Category Archives: Meditation

Arriving Home Meditation

Welcome to week 4 of my Meditations to Change Your Life series.  We all have special places–places we call home.  The great news is that we don’t have to travel to find them.  This meditation will take you there.  Enjoy!

happy Young romantic couple sitting on sofa in front of fireplace at winter season in home

Arriving Home Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
  2. Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils.
  3. After 2 – 3 minutes, or whenever you are ready, bring to mind a real or imaginary place that has all the best qualities of “home” to you. A place where you feel safe, secure, where you really belong and can truly be yourself. Hold the qualities of this place in your heart as you continue the meditation.
  4. Then begin a mantra meditation with subsequent breaths. Each time you inhale, mentally think the word “arriving”, and as you exhale, mentally think the word “home.”   Continue this mental repetition with every breath. Each breath, “arriving home.” When your attention wanders, just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.   Then return to reciting the phrase “arriving home” with every breath.
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A Meditation for Finding Peace (Or Anything Else You Might Want!)

Welcome to Week 3 of my series on meditations to help create–whatever you want!  Know that whatever you want to invite into your life, you can have it!  This meditation will help.

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Mantra Meditation:

  1. Begin with one of the breath focused meditations we learned in Weeks 1 and 2. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling
  2. Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils or to the feeling of softness in the belly with the breath.
  3. When you feel ready, bring to mind a quality you’d like to have more of your life. It could be greater balance, joy, health, forgiveness, or any other positive quality. “Name” that quality with a word or short phrase.
  4. Then begin a mantra meditation with subsequent breaths. Each time you exhale, mentally recite your work or phrase, and feel the energy of that quality pour through your awareness.   When your attention wanders, just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensations of the breath.   Then return to reciting your word or phrase on every exhale
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

A Meditation of Hope and Light

Hi all!  Today is week two of my series of posts on Meditations to help you stay balanced in turbulent times.  Be well and happy!

Free happy woman enjoying nature sunset. Freedom, happiness and enjoyment concept of beautiful multiracial Asian Caucasian girl in her 20s. Image from Grand Canyon, United States.

Light visualization meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  2. Focus your mind on the sensations of the breath just inside your nostrils.   When you feel ready, think of a quality you’d like to bring into your life. Imagine that quality is a bright white light entering your body through your heart center and spreading throughout your entire body—from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. This light can represent any positive quality you wish it to–love, joy, health, healing, etc. Imagine that each cell of your body is illuminated by this light, and that the quality you’ve attributed to it flows into every cell.
  3. Imagine that this quality is replacing everything that clutters your life–anger, impatience, stress, desire, greed. As the light grows brighter in your mind, visualize its pure radiance washing those negative qualities away.
  4. If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose. Then begin to focus on the white, healing light once again.
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Staying Centered in Turbulent Times

Meditation: An Effective Tool for Promoting Inner Peace

No matter where you land on the political spectrum, I think most people would agree that the energy of our world seems more divisive lately.  The yoga teachings never promised us a peaceful world–they provided us tools to have more personal peace, in spite of what happens to or around us.  According to the teachings, the most powerful tool for developing inner peace is meditation.  Over the next few weeks, I will share some of my favorites.

The meditation below is simple yet powerful. Enjoy!

Simple Counting Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling.
  2. Allow your eyes to close, and notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. Bring your attention to the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils.
  3. After 2 – 3 minutes, or whenever you are ready, start counting each exhalation. For example, when you exhale the first time, think “one”. The next time you exhale, count “two”.  Keep counting silently to yourself like that, until you get to ten. After you reach ten, then start over again from “one”.
  4. You’ll know your mind has wandered because you’ll lose count or notice that you’re thinking about something else. When that happens, (and it will!) try not to get frustrated. Instead, simply start over again by counting from “one”.   Notice how often you need to restart counting without judgment or frustration.   The goal isn’t to get to 10, but to keep refocusing whenever your mind wanders.
  5. Continue this meditation for 10 minutes or longer if you’d like.

Please visit us soon at Whole Life Yoga!

Tracy Weber

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All four books in the Downward Dog Mystery Series are available at booksellers everywhere!

Research Proves It: Meditation Strengthens Your Brain

human brain on a running machineYet another research study proves the benefits of meditation. Meditation research is hardly unusual.  This study, however, was the first to prove that meditation actually increases brain density—also known as gray matter—in as little as eight weeks!

The study appeared in the January 30th, 2011 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging and was led by senior study author Sara Lazar, who is a Harvard medical school psychology professor. Ms. Lazar and her affiliates at Massachusetts General Hospital took MRI images of study participants two weeks before and after they participated in an eight-week Mind Body Stress Reduction course. They then compared those scans to control group of non-meditators over a similar time period. The meditators self-reported spending an average of twenty-seven minutes per day on mindfulness-based activities during the study.

The results were impressive. Meditators had significant increases in gray matter density in the hippocampus—the portion of the brain associated with learning and memory. They also reported decreases in stress levels compared to the non-meditators. For more information on the study, check out this link at Harvard.edu.

And put that research to the test personally with this simple candle flame meditation.

Enjoy!

Tracy

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PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

 

A Wish for the Holidays

On Thursday I taught my annual Yoga of Thanksgiving workshop at Whole Life Yoga.  This year’s class was special, because it took place so soon after the death of my mother.  Rather than allow my first holiday without parents to be a sad one, I decided to make it a gift. I gave to my students the qualities I was personally seeking during this time of transition.  Our practice revolved around embodying those qualities.

    • Peace: Both existential peace in our often-crazy world and security in ourselves, our homes, and our relationships. Symbolized by our connection to the earth and the root chakra, which is the seat of security and safety.
  • Joy: Which comes from creativity and play. Symbolized by the belly, which houses the seed of all that is creative within us. Joy is so important, because when we have it, we can share it with others.
  • Hope: Which, I believe, comes from courage.  Finding hope during tough times isn’t a gift or a given. It’s a practice that takes concerted effort. Hope, to me, is symbolized by the solar plexus, the seed of confidence and courage.
  • Love: The ability to both give and receive love, not only to others, but also to ourselves. Symbolized by the heart.
  • Faith: This is a loaded word for many, but it represents the ability to connect with something beyond ourselves—something that gives us guidance and helps us strive to be better. It’s symbolized by the crown of the head, seen as the connection point with all that is beyond us.
  • Light: Which provides guidance to find our way in the world, but also serves as a reminder that even in the darkest days of winter, we have within ourselves a clear blinding light. We symbolized that light by reaching our arms out to the side.

At the end of the practice, each student selected one or more stones that I had specially created for that day. Each was engraved with one of the qualities we had embodied in our practice. That stone will hopefully serve as a reminder to live the above qualities on those not-always-easy days outside of the yoga studio.

The true power of yoga lies not in the postures.  It lies in intention.  The meaning we give to our practice.  I hope the Thanksgiving practice helped my students plant seeds that will guide them, not only during the holiday season, but for the rest of their lives.

May those qualities live within you, too.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble or a bookstore near you!

Check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

A Meditation to Find Joy

woman drop leaves in autumn park

We all have within us the ability to experience joy, if only we remember to look for it. The meditation below is one of my favorite tools for clients experiencing anxiety or depression. I recommend keeping a journal nearby, so you can write down thoughts, ideas, and commitments to yourself when you finish.

  • Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up toward the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
  • Allow your eyes to close, or if this is too challenging, keep your eyes at “half mast” gazing quietly at a place below and in front of you.
  • Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. First notice the warmth and coolness of the breath as it enters your nostrils. Notice the movement of your rib cage and belly. How does your spine move with each breath? What other sensations can you feel?
  • After you feel comfortable and relaxed, ask yourself the following question:
    • What brings me joy?
  • Don’t try to audit or evaluate the answers that come to you. You may hear words, see images, feel sensations, or experience emotions. Allow whatever you experience to float across your consciousness.
  • After a few minutes, change the question to:
    • How can I invite more joy into my life?
  • Again, there is no “right” response. Sit quietly with whatever comes to your attention.
  • If your attention wanders at any time during the meditation (and it will!) simply notice it, then invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath. When you feel ready, ask yourself the question again.
  • Continue this meditation for 10 – 15 minutes. Note any thoughts, ideas, or personal commitments in your practice journal.

I hope you enjoy the practice!

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

Sunsets, Suffering, and Finding Peace

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Why is it that every time I write about life’s suffering, I’m thinking about my dog? I adopted Tasha-dog eleven years ago this week. I was missing something in my life, though I wasn’t sure what, exactly.  I had a lovely husband, a fulfilling career, four (yes four!) cats, and lots of friends.

But I was still lonely. I had been pining for a German shepherd for approximately thirty years, since my family rehomed the German shepherd of my childhood. My visions of Tasha were laughable, in hindsight.  Perfectly behaved, she’s not. Healthy, she’s not. Cat loving…well, let’s not even go there. She was everything I thought I didn’t want, but ended up being exactly what I needed, and more.

She is the biggest source of joy in my life.

And the source of my most debilitating anxiety.

The other night, I was thinking about how many times Marc and I have almost lost her, due to the many diseases she’s had to live with or overcome.  Her imminent death has been predicted countless times, by vets I usually ended up firing.

But now that she’s eleven years old in a breed whose average lifespan is ten to twelve, even I have to admit, she’s approaching the sunset time of her life.  In the past three weeks, she’s been plagued by a neurological issue of unknown origin.  It may resolve; it may not. It may stay the same as it is now, or it may decline until we have no choice but to end her suffering.  We continue to do tests, but as of this writing, all is one big unknown.

Oddly enough, the most challenging part of this for me is that her neurological status cycles, and my mental health seems to cycle with it.  One day she seems better, the next worse. One day I’m optimistic and happy, the next, devastated.

The Yoga Sutras clearly predict my suffering. You see, I’m attached to this girl. I hesitate to say she’s like my child, because that’s not how I think of her.  But she is as important to me as any living being has ever been.  And I will inevitably have to say goodbye. I knew that the day I adopted her.  As crazy as it seems, I signed up for this.

My work now, as Tasha and I walk down this sunset path together, is to not be attached to the good days, because the good days won’t last forever.  If I can somehow learn to be present without gripping the good, perhaps I’ll have more peace during the inevitable challenges.

Then again, maybe I won’t.

Maybe grief is simply part of life’s process. Another obstacle to overcome that helps us appreciate the blessings of life while we have them.

Regardless, the Sutras say that meditation helps overcome suffering, so it’s time for me to reignite my practice.  If you care to join me, this is one of my favorites.

If you’re willing, please send Tasha happiness, her doctors wisdom, and me peace.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

Relaxing the Writer

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This lovely work has been sitting on my desk for months, waiting for me to take a look at it. The book and its companion CD were developed by fellow writer and yoga teacher, Amber Polo.

Peppered with inspirational quotes, Relaxing the Writer covers topics often ignored but desperately needed by writers of all genres, including:

  • The ergonomics of writing
  • Stretches, including desk stretches,  hand stretches and eye exercises
  • Aromatherapy
  • Meditation
  • “Apps to relax” on iPhones, iPods, and iPads
  • Twenty other activities that can help a writer stay healthy, balanced and productive, including a chapter on yoga. My favorite was the chapter on laughter and smiles. Who doesn’t need more laughter?

Even better, the book comes with audio guides that help uptight writers relax to the sound of Amber’s soothing voice. Unfortunately, I can’t adequately convey the book’s artistic, easy to read, and compact format. You’ll have to check that out for yourself.  Suffice it to say that the book has tons of useful information in an easy-to-digest package.

My favorite quote from the book is an ancient Chinese proverb:

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

I highly recommend this book for writers or artists of any type. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tracy Weber

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

          A Killer Retreat

Making the Most of Your Minute

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Today is my weekly posting for Inkspot, the blog for authors of Midnight Ink.  I hope the visualization practice I share in this article will help my writer friends–as well as my students–to be more comfortable when they have to speak in front of a group or do anything else that makes them nervous.  Check it out!

http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/04/making-most-of-your-minute.html

Namaste

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere!