Ahhhhhhh, being perfect, that ever allusive goal that we are convinced will make us feel great, get our self-esteem up, and make life awesome. The whole package, how we look, how we act, how others see us, we can even project this onto our children, pressuring them to achieve in all areas all the time.

It is almost impossible to stay on top of being perfect, because the truth is, there will always be someone prettier, smarter, and better than us if we are operating from Perfectitus. Then, the absolute worst happens and we make a mistake, we fail and then it is discovered that we are not perfect.

It’s during those dips in life that our self-esteem likes to desert us. Self-esteem when linked to ego gratification doesn’t seem to sustain itself when we experience failure, and we face our own imperfectness. Many of us go right into self-doubt, and negative self-talk, we are hard on ourselves and this makes it hard to rebound and carry on. It seems like an inevitable bad cycle right?

What happens if we shift our mindset and instead of practicing Perfectitus we practice Self-Compassion? Rather than beating ourselves up for not being perfect, we build ourselves up by being forgiving, kind and loving to ourselves? By acknowledging that being on top of everything isn’t all that, in comparison to loving ourselves for who we are, flaws and all. This is a true pathway to living well.

At Take Five, Self-Compassion is built into our daily lives. We are ok with being human and flawed and we still love everyone and ourselves anyway, kind of big time. And that is truly wonderful.

We look forward to seeing you on the cushions this week.

With love,

Tara

A wonderful thing happened to me the other day. A good longtime friend asked me, “Does Take Five have a class that teaches people how to get and stay motivated about their meditation and yoga practices?” It was a question that made me sit back and take pause. Do we help our students get and stay motivated? And isn’t motivation this complicated and amorphous thing that keeps changing?

So I thought to myself, hmmmm, motivation is a head game very much like meditation. It has to come from the inside, and for it to really be effective, it has to be regular. Both motivation and meditation take time and commitment. They are both challenging and rewarding, and when done well, can be very life changing.

Does Take Five Meditation offer motivation? The answer came to me as a resounding yes. Take Five offers a wide variety of guided classes with very knowledgeable teachers. Each class feels like a learning journey and learning is motivating. The studio offers a community of wonderful and diverse people creating an energy of connection that is motivating. Take Five helps people to know the inner workings of their minds, all of the nuances that create set-backs and breakthroughs and that is motivating.

My friend, after hearing all of this wonderful stream of consciousness answer from me, then asked me if I would open up a Take Five near her (she lives in Belize). I told her I am working on the motivation.

In the meantime, I want to let you know that as much as we hope to provide you with a space that motivates your meditation practice, all of you motivate us to continue to make the world a happier, and more introspective place. We look forward to seeing your motivated and regular practice on the cushions.

With An Abundance Of Gratitude,

Tara

Read this for more on motivating your practice

Summertime! The best! Hot hazy days when mother nature is telling us that it is time to slow down. Yeah, and here you are in DC, and it’s your job to be a go-getter with Type A tendencies…. it is totally ok to take a break from that. Not something we are used to hearing in our busy culture, but suddenly, there are all kinds of heat indexes, butterflies and fire flies, and if you listen closely, you start to hear the cicadas and you can start to allow yourself to unwind from the busy, and the doing.

It’s not hard to fall into the guilt trap of slowing down. It’s so hard sometimes to give ourselves permission to slow down and just enjoy the array of wonder that nature is offering with her sunshine, her humidity, her pretty flowers and all of the other joys that come along with summertime.

At Take Five Meditation we understand the importance of slowing down sometimes. It helps us to recalibrate, and prepares us for when we really must act and be productive. We offer all of you our studio as a cool summertime oasis to explore your mind with just the right amount of navel gazing. There is nothing like a good quiet meditation to get you into summertime mode.

We look forward to seeing you at the #zenhub and would love it if you shared your summertime pics with us on our Instagram. Tag us with your summertime pics and we will share them with the Take Five community so that they can see how we all love to spend our summers.

With Deep, And Very Warm Summer Love,

Tara

group of happy women
Is there anything better than when you give a friend or a loved one a gift? Let’s face it, it is more fun to give the gift than to receive it.  There is such a feeling of delight in making someone else happy and smile. Let’s deepen that and imagine taking time our of our day or putting ourselves out a bit, to help someone who needs our care. Maybe there is someone who needs shelter that we can help to provide, or food. Perhaps there is an elderly neighbor who is ill and could use some extra help with something around the house.
Just imagine that every time you take the time to nurture somebody else, your desire to nurture others grows until it becomes a regular and very fulfilling part of your life. Nurturing others is not just for parents, teachers, nurses or child-care workers, it is for everyone.
The beauty of a regular meditation practice, is that it grows the part of the brain that experiences empathy and caring for others. By cultivating self-compassion we are actually growing our capacity to experience a deep and satisfying compassion for others. This is nothing but a win/win for everyone.
Just imagine a world where we are all loving life, because we are caring for and nurturing each other. That right there is #goals!
Take Five Meditation was built on the premise that there could be nothing better than creating a space to nurture others. Providing an oasis for the stressed and tired DC community is our top priority. If along the way, we manage to enhance our community’s capacity through regular meditation into taking that spirit of nurture out into the broader world, that is simply some beautiful icing on the cake.
We look forward to seeing you growing your nurturing spirit on the cushions.
With Epic Amounts of Community Kumbaya,
Tara
For more on how meditation changes and grows your gray matter see here

Self-care as we know, is one of the building blocks to a good quality of life. That’s why we eat well, exercise, meditate, get our hair and nails done etc… In these high stressed, over screened, modern times, the concept of self-care in order to charge the batteries makes sense to a point. Somebody needs to look out for us even if it is us, right?

Well the answer is yes, but it doesn’t end there, because there is more to the story than just us. There is everyone. You know, all of those people everywhere who make up community and who might not have the same kind of access that they should have, not only to self-care, but to basic human dignity and well-being.  Everyone is vulnerable to being in a state where they need support and sometimes that support needs to come from the community.

Community plays a very big role at Take Five Meditation. We care about our village and believe that as our community grows it is important to open the doors wider to community care.  We know that your regular meditation practice, your connection to the broader community in the tea lounge, prepares you to go out and be a thriving community member, ready to lend a helping hand where needed. Sometimes those seeds are planted right in the studio with a conversation, or a question.

In other words, you are taking your self-care and you are balancing it with community-care, creating the kind of Yin and Yang balance of well being for all. We love that about you. As of a matter of fact, if you have a community based area of interest that you would like to share with our Take Five community, please reach out and let us know. You can write about it for our newsletter, or you can reach out to see if we can host an event to support it.

We are not just about Taking Five, we are also very much about Giving Five and then some, and we are looking forward to growing this vibe as our beautiful community grows.

With A Tremendous Amount of All Kinds of Care,

Tara

Cool, on topic article here

As we move through our busy, hectic lives that are so full of stuff and things to do, it is easy to forget that we walk around daily with this magical toolbox that can help us take the edge off of life induced stress. This toolbox happens to be our very own bodies and minds, and if the tools are used wisely, we can regulate ourselves with great mindfulness as we move through the to do list.

One of the most fascinating tools that we have is the Vagus nerve. This incredible nerve connects our brains to many of our bodily functions and is responsible for regulating so many of our body’s systems including our fight or flight response. Breathing deeply into the body followed by long exhales has an immediate soothing effect on the Vagus nerve, slowing down the heart rate, and quieting the parasympathetic nervous system. This means a huge reduction in fight or flight stress. This is awesome.

At Take Five Meditation, we get how important it is to be familiar with the tools that we have to help us deepen our Mindful lifestyles. Nothing makes us happier than seeing you grow your ability to live without a whole lot of fight or flight and with a lot more calm and joy. The body and mind connection is endlessly fascinating and we love sharing the journey and exploration of it with you.

We look forward to seeing you get in touch with your inner Vagus Nerve on the cushions, and there is nothing vague about that.

With A Lot of Nerve and Love,

Tara

For more really cool and interesting research read here.

If you are a human being, chances are, bad stuff has happened to you. Bad stuff comes in the guise of many forms. It could be that you were mistreated by another, experienced trauma be it physical or emotional, addiction, loss, and the list goes on.

We are all at risk of being defined by our histories of pain, it’s actually a pretty normal pattern, and the mind loves to go there and dwell on it.  However, we are at risk of ruminating, that vicious cycle of not letting go, and miring ourselves in our misery, constantly seeking ways to explain it, or find relief or justifications for it. Before you know it, your pain is all you can think about, it’s a mind trap.

Truth be told, negative thinking does not serve us. It actually hurts us. This is not to say that in moments, emotional congruence is an important thing when facing tough situations, but overall, rumination can lead to serious anxiety and depression.

There are many healthy ways to move away from negative thought patterns and one of them is Meditation. A mindfulness practice helps us to recognize our negative thought patterns objectively and without judgment so that we can start to change the inner-dialogue. Sound healing can connect us to our inner-vibrations of joy and happiness, mantra meditation can be the new inner voice that we hear telling us that we are worthy of great happiness, so that the beautiful music in your head can shine through.

At Take Five Meditation it our greatest pleasure to offer you a space where you can look at your negative thought patterns, investigate them, and understand that you can put them down and walk away from them.  Our goal is to lead you right into the arms of positive thinking (a topic for another time).

We look forward to seeing you on the cushions.

With a Tremendous Amount of Love and Affection,

Tara

For more on this fascinating topic read here.

I think we are all aware right now, that the news cycle, and current events are creating a lot of polarity in our environment. Nowadays, if you are a typical Washingtonian, it is easy to find yourself getting sucked into the day’s current events and, getting reactive and having emotional responses.

This is pretty normal, and nothing to worry about. However, the feelings of polarization can be yucky, and feel pretty useless in the face of our news cycle. Washington is a town of problem solvers, and with each new event, many of us feel compelled to respond, but sometimes that comes in the guise of reaction rather than action.

There are ways to do what we believe is right, while practicing kindness to others, even when we disagree with them. Combining the courage of your convictions, with a deep sense of kindness and compassion towards others becomes a winning combination.

Take Five is located in the heart of Washington, DC, the beating heart of the news cycle. We take that very seriously and understand that our socially conscious community needs the time and space to process this on the cushions. A mindfulness practice can be pivotal in the face of this duality. It can help all of us to cultivate the insight and self-awareness we need to be active and involved, without becoming overwhelmed and forgetting ours, and everyone else’s humanity.

We look forward to seeing you in the studio, fully present, with courage and kindness.

With Buckets of Love, Peace, and Hope, for a Very Bright State of Being for All,

Tara

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I can’t help but ask myself the following questions. What exactly does fitness and health mean? Is it running a marathon? Is it bench pressing two hundred pounds? Is it having the right BMI? Is it having a good blood reading? Notice that these are all physical measurements of how we think of fitness. In a culture that is body obsessed, where health care focuses on limited measurements of what it means to be healthy, where is the focus on mental health and mental fitness?
Brain health and fitness is paramount to overall health, and yet it continues to be marginalized, and a relatively taboo topic. As we learn to become more in tune with ourselves (this is a learned awareness), we start to understand that the mind and the body are incredibly interwoven, and connected. Often when the body has pain, or inflammation, the origins begin with a stress response, or to a psychological event that impacted our physical body.
The current science is teaching us that pain management and a lot of our physical illnesses can be reduced through regular meditation practices. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to reduce chronic pain by 57% and the better you get at meditation the higher that number rises. Meditation also has a similar impact on fighting depression by releasing serotonin to depression resistant levels.
At Take Five Meditation we understand how important physical and mental health are and how connected they are. We also know that it’s not a one month a year thing, it is year round, day in and day out. That’s why we are here for you throughout the year, to provide you with a place to cultivate your brain fitness, and your mind body connection. We all get one body and one brain and these are our temples, to cherish, nourish and love. See you on the cushions. ❤
With Tremendous Love and Affection from My Brain to Yours,
Tara

What if you had a super power? An innate ability to move life giving energy in such a way that it makes you stronger, makes you smarter, regulates your emotions, all while filling you up with the electricity of life. Well you do have it, we all do. It’s called breath.

Breath is this incredible life force that works for us endlessly and we don’t even have to think about it, or do we? What happens when we do focus on our breath rather than taking it for granted? Amazing things, that’s what. Focused breath work, has so many benefits and that is why it is such a reliable meditation tool.

During these middle spring days of sneezes and wheezes and miserable breathing, breath work can make a big difference in how our bodies handle the pollen count. Deep nostril breathing can help clear our sinuses and calm down some of the inflammation we experience as our immune systems respond to our city’s trees that seem to be endlessly trying to reproduce.

Alternate nostril breathing (my favorite) not only loosens up stuff and helps clear the sinuses, it also has the known effect of uplifting us emotionally. A full cycle of alternate nostril breathing, and I feel like a brand new person.

Take Five Meditation is a celebration of the breath. Every class reminds us that we all have this incredible super power, that we can always rely on to calm us down, to open up our sinuses, to bring us inward to a place of reflection and joy.

Nothing makes us happier than seeing you transform yourself with breath with each practice.

With Big, Loving, Deep Inhales and Twice as Long and Loving Exhales,

Tara