Wellness and Meditation

Wellness and Meditation

Standup for the Cure: Courage

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This post is for all my SUP friends – and especially for those who haven’t added that amazing sport to life, just yet.  This is an open invitation to join me on November 12 at Standup for the Cure in Miami, FL.  Survivor or supporter, when you stand tall on your paddleboard surrounded by a sea of pink, lead by the energy of Zane Schweitzer, Shawneen Schweitzer, Judie Vivian and hundreds of smiling paddlers you will be immersed in an awesome adventure.

One stroke at a time, paddle your adventure with us at Standup for the Cure - Miami

One stroke at a time, paddle your adventure with us at Standup for the Cure – Miami

Life is an adventure – and like all adventures there are moments that require every ounce of courage, hope, and the healing support of friends and family.

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The smiles are ever-present, thank you Shawneen Schweitzer

When life throws in a challenge like cancer, each day asks for laughter, love and strength – along with the best treatment possible. A combination of research and screening, awareness and information are powerful tools we are so fortunate to access.

When dedicated and passionate people come together we have the treasure of events we can experience together, events like the far-reaching Standup for the Cure.  They have raised over $600,000. For each $125 raised by fundraising teams a mammogram is shared to someone in need – early detection and awareness make so much difference.  I was incredibly fortunate to have had early detection of the very rare cancer I experienced, and am ever grateful to the researchers and surgeon who had the knowledge and experience to guide my outcome.

Zane spent time in New Zealand learning local traditions and mindfulness

Zane spent time in New Zealand learning local traditions and mindfulness

 

Life IS truly an adventure. I am pleased to share a FREE download of our P2SUP album, “Paddle with Courage” to all participants in Standup for the Cure – or to anyone who feels a need for some mindful presence, for inspired and guided meditation. CONTACT me for more information.

Join our fundraising team. (Do It for Meg) – but most of all join with friends and family on November 12 at Miami Yacht Club and paddle with me or just enjoy the day.  CONTACT me if you have questions, comments, a story to share – we welcome you to the P2SUP community.

Do It For Meg on Crowdrise

Workplace Wellness: Walking Meditation

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P2Walk connects a 15 minute walk to a focused “mindful presence practice.”

Adding walking meditation with our guided scripts is easy from day one – for all abilities.

We can complement your existing workplace wellness offerings for as little as $1 an employee.  Why should you learn more? (CONTACT us) P2Walk for Workplace Wellness  allows employees to learn how a very small change to their daily routine can improve their overall health and well-being. It is easily a self-directed activity enjoyed as needed. workplace wellness two

Mindfulness practiced through P2Walk begins with calming breath awareness. P2Walk draws one’s attention to the sensations of the present moment, and guides a walking meditation customized for your employees. P2Walk can be done during a 15 minute break, a lunch break or after work. Decades of research suggest that setting aside time for mindfulness can improve concentration and reduce stress. Enhance the benefits of your existing workplace wellness program.

Large corporations who have initiated mindfulness programs, like early adopter, Aetna, have saved about $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs, and gained about $3,000 per employee in productivity. Mindful employees, the thinking goes, are healthier and more focused.

walking wellnessOver the last 30 years, there’s been this tremendous volume of scientific research. that’s been really quantifying the effects of mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness actually changes the structures of our brain in ways that are largely positive. It actually improves our immune system in ways that can be verifiably measured. It actually seems to reduce the stress we experience and the stress that our bodies seem to be reporting, through measures like heart-rate variability and cortisol levels. So the data is there. We know that it’s making changes and that these changes are largely beneficial.

The Mayo Clinic notes that more and more evidence is indicating that mindfulness training not only improves employees personal lives, reducing the symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety, but consistently improves employee engagement. Contact us to learn how P2Walk can seamlessly complement your existing wellness, yoga, meditation, walking and other employee wellness initiatives.

Happiness: The Mindful Path is Ours

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monkeymind7No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing we bring along our active mind doing its thing. Sometimes we seek distraction, or maybe we work to create “positive thoughts’ about a situation we are not content with. Sometimes our “monkey mind” jumps from thought to random thought interrupting our calm focus. We want to be mindful. People who focused on their present moment experience (in other words, people who were being mindful, were significantly happier than people whose minds wandered away from the moment. We seek happiness, ao let’s practice being mindful.

Monkey Mind is a Buddhist term which describes the persistent churn of thoughts in the undisciplined mind. Monkey Mind is the reflexive mind ready to judge, worry, analyze, and compare everything in the moment, which is a good way to miss the moment. And in turn, we consistently miss the chance for happiness.

Power of Presence meditations for standup paddling and for walking are 15-minute sessions that allow you to practice being mindful,  “being in the zone.” This simply means being fully present with what you are doing. We can’t tell our monkey mind to stop, but we can develop our own skills and path toward mindfulness. P2Walk and P2SUP, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.

You might assume that people who let their minds wander to happy thoughts would feel happy right? In the video below, by Matt Killingsworth, a well-defined strategy for adding more mindfulness (and happiness) is shared. He explains whyt people letting their minds wander to pleasant things were still not as happy as people who kept their minds in the moment.

Even if the activity at hand was deemed unpleasant, people were still happier when they engaged their attention fully in the now.

There is plenty of previous research that supports Killingsworth’s findings. We know for instance, that money doesn’t make us happy. Studies have shown that as long as basic needs, such as food and shelter are met, additional wealth and material goods have little bearing on happiness.

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi leading authority on positive psychology, studied happiness extensively in the 1960’s and came up with the same results as Killingsworth. He spoke of the peak state of human beings being a state he called ‘flow’.

According to Killingsworth, the average person’s mind is wandering around 47% of our day—and when the mind wanders we don’t feel happy. Spending so much time with the mind wandering makes us vulnerable to depression, stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. monkeymind3

As many people continue to seek external gratification as a source of happiness, their wandering minds are overlooked as the source of their discontent. Time and time again as we share P2Walk and P2SUP with active, busy people we observe their delight as they discover the powerful effects of mindfulness. The data shows us what wisdom traditions have long taught – that the keys to happiness – to true well-being and fulfilment – depend not on the external circumstances of our lives, but on the state of our minds and the quality of our consciousness. Please enjoy the video below – and then take the time for Power of Presence and your own path toward mindfulness.

Mindfulness and Breath Awareness: Kids & Learning

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Stress and Learning

mindfulnessMany students are stressed. For some, the stress is simply living in our fast-paced, media-saturated, multi-tasking world. For others, the stress is performing, “succeeding,” and getting into a “good” college. For still others the stress is surviving in extremely challenging, even traumatic, home environments and life circumstances. Stress frequently inhibits the ability to learn.

Various exceptional meditation and mindfulness programs have been added to the school day with exceptional results. Science is now documenting the negative impact that stress is having on learning everyday, in classrooms across the country. The neurological processes that explain this interaction are collectively called executive function, which includes—

  • goal-directed behavior
  • planning
  • organized search
  • impulse control1

Not surprisingly the research proves executive function correlates with working memory, emotional regulation, and resilience.2,3,4 Over 30 years of research with adults has shown that mindfulness decreases stress, depression, anxiety, and hostility, and enhances executive function, compassion and empathy.7,8,9,10,11,12 Related studies have shown that self-compassion has academic benefits, especially when dealing with perceived failure.13

Rather than being a program “taught to” students in grades 4-8, P2Walk for Learning engages students in imagining, creating, researching, hands on learning games, discussion, teamwork, writing and speaking in front of peers. The students become part of the content-building team that enhances the P2Walk guided meditations that are a core component of the program.

Presence, Intention and Mindfulness as a Foundation for Learning

In studying second and third graders who did Mindfulness Awareness Practices for 30 minutes twice a week for 8 weeks, Lisa Flook, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA documented that children who began the study with poor executive function had gains in behavioral regulation, meta-cognition, and overall global executive control. These results indicate Mindfulness Awareness Practice training benefits children with executive function difficulties.15 mindfulness

A study conducted by Amy Saltzman, M.D., in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Stanford, with 4th-7th graders and their parents, showed that after 1 hour of mindfulness training for 8 consecutive weeks the children demonstrated increased ability to orient their attention, as measured by the Attention Network Task, and decreased anxiety.16

While the results are encouraging, it should be noted the field is young and more research is needed. Beyond the quantitative measures that can be documented by research, any teacher can share stories of students whose learning is blocked or interrupted by stress, anxiety, anger, lack of confidence or self-control.  When a young person is provided the tools to be part of the solution, to have a valuable “work” role in a process they enjoy, the change and benefits occur quickly with long-lasting impact.

P2Walk for Kids: Mindfulness 4 Learning

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P2Walk for Learning

P2Walk for kids in the learning environment is similar to P2Walk for anyone. The differences include the themes of the P2Walk guided meditations, the length of the meditations and the creation/writing/design component. The constant is a guided, active, meditation practice that focuses on breath awareness and mindful intention.

Safe-WalkingLet’s begin with a definition of what we mean when we talk about Power of Presence and Mindfulness:  Mindfulness is paying attention to your life, here and now, with kindness and curiosity. As the Dalai Lama might put it: Mindfulness is practicing paying attention to what’s happening inside your body and around you with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance. It’s about being present to each moment as it happens. In practical terms, mindfulness is about focusing on now; not yesterday or tomorrow.

In school, students are asked to “pay attention” dozens of times a day. Do they know how to do that?. The practice of mindfulness shows students how to pay attention in a curious, interested manner. Practicing the art of being present and mindful while moving provides a balanced and rhythmic base that is in tune with the kinesthetic needs of most young people.

As human beings we all have the unique capacity to pay attention and live with awareness of our internal and external worlds. We can attend to the breath, the body, thoughts, emotions, tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and our impulses and actions and their effects on others and our environment. This ability to pay attention is a natural, innate human capacity. It is also a skill that enhances learning.

As meditation is being accepted as a valuable addition to the school day, P2Walk for Learning has been designed to complement that practice while providing enriching, standards-based activities for grades 4-8. P2Walk for Learning is a powerful way to enhance student engagement and the outcomes of any meditation course or school program.

Learn more about P2Walk Founder, Judy Shasek, MS

Why is Mindfulness and Breath awareness Important?

 

 

Mindfulness: A Route Toward Purpose

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The more we practice the Power of Presence through active meditations, the more we can focus in on our intention. Another way of thinking about mindfulness and intention is through our personal exploration of purpose. We’d love to share information about a FREE course available on The Big Know, featuring author, Richare Leider.

It’s easy to begin – go to The Big Know and read through the topics of each section. Great stuff! The course begins with “The Power of Purpose,” then moves on to “Reflect, Connect, Explore.” Finally the course wraps with “Choose, Repack and Act.” We’d love to hear your experiences and comments.

Richard Leider is the author of several books, including the bestsellers The Power of Purpose, Life Reimagined, and Repacking Your Bags and a thought leader with Life Reimagined. Richard is one of America’s pre-eminent executive life coaches. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the “Top 5” most respected executive coaches in the United States.

LR-Purpose-InstructorImage-RichardLeiderRichard holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC), and a National Certified Master Career Counselor (MCC). Leider is a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, a guest lecturer in the Harvard Business School and a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, NPR, The New York Times and USA Today.

For 30 years, Richard has led Inventure Expedition walking safaris in Tanzania, East Africa, where he co-founded and is a board member of the Dorobo Fund for Tanzania. He and his wife, Sally, live on the St. Croix River outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.(From the course website)