Category Archives: Meditation

What is this polar vortex all about?

The winter time according to Chinese Medicine relates to the Kidney/Urinary Bladder system and is associated with cold, fear, black, the lower back and knees and opens to the ears. The energy of the body is condensed and held deep in the body. It is a time of inner reflection and listening.

As I was driving into work today. I came across this.

It got me thinking. It’s been really cold this year. Seems like mother nature is forcing us all into a little extra hibernation. If you get really quiet and take a deep breath what do you hear? What is your body telling you? I think its telling me to lay close to a sunny window like a cat and take a nap. :)

Hope you are enjoying the polar vortex! :) Enjoy some stillness.

Meditation for Toddlers

Sometimes toddlers get over tired, over stimulated or just have trouble winding down for nap time. Just like adults, sometimes toddlers need a little help relaxing. This video was inspired for a little girl who plays hard and has trouble sleeping. Its great for parents and caregivers to watch and model with their toddler for 5 minutes of quiet time for everyone. 😉

 

darkness

Feeling Tired? This Could Be Why

The last 2 days we’ve been living in the clouds, literally. The fog yesterday was pretty intense. If you are feeling sluggish this could be why.

We are transitioning into winter. This is a time of turning inward and for many animals it’s also hibernation time. We’ve talked about this already. The sunless sky and all the fog is a very damp environment. It may even feel like the dampness is in your bones. Dampness in Chinese Medicine is an obstruction or blockage that can cause you to feel weighed down, it’s also mother nature’s reminder to slow down! Cold causes energy to constrict and move slow and so as much as you can let your life reflect that.

You might be thinking, “this all sounds great, but I have stuff to do.” Here are some simple ways to prepare for winter so that you can be mindful of what your body needs and realistic of your life as well.

1. Eat warming foods and spices. The season of winter is cold and is associated with the bones and low back and the color is black. Incorporate stews, soups and chilis in to your menu and add warming spices like black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, ginger etc. Look forward to some yummy winter recipes. :)

2. Because this is a season of turning in it is important to avoid stimulants like coffee. Also avoid damp causing foods like dairy, processed foods and refined sugar as this can contribute to fatigue.

3. Take some time to hibernate. If extra sleep isn’t possible try incorporating meditation or quiet time into your routine even if its just for 5 minutes. There is a saying that says meditate everyday for 20 minutes and if you are really busy meditate for an hour!

4. Switch up your exercise routine. Avoid high impact cardio exercise in the winter months to replenish your system.  Add restorative yoga, walking and weight training to your routine.

5. Surrender! It is few and far between the number of comments I hear of someone looking forward to the dark and cold or winter. Find beauty in the season, it is after all the balance to the summer and the sun is always shining behind the clouds! 😉

 

Meditation for the Winter Blues

Today’s meditation is more of a contemplation. :)

I was home yesterday with my little one and we already had a lot of pent-up energy despite a busy morning. It got me thinking…. everyone knows about spring cleaning but what about the other seasons? I glanced around my house and noticed a summer of fun (and housekeeping neglect) in dust bunnies and spider webs hanging out in the smallest crevices of our house. I grabbed my bottle of thieves cleaner and handed my toddler a dust rag and we got to work, mostly on our hands and knees deep cleaning the base boards, the stairs, vacuuming and dusting. We got to all those places that get missed when doing a superficial clean. We picked off all the dried, dead leaves on our houseplants and gave them a little extra TLC. I have to admit, my husband would make a much better housewife than I ever would at least in the cleaning department. I really have to be in “the mood” to clean but yesterday the inspiration hit me. It really felt like a moving meditation.

 

What was all that dust in those corners all about metaphorically? What was I hanging onto that was no longer serving me and causing stagnation?

It was time to clean up and let go.

What was so awful about winter? Why all the dread?

In Chinese Medicine acupuncture is just one branch of the whole system, feng shui is another component. Feng Shui is all about proper placement so that energy can flow smoothly in your environment. This can get complicated or it can be really simple. Do you feel good in your surroundings? If you do, awesome! If you don’t give your space a good clean and rearrange some furniture.

Another thing I noticed was that I am very resistant to even thinking about winter and how fast it is approaching, all this cold and darkness. Again, Chinese Medicine offers us a system of balance: brightness and darkness, hot and cold, yin and yang etc etc. Winter is a piece of that puzzle. It is a time to counterbalance all that bright energy and heat of summer. And, Winter is especially a time of reflection and going inward: a time to face one’s fears.

So my meditation for you today is this: when the mood strikes you grab a dust rag, your favorite music and move your body. Enjoy the untangling of your home and mind as you put everything back together again and then enjoy how good it feels to have a clean home!

Join me for a 4 week series of meditations to mindfully move through the holidays Nov 25-Dec 16 Mondays 12:00p-12:30p. You can find more info here. 

Meditation for Staying Grounded

This week’s meditation is all about staying grounded. You can practice this anywhere: seated at work, waiting in line at the grocery store. In yoga we call this pose Mountain Pose. Think of how solid and grounded a mountain is. The key is to pay attention to your feet and how they are making contact with the ground. Start with that awareness first. Without changing anything take notice of how you are sitting/standing reading this. Then notice how you feel.

Now readjust yourself so that your feet are hip distance apart (hip distance is the width of your knuckles) and the whole surface area of the soles of your feet are on the ground. Adjust your posture so that your spine is tall and shoulders are relaxed. Lift your toes off the floor and notice how this action also lifts your arches and roots the balls and heels to the floor. (if you’re standing you will also notice your thigh muscles engage). Once you feel the engagement in your feet you can float your toes back to the floor as well. Imagine your feet are like roots of a tree burrowing into the ground and allow each exhale to deepen until you feel like your breath is as anchored to the earth as your feet are. Take 3 breaths to center and continue on your day!

The Yogi Cure All Meditation

 

There is a yoga posture that has often been called the “yogi cure all” and can be used for just about any ailment. The best part is that it is simple and easy to do. For anyone who held the excuse that they aren’t flexible and could never do any yoga this posture is a great place to start.

Vaprita Karani or Legs Up the Wall Pose is pretty self explanatory. (see picture above)

Here are a couple of tips: 

* Sitting next to the wall, bring your hips as close to the wall as you can.

* Protect your back by laying on your side and then gently swing your legs up against the wall. It it not imperative that your legs be at a 90 angle against the wall, only that your legs are straight. If the back of your legs feel tight, scoot your hips away from the wall until you find a place of comfort and ease in your body.

* You might also place a pillow under your hips or lengthwise along your spine for more comfort and higher elevation.

* Your arms can rest at your sides, out into a “t” or up over your head.

* This pose can also be done using a chair or ball to rest your legs on for more comfort.
The ancient yogis believed that “legs up the wall” pose was a cure-all. They believed that once the feet were up over the head in a resting posture a secret serum was released from the heels and would gently trickle down to wherever the ailment was and could especially assist with headaches, low back pain, varicose veins, anti-aging and metabolism. These ancient yogis were such fans of “legs up the wall” they felt it had just as much benefit on the body if held for 10 minutes a day as a full yoga class does.This pose is doing many things physiologically.
>> helping to traction the spine, alleviating pressure through the low back>> reversing the direction of circulation giving the veins of the legs a break from gravity which also helps slow the aging process and nourish circulation.>> bringing fresh circulation to the head>> assisting the blood pressure to decrease

To release from this pose gently walk your feet down the wall and bring your knees into your chest. You might enjoy rocking from side to side. To protect your back roll on to your side (you might prefer to rest on your side for a moment) and slowly push yourself back to a seated posture.

While holding this posture close your eyes and practice some deep breathing. Imagine a balloon in your abdomen. With your inhale imagine filling this balloon up with any stress or tension and with your exhale imagine your balloon slowly deflating letting your stress or tension out. Focus on slow, long exhales to promote further relaxation in your body. You might be aware of a tingling sensation in your legs or even feel your back naturally start to loosen.

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Sarah Canga

Meditation for Grief

This week’s meditation comes with a restorative yoga pose called fish pose. The Fall is the time of the lung/large intestine system in Chinese Medicine and is associated with the emotion of grief. All emotions are necessary and healthy when expressed appropriately. The emotion of grief is fitting for the fall when we watch the abundance of summer start to slowly go inward. The same is happening within our bodies as well. Use this meditation as a way to reflect on letting go of what is no longer serving you especially during times of transition and patiently wait for what will appear in the spring in this new space you have created.

 

Sarah Canga

Meditation For When You Can’t Relax

This week’s installment of meditation is especially for those of you who have trouble relaxing (ahem pretty much everyone I’ve ever met to some degree or another). Play this one before bed for a great night’s sleep! I was feeling a little tense before recording it and it really helped me relax 😉

5 Minute Meditation with Sarah Canga

Here is the first installment of 5 Minute Meditation. This is perfect if you need a moment to center to start your day, to end your day or any time throughout the day! Take a deep breath and enjoy!

 

5 Minute Meditation with Sarah Canga