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.

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

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!!

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. 

As we have evolved into these strangely urban creatures who rely more and more on indoor stimulus we easily forget that we are creatures of nature. Nature is something that makes me super happy. I love and adore the natural world so much, and I want to share my love for it with you. Our connection with all things green, or the moon, and the oceans are profound and so good for our health and well being.

Many of us, in our modernity have distanced ourselves from our natural environment and a lot of people feel uncomfortable in the outdoors, itchy, and vulnerable. In our discomfort we stay inside, blast our cooling and heating systems and hide ourselves from nature. This kind of cloistering can lead to anxiety and depression. As humans, we need sun exposure and time in nature to be truly happy and healthy, and sadly, somewhere along the industrialized line, too many of us have lost our connection with that. Science tells us that people who live in heavily treed places are happier and healthier. When people do not get time out in nature, there are more cases of asthma and allergies due to lack of exposure, rather than exposure.

The good news for us Washingtonians is that we live in a garden city. There are so many parks and so much green space that all of us have plenty of opportunity to get out there and do some tree bathing this Spring and yes gulp…even this summer when it feels like 200 degrees. On the next really hot day, go out and find the biggest and leafiest tree you can find and simply sit underneath it and see what happens. Who needs air conditioning when our trees are so happy to provide us with cooling, shade and happiness?

At Take Five Meditation nothing brings us more joy than your well being, and we hope that you use your mindfulness practice to enjoy the gentle kindness that nature gives to us. We hope you go out there and find that tree who becomes your best friend this Spring, and if you do, share it with our community, by taking a picture and sending it to us. We’ll post it in our newsletter. : )

In honor of tree bathing and Spring, please join us for One Giant Meditation (OGM) on April 14th.

See you on the cushions.

Sending out Big Love from the Treetops,

Tara

For more on Tree Bathing and it’s benefits, click here.