerning the best health information for self and family, conducting business through Zoom, guiding our children’s academics, dealing with economic loss.  Our melancholy increases when we reminisce about “how things used to be,” our anxiety skyrockets when considering the uncertainty of the future, and the present is too uncomfortable to accept.

Where can we possibly find peace?

Practicing mindfulness shifts our thinking to a more manageable mindset where accepting the present moment brings relief from stress.  Mindfulness teaches us how to stop resisting our current reality so our energy can be transformed into compassion, appreciation, balance and peace, right here, right now.  Yes, even in a global pandemic.

Bringing our awareness to the present moment takes practice and we invite you to meditate with us.                                                                              

Meditation is a technique for inner peace and wellness, a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. “It has helped millions of people around the world. It has certainly helped me find inner calm and emotional balance to live a happier and healthier life.” (Guru Ranjit)

Guru Ranjit has been teaching mindfulness meditation for over 25 years.  He founded Charlotte Meditation in 2004 and Youth Meditation, a non-profit, in 2014. In addition to private clients, we have helped over 6,000 students and teachers in the Charlotte area discover peace and rebuild confidence.

https://www.charlottemeditation.com/programs/8-week-learn-to-meditate-program

We offer classes in Mindfulness Meditation, Meditation Therapy, Mantra Meditation, Meditation Teachers Training, Corporate Wellness, Laughter Yoga and Ayurveda food and nutrition programs. 

What Does Virtual Mindfulness Meditation Include?  We can help you build the following skills into your everyday activities.  With consistent practice in times of peace as well as in times of stress, you will discover that being present is the key to balanced, joyful living in spite of every uncertainty around you.

Mindful breathing:  Conscious and regulated breathing is a simple way of training your attention and awareness toward the present moment.

Positive attention and thinking:  Intentional cultivation of positive thoughts creates relaxation and inner peace. 

Loving-kindness meditation: Loving-kindness meditation seeks to grow kindness in how we feel about ourselves and others. Research has shown that a daily practice of loving-kindness meditation can reduce self-criticism, pain and grief, and can increase tolerance for annoying behaviors, foster social connectedness, and cultivate compassion for oneself and others.

Mindful mantra meditation:  A mantra is a sound or phrase that is meaningful to a person. Mantra meditation includes repeating this sound or phrase to help you calmly embrace the present moment.

To explore our additional relaxation programs, please check out our special programs here:

Laughter Yoga: Laugh for more Joyful Living!

Laughter Yoga lifts your spirits!

Your body cannot heal without play.

Your mind cannot heal without laughter.

Your soul cannot heal without joy. 

Laugh with us. 

Laughter is the best medicine for stress relief. 

https://www.charlottemeditation.com/programs/laughter-yoga

Corporate Wellness:  Mindfulness in the Workplace Program 

Charlotte Meditation’s Mindfulness seminars are 45 to 60-minute interactive workshops designed to educate your employees on the benefits of meditation and how to build a mindfulness practice for life. 

 https://www.charlottemeditation.com/programs/corporate-wellness

Sign up for a free session online today!

Meditation Therapy: A Life-Changing Combination

Meditation.  Therapy.  Two different words, two distinct experiences.  Or so I thought….

I have experienced a lot of great therapy off and on over the years.  My nagging feelings of dissatisfaction and annoyance with the world (in spite of many successes) are often what landed me in “the chair.” Of course, the issues went deeper.  We often ended up exploring (and re-exploring) my role as an Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACOAs, unite!) and all the over-achieving perfectionism and guilt that came along for the ride. I always felt better; I always made progress.

In 2008 those nagging feelings began to arise once again.  Now I was older, had achieved even MORE accolades and recognition, but the dissatisfaction and worthlessness were back.  WHY??

I decided to take a chance on mindfulness meditation lessons after reading about Charlotte Meditation in the Observer. “Find peace and happiness”?  Sure, why not?  I had always tried traditional therapy, now I figured I would go back to my bygone hippy-esque days and give meditation a shot.  But is this “therapy”??  Before 2008, I would have told you, “no.”  Now, looking back, I know differently.

Originally, I was dealing with anxiety, depression, trouble with sleeping, an eating disorder, looming alcohol habits and along the way came illness in the form of breast cancer, deep dissatisfaction with my marriage, and grief over the passing of a close friend.  I am still astonished that my desire to conquer mere dissatisfaction and annoyance with life through a practice of mindfulness meditation ended up being a lifeline to deal with more specific underlying and overwhelming issues. I now have gratitude for my cancer experience, I am happily married (to the same guy!), and my friend’s passing has inspired me to live more fully, more mindfully. Life events happen to all of us, but I have a way to deal with them, calmly and with ease.

What looms on my horizon? Finding my “second act” in my career, letting go of motherly anxiety as our 20-something daughter finds her path, and the realities of aging.  It gives me great confidence knowing that I have a practice in my pocket guiding me towards inner wisdom and peace. I can handle anything, big or small, through skills learned in meditation therapy!

Mindfulness Meditation as a therapeutic option simply works.  Learn more and sign up for a free intro session today!

~Kathy Babula~

 

 

 

Meditation and Breathing Techniques Can Help You Alleviate Anxiety and Panic

Find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or fearful due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertain circumstances it has brought? The CDC assures us that it’s a natural reaction to the stress of having our normal routines and usual social interactions changed so drastically in such an abrupt manner. While social distancing is necessary to preserve our physical health and well-being, it is also important to remember to take steps to maintain our mental health.

A widespread health scare can cause you to have:

  • Trouble sleeping or focusing
  • Changes to your diet and sleep patterns
  • Deterioration or flareups of chronic health conditions
  • Increased reliance on alcohol or other substances as a coping mechanism

Meditation and Anxiety

Meditation and its role in treating anxiety is gaining more attention as more people and health experts explore mindfulness and how that approach to life can ease stress and assist you in better responding to things in your daily life that are triggers for you.

Confronting Anxiety with Mindfulness

  1. To begin, open yourself to what is happening at the present moment. The intention is to purposely make yourself open to be more in tune to what is happening right now, without focusing on any singular thing or allowing a worry to distract you. Allow yourself to receive as many ideas, feelings, and sensations as possible.
  2. Concentrate on your breathing. Take long, slow breaths taking the time to hear and feel each inhalation and exhalation as air enters and leaves the body.
  3. Listen to your body and pay attention to how it reacts to your awareness of the moment as you slow down to focus on your breath.

Guided Meditation with Guru Ranjit

Charlotte Meditation was founded by meditation master Guru Ranjit, who had the opportunity to receive instruction in meditation, yoga, and ayurvedic health practices from Guru Dhirendra Brahmachari, a renowned expert in mindfulness practices. Ranjit spent two years studying with Guru Brhmachari on a regular basis.

Guru Ranjit chose to further his studies into mindful practices by visiting numerous monasteries and shrines in India and Nepal to receive instruction from the monks. What Ranjit learned about mindfulness and successfully applied in his own life gave him the inner peace to deal with the stresses faced while he worked in the corporate world.

Are you self-isolating and/or working from home due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak? Find a quiet, comfortable place in your home and play this video to let Guru Ranjit guide you through a meditation exercise you can do at home twice a day to help you cope with your anxiety in a healthy, productive manner.

How Meditation and Mindfulness Soothes Anxiety

Mindfulness helps by allowing you to deal with difficult feelings by learning to experience them as they come without over-analyzing them. Mindfulness encourages you to acknowledge and validate all your feelings, an action you can take that assists you in refraining from worry that only increases your anxiety level. It is better to experience the feelings, painful memories, and worrisome thoughts honestly than to try and suppress them.

Meditation is a helpful mindfulness exercise as it encourages you to be present in the moment, finding a release from painful memories of the past or fears of what may come in the future. We have the tendency to use our energy in a negative way, attempting to suppress painful memories or push down fearful thoughts. Mindfulness encourages us to embrace all our feelings and thoughts so that once we have accomplished this, we look deeper and understand the root cause of our anxieties and fears. This is where true healing can begin.

Dr. Bob Stahl explains:

“In essence, practicing mindfulness is a process of learning to trust and stay with feelings of discomfort rather than trying to escape from or analyze them. This often leads to a remarkable shift; time and again your feelings will show you everything you need to know about them—and something you need to know for your own well-being.”

 

Eventually, coronavirus will be adequately addressed, and we will all return to our normal routines. While you are at home with some extra time on your hands, take the time to learn about our Mindfulness Meditation Program. By learning valuable tools that will aid you in achieving calmness, you can find the ability to relax and enjoy every aspect of your life.

For more information about Charlotte Meditation, email or call 704.277.6049.

Mindful Eating, Mindful Living

2020. The start of a new decade. Time to turn over a new leaf and set some goals.  Let me guess, are “manage my stress” and “lose some weight” on your list?  Consider this: you can kill two birds with one stone by committing to a practice of mindfulness.

“Mindfulness:  paying attention to the present on purpose without judgment.”  We live much of our lives without awareness, unconsciously hustling from one task to the next, attached to the Almighty Check List.  Never mind what is happening right now in front of us, we look to the outcome which isn’t even here yet.  Crazy, right?  If you are feeling frazzled, it could be that you are constantly living in a future that has not yet arrived.  That’s where mindfulness comes in.

Chances are, you are trained to produce results whether it is in your profession and/or your role in your family or your circle of friends.  Our brains respond to this “get it done now” stress by resorting to a “fight or flight” reaction which isn’t just an attitude but a very real physiological event.  You are training yourself to overreact to whatever comes down the pike.  Aren’t you exhausted??

Mindfulness is your ticket to reducing stress and anxiety.  A good practitioner will teach you practical skills that help you stay grounded in the present by simply noticing and accepting what is really happening inside you and around you instead of mindlessly resisting and covering up stress with hurried distraction, overindulgence or procrastination.

Which brings us to that “lose some weight” thing.  What better place to start a mindfulness practice than through mindful eating?  If you look at the big picture, what gets in the way of eating thoughtfully and nutritionally is often a lifestyle full of stress.  Perhaps you have lost weight (again and again) only to gain it back.  Instead of turning to another food plan alone, why not give mindful eating a try?

An easy way to start is with a raisin (or a grape.) (OK, you might want to practice this first time by yourself if you are worried that others will think you have gone cray-cray…) Turn off the TV, put the phone away  and focus on your food.  Approach it with all senses.  As you pick up the raisin, feel its texture: wrinkly? smooth?  See its color: is it really purple?  Now roll it around in your fingertips and smell it. (Yes, I said smell it…with caution. Sucking it up your nostril is not allowed.) What do you notice?

Now put it in your mouth and, without chewing, roll it around and again notice texture.  Slowly begin to bite into your raisin and notice what happens….sweetness? tartness?  saliva out the wazoo?  Chew without hurrying until that anticipated moment when you swallow.  Take a deep breath and notice how you feel?

Now a raisin is a wild and crazy experiment but imagine taking a more mindful approach to eating a meal: slowly, deliberately with as much focus on the senses as you can muster. There is a good chance that eating with such awareness will not only relax you but will also help you to notice when you are full.  Mindfulness is all about mind-body connection and that one little raisin can put you on a path to a better relationship with your food which means better nutrition, less stress about diet and healthy “what’s right for you” weight loss.

Mindful eating is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mindful living.  Practicing mindfulness skills on a daily basis has proven to be life-changing for me. Learning to be aware of and manage my over-thinking means knowing what to do and what not to do with wise responses instead of knee-jerk reactions. I live with more balance and clarity, knowing when and where I want to put my precious energy.  Instead of spending thoughts and emotions on trying to control situations and people, I have learned to let things unfold naturally and calmly, no manipulation needed.  Being a perfectionist, I am astonished at how far I’ve come, and I owe it all to Ranjit Deora’s Mindfulness Meditation program.

I spent much of my life seeking “the answer” to my ruthless anxieties, including twelve-step programs and private therapists.  While I gained something from all of them, it is through Ranjit’s simple but powerful lessons that I have found tremendous relief and joy.  Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.  I am not a salesperson, I do not mean for this to be a promotional piece, but I can tell you without a single doubt that eight one-hour lessons at Charlotte Meditation have given me tools for a lifetime. Trust me, they can do the same for you and could be the best self-care you give yourself as the new decade begins.  Here’s to a 2020 full of mindful self-discovery!

~Kathy Babula~

Ayurveda: Healing with Foods and Meditation

Ayurveda, or the science of life, is one of the oldest systems of natural health care. Originating in India over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is now considered one of the leading forms of holistic medicine available in the West.

Concept

Ayurveda treats the root cause of illnesses, not just the symptoms. With the use of special herbs, massage, specific yoga/meditation techniques and sound nutritional advice, Ayurveda enhances the physical and mental health of both distressed and healthy individuals.

Ayurveda is Safe

Ayurveda medicine and other therapies are very beneficial for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Ayurvedic preparations are safe as long as they are prescribed by a professional practitioner.

Ayurvedic Dosha ( Constitutions)

Ayurveda describes three biological humors or psycho/physiological energies called doshas. These three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. Each of these doshas are further divided into five sub-doshas. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us.

For good health and well-being, the three doshas within you need to be in balance.

Balancing Vata dosha

The characteristics of Vata include dryness, coolness, roughness, lightness and constant motion; qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Vata dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Vata are sweet, sour and salty, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet. Cooked foods, served hot or warm, are ideal for balancing Vata. Leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and summer squash such as zucchini and lauki squash are the best vegetables. Avoid or minimize raw foods and salads. Drink lots of warm water through the day. Suitable spices are turmeric, cumin, coriander, dried ginger and black pepper.

Balancing Pitta Dosha:

The characteristics of Pitta include sharpness, heat, and acidity; qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Pitta dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Pitta are sweet, bitter and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet.

Cooling foods are wonderful for balancing Pitta dosha. Sweet juicy fruits, especially pears, can cool a fiery Pitta. Milk, Rice, coconut  and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes are soothing, Pitta-pacifying foods. Drink sweet lassi to help enhance digestion or drink room temperature water.

Spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel offer healing wisdom.

Balancing Kapha Dosha:

The characteristics of Kapha include heaviness, softness, sweetness, cold, stability and unctuousness, qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Kapha dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet

Light, warm foods help balance Kapha. Clear vegetable soups with beans and diced vegetables, stews made with vegetables, dhal soups and grain/vegetable are good for balancing Kapha.  Stay away from too much salt. Drink warm water through the day.

Use spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, dried ginger, asafetida (hing), cloves and fenugreek.

 

Guru Ranjit Deora is a meditation master teacher, a holistic thinker and a life coach who enjoys helping people connect with their true selves and find happiness within. In his lessons on Mindful Meditation, the India native focuses on the mental dimensions of this ancient practice, bringing the benefits of joy as well as improved overall health.

Phone: (704) 277-6049.  Email: rdeora@charlottemeditation.com

This content was originally posted on our site in 2013.

Learn Mindful Eating through Meditation

Are your New Year’s resolutions already falling by the wayside? It’s very easy to write off your goals, continuing your old habits of 2018. Was losing weight on your list? While setting specific goals of pounds dropped is a valid approach, if you want to take care of yourself by reaching a healthy weight or living a healthier lifestyle, you may want to begin by establishing a habit of mindfulness meditation.

“Mindfulness meditation?  What does that have to do with success in weight loss when I can just (pick one) join a pre-packaged food plan/ drink those special milkshakes/ stay away from carbs/ go ‘Paleo’?”

Perhaps you have heard of “mindful eating”. Learning to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger are the key. Physical hunger has cues such as your stomach growling and your body feeling low on energy. The hunger itself grows slowly over time and the food you eat is satisfying to you. Emotional eating involves very specific cravings which, when acted upon, cause lingering feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. But how do you cultivate the awareness necessary to know the difference?

The answer is simple: through mindfulness meditation. “Are you kidding me?? How on earth can sitting every day in meditation, letting my thoughts come and go, help me lose weight?” It all boils down to clarity, being aware of not only what you are eating but why. Only you have those answers for yourself and, in order to retrieve them, you must be relaxed and peaceful inside.

Meditation = relaxation = clarity of thoughts = knowing the cause of your suffering = knowing what to do and what not to do with confidence and success going forward.

It’s that simple.

So perhaps your weight loss journey begins by first establishing a meditation practice instead of resolving to lose 20 pounds. Through a foundation of meditation you will connect with yourself, discover what makes you “tick,” and gain the self-understanding that is necessary to achieve any goal. Losing weight and being healthy are important, but inner peace and clarity are the essential first steps.