All posts filed under: Mindful Living

Permission to Exhale

By: Brooke Binstock  As I sit to write this post, I pause to feel the wind on my skin. I look around and see people sitting at picnic benches drinking iced coffee and connecting. It is a Saturday morning in Austin, Texas. It has been an intense time in the world and as an empath, I feel it all, heavy and slow moving. I consider how difficult it is for us as a culture to just be, rest and give ourselves time to process. It is a theme I have written about over and over again in my monthly newsletter. Just rest, slow down, breathe, pause, allow…  And though it’s one thing to write and teach about these concepts, it is quite another to put them into practice.  One Big Inhale When my co-teachers, Kelly, Marissa and I got together via zoom to talk about a theme for our upcoming retreat in September at Drala Mountain, we discussed how these past few years have felt like one big inhale. An anticipation, a collective worry, a …

Overcoming Resistance to Your Spiritual Practice

Sara Avant Stover Sara Avant Stover, presenter of Drala Mountain Center’s Filling Your Well: A Women’s Yoga, Meditation & Nature Retreat, is a teacher of feminine spirituality, bestselling author, and Certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) Practitioner. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, and has since gone on to uplift tens of thousands of women worldwide. The creator of the world’s first Women’s Yoga Teacher Training, Sara has also been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Newsweek, Natural Health, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS. She lives in Boulder, CO. Sara’s the author of The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life and The Book of SHE: Your Heroine’s Journey into the Heart of Feminine Power. Useful Links View Sara’s website Check out offerings and upcoming programs Listen to Truth, Love & Beauty podcast Featured Audio Talk February 20, 2022 – Overcoming Resistance to Your Spiritual Practice With the increasing levels of uncertainty we’re …

compassion in action

Compassion in Action

What does Compassion in Action look like?  How does it feel?  Is it something that we can experience in everyday life?  David Chernikoff helps us to understand the practice of compassion and compassionate exchange in his most recent dharma talk, Compassion in Action. Learn more about: How we can open our hearts in the moment, What “negative negativity” is and how to skillfully work with it, and How the suffering in our lives can become a gateway to deepening our compassion for others. ​David will lead The Path of Service: An Insight Meditation Retreat, July 7 – 10 at Drala Mountain Center.  We warmly invite and encourage you to join us! About the Author:  David Chernikoff David Chernikoff began the study and practice of meditation in 1971 and started teaching insight meditation in 1988. He trained as a yoga teacher at the Integral Yoga Institute and completed the Community Dharma Leader program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. His teaching has been influenced by senior teachers from the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock, Tibetan teachers he studied with during a …

heart of mindfulness

The Heart of Mindfulness   

by: Jon Aaron  For our retreat coming up in June, we were inspired to call it “The Heart of Mindfulness,” which has a nice double meaning.  On one hand, this retreat explores the core teachings which form the basis of most mindfulness practices offered today whether through Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or other programs. Even shiny new meditation apps are often utilizing these core teachings, which go back 2600 years or so.   The heart of mindfulness also refers to non-judgment—or heartfelt curiosity.  This is a crucial component of mindfulness practice. Without heartfulness, mindfulness is hardly more than paying attention. When this element of compassion is integrated with the mind’s capacity to sustain attention then things start to change. Yet too often, in the rush to develop “productivity” or “focus” in our culture, this dimension gets lost.  The danger of titles is that they reify what they name. We might start to think of mindfulness as a “thing” to obtain (in only 8 weeks! 28 days!) or an instrument we can call into service when needed. In …

invest in your wellness

Why Invest in Your Wellness? 

by: Erica Kaufman  Let’s take a peek at our inner experiences & how we can contribute to our well-being. First tool…before anything, a deep, slow, comfortable breath. This is one of the foundations of yoga—it calms us, signals to the brain that we are safe, and actually changes our hormonal balance. Stress can not co-exist at the same time as an intentional caring slow breath. This is a breath that creates space for joy and peace. When we experience density in our body and mind, and an internal pressure is felt, it’s a signal that we are not in a sustainable state, but rather a reactive state, and a disproportionate amount of energy is stagnant within us. This can manifest in dissonance—the opposite of harmony. Trauma, violence, fear, and everything else that squeezes the space around our heart is called ‘Duhkha’. It’s the Sanskrit word for suffering. ‘Kha’ means space and Duhkha literally means the squeezing of space. Collectively there is traumatic energy going around. It’s hard to make sense of it all. And unhealthy …

slow down

If You’re Tired or Confused, Slow Down and Focus on Feeling Alive & Well*

*Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer, by Blake D. Bauer Each day we are faced with decisions in our personal and professional lives that end up shaping the course of our destiny and the quality of our health, happiness and relationships. If we want to enjoy our life, be well and respect ourselves, it is crucial we each master making choices that are aligned with who we truly are, why we’re really here and how we genuinely feel. A simple but powerful way to achieve this is to look at each moment as a fork in the road on the path to our most joyful and authentic life. In any given scenario, at least one direction will always represent a decision that does not feel good in our heart or in our body. In this same situation, at least one other direction or path will eventually reveal itself, which represents a decision that undoubtedly feels good or necessary. Quite often it can be confusing as to which path is best or …

mindful retreat for educators

May We All Be Well.  Especially Educators.

by: Andra Brill, Ph.D. This was supposed to be the year that schools went back to “normal.” Whatever that means.  Instead, we are in year three of disrupted learning across the grades.  This means that most second graders have NEVER had a “normal” year of school.  As this school year enters the final stretch, there is not only the longing for normal, there is a need for rest.  We are all exhausted. More than anything we are yearning for rest.  For being able to stop, notice and let go of the constant drive to do one more thing.  We need to allow ourselves space to slow down and nourish ourselves.  We need to be gentle with ourselves, letting go of the constant self-talk driven by what we believe we should be doing.  Even as I grudgingly loosen my own heightened awareness around wearing masks, I am still recovering from the constant work of assessing risks and the decision fatigue that comes with this.  I know that I have revisited grief in a whole new way over …

dream yoga

Dream Yoga as Preparation for the Bardos

by: Andrew Holecek If you are well trained, your first after-death experience will be the luminous bardo of dharmata. If you’re unfamiliar with the subtle states of mind revealed in this bardo, it will flash by in an instant, or be completely missed. Those who have practiced the meditations that facilitate recognition will reap the rewards, and attain liberation at the level of the dharmakaya or sambhogakaya. Without this preparation, most of us will wake up in the karmic bardo of becoming. For nearly everyone, the first experience after regaining consciousness is a sense of being in their own body. Even though the mind is without a body at this point, the habit (karma) of being embodied is so strong that it continues. You feel like your old self, and don’t know you are dead. The first and most important thing to do after death is to recognize that you are dead. This isn’t easy. Many people will not recognize. Without preparation, most of us will black out at the end of the inner dissolution. …

Grounding Into The Four Layers Of Your Being – A guided meditation from Sara Avant Stover

Grounding Into The Four Layers Of Your Being Please click the above link for a gentle meditative practice to begin the start of your day or any time you’re needing to connect more deeply with yourself. Attuning to your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, you’ll move through all the different dimensions of your being. The result is landing in a place of gratitude, calm, and presence. Join Sara at Drala Mountain How do we stay inspired, centered, and rooted in our innate wisdom—especially during times of challenge? In this three-day women’s retreat, you’ll replenish your body, heart, and mind through spaciousness, quiet, yogic and dharmic teachings and practices, sisterhood, as well as ample time in nature. Autumn is the season to fill our inner wells with reserves before the onset of winter. Together, we’ll do just this. Each day will include periods of gentle guided yin and slow yoga; seated, walking, standing, and lying-down meditation; silence; dharma teachings and discussions; women’s circle practices; and time in nature. Using the wisdom of the Buddha, the sensuality …

On Creativity – an Interview with Kazuaki Tanahashi

by Miguel Mendonça, October 2020 *reprinted with permission from Kazuaki Tanahashi MM: What drew you to your medium? East Asian calligraphy—Chinese, Korean , or Japanese—fascinated me in my youth. There is so much to learn and express. So, I became serious and eventually started exhibiting my artwork. I also studied oil painting and Western drawing at the same time. I started combining these disciplines. For example, calligraphers don’t go off the edge of the paper, but painters do. I did calligraphy in an expressive Western painters’ way.  It was a small town near the city of Nagoya in the central part of Japan where I studied calligraphy. I was tutored but in a class at a local community center. I didn’t want to study with a famous calligrapher or painter, because I would be his or her student for the rest of my life. So, I chose someone who was not well known. MM: Do you feel a connection with the history of your medium? East Asian and Western calligraphers are by large classicists. In …