ZZZzzz……. Ahhhhhhhhh! A good night of sleep, is there anything better? To wake up feeling refreshed, and energized because you got a full night of blissful sleep. Sleep is paramount to well being. Without it, the mind does not have time to process all of the information and activity that it is exposed to during our waking hours. Though the mind itself never sleeps, it needs time to slow down and organize, and that is where sleep comes in.
In today’s busy world, sleep has become underrated. Longer working hours, and less sleep are worn as a badge of honor. Even the old getting up super early to go and work out, adds to the machismo of a sleep deprived chic, that permeates the “Go Go Go” culture in DC. Then there is the lurking shadow of insomnia. The frustrating inability to fall asleep no matter how hard you try. We need our sleep!
Not only do we need to prioritize sleep, we need to make sure that we get quality sleep. This could include less caffeine during the day, regular exercise that does not cut into sleep time, and yes, meditation. Meditation is a great way to prepare the mind for a good night of sleep. A mindfulness practice helps the mind to move clutter aside, and to focus simply on the breath. This moves the mind and body away from anxiety and stress towards relaxation.
Other meditation practices that inspire sleep are Mantra, Sound Bath and yoga Nidra. At Take Five Meditation, we care about your overall health and happiness, that’s why we are always looking for ways to make you feel so cozy and relaxed, that your sleep comes to you like a baby. Our guided meditation practices are a sure pathway to healthy sleep, and that is the best kind of medicine.
With Love That is Never Drowsy,
Tara
Here are some meditation suggestions that you can use at home to help you sleep better

With today’s daily and seemingly never ending stress, our bodies, our minds and our overall health can be deeply impacted. We are designed to have strong physiological responses to stress. These responses are there to keep us safe from predators and the dangers that lurk. However, our stress response has not exactly kept up with our evolution. Therefore we are having stress response to just about everything modern life has to offer.

This leads to anxiety, nervous tension and depression. We become creatures of reactivity and this is not great for our health. There are many ways to approach dealing with stress related anxiety, but the best one around is the act of kindness. Yes, you read that correctly, being kind is good for your health, and it makes you less stressed out and anxious.

Taking the time to be kind, slows us down to a place where we can move away from fight and flight, to a place that is more calm, more focused and that wreaks less havoc on our nervous system. The act of being kind is not only medicine to the recipient, but also to the giver. This means that the rewards for being kind are doubled. Though we may already know this through experience, it’s always great to know that the science backs this up all the way.

At Take Five Meditation we are always looking to expand on the universal concept of Loving Kindness. We know that compassion for ourselves and all others is a pretty good way to live life. It means a lot to us as we watch you cultivate your kindness to self and others on our cushions. We celebrate the kindness love fest that we know happens at the studio, and all of the kindness that travels out into the world when you leave.

With a Bottomless Well of Loving Kindness,

Tara
Learn more about the benefits of kindness

We are animals, all of us. Mammals to be exact. Our oldest ancestors were evolutionary contortionists who morphed us into our cognitive revolution about 70,000 years ago. Those were the days when humans were just another part of the food chain (right in the middle). Living and foraging in nature. Then as our cognition changed, so is how we structured our societies. Fast forward to now, and we are these modern creatures who tend to forget that we are actually a part of the natural world.

Our modernity and our disconnection from our early, more natural existence, play roles in our mental health today. We have forgotten that we need trees, we need sun, we need natural beauty to lift us up and take us back to our animal origins. To take us back to a home that we have forgotten.

That’s why flowers and plants make us happy, they remind us, without our being conscious of it, about the times past. Time in nature is one of the most healing and rejuvenating things that we can do for ourselves. Many mindfulness practices are oriented around walking through nature, sitting in nature and reflecting in nature. The science is clear, when humans spend time in nature it creates a deep sense of well-being.

At Take Five Meditation we know how important time in nature is for well being. That is why we offer our very specialized Swiss Retreat to our community. We want to share with you the wonders of walking and meditating in some of the most beautiful nature in the world. Last year, our group had an incredible time, immersing themselves in an environment of mountains, wild flowers, and glaciers while practicing yoga and meditation. Practices that come from our earliest ancestors. We hope that you consider joining us this June for the 2020 Swiss Retreat. Please reach out to me for more information.

With Down to Earth, Natural Love,

Tara

For more on the benefits of spending time in nature read here

Washington, DC, the land of the important and the busy. The shakers and the movers who make it all happen. It crackles with the energy of those who feel like they are losing rank if they take some down time. It is a land where folks never say no, and who pile it on every single day. So true, and yet so exhausting to read.

Busyness is just fine, it is accomplishment focused, it gets things done, it’s linear and dependable, and it even pays the rent. It also completely drains us of our creativity and our creative energy, if it is all that we do. It’s hard to move away from because it is a very status oriented way of operating in our culture, but the science has been suggesting for a while, that being too busy squelches creativity, and without creativity nothing truly awesome can happen.

Now enter navel gazing. Complete and total down time with absolutely nothing to do. All of this empty time. It sounds almost boring.  Something very curious happens during this idle time however, when the to do list is put aside, creativity and innovation emerge.

A great way to find balance between the two modes of existence is through silent meditation. Putting the busy aside and meditating, taking a phone free walk in nature, taking a mindful bath, slowly sipping and enjoying a cup of tea, are all ways to reset the mind. Perhaps doing fewer things each day so that there is more time to just be instead of just do. Finding the balance in itself is a mindful act.

At Take Five Meditation, we cherish your creativity as much as we respect your demanding schedules. That’s why we are here, to help you find the balance that keeps your innovative spirit soaring. We look forward to being a regular part of your navel gazing and proud lifestyle.

With a Love that is Always More than Less,

Tara

For more fun reading on more is less click here

OK everyone, raise your hand if you’ve ever been really super duper stressed out! Wow, that’s a lot of hands, about 7.7 billion (Earth’s population) to be exact. Pretty telling isn’t it, that just about everyone ever, has experienced stress. You would almost think that stress is an integral part of the human condition.

As an integral part of the human condition, stress does have a value to our existence. It is a prompter. It prompts us when there is danger and urgency. It gives us that kick that we sometimes need to make things happen when they need to happen. It adds spice to life, makes it interesting and challenging. On the other hand, it can suck the life right out of us. Draining us, making us sick, unhappy, depressed.

There is an art to stress management and one of the first elements of this art, is to be able to understand when is stress good stress and when is it bad stress. This is when things get challenging, because our minds love to misinform us about the importance of our stress. We love to come up with excuses for our stress, looking for external factors that explain it away. This can have a nice little band aid effect, but it does not change how we are impacted by stress over the course of our lives.

A regular meditation practice is one of the key elements to stress management. The more we understand how our minds work, the more we go inside to see what is happening, the more we understand stress and how it impact us. We can start making choices that change our stress response.

Take Five Meditation was created because we know that the stress dragon is alive and well in Washington DC, and that we all need a place and some time to meditate, so that we can tame the beast. We are here for you everyday, so that you can take the time that you need to balance your stress.

With Tremendous Unconditional Stress Free Love,

Tara

For more on stress management see here

You know the old saying that hindsight is 2020, which in general seems to feel like the truth. Well how about changing the paradigm a bit, and living in the moment and forgetting about how things could have and should have been, and not worrying about how things could and should be? It is so difficult to live in the present without the regrets of the past, and the anticipation of the future.

Our inherent preoccupation with times past or forward creates a present state of blindness. When we loose our ability to live in the moment, we lose sight of daily miracles and blessings, we build internal states of anxiety and stress, we lose our sense of happiness and well being.

What makes this all so interesting, is that we are built to create our own joy in the moment, literally and structurally we have internal systems that are right there inside of us, waiting to be activated so that we can enhance our well being, in the moment. Science itself has discovered the key to these mechanisms and now we know that without a doubt and without skepticism, that just taking a few deep breaths, or taking a big stretch, or just sitting and noticing, can stimulate the Vagus Nerve, and by doing that we can flood our body with well being and joy.

At Take Five Meditation, we love the fact that we all have an inward ability to create our own well being. We know that a regular meditation practice grows this ability, and makes it stronger, and more reliable, allowing us to live in the moment, to notice all of the small miracles that make up our lives. We love watching as our Take Five community grows their daily happiness and well being, by engaging their very own internal miracle, the happy inducing Vagus Nerve.

We look forward to watching you enjoy each miraculous moment of 2020.

With Wonder and Awe,

Tara

For more info on the miraculous Vagus Nerve read here

Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to let go of old stuff? There are just certain things in life that don’t want us to let go. These can be physical objects that clutter our homes, and they can also be emotional obstacles that have decided to park themselves in our minds and not leave. They become a part of our inner and outer landscapes for better or worse.

Have you ever noticed how good it feels when you finally take the time to de-clutter your living space? Getting rid of old stuff that you thought you needed, only to find out that removing it from your personal space feels incredibly uplifting and liberating?

Our inner-world, our minds, work in very much the same way. Out of habit we can get stuck in mental clutter that likes to show up over and over and again, blocking us from moving around comfortably and preventing us from bringing in newness and change. Just like a good home cleaning can make us feel so light and happy, when we take the time to clear (not empty) our minds, to de-clutter our brain space, we create an openness that is liberating, giving us the sense that anything is possible and that we don’t have to be stuck.

At Take Five Meditation we take great joy in offering you opportunities to create a meditation practice that can help you create more internal space, so that you can bring a sense of fresh newness into your life.

With Open Mind and Heart,

Tara

As we look towards the 2020’s it is the perfect time to reflect on the past decade. The decade where for better or worse, we all became addicted to our electronics in a way that we could have never imagined. The smart phone happened in the 2010’s and we’ll never be the same again. Or will we?

Not long ago, most of us could get through a long stretch of day without checking our messages and notifications. We were more at ease to make a direct connection with the person sitting at the table next to us. It is even possible, that we were not always on, and perhaps had some time during the day to disconnect and disengage. It already feels like those days are long gone, though it was not that long ago.

The 2020’s are an opportunity for all of us to balance the scale and make the adjustment that brings us out of the wild west days of the 4G 24 hour connection, to a place of equilibrium. We can get there, especially if we start to rebuild our listening muscles. Taking the time to disconnect from our phones, in order to connect with our people, requires that we listen.

We do not need infinite loads of data and information, but we do need human connection. 2020 just rings with auspiciousness. It can be a time when we make the choice to listen to ourselves, put down the phones and take the time to listen to our loved ones and friends.

At Take Five Meditation we are setting the collective intention of “Listening More,” as we move into the New Year. Our space is here to give you time to understand your own inner-voice, and a place to connect with others. A place where you can put your phone away, make eye contact, and listen. We know that as the lure of electronics becomes more and more powerful, that it is essential to offer our community, time and space away from it all.

We wish all of you a very Happy and Safe New Year, and we look forward to watching you grow your listening skills with each meditation.

With Ears and Hearts Wide Open,

Tara and Eldad

For more on listening read here

Have you ever had to work really hard to be accepted? Maybe by a peer group, or family members? Always changing and conforming to fit in with their likes and dislikes and their comfort zones. Have you ever completely changed who you are to feel like you belong?
The need to belong is a natural human yearning. It is intrinsic to our nature to want to be accepted into the fold and be a part of something. We humans will go to great lengths to belong to a group of other humans. Our need for connection is strong. The most strange and wonderful truth about belonging is that it has nothing to do with others, and everything to do with you.
Nope, it’s not about changing yourself, it’s not about conforming, it’s not about people pleasing. The key to true belonging is self-acceptance. To belong does not mean to change who you are to fit in, to belong is to understand who you are, and to be proud of it, connected to it. True belonging means being accepted for who you are, quirks and all, even if that means standing alone. You are your deepest connection to your sense of belonging. You belong when you are comfortable in your own skin.
At Take Five Meditation we know that self-acceptance grows as our meditation practice grows. Meditation is an important ingredient to create a deep sense of self and belonging. We love to watch our community connect through a healthy sense of belonging, not because we have to change who we are, but because we belong just as we are, without judgments.
With Unapologetic Quirkiness,
Tara
For more exploration on this fascinating topic, check out this link.

It is hard to believe that in one month it will be 2020. We will be transitioning from the teenage years of the new millenium, to the early 20’s. How fabulous is that? I am really hoping that we bring back the flapper dress for the pending 20’s. After all, a little roaring never hurt anyone. As we roar our way into this holiday season and the new decade, it is all so easy to get caught up in the to do list and the go go go. So much so, that our human-being, becomes human-doing.

This is all great, because a lot of our busy preparations during this season, are so that we can spend some good times with family, friends and lovers. Everyone is putting in time and effort to connect, and that is a beautiful, special way to spend the short winter days of December.

For many of us, this can also be an overwhelming time and a sad time for so many reasons. As much as we love our peeps, there can be stress involved with such concentrated family time and festivities. That is why it is so important to catch yourself before you become overtaken, to slow down and find those moments when you can recoup yourself.

Tapping into your mindfulness practice is an excellent way to counter holiday stress. We hope you take advantage of the offerings that we will have for you at Take Five Meditation. It is our holiday joy to provide you with a slow-down space. From our daily schedule to our special events, we are here to support your taking the time that you need for yourself, to maximize your holiday happiness. We look forward to seeing you on the cushions.

With a Deep Breath, a Roar, and a Tremendous Amount of Love,

Tara

For more on keeping your holiday season stress free, read here

There really is no downside to being thankful. No really, try to think of one downside without it being awkward. Of course it’s not hard to sit down and make a list of all the negative things that are built into the journey, leading you to get mired down in all of the yuck. However, it is particularly lovely to sit down and list all of the positive things. Those are the things that make you smile, and make you feel warm and fuzzy. Those thing make you want to give hugs, and go out with friends. Making a daily list of the top five things for which you are grateful can really have a positive impact on your health and life.

Even when life is knocking us around and making us wonder where the joke is, there are daily delights. If we take the time to notice and name the things for which we are thankful we are taking the first steps towards living the gratitude lifestyle. Even science is now talking about how practicing gratitude and being consciously thankful, pretty much improves everything.

As we head into the holiday season, there are so many things to be thankful for. For us over here at Take Five Meditation, our list is topped by our deep thankfulness towards our community. You folks pretty much rock. You make our studio one of the loveliest places in DC to spend time. You help to create the warm, accepting community that we love and cherish. So Thank You.  We cannot wait to see you here bringing your warm and fuzzy style to the cushions.

We also would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy your time.

From a Bottomless Well of Love and Gratitude,

Tara and Eldad

For more awesome info. on how great being thankful is, read here