As yoga becomes increasingly popular in the United States, the ancient practice of kirtan (KEER-tahn), or yogic chanting, is gaining interest. The call-and-response format of chanting is a type of yoga in itself and has many of the mind-calming benefits of a yoga class or sitting meditation. For those who find meditation difficult, kirtan, which [...]
Discover ways that meditation allows you to stop, breathe, and pay attention to both your inner world and your active mind.
Sharon Salzberg, guest blogger To soften and open your heart to others is to lead a truly fulfilling life. In this excerpt from her book Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, leading meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg provides 10 simple tips for cultivating a loving-kindness meditation practice. Think of kindness as a strength, not as a [...]
According to the ancient Vedic texts of India, the heart is the source of real feeling and knowing—the very seat of consciousness. Yet we can sometimes keep our hearts so well guarded that true feeling and knowing become inaccessible. The Pali word metta is most often translated as loving-kindness, and the practice of metta meditation helps [...]
As the winter sky becomes darker, we can always illuminate ourselves from within with simple sun breaths. To try: From Mountain pose, relax your belly, then take 5–10 complete breaths using your full lung capacity. Try to let each inhale and each exhale last around six counts. Inhale and slowly raise your arms out to [...]
In this edition of Ask the Expert, Angela Wilson, a senior Kripalu faculty member and Project Leader for the Institute for Extraordinary Living’s Frontline Providers program, answers questions about the health benefits of meditation, the best time to meditate, and more. Does meditation have any actual health benefits? What does meditating do for my parasympathetic [...]
by Tresca Weinstein, guest blogger There’s a well-known story about a sitar player (in some versions, it’s a lute player) who was discouraged with his meditation practice and went to the Buddha to ask for instruction. “What happens when you tune your instrument too tightly?” the Buddha asked. “The strings break,” the musician replied. “And [...]
Meditation Lets Us Look Inside Ourselves to See the Whole World
Jack Kornfield, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, author, and one of the most well-known teachers of Buddhism in the West. He’s a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Center in California. Here, he talks about meditation, his signature loving-kindness practice, an upcoming Kripalu retreat, and why he loves to teach.
What’s at the core of the trainings you teach? The trainings are centered in equanimity and balance—it’s the training of the heart and mind to stay balanced. I teach a series of steps for equanimity, beginning with reflections on the vastness of time and changing circumstances, ever-changing winds of gain and loss, praise and loss, pleasure and pain. Training has to do with reflecting on the value of keeping a peaceful heart and envisioning others with compassion. We realize that people can love enormously, and that you can’t love on behalf of someone else; we try to understand the limits of love. It’s also using a series of deep intentions: May I live with peace in the joys and sorrows of the world. May you find peace.
Forget about enjoying the holidays: More and more, the majority of us just want to make it through. Which is why a meditation practice—proven to counter stress, beat depression and illness, keep energy levels up, and help encourage better sleep—can come in especially handy this time of year. The best part: You don’t need to invest a lot of time or commitment (and, unlike most everything else this season, it’s totally free). Angela Wilson, MA, Manager of Evidence-Based Yoga Curriculum for Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living, offers the following tips for practicing on-the-go mindfulness: no quiet room, dimmed lights, or mat required.