Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Healthy habits for a (less) stressful holiday season

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 1:50 am

In a blink of an eye, we find ourselves approaching what is possibly the most anticipated (and dreaded) month of the entire year. “Winter is coming” may have served as an appropriate reminder of the chaos that would ensue on Game of Thrones, while back here in the non-fiction world, the same amount of shivers may be elicited when the words “Christmas is coming” are uttered. So how to keep the stress to a manageable level, before, during and even after the holidaze? Getting into a routine of healthy body, mind and spirit habits, which can carry you past the resolution-energized start of 2014. Here are a few tips to live by:

Drink your vitamins

Pill popping may not be your thing, and if you’re rushing from here to there, you may find yourself forgetting to take your supplements with a meal. So take out the proverbial middleman by getting your daily dose of antioxidants in a potent potion made out of fresh vegetables and fruits. You can even choose to supplement one, two or all three of your meals and go on a full-on juice detox just to give your digestive system a rest. The benefits of a juice cleanse are not only a cleaner overall system and a sharper mind, but also a lot more energy. Juju Cleanse has great-tasting juices that can ease you into it (Level 1) or take you all the way with their mostly green Level 3 concoctions. Their website is also highly informative, which may tempt you into doing a full-day or even five-day juice detox. Should you decide to go liquid before the onslaught of parties and party food, make sure you take time to ease yourself into it and out of it. Want a taste before you commit? You can pop by their restaurant Juju Eats in Makati ( where you can grab a juice drink and combine it with a freshly made salad or wrap and take them with you. You can also call 0917-5763012 for more information.


Eat lighter or Eat for a cause

Since we are on the subject of nourishment, if liquefying your life may be too extreme (or seemingly impossible for you) as Christmas draws near, then you may want to look at supplementing your meals with vegan food. In other words, fare that is animal-product free. Edgy Veggy ( has a full menu that can be delivered to your doorstep, or you can grab a bite at their commissary in Pasig. Their newest offering, vegan longganiza (P180) is made with mushrooms, non-GMO tofu and spices, plus every order of this particular meal gives 10-percent of its proceeds to the I Can Serve Foundation. None of their dishes are made with preservatives or animal fat and they serve generous proportions so even the hefty eater can feel satisfied without feeling the usual heaviness and sluggishness associated with eating commercially produced fast food. Meals that contain fewer preservatives and fewer chemicals also lessen the risk of adrenal fatigue syndrome, which is both an energy and mood killer. Spread the joy of the season by starting from the inside with healthier food choices when possible. For more information or to order, call 0917-8474831.


Passive action


Free your mind

A monkey mind is what a majority of us possess. This means simply that we process what seems like 10,000 thoughts in a day. The total is actually much higher than that: it has been documented that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day! Imagine the stress you carry cerebrally daily; no wonder the term “brain fog” has become more the norm, and it’s hitting us at any age, when it used to be reserved for those who were well into their 60s. So how to free yourself from a mind that can’t seem to shut up? Meditation and breathing exercises are the tools to find your center and be the master of your mind, rather than be the slave to it. The Third Eye Wellness Center ( located in Bonifacio Global City is a new all-in-one wellness center that offers therapeutic practices that are beneficial for one’s outer and inner being. Its Transcend Spa offers massages, facials and care for your nails,  a vegetarian café (Chakra Café) where you can order light fare as well as freshly made smoothies and energy healing modalities such as Theta DNA Healing, Access Bars, Crystal Layout, Tarot Card Readings, Past Life Regression and the like. The energy healing modalities allow one to clear or remove limiting beliefs or blocks that may have been taken on from childhood. If you’re feeling like it’s you against the world, then check out what’s happening in your internal world first. You can also call 808-2984 or 0917-6362800 for more information.


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5 ways to get more ‘ME’ time in 2012

In Philippine Star Column on January 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

As 2012 rolls along a little faster than some of us would like, here are some simple steps to make the world — well, at least your inner world — slow down just a little bit.

Sun worship: You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.

1.  Do sets of sun salutations or surya namaskar. If you want the full benefits of stretching, toning, breathing and just an overall sense of well-being in approximately 10 minutes then learn the most basic of the yoga asanas, known as the sun salutation. There are different versions depending on which type of yoga you learn but they are incredible for opening up the chakras, stilling the mind and conditioning the body and spirit, not to mention if you do them often enough you get really toned arms, a stronger core and limber legs. Take some classes to get the basics and you can do this at home. Try the newly opened Core Yoga, which offers vinyasa and “hot yoga” classes to choose from. Core Yoga is at 1504 AIC Burgundy Tower, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, tel. 576-3756 or 576-3857.




Heavy mental. Be the master of your own mind with meditation

2. Dedicate yourself to a spiritual practice. The philosophy of sadhana or spiritual practice is essential to a life that is open to receiving all that the universe can give. To remove what the masters call a “monkey mind” is to teach it to be still, and that is achieved through regular meditation and calm, easy breathing. Whether you devote five minutes or 50 minutes, you have to commit to creating a space in your home and life to sit down and just let go of external noise and distractions. Remember you must commit, whether it’s every day, three times a week or once a week. It is the ultimate “me” time, and frankly, you are the most important person in your life. Contact organizations that teach ways to meditate such as The Art of Living Philippines, which holds workshops once or twice a month. Visit or call 0917-848-4898 or 216-6139.




Make it real. Daily affirmations to transform your life

3. Say affirmations. When you affirm yourself or a situation you are making it real to you and your life. It has been said that your brain cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy for as long as you truly believe in something. It may sound hokey at first to affirm or “convince yourself” but the more you repeat an affirmation, the more the possibility of it occurring in your life becomes a probability. Create an affirmation that is short yet detailed and one that you can repeat about 50 times a day for 30 days. As an example, if financial abundance is what you’re after you can say, “Wealth is coming to me easily and effortlessly.” Pick up I Can Do It!, an easy-to-read book by metaphysical healer and author Louise L. Hay, to get a whole bunch of affirmations to choose from that can help transform your health, love life, career and even self-esteem. It even comes with an audio CD. I Can Do It! is available via special order from National Book Store.





Choose your own adventure. Plan that great escape with a single step

4. Take a trip. Everyone needs his space, especially you, so take the time to plan the perfect getaway. It doesn’t have to be abroad but you need to leave what is familiar and even comfortable for you for a couple of days. Treat this particular activity with reverence. Go out and buy yourself a brand new suitcase or weekender in a color you love. Make an afternoon out of it. Check out Tripologie, which offers an excellent selection of travel essentials and even looks like a jazzed-up check-in counter so you really get in the mood. Once you’ve bought the bag, put it somewhere where you can see it often and start imagining where you’re going to go. As you pore over travel mags and websites, get excited, get inspired and make it something to look forward to, really look forward to. There is nothing like an adventure to bring in unexpected opportunities (and even people) into your life. Oh, and this would be a good time to make sure all your travel documents are in order! Tripologie is located at Alabang Town Center and Eastwood Citywalk 2, visit 

Feet me right. Reflexology releases toxins and stress

5. Feel a little pressure. Have a proper foot reflexology massage. Each point in the foot corresponds to a major organ in the rest of the body. This is one of the simplest ways to disconnect from the world while giving the rest of your insides some time to recuperate from what has been absorbed from the daily grind. Wherever you feel pain or discomfort at a certain pressure point, you can link that to a particular area or even symptom. Many foot reflexology fans tell tales of their digestion improving and even headaches diminishing because of regular treatments. Make an effort to pamper your feet once a week (perfect for those who are in heels all the time) because they take you everywhere you go and everywhere you’ve been. Treat yourself to the Inghma Method of Reflexology at New Spa, which comes with a head and back massage as well.

E-mail at or call 0917- 7938888 or visit

Have a four “S” Saturday!

In Living a Life Off-Center on January 7, 2012 at 10:57 am

I learned something new-yes in the New Year. I attended a group meditation with the Art of Living Philippines group and they imparted some enlightening advice when it was time to leave. This was to practice the four (4) S’s (I have no idea how to spell that). These S-starting words were simply:

Seva-which means “selfless” service. This is doing something for someone else with no expectation of reward or compensation. This is not necessarily a monetary donation (although that is always helpful) but rather an activity that is for the betterment of someone’s life or even the overall enviroment. When I attended a silent yoga retreat several months ago, our seva consisted of us taking up brooms and dustpans and sweeping and gathering of  fallen leaves, twigs, and even dirt from the surrounding areas. This was to help clear the way for passersby and to help in the cleanliness and tidiness of our retreat space. The next day our seva found us planting seeds and helping some farmers harvest fruit and vegetables that they had planted. It was hard work, especially since we were not used to it, but it certainly was akin to an active meditation.

Reap the rewards of selfless service with seva

Seva work can also mean volunteering at a youth center, an orphanage, NGO, helping to feed at a soup kitchen, or, the simplest, helping out at home. Give your helpers for example a break and actually clean out your room, your bathroom or even your car, inside and out.

Company of truth (and a lot of fun) with satsang

The next S we were encouraged to practice was Satsang which means truth (sat) and company (sang). It was explained to us that satsang consists of having a group activity wherein you can all speak or share your truths. This could be a small gathering of like-minded friends and peers. This gives one a chance to be enhance and raise his or her vibrations especially if the goal is common in the group. A book club for example, will read and discuss a book that they all enjoy and give their insights-this is a form of Satsang in my opinion although I have participated more in Satsangs after a meditation wherein we talk about our experiences during the meditation and see if there are any messages for the individual or for the group in general. I have also experiences satsangs that had singing and dancing, quite fun! And people really got into the joyful spirit of letting their hair down and chanting at the top of their lungs and getting into free movement.

The third S was one that I felt I’d have the most difficulty with, Sadhana or spiritual practice. To commit oneself to a regular, spritiual practice, be it prayer, meditation, going to temple, anything that would enhance the connection to the Divine was greatly encouraged by our teachers. A sacred time and space should be set aside everyday (if possible) or even three times a week. It was more the consistencyof the practice that was stressed. Meditation daily of 5-10 minutes or a devotion of 30 mins every week etc was not specified, it was more that it had to be committed to and followed through. Why? Because in honoring this sacred appointment you were paying homage to not only your creator, but to yourself. In doing regular sadhana you raise your vibrations and attract more abundance in your life. Setting your intention for more love, better health or even financial wellness is further encouraged as you start your meditation, prayer or even reflection. Imagine all the riches of the universe now being allowed to get to you because you’ve allowed yourself to be open to receive so much more!

Create your own sacred space for sadhana

And the last S? Was to simply SMILE! This is an instant upper, if someone smiles at you, smile back even if you’re don’t really feel like that. Your mood will instantly shift and you never know you can always make someone’s day simply by smiling at them. Even your own energy changes when you’re met with a smile as opposed to a sc0wl. If you’ve read or watched Eat, Pray, Love (the book was waaaay better) you may recall the lead character being advised to do a “smiling meditation” to sit in silence and imagine every cell of her body, every organ, every part she could feel just smile. Almost like your entire body is covered in smileys. This is a simple tool that can be done anytime and anywhere, a smile is universal. Turn those corners of your mouth up and to quote  Broadway’s most famous orphan, “Smile darn ya, smile!” Happy,  happy Saturday everyone! May the four S’s bring you benevolent outcomes. 🙂

Smiley kat, smiley kat 😀

*all images taken from the various sites on the Internet, many thanks to those who shared!

EchoYoga Classes and Workshops to look forward to

In Living a Life Off-Center on April 6, 2011 at 3:50 am

Since I’m still very much on my yoga “high” I’d like to share the schedule of EchoYoga for April. Take special notice that there are also healing type workshops available in May and June. I’ve taken the past life regression workshop myself but other ones may resonate with you. Feel free to pass on.

Workshops and Classes

AT THE ECHOYOGA COMMUNITY CENTER, Penthouse, Century Plaza, 120 Perea Street, Makati City, Metro Manila
Email: /  mobile: 0906-5063958 /

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  • Gentle Flow
    A beginner flow class where poses flow from one to another in conjunction with the breath. 

    Mondays and Wednedays 6:30-8pm
  • Yoga for Big People / Restorative Yoga
    Classes are focused on breath and gentle stretches that allow healing and restoration of balance of the Mind and Body. Bolsters and blocks are used to help in the relaxation, stretch and lengthening. This class is perfect for the absolute Beginner, Golden Seniors, the Highly-Stressed and those who are Injured. The evening Restorative Class is shared with Yoga for Big People where specific postures are adjusted for those with the bountiful blessing of weight. 

    Thursdays 5-6:30pm
  • Vinyasa Flow
    The word Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement”. Vinyasa Flow is a dynamic system of linking the breath (prana) to the postures (asanas). The vinyasa based practice is designed to build strength and flexibility from rhythmic exploration of movement. 

    Saturday mornings 10:30-12 noon
  • Led Ashtanga
    A teacher-lead practice where students are instructed in the order of the poses from the primary series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. 

    Tuesday nights 6:30-8pm / Fridays, 6:30pm
  • Yoga for Life: Therapy for the Immune System
    This first every community-based yoga class series is specially designed for the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS, and for others who support them and want to experience the beauty of yoga.  It offers a variety of postures, breathing practices and guided meditations that are directed towards alleviating the fear and stress associated with HIV and AIDS. Yoga quiets the mind, improves breathing and circulation, strengthens the immune system, among other physiological and psychological benefits.  Regular yoga practice can be an important complementary therapy to a comprehensive HIV treatment program.

    Charmaine – •  Paulo –

  • Mysore
    Mysore is the traditional way Ashtanga Vinyasa is taught where students progress at their own pace following the sequence and guided by a teacher 

    Saturdays, 8-10am

* Please reserve a slot before the workshop

  • Beginner Grounding Workshop (Four Sessions) / Teachers: Marilen Elizalde and Myla Maru
    This basic workshop is designed for absolute beginners with the objective of grounding the students in the basics and principles of yoga. It is highly recommended that students attend all four sessions as each session builds on the previous session. 

    Morning series: Four Tuesdays of April 10am-12nn/ April 5, 12, 19 and 26, 10am
    Evening series: Four Thursdays of May 6:30-8:30pm/ May 5, 12, 19, and 26, 10am
    Fee: Php 3,500
  • Yoga Therapy For Depression (for the fund-raising benefit of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation)
    A two-session workshop focused on giving a sequence of therapeutic yoga poses to help combat various levels of depression. Sessions may include energy healing with Reiki healers who will teach and demonstrate the flow of Universal Energy and work to raise and balance the participant’s energies. 

    May 7 and 14,  Saturdays, 4-6pm / Fee Php 2,000 for two sessions
  • Yoga Therapy For Athletes (for Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation) Teacher: Sen Sanchez
    This workshop will offer a series of therapeutic yoga sequences for athletes, trainers, physical therapists.  The workshop will address sore muscles, hip pain, knee injuries, low back strain, and ankle sprains. By loosening up tight muscles, yoga helps improve total body mobility and flexibility, giving a greater range of motion and improving performance. 

    May 21, Saturday 4-6pm  and June 9, Thursday 6:30-8:30pm  / Fee: Php 1,000
  • Past Life Regression (One-off Session) / Facilitator: Jeannie Javelosa
    A group session that opens the subconscious to visualization of possible past life connections. Includes meditation, facilitation for regression into subconscious and soul work; and group discussion. Please bring a notebook and ballpen. Limited slots only. 

    June 25, Saturday 4-6pm / Fee: Php 1000
  • Moving Into Meditation / Facilitator: Jeannie Javelosa
    No one can teach anyone meditation. It just happens. This session includes a seating sequence, lecture on basic guidelines for the meditation practice and a discussion on challenges of the practice. 

    April 28, Thursday at 6:30-8pm & June 30, Thursday at 6:30-8pm / Fee:  Php 700 or two class cards slots
  • Introduction  To Ayurveda / In partnership with the Arogya Ayurveda Center
    Teacher: Patrick Eyquem, of the Maharishi MaheshYogi vedic sciences lineage
    Ayurveda (in sanskrit means “the complete knowledge for long life” or “the science of life”) or Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine.  The original science of health is as old as the human race. The written records (of the Veda and Vedic literature) of the complete system of natural health care is about 5,000 years old. Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in South Asia. Ayurveda has been restored for its full practical value and range of application by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , working with eminent Ayurveda physicians. Lessons build on the past ones, so participants are requested to try to complete all four sessions during this quarter. 

    April 9 (Session 1) and April 16 (Session 2) / Saturdays at 4-6pm
    June 4 (Session 1) and June 11 (Session 2)  / Saturdays 4-6pm
    June 16 (Session 3) and June 23 (Session 4) / Thursday nights 6:30-8:30pm
    Session 1 – Origin and the 8 branches of Ayurveda, the three doshas
    Session 2 – The food, the eater, the diet. Influence of food on doshas
    Session 3 – Panchakarma and basic home Ayurvedic pharmacy
    Session 4- General discussion includes rules for preparing and taking food and ayurvedic recipes
    Fee: Php 500 or one class card slot per lecture session.
  • Awakening A Conscious Heart
    Teacher: Tara Khandro
    This seminar invites you to remember, re-member and return to the felt-sense experience of oneness with yourself, Mama Gaia and All that IS. Please bring a notebook, pen , water and an object that represents your heart.  Dress and ready yourself for movement, chanting, alchemical practices, shamanic journeying, meditation, release, activations, and play. Tara Khandro is a natural born mystic, healer and clairvoyant. Tara developed Alchemy of Wonder™, an integrative consciousness healing modality for violent trauma survivors.  She has given this work in United Nations conferences, drug treatment and crises centers, universities and colleges, interfaith conferences, with genocide survivors, anger management programs, in natural disaster zones and in human development centers such as the Omega Institute in New York. 

    April 14, Thursday 6:30-8:30pm  & May 28, Saturday 4-6pm / Fee: Php 1,000 or two class card slots
  • Deep Into Yin Yoga
    Teacher: Donna Tumacder-Esteban
    Yin Yoga is a calming and relaxing practice where participants yield to each pose, held for 3-5 minutes with relaxed muscles, allowing time and gravity to get deeper to the fullness of each pose. The target  are the deep connective tissues between muscular layers and those surrounding the joints. Yin Yoga complements and balances dynamic practices such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Bikram. It is also complementary to other forms of active sports and workouts such as running, swimming, martial arts, and gym work. Yin Yoga is suitable for all levels and ages and is safe for pregnant women. 

    April 7, Thursday, 6:30-8pm / May 3, Tuesday 5:00 – 6:30 pm / June 2, Thursday 6:30 – 8pm
    Fee: 700 per class or two class card slots
  • SEVA (Service) Sessions
    ECHOyoga holds scheduled SEVA sessions where yoga classes are connected to charity and healing for the benefit of  The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF: Bringing Depression to Light) a fund-raising initiative in partnership with this non-profit organization that promotes the awareness & understanding of Depression through community education and empowerment programs. 

    Depression is a common mental disorder that is characterized by sadness, loss of interest in pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration. If you feel any of these, or know of someone who does, these workshops are for you. Join us. Or sponsor someone who needs it.

    In Yoga philosophy, the virtue of generosity as a yogic responsibility reminds us that all beings live from the donations of others, as the world family, and that we are all connected.  The action of giving back is a sincere sharing of wealth (money, talents, service) acquired by right means, and it is counted among the ten niyamas (the code of conduct) on the Yoga path.

    Service (seva in Sanskrit) is something necessary for continued development on the Yoga path. Community is nurtured through voluntary gatherings for service together where teachers and students can connect with each other while at the same time do something that makes the world a better place. Teachers offer their services for free.  Students can also use their class cards, or donate more than they can, less when they need to.  Check out our schedule for such fund-raising workshops: Join us, donate, or sponsor someone!

  • Yoga Therapy For Depression (for the fund-raising benefit of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation)
    A two-session workshop focused on giving a sequence of therapeutic yoga poses to help combat various levels of depression. Sessions may include energy healing with Reiki healers who will teach and demonstrate the flow of Universal Energy and work to raise and balance the participant’s energies. 

    May 7 and 14, Saturdays, 4-6pm / Fee Php 2,000 for two sessions
  • Meditation Circle Of Light(Community Event)
    Certain times of the year, during the solstices and equinoxes, the changing seasons bring potent energies that can be harnessed to help balance the earth. This is a community meditation event led by ECHOyoga in collaboration with Stillpoint Manila, Pulse Yoga, Medicine for Gaia and the United Religions Initiative. This is open for free to the general public, and donation for use of space is welcome. 

    June 21, 6:30 pm
    September 22, 6:30 pm
    December 21, 6:30 pm
Photos courtesy of Silvina Gall

Alternative events in August

In Living a Life Off-Center on July 31, 2010 at 1:39 am

Just thought I’d share the free workshops going on in Gratitude Cafe for the month of August.

Feel free to share and don’t forget the good deeds!

Thank you for the workshops!

LIFE COACHING Coaching is for those who are ready to take a step forward in life, but need support and assistance.  Sessions take 45 minutes to 1 hour, and is done one on one; face to face. This is strictly by appointment.  If you need more information on Life Coaching or to set an appointment, get in touch with Kahlil Bagatsing at 09175318179 or Analei Atienza at 0917-8055525.
Fee: Free

PAGBUBUKAS (by Amy Cavosora) – A deep inner process of connecting with your Higher Self. This is strictly by appointment (and limited to up to 5 participants only). For those interested, please get in touch with Amy Cavosora.  Her mobile number is +639291819758.
Fee: Free-will donation
THE PAGLALALIM/DEEPENING –for those who have already taken the Pagbubukas/Higher Self meditation. By appointment only, one-on-one or small group.  Call Amy Cavosora for more details/appointment.

Fee: Free-will donation


MEDITATION- Fridays, 7pm
We start on time so please come at least 15 minutes earlier.
Fee: Free

MANIFESTING YOUR DREAMS-  Tuesday, August 3, 6 to 8pm

Know how dreams can be achieved by understanding how the mind works.
Fee:Good deeds to five (5) strangers.  Once done, please e-mail us.

THE SOUL’S JOURNEY – Saturday, August 14, 1 to 5 pm
An inner journey of understanding one’s soul and its purpose here this lifetime.

Fee:Good deeds to five (5) strangers.  Once done, please e-mail us.

AUTOMATIC WRITING- Tuesday, August 17,6 to 8pm
Experience this  process of writing  that comes from or aided by one’s Guides.
Fee:Good deeds to five (5) strangers.  Once done, please e-mail us.
BE A LIFE COACH- Saturday, August 21, 10am to 5pm
This workshop is for those who are willing to move forward, be trained to be a life coach and help others find their way.
Fee:Good deeds to five (5) strangers.  Once done, please e-mail us.

INTRODUCTION TO A COURSE IN MIRACLES- Monday, August 30, 7 to 9 pm
This workshop gives the background and short summary of A Course in Miracles, or ACIM, a nonsectarian and psychospiritual teaching. It includes a meditation exercise on forgiveness, which is the core of ACIM. To be held by Amy Cavosora, a teacher/student of ACIM.

Fee: Free-will donation

For those who want to receive regular updates on our activities, please e-mail us at or register thru the Guestbook.

Thank you!!

Running Reflections: The art of active meditation

In Philippine Star Column on July 23, 2010 at 2:30 am

Move in order to meditate

Meditation is often used as a tool to free oneself from the chains of doubt, fear and limitations. Undoubtedly it sounds like a soulful Shangri-la but in my case, it is not an easy destination to get to. For those who have tried to sit still and allow their thoughts to just melt away and let bliss take over and failed, you are definitely not alone. True meditation takes practice and a lot of it; ironically, the harder you try to meditate, the more the state of “peace and quiet” will elude you. So what can you do if you can’t sit still, or get cramps while trying to be motionless in order to achieve a meditative mood? Move.

Active meditation is a good practice to get into the habit of having control over your mind rather than it having control over you. Though there are many descriptions of meditation, its true essence is focus, a focus that is so pure and rich that it cancels out everything unnecessary — pouring energy into whatever it is you’re doing and provides, at a pivotal point, enlightenment. You may have already achieved a Zen-like state when you were once engrossed in an activity that you found so joyful that all your attention was consumed by it. I rediscovered this state during a recent 10k “fun” run. I never thought I’d be a runner, much less join a race before sunrise, and as I crawled miserably out of bed wondering for the nth time why I even signed up, it (literally) dawned on me that if I wanted to win the war with the mind, I had to get moving. I’m not saying that running is the best way to actively meditate but it certainly takes focus and a lot of determination to go the distance. Early on, the mind already begins putting up barriers to prevent you from running: it’s too early, it’s too far, it’s insane — so the first thing you should do to distract these “complaints” is to warm up. Stretching makes you mindful of your breathing, and the slow movements do relax you and since you don’t want to topple over as you try to touch your toes, you have to remain focused on what you’re doing and not what you’re thinking.

Calm a frazzled mind through motion

Then the race begins and you are now brought into awareness of your surroundings, you can now choose to look to the ones who pass you or on the ones who drop behind you. Decisions have to be made: Will you sprint ahead while you feel fresh and strong or are you going to settle into a comfortable pace and gather strength? The best way to gauge is to focus on your breathing: if you feel out of breath, slow down; if you feel comfortable then you can pick up the pace.

There are going to be points of frustration; your mind tells you to stop and not even finish because (it rationalizes) it’s too far, takes too long, you’re too tired. Like meditation, running is an easy activity to quit. All you have to do is stop and walk away. If you get to this state, stop and take a quick break; be aware, though, that your mind at this very moment has prevented you from achieving a goal. This happened to me at the 5K mark, and I was sorely tempted to tuck my tail in between my legs and just go home. The thing is, my body didn’t hurt and I was not out of breath; it was just my mind telling me I couldn’t do it. So, this may have been an “Aha” moment for me because after about a minute of walking, I decided to start running again, this time with the focus on crossing the finish line no matter how long it took; I wasn’t going to stop. I redirected my attention to just putting one foot in front of the other, listening to my breath regularly. So the rest of my run kind of went like this: foot, foot, breath, foot, foot, breath, foot, foot, breath.

Meditation takes practice

This simple technique, almost like counting 1-2-3, is what eventually got me across the finish line without stopping again and all the mental agony I had undergone halfway through the race melted into oblivion. The body was tired, but I was elated. I got my mind to shut up and if I could do it once, I could certainly do it again.

Walk if you can't run

Walk if you don’t want to run, and lose the iPod if you can. Pay attention to your feet, the sound your shoes make when they hit the road and always be aware of your breathing. Every time your mind strays to a useless thought (read: distracting and detrimental), focus on where you’re going (recommended so you don’t crash into something — like, let’s say, a moving car) and then back to the action of putting one foot in front of the other. Active meditation will never take the place of real quiet time and being able to sit in silence but in the meantime, if you move while you meditate, you could shed some unwanted emotional (and physical) baggage.