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

Whitney Hosein received her training in Rishi Kesh, an ashram situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, during the summer of 2015, and has been meditating and practicing pranayama for over half of her current incarnation. She received a 200 hour certification in asana, pranayama and meditation instruction, and learned under the Swami Atma, a renowned educator in the spiritual sciences. Whitney combines her scientific background as a biochemist with her understanding of subtle forces within and without our physical bodies to create an atmosphere that is at once healing, grounding, and clarifying.She is continually inspired by the limitless potential within each and every individual, and her inner flame is most ignited when she is able to remind people of their boundlessness so that all can burn through the illusions of reality to see that which is consistent throughout every being.

Katie is now the Studio’s Lead Front Desk and Sales Manager.

Katie has been with Take Five Meditation for over a year now and has been doing a super job working the front desk. Her involvement in the studio has grown and grown over this past year and it shows in so many ways that you may not have known or noticed. Changes have ranged for the look, feel and content of our retail, our tea lounge and more. As well as changes in the flow and method of our sign up and sign-in process. A lot of what she does is also behind the scenes and goes virtually unnoticed.

You may not notice all the things that Katie does for the studio and our community but know that many of the things our community enjoys are directly impacted by her attitude, dedication and initiative.

Thank you and congratulations Katie!!

Remember when you were little and some benevolent being in your world would cradle you, and sing to you, or repeat sweet little nursery rhymes? Remember that feeling of full trust, and relaxation then that relaxed sleepiness, and feeling very secure and safe? Even if you didn’t understand the words, the repetitive rhythm and sounds resonated and made you feel love and comfort. Sounds a lot like infancy doesn’t it? Taking you back to a time before memory, a time of innocence and yet with the innate understanding that repetitive sound with loving words made your world safe.
Mantra Meditation has a similar effect on the adult brain. The use of repetitive sound and words are excellent for relieving stress, and for getting the mind to be fully focused on the moment. Mantra is a liberation of the busy mind, and is best when done with others.
At Take Five Meditation we have a soft spot for mantra and that’s why we offer a few classes that focus on mantra meditation. There is something special in the creation of sound vibrations in a group setting. It is almost impossible not to feel yourself uplifted by the benefits of which there are many.
We cannot wait to hear you chanting on the cushions at the studio with your Take Five community. Your mantra is our mantra and we love it.
With the Universal Sound of OM and Endless Love,
Tara
For more on mantra meditation.
Have you ever found yourself feeling very de-motivated to get off of the couch to go to the gym, but then once you dragged yourself there you were amazed by how great it made you feel? The demotivating factor in situations like that, is the transitioning to the gym, and not the gym itself. The transition from couch to gym is a journey of change and as small as that might seem, even those small changes can feel daunting. There are so many micro instances in life when you are so fully entrenched in a habit or a comfort zone, that the very transition out of it seems overwhelming. This could lead to a lot of opting out and missing out.
Anxiety around transitions often start in childhood, and is something that many of us carry into adulthood. Oftentimes, it is the messiness of transitioning that stops us and we may not even realize it. As abstract as all of this might seem, understanding how you relate to transitions can make a big difference in your approach to life. It helps answer the underlying questions which are, what is holding me back? How can I make that big change in my life? Why is it so hard for me to get there?
At Take Five Meditation we know that a regular meditation practice opens you up to introspection and a better understanding of how you relate to the world around you. We also understand that the transition that you make from your busy workday to your cushion is as impressive as it is beneficial. It is our greatest hope that your regular meditation practice helps you understand your relationship to transitioning and helps you to take the edge off of it, so that you can get to the gym, or go out there and make that big life change.
From start to finish we look forward to all of your transitions big and small from beginning to end.
With Unchanging Love,
Tara

It can be hard to put ourselves into another’s shoes. When there is conflict and disagreement it becomes even more challenging. If you tend to be stubborn (like me), then forget about it, it can take a while before you are ready to find middle ground with another person.

We are currently living in times when divisiveness abounds. It can feel difficult to find middle ground and harmony. What makes this such an interesting quandary, is the fact that we all have our own point of view, and for better or worse, it comes from our own personal experiences. Our world view is unique to our personal experience, and that is why it is so important to remember that everyone has an experience that we have no knowledge of that shapes them, and if we put our judgments aside, and keep an open mind, we might be able to move past conflict and into harmony and understanding.

At Take Five Meditation, we understand how important conflict resolution is on the job, at home and even in our social lives. We know that coming from a place of loving kindness and compassion, can enable us to be accepting of another’s viewpoint, even if it is quite different from our own.

A regular Mindfulness practice can be very helpful when dealing with conflict resolution. It gives you time to pause, still your mind, and gives you a moment to take stock of your emotions in a given situation. Simple steps such as these can actually help you to open your mind and heart to someone else and their perspective. Finding middle ground in conflict can be very rewarding for everyone involved.

Even if you are stubborn (like me), there is a tremendous benefit to using meditation as a tool to create harmony in your life and relationships. When everyone’s point of view gets viewed, there typically ends up being enough understanding and kindness for everyone, and that’s the best kind of resolution. So bring it on over to the cushions and work it out at Take Five.

With Stubborn Loving Kindness,

Tara

Read more about how meditation can help with conflict resolution.