Yin Yang Guided Meditation

Yin Yang Guided Meditation

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In my last post I described the everyday benefits of balancing the active and passive aspects of your lifestyle, and with this guided meditation you will be able to balance yin and yang in your body and mind. This meditation helps to bring awareness to the yin and yang aspects of the breath. The inhale is yang: expansive, light, and full. The exhale is yin: sinking, dense and contracted. This recording goes through the contrast and then combines the two energies in the heat, with yin energy rising from the navel, and yang energy sinking down from the third eye center. This combination creates a healing elixir within you, seeking balance and coherence within your physiology. It increases communication between your nervous system, blood, organs and other aspects of your body to facilitate the healing process. This also helps with balancing emotions, reducing excesses and increasing awareness of how you truly feel. This guided meditation is perfect to use if you have trouble falling asleep. In the beginning and end I encourage you to sink and relax into the surface that you’re laying on. Encouraging peace of mind, stillness, and silence as you drift into a sleeping state. Enjoy this balancing guided meditation, and look for a yin/yang Qi gong video to be released in the next couple weeks. Transcript: This guided meditation will help you to tap into vitality, healing and peace of mind by combining yin and yang energy within yourself. It will end in a calm and relaxing way, so if you need to be awake and aware after this meditation, you may want to set an alarm for 30 minutes to make sure you get up after the session has ended. Find a relaxed position, laying on your back on a bed or floor. You can place a pillow under your knees if you have any discomfort in your lower back. As your body settles into this relaxed position, adjusting as necessary, your mind begins to slow down. Scan your body from head to toe, noticing where you feel energized and flowing, and areas where you may feel discomfort and stagnation. As you scan your body, notice how heavy you feel. Feel the power of gravity pulling you down, deeper and deeper into the cushion. On the every breath out feel the abdomen sink deeper, allowing more space for the inhale to fill your belly, mid drift, chest, and lungs. A full yogic breath, giving your body all the relaxing benefits of deep breathing. As the breath deepens, the exhale continues to help you sink lower and lower, down into the earth. A sense of peace, silence and returning home is present within you. On your next inhale, notice the contrast of growing, expanding, filling yourself with light, love and sun energy on every breathe in. The breath out slows you down, sinking into silence and peace. The breathe in you are floating on a cloud, the sunrise light shining through you, expanding and overfilling you. The sun sets on the breath out, your body caressed by a half-moon that floats you down to the earth. Continue this practice, of floating and sinking, expanding and contracting. This is yin yang awareness through the breath. The boundless energy of yang; expansive, universal, light and vast. Contrasted with the dense energy of yin, still, peaceful, quiet, and settling. With your next breath in allow the yin energy to rise from your lower abdomen, and exhale the yang energy to sink from your 3rd eye and crown, combining in your heart center. The moon rises as the sun sets, spiraling in your heart. A full yogic breath, from your lower abdomen, up above your chest to your lungs. Allowing the yin and yang to create a white and black spiral in your chest. Breathe in and Concentrate in your heart, and with the breath out let the energy expand beyond your body, filling your entire consciousness with this healing elixir of yin and yang. Continue this visualization, cultivating and overflowing with this healing energy. The combination of the yin and yang is like home away from home, peace with power, silence with action, expansive and grounded, lighthearted and determined, playful yet disciplined. Release the visualization and allow your attention to come back to the body and breath. Scan your body once again, from heat to toe, feeling the deep peace you’ve cultivated within yourself. If you wish, you can allow your mind to wander, finding a deep, restful sleep. Slowing down, and sinking deeper and deeper into the earth. At peace and at one with the universe.  
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Yin Yang Balance in Everyday Life

Passive, introspective silent, dark, cool still, earth, water, grouding, are all yin aspects. Active, loud, extroversion, expansive, light, warm, space/universe are all yang aspects. We come across both aspects throughout our day. In the United States we have a strong influence of yang energy on our lives. Whether that is through working long hard hours, exercising at the gym, driving in heavy traffic, watching television with loud noises, or drinking coffee and energy drinks. Some yin aspects of everyday life would include taking a bath, receiving a massage, introspection and writing, a gentle walk in nature, seated meditation and deep, restful sleep. The act of balancing the two is important for health, vitality, and peace of mind. Whether a deficiency in Yin or Yang energy, we will have low energy, difficulty sleeping, and high levels of stress. We need a good foundation of earth/yin energy to keep our yang energy grounded. Without that foundation, the active stress of everyday life will have us confused, with an easily distracted mind and an over exhausted body. Some symptoms of deficient yang(and too much yin) energy include laziness, excessive sleep, spending too much time alone, depression, cold hands/feet, and overeating/lack of appetite(unhealthy eating habits). The act of balancing is what is important. You don’t have to achieve perfect balance, you only need to be aware when one area is becoming overpowering, and when to either become more active, or take time to slow down and look within. A common problem for people in modern times is to have too much yang in their mind, and too much yin in their body. The excessive yin body is from sitting at work, sitting watching television, sitting while driving, and then trying to lay down and go to sleep. Yet while the body is being passive, the mind is very active, watching fast paced television commercials, reading and responding to emails, Facebook updates, text messages, and trying to multitask to be more efficient. A great way to balance this out more, is to take 5 or 10 minutes to go on a quiet walk after work in the afternoon/evening. You can focus your mind on your breathing, be aware of every step you take, and allow your mind to quiet down, while your body gets some movement and exercise. Receiving a massage is also a great way to quiet the mind, while healing the body, reducing soreness and pain and allowing you to be more active. Here are some examples of how I’ve been using this yin/yang philosophy for balancing my own life. I recognize when I should be taking a yin/restorative yoga class versus a more strenuous Vinyasa class. When I need to do more movement exercises or when I need to practice a seated stillness meditation. Listening to my body, understanding when I need to rest to heal my body, and when I need to be more active to circulate and become more energized. Routine and habits are more yin, while spontaneity is yang. I observe when I’m becoming limited by my habits, and when I need to incorporate something new to get my creative juices flowing. I can feel when I need to eat more, less, or eat more cooling(yin) or heating(yang) foods. I notice when I need to consume reading material, or write from my own creativity. When I need to ruminate and brainstorm, or refine and publish my material. When I need to sleep in, or wake up earlier. When I need to travel and discover or stay and home and look within. Learning to balance, and not take judgment on myself when I get off center has helped to create peace of mind and increased creativity in my life. Here are two practices that you can use to combine yin and yang energy for health and vitality. One is a guided meditation(yin), and the other is a video of Qi Gong movements(yang) to combine and circulate heaven(yang) and earth(yin) energy. This combination creates a healing elixir of life, allowing a natural state of peace and well being. They both act to balance the energy within yourself, and will help you act on your decisions to be more active, and/or to take more time to look within and relax.
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Mind mapping and Brainstorms

I’ve been creating Mind maps to let all of my thoughts on a subject out of my head. I’ve used it for my speech I gave for Toastmasters, for blog ideas, for ideas on redesigning my website, and other projects that I’m working on. For me a mind map looks like a spider web brainstorm on a topic. You put the main topic in the middle (like “Vacation to Hawaii”) and then draw lines going to different ideas on the subject (Places to stay, beaches to visit, hikes, ect) and then from those ideas you write more detailed about those subjects (Places to stay → Friends house in Waipio Valley, Brothers farm, Vacation home in Puna). I’ve enjoyed the freedom that it gives me to write non-linear. I can start a random tangent by drawing another line from the circle, or I can go back and elaborate on something I wrote on earlier. I can let my critical mind take the back seat as I flow and write whatever comes to mind. Associations come up, random thoughts come up, and by the end of writing I have much more information and content than if I had tried to write in a linear (A, B, C, D) kind of way. One limitation that I’ve experienced with this way of brainstorming is how it can be difficult to find enough space to write what you want. Once I’ve finished a mind map the page will be crowded and littered. I have to review it within a couple days so that I’ll be able to remember what I was writing. Organizing all of the information is difficult as well, because I don’t want to lose information that might be useful later. I’ve learned to pick and choose what is relevant, and file the rest into a reference folder or throw it away. Here is an example of how I do my mind maps. Each bubble off of the center is an idea for articles to write, and ways to create content for my blog. I’ll spend between 15-30 minutes on one mind map. After I’ve completed it I can see what areas have the most content and ideas. For these ideas where the words keep on flowing I will change gears after my brainstorm(within a few days), and start typing up ideas from the mind map on that one topic. I will write as much as I can about the topic, staying in the free associating right brain. After I have some content I bring in my critical mind, and observe what is truly useful. I edit, cut, replace, rewrite, and rethink my writing until I have a final product. This last section can take between 30 minutes to 3 hours or more depending on the length and depth of the content involved. Other than brainstorming blog ideas, what other ways can mind mapping be useful? It can be great for thinking of how you want to redesign your bathroom, the activities on your next vacation, writing down habits you would like to adopt, planning your week, and any situation where you have many ideas you would like to express on paper. I also believe brainstorming can be a great way to get clutter out of your mind. Sometimes I’ll find myself thinking about a certain topic and repeating myself throughout the day. Once I let myself write about it, and get all of my thoughts out there, I will have a quieter mind. If you have good techniques on brainstorming, found good mind mapping software, or have any thoughts on this article, feel free to leave a comment.
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“My Lesson to the World” IceBreaker Speech for Toastmasters

My Lesson to the World Speech [display_podcast] I gave my first Toastmasters speech today. After weeks of brainstorming, outlining, and half a dozen times recording myself practicing my speech, I’ve given my final presentation. There were about twice as many people as the first time I visited the group, and I was the first to give my speech. Overall I felt it was a great experience, much different than being a guest. I felt the community aspect and had great comments and feedback on my speaking abilities. The other speeches given were very inspiring, and I signed up to give another speech in two weeks. The Transcript I wrote for my speech is below: Everyone has a lesson to teach. This is your life’s purpose, why you are here, and what you will show others. A combination of genetics, family upbringing, life experiences, and the way you identify yourself creates this unique perspective from which you can teach from. Every speech that is given is a lesson, even humorous or entertaining speeches teach us to laugh more, and can have deeper meanings behind them. We’re all learning from each other, and teaching each other at every toastmasters meeting we attend. Today I will discuss what I believe my lesson to teach the world is, and what I hope to learn from Toastmasters and all of you. I have lived most of my life in nature, being surrounded by the tropical jungles of Hawaii while a child, the towering redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains as a teenager, and now in the majestic mountains of Summit county. I believe these settings help me see the beauty and peace in nature that can seem to be void in urban cities and lifestyles. The presence of nature helps me to see how small our everyday problems are in comparison. This has helped me to pay less attention the trivial, stress inducing patterns that are so common in modern day society. This last year I’ve been training in massage, yoga, and Qi Gong, and have found these to be great ways to connect with your body, become more present, and enjoy the peace of nature. Through massage I’m able to connect with someone, bring them into a meditative state, and help them release unnecessary tension and holding in their body. All of these exercises are great for releasing stress, and allowing your body and mind to come back to a natural state of peace. I’ve always been a very introspective person. For example I’ve attended a 10 day silent meditation retreat, spent months practicing lucid dreaming techniques, and hours writing and journaling on visions of my future. I believe that everyone could benefit from looking within more. A lot of people skip this step and do whatever other people think they “should” be doing, whether that is going to college, getting a job they dislike, or living in a city they don’t enjoy. I want to teach people how to find the passion within themselves, to discover their individual meaning of life, and to fulfill their deepest desires. How will Toastmasters help me to teach these lessons? I want to learn how to connect with people within minutes, talking with passion, freedom, and inspiring others to act. I want to be able to share my personality fully on my blog, expressing myself through video, audio, and writing. I want to teach people Yoga postures, Qi Gong exercises, and self-massage techniques through how-to videos. Overall I want to believe in myself and learn how to proudly and truthfully express myself to the world. Now… Take a Breath. Look within yourself. Ask: What do I have to teach the world – and how does Toastmasters help?
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Challenging myself: Joining Toastmasters

This week I’ve joined toastmasters public speaking group. I’m scheduled to give an icebreaker speech on February 1st.

Challenging myself

Naturally I’m very introspective. Writing is much easier than speaking for me, and I’m more comfortable socializing in a group of 2 or 3 than a party of 30 or 40 people. Now I’m taking a stand for the new year. I’m doing something that is difficult for me, so that I will be better prepared and more able to express myself to the world.

What do I hope to learn from Toastmasters?

I hope to learn how to be more open and talk freely and confidently while describing myself, my habits, and my services. I wish to be able to creatively and concisely share lessons with the world, using my public speaking skills to help give yoga and qi gong classes. I want to learn how to clear my speech of the filler words that come up when my mind busily tries to find the correct word to express myself. I also wish to meet new people in the process, being able to teach and learn from each other.

How will I use these skills for this website?

I plan on making my website a lot more personal. I want you to be able to listen to the passion in my voice when I talk about things I love, to become motivated by watching me teaching yoga and qi gong, and to experience who I am on more than a textual basis. You will see a lot more videos that will accompany the blog posts. You will listen to interviews and Dharma lectures by Travis.

How will you challenge yourself this year?

If you’re already extroverted, try going to a group meditation. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, living a sedentary lifestyle, try going to a yoga class. If you eat out frequently, meet with a friend who cooks and learn to cook a new meal with them. If you’ve always wanted to write and share yourself with the world, start a blog.
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Gratitude and Growth of 2010

This time every year people tend to look back on the best of the previous year, and look forward to set intentions for the new year. I recommend you take credit for the hard work and accomplishments of the year, and realize how much you’ve learned and grown. The last year I feel I’ve gone through tremendous growth and change. I left a school that wasn’t inspiring me, saved money to pay for massage school. I became active in creating the change I wanted, knowing that I no longer wanted to go to San Jose State. During my free time I would journal about my desires and visions of career paths, websites to create, and habits I wanted to incorporate into my life. Winter I knew I didn’t want to go to San Jose State anymore, and set a date to leave: June of this year. I decided to do my best, earn money, and learn as much as I could in the time that I was there. I learned a lot about time management, creating weekly goals and time sheets to manage school, work, and personal development. I started to do yoga, the gym, and cardio. I discovered Lucid dreaming, meditation, and Mantak Chia’s the multi orgasmic man book. These served as a great introduction to the metaphysical arts. Spring I became inspired by Steve Pavlina’s writing on self-discipline and started waking up at 6am, successfully converting to a morning person. I started going to a weekly meditation group and as part of my transition from San Jose State to massage school I went to a 10 day Vipassana retreat, which changed my perspective on meditation. I also started this blog and shared my goals and desires with the world. Summer In July I went to Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop and met other inspiring people and reaffirmed my passion for growth and learning. In July and August I completed a 250-hour massage training intensive and expanded my social circle and became four times as sociable and open to new people. Fall I continued my massage education, becoming proficient and finding passion with Thai massage. I continued to take classes in Qi Gong, which I had started in the summer, and met Lee Holden. I’ve started to work with him on his videos, and have learned much about Qi Gong movements and becoming sensitive to the life energy in my body. For the Winter I will be primarily living in Breckenridge Colorado during the winter months. I plan on doing a lot of studying on Qi Gong, web design, and the national massage exam. I will work to redesign this website, creating a custom wordpress theme. I will also be launching a website that will be a community resource for massage therapists and body workers. I see this next year being even better than the last, with many lessons for me to learn, and more for me to teach as well.
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Why is Meditation difficult for you?

I know I’ve said these words: “I love the effects of daily meditation, but it is very difficult because while I’m doing it my mind wants to do everything except for observe my breath.” Why would you choose to meditate? The many benefits include stress relief, more restful sleep, lower blood pressure, developing self-discipline, and a peaceful, focused mind. I chose to meditate because I wanted a clearer mind, more lucid dreams, and to develop self-discipline. I started with practices of concentrating the mind, including counting deep breathes, focusing on a candle flame, and recorded guided meditations. When I started mindfulness meditation I found it much more difficult. My mind had nothing to control. It only had to focus on the natural form of the breath. Mindfulness meditation is observing your breath, mind’s thoughts, body’s sensations, and emotions without becoming attached to them. This type of meditation is very practical because you become more aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, and can respond consciously instead of reacting to situations. On my 10-Day Vipassana retreat, on day 5 or 6 I was becoming very frustrated with myself. I thought that this is so simple; you just sit and observe your breath. Why can’t I do that silently for even just 1 minute? I talked with the meditation teacher, and learned a lesson that I continue to learn every day. I need to observe the voice that judges myself, and learn to integrate it. I was judging myself for my mind being too busy and becoming frustrated at myself. This is something that I bring into my every day life as well, I have high expectations of myself, and if I don’t meet those expectations a voice in my head will say I’m not good enough or that I’m not trying hard enough. Through meditation I have discovered issues that I need to resolve within myself. All of us have a similar lesson that can be learned through our meditation practice. Why do you find meditation difficult? Do you have a voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough? Are you looking into the past and blaming yourself, or looking to the future with worry? Learn how your personality might take part in self-sabotaging your meditation experience. The last 3 months I’ve been contemplating my self-judgment more and have learned a lot about my self. I’ve opened up and become aware of feelings that I’ve tried to stop. I’ve talked with my self-critical voice to learn what it has to teach me, and to cooperate together. Being able to work through this has helped my meditation practice, allowing me to accept that there are thoughts, without blaming myself. So while my mind still wants to do everything except for observe my breath, I no longer find it difficult because I am not as attached to the outcome.
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Free Guided Meditation and Reiki

Healing Light Guided Meditation This meditation is perfect for allowing your mind to slow down and to become more in touch with your body. Guided meditations are great to listen to during the day when you have a massage scheduled. This 20 minute total relaxation and healing guided meditation begins with deep breathing exercises, progresses to muscle relaxation, and finishes with visualizing healing white light filling you and relaxing you. This is the equivalent of giving yourself a reiki session. When I receive a massage I will often imagine the practitioner’s hands as emiting healing light that relaxes any tense areas on my body. Using this guided meditation helps me strengthen my ability to visualize and experience this healing energy. I’m now offering Reiki and Guided meditations to complement your massage session. It is $5 for 5 minutes and $10 for 15 minutes to add Reiki and/or guided meditation to your massage session. When you begin your massage with a guided meditation, your personal intention is set and your mind is reminded of why you’re here. These are great ways to deepen your meditation practice, and increase your awareness of subtle energy as well. For more information on my regular massage rates click here.
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Dream Incubation and Lucid dreaming habits

Daily habits to help promote lucid dreams, dream recall, and vivid dreams. Every morning write down whatever fraction of a dream you remember. If you can’t remember a specific dream, write down any thoughts, emotions, or feelings in your body. Wake up with full awareness you were just dreaming and write down the experience, even if it is the middle of the night. If it is early and you want to go back to bed, focus on your intention to remember your dream, and/or to stay lucid while you are drifting to sleep. Read your dreams and notice any strange situations that occurred. What locations were you in, how did you feel, what people you were with, and overall how was your dreaming reality different than waking life. Write down what these are and make sure to do a reality check if you meet the same people during the day, or are in a strange environment (construction, blocked traffic, crazy people on the street talking to you, ect). Throughout the day reflect on the dream like nature of reality. Talk with friends and family about lucid dreaming, your recent dreams, and any interesting dreams they’ve had lately. Do reality checks by reading a word, looking away and reading it again. If the word changes in any way (turns upside down, into symbols, dyslexia, ect) you are probably dreaming. Another way to test whether you’re dreaming is to try and put your finger through a mirror or glass window. In my dreams my hand will go to the other side and feel like it’s passing through a Jello-like substance. I usually have strange bathrooms in my dreams, so whenever I’m in a public restroom, I will try and put my finger through the mirror, especially if I notice something or someone that is strange. Every Night write one page on a dream you would like to have that night. Once you become lucid what do you want to do? Do you want to fly to a tropical island and surf on tidal waves? Visit Hogwarts and learn how to use magic in your dreams? Go to a Himalayan mountaintop and visit a wise old yogi who will teach you the secrets to mastering meditation? Write it in the present tense, describing the feelings, thoughts, sights, sounds, smells and tastes that you experience. Before going to bed clear your mind and become focused. You can start with counting deep breaths. Breathe from your abdomen and keep your attention on the number, and deepening your breath. Notice how you become more relaxed, and more ready for sleep. Next just sit and witness your thoughts as paint hitting a canvas, and then being absorbed and turning blank again. Notice how it feels to have a blank canvas, and if a thought carries you away just let it be absorbed and notice any other thoughts that arise and just let them pass away. Now read your dream journal and the notes you took and reflect on the strange things that happened in your waking life this day. Remind yourself that you will notice these things when you’re in the dream, and that you will become aware and remember your intentions for your dream. During the Dream you will become aware of something that is not right, and you will perform a reality check. Once you’ve become aware you’re dreaming you can fly off and accomplish whatever adventures you had planned while you were awake.
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Developing Presence through Awareness of the Body

Spiritual leaders and famous writers old and new have taught the importance of being present and how worry, over stress and fear can be overcome by focusing our attention on the “here and now”. Our minds have old habits of predicting what will happen next, and worrying about what we’ve already done. One way to retrain our mind to become more present, and to live with more peace and joy is to bring more awareness to sensations in your body. When we completely feel sensations in our body without judging them, we can release tension that doesn’t serve us and quiet our mind. Some practices to cultivate this presence and awareness include: *Mindful/meditative movement (Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Dance, Walking, light exercise) *Mindful Sitting meditation (Attention to breath, listening, sensations of wind on skin) *Mindful eating (Smelling, taking small bites, noticing all the varying tastes) *Receiving Massage (Awareness of touch, breathing and releasing tension and stress) I feel a deep contrast from busy thoughts and unconscious shallow breaths, to a sense of relaxation and inner peace when I practice these techniques. It is like I’ve stopped throwing stones into a pond and the waves turn into small ripples, and soon the ripples are gone, and awareness of more subtle feelings arise. I’ve found that receiving massage has helped with all of these techniques. You close out the sense of sight and have your whole awareness on your body and the sensation of touch. You cultivate concentration of pleasant sensations in the body through light flowing strokes, and with the deeper work you learn to stay present in discomfort and to release tension in muscles that are tight. With this awareness you are able to breath, release, and enjoy the moment. Regularly tuning into this relaxation and pleasant experience in the body helps to let your mind accept being present in your body. I love to give massages that include a slow meditative introduction, followed by deeper work that releases tight muscles through combined awareness and breathe of the recipient and the practitioner. I am present with the work, intuitively feeling when an area has been massaged enough, and what areas to work on. I check in with you on pressure, temperature, and other factors that could distract from being fully present. I communicate before and after the session to understand what experience you are looking for, and what areas you enjoy having massaged. May we all be present and joyful. You can find more information on my Massage Practice at Massage.TravisDharma.com
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