meditation

Sit With: A Wise and Wild Women's Meditation

meditatewithchels.jpg
There is a soft and yet FIERCE compassion to the feminine.
— Meredith

Welcome to another episode of Sit With: A Meditation and Contemplation Podcast. Today's episode has been designed for women, though anyone is invited and encouraged to practice. It's a sneak peak to what will be offered and explored in this year's Wise and Wild Women's Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico. This meditation invites you to connect to and nourish the source of the feminine, the creative, and the intuitive. It's an offering of breathing sweetly, moving freely, and expressing powerfully. We spend some time connecting heart to womb and then rocking the pelvic bowl forward and back and around in circles, churning and stirring the feminine pot. This is a practice of awakening and owning the power of creativity and intuition, and expressing fiercely through dance, painting, writing, speech, or simply being present.

 

May this practice nourish, heal, and inspire ourselves, families, communities, and societies. 

 

OM NAMASTE


Wise and Wild Women's Meditation Practice

  • place hand over heart and breathe
  • gently touch in and slide hand down to womb and breathe
  • tilt pelvic bowl forward, reach your sitting bones back and allow belly to fall forward
  • rock pelvic bowl back, reach your sitting bones forward and allow belly to fall back
  • breathe sweetly and continue to rock forward back for a few minutes, inviting a softness and suppleness through low back
  • start to churn in circles, stirring the feminine for another few minutes
  • pause and notice what you feel

RETREAT-digsig.png

It's Time: Reclaiming the Wise and Wild Woman

Womens_Retreat_9233.jpg

It's not that she isn't there- in fact, she is right here and always has been. However, she may be buried deep, silenced, or asleep due to the patriarchal society telling us to be small, polite, and quiet. Don't move too much, don't speak too loudly, and don't make a scene.

Well... NO!

She has had enough- we have had enough- and it's time to AWAKEN the WISE and WILD Woman. You know who she is. Maybe you remember her freedom and imagination from childhood or maybe you catch glimpses of her in moments of creativity or on the dance floor. You probably hear her whispering in your bones and in your soul- to move freely, express fiercely, and create beautifully.

Now is the time. It's time to listen, trust, and unleash the Wise and Wild Woman within and it's time to gather and do it together!

The wise and "wild" woman is not some crazed, irrational, or over-emotional being. Rather, she is our natural, raw, and true state. Our wildness is our intuition, our emotions, our sexuality, and our creativity. Our wildness is our knowing and our connection to living our most honest and fulfilled lives. Our wildness is our birthright.

On October 27th, 2018 we will gather for a week in the nourishing land of Sayulita, Mexico to explore, heal, and inspire the feminine. Energetically, the feminine is the "Maha" or Great Creator. It is She that has the power to bring new life in the world- whether this be in the form children, art, or relationships. She has the graceful ability to influence families, communities, and societies in her own subtle and yet fiery way-  through words or dance or painting AND by her strong and loving presence.

The Wise and Wild Women's retreat will be an intentional gathering of women of all ages and abilities. Together, we will dialogue around and support each other through some of the most powerful cycles that are entry points to the creative- the menstrual cycle, sexuality, pregnancy and birth, and menopause. Together, we will build a strong community to be seen for the wise women we are and together we will lift each other up.

There will be individual and collective space to contemplate emotionally, express intuitively, and move, breathe, and create freely. This exploration, remembering, and owning of the feminine will not only heal and empower ourselves but also contribute to the well-being of all life on Earth.

Sit With Meditation: On The Abundance In Each Moment

L1002624.jpg

Breathe in and experience the fullness of the lungs, the expansion of the body, and the abundance that exists in each moment. May we think, speak, and act from this place of enough-ness and offer the practice up to the wellness and freedom for all beings.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu


3 Ways to Sit During Meditation

Hi All!

In preparation for the launch of my meditation podcast Sit With, I'm taking this week to share three sitting options. Whenever I teach meditation I always recommend finding a seat that is comfortable and sustainable; however, I know this is not always easy! In this video I share three seats that I have found helpful and supportive during my practices. Try them out and let me know how they feel or if you have any questions.

And remember to subscribe and tune in next Monday, November 13th for the very first episode of Sit With: A Meditation and Contemplation Podcast. This podcast will be a weekly invitation to start your week with clarity, calm, and intention and I hope it gives you the tools and skills to be more awake and energized in the world.

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Yoga Therapy Magic

I recently met up with my good friend Elaine Oyang, a yoga therapist and whole foods nutrition consult here in San Francisco. I have been hearing a lot about "yoga therapy" and wanted to know what separated it from my understanding of yoga.

You may already know that the yoga teacher to student relationship was once, and still is in some places, an intentional commitment. The student would formally ask the teacher to guide him or her through the practices of yoga and the teacher would formally agree or disagree to take on that student. It was through this purposeful and steadfast one-on-one relationship that one learned the powerful practices and explored the union of body, mind, and spirit. 

Elaine told me that yoga therapy is similar in that her students or clients ask for her guidance. During the initial consultation they commit to a healing and integrative health care plan. Yoga therapists use a variety of techniques including yoga, meditation, and breath work in order to guide their client's unique body and mind to it's natural state of vitality, balance, and ease. Yoga therapy can be energizing and nourishing for anyone and is ideal for someone living with chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, or depression. 

During our time together, Elaine guided me through a deep sacral release sequence. This was my first experience with yoga therapy and I didn't really know what to expect. The whole session took place with me lying on my back with my legs up on a chair. After a few opening assists, Elaine talked me through a simple practice of grounding my femur bones deep into my hip sockets so that the surrounding muscles could soften. Her calming and compassionate nature made it easy for me to relax my body and connect to my breath. I felt immediate release around my sacrum, low back, and hip joints, as well as a sweet peace throughout my whole being. From beginning to end, I felt held and nourished by Elaine's presence- something not so readily available in a public class. 

If you or someone you know is currently living with some health challenge, consider yoga therapy! If you are in the bay area, I would highly recommend Elaine. You can learn more about her and her work here

Also, the sequence below is easily done with or without a yoga therapist. All you need is a soft surface to lie down on and a chair to rest your calves and ankles on. Try it out and let me know how it feels!

Mindful May Campaign

Join the Mindful May Campaign and experience more peace, clarity, and authentic connection.

This is the heartbeat of yoga and the initiation of an awakened LIFE. It is through the practice of SITTING that we cultivate a relationship with the mind and begin to hear and feel the noise and busyness, as well as the pockets of quiet stillness and harmony. Meditation invites us to rest the attention on the breath (or another focal point), to notice when thoughts arise, and to choose the present moment over and over and over again. Each breath offers a rich and vibrant life that can only be experienced in the present and each inhale gives us an opportunity to engage carefully with the world.

So I invite you to SIT each morning!

I recommend sitting for 6-11 minutes, which is plenty of time to notice the churning of the mind and to practice shifting the attention to the moment. If at all possible, I HIGHLY recommend sitting in the morning before taking care of family or work. You can tell me, but I have found that there is something powerful about starting the day with the vitality and clarity of the breath.

 

OM NAMASTE


Other ways to participate

Along with your home practice, you are welcome to join me Tuesday evenings at Thriveability SF, where I'll be leading a meditation series for the month of May. You can also attend my regular public Yoga and Meditation classes at Yoga Garden SF on Tues/Thurs mornings or Sunday evenings. I will also be posting Instagram LIVE meditations every Monday morning and you can tune in @meredithholtyoga 

Finally, I'd love for you to take a look and consider donating the gift of yoga and meditation to k-12 teachers! Learn more about Headstand's powerful mission and give today.

 

On My Shelf

1. Sit Like A Buddha: A Pocket Guide To Meditation by Lodro Rinzler 

This book was given to me by a friend and I found it simple and accessible for those who are just starting a meditation practice. I recommend this light read if you are curious about the practice and want some clear guidelines. 

 

2. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

This book will help you create more space, clarity and joy in your life!

As most of you know, I am moving to Berkeley in a few short weeks. I have moved quite a bit in the last few years and have simplified my life by decreasing the volume of stuff I own. However, this book is about more than simplifying. It is about cultivating more JOY in your life and in your home through the art of tidying. She encourages you to hold onto only that which sparks joy.

3. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind by Pema Chodron

This book is more comprehensive than the one by Rinzler and is a good addition if you want a more complete understanding of the practice. Chodron also weaves in her ideals of grace and compassion, which I resonate deeply with. 

 

4. Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron

And while we are on the topic of compassion... this is my go to book. I've shared this once with you all already, but it is still on my shelf and I find myself referencing it quite often. Chodron has some really clear practices to cultivate compassionate for yourself and others.
 

5. The Way To Start A Day by Byrd Baylor

Byrd Baylor is one of my favorite children's authors because she can beautifully expresses mindful and spiritual ideas. This book in particular is about welcoming and celebrating the day- through dance, song, beats, flowers, etc. The illustrator Parnall adds texture and emotion through his whimsical swirling shapes and vibrant hues of southwestern sunrises.


Yoga and Meditation: What It Is All About and How It Can Upgrade Your Life

For the past few months I have been teaching a 6:15 am Yoga and Meditation class at Yoga Garden SF and I am finding that it has a tender spot in my heart. I believe the class honors the practice of yoga and the teachers who have passed the dharma, or teachings, along the lineage. It also represents the way I personally practice and feels vulnerable and meaningful to share bits and pieces of that with you.

The physical practice, or asana, was created to strengthen, cleanse, and open the body to prepare for meditation- a practice of cultivating more awareness of the movement of the mind and of training the mind to be one-pointed.

This class is a morning ritual- a practice of vinyasa, breath work, and meditation to leave you feeling more awake, present, and productive. We first energize and open the body through movement and breath to then prepare for the seated practice of stilling the mind. Together we are creating a sangha, a community, of awareness and compassionate hearts and it's open to EVERYONE!

This class is authentic and genuine and you will feel fiercely supported by the community we have, and continue to build. And yet there is MORE! As more people study mindfulness and meditation, we are seeing that a morning practice has wonderful benefits that will certainly upgrade your life!


Five (of many) Benefits of Morning Yoga and Meditation

  1. Energy

    Practicing yoga stimulates the mind and body, giving you more energy to take into your day. You may even ditch the coffee... though maybe not... and that's ok too. I personally love the taste of coffee and drink a cup most days.

  2. Productivity

    Meditation trains the mind to be one-pointed. As you begin to notice the movement of the mind, you can choose to let go of thoughts, worries, and expectations, and focus fully on what is in front of you in each moment. People who meditate tend to focus easier and get more done.

  3. Clarity

    Meditation builds awareness of all the storylines or narratives we have created and are pulled into. The practice is noticing the drama, dropping it, and observing what is true and real in each moment. As we begin to drop the thoughts, we can think and see more clearly. We can also be more open to all that is being offered right now.

  4. Peace

    As we allow ourselves to slow down and connect to the breath, we are reminded of the essence of who we are. We are light and love, and we know that this is not dependent on what we have done or might do. People who meditate have a stronger sense of self, belonging, contentment and equanimity of mind.

  5. Flexibility

    We begin to let go of the grip that we have on life. We learn to let go of what we have experienced in the past and how it might be holding us back, and we learn to let go of what we THINK might or should happen. With the practice of meditation, we are more flexible in the way we think and experience each day. There is more magic, creativity, and joy!

If this sparks your curiosity, please join us on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:15 am. No experience is necessary and we would LOVE to welcome you.

Love,
M


What the Sangha is saying...

Practicing yoga and meditation has impacted my life for the better. It’s a simple practice but a very challenging one. To be able to control the thoughts that are constantly moving in my mind is hard. I never was able to turn it down. Before practicing yoga and meditation, my mind would start racing the minute I woke up in the morning. It was a terrible feeling and I couldn’t even enjoy the present moment. I was so caught up on the past and future and was missing out on what’s real. I’ve been taking Meredith’s class for almost two months and I can already see the huge impact it has had on me. I enjoy taking the morning classes because I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the day. I live each day like it’s my last. I have to thank my instructor Meredith for that because she focuses on the moment and training our minds to let go of all the narratives we’ve created. She’s very inspiring and has really helped me deal with anxiety. I’m in a better place due to this amazing practice. I recommend this class to anybody who wants to take a moment and quiet the mind. It’s extremely important and will only better you in the long run. Thank you to the amazing yoga instructors who embrace every moment! Namaste.
— Alissa N.
Practicing in the morning is probably the best way to start the day. As long as you make sure you get a good night’s rest, waking up just before 6 to make Meditation and Yoga is worth your while to find some serious focus first thing. Undeniably, some mornings my alarm goes off and I curse at it, but an hour later I feel more awake and aware than if I mainlined two cups of coffee. Plus, once you make it a regular part of your schedule, it becomes routine!
— Meghan A.