Thursday, April 7, 2011

Got Meditation?

If you meditate, you probably recognize that it is a must. If you don’t or have never meditated, you may wonder why meditate? There are many reasons for meditation.

More studies are showing the benefits of meditation, including:
• A Harvard study on Mindfulness Meditations: . The study found that people who incorporated Mindfulness meditations into their daily routine for 8 weeks, changes to their gray matter and increased plasticity in their brain, in addition to beneficial impacts on stress and anxiety.
• Another report found Transcendental Meditation to be a benefit to corporations, their employees and their annual health insurance costs:

I practice a combination of several different types of meditation, including:
• Kundalini Yoga with its powerful meditations that use breath, mantra and poses based on sacred geometry;
• Gong meditations, tied to Kundalini, that use sound currents to move blockages and energy;
• Shaktipat meditation from the tradition of Vethathiri Maharishi and Shivabalayogi Maharaj; and
• Mindfulness meditations from the Buddhist traditions of Shambala and Thich Nhat Hanh.

If you are still wondering why meditate, I had a teacher once gave me the analogy of our minds and computers. When we get a new computer, it functions well, runs quickly and efficiently. However, with time, the computer starts to slow down, get bugs and then begins to crash. If we don’t take out the recycling bin and defragment our computers regularly, they crash more and more often, eventually completely breaking down.

Our mind is no different. When we are born, we have a fresh, open mind. Then with time, we begin to have thoughts and ideas that begin to fill our subconscious. In time, if we do not regularly empty the “recycling bin,” those thoughts become paralyzing programs that weigh us down and slow us down. Our minds become full and then our bodies start to show signs of weakness, illness and disease. If we regularly meditate, we take this trash out and our body, mind and spirit stay in harmony and alignment. We don’t get bogged down with so many heavy and paralyzing thoughts. If we meditate regularly, our brain functions better, our endocrine and regulatory systems work better and the rest of our body, organs and systems function better.

Personally, meditation has been a saving grace in my life. I went through a really dark period in my life – in which I suffered both physically and mentally. My body had pretty much shut down, my mental and emotional state was significantly impaired and my spirit was broken. I had gone to doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. I was on many different medications and was told I had all sorts of different mental and physical problems. I wasn’t sleeping, I was depressed and I was totally in despair. When the doctors told me I had mood swings, I kept telling them, it was energy not mood. They didn’t listen.

When I finally discovered meditation and Kundalini yoga, my life changed. Literally, within 6 months of doing both for anywhere from 5-30 minutes a day, I was off of every medication I had ever been on and both my physical and mental health challenges dissipated. The Kundalini yoga and meditation enabled me to manage my own energy system. In fact, I had been right all along about my situation. I knew that it wasn’t mood swings, but energy swings and once I had some tools to manage my situation, my health and life turned around.

Many people I know say they would love to meditate but they are too Type A and they can’t shut their mind off. I too was a Type A person. The point of meditation isn’t to still the mind or shut the mind off, but rather train the mind. I think one of the biggest failings of people who teach meditation is if they tell their students to still or quiet their minds. My belief is this is the number one way to have a student quit or give up on meditation. Rather, particularly at the beginning, if you encourage a student to just allow any and all the thoughts to come in, even sometimes have a little notebook nearby to clear the mind immediately after (and sometimes during), then you give them permission to allow their thoughts to clear out.

As I said, when you start meditating, you will have more to clear out, so more thoughts may come flooding in. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it or you aren’t good at it, it is NORMAL! So keep going. Sit comfortably and allow yourself and your mind to relax as though you are sitting peacefully in a bath or hot tub. Just allow the thoughts to flow. If you want to focus on a mantra you can or you can just pay attention to your breath or you can focus on your third eye or brow point or just relax and observe all of the flow of thoughts and emotions that move through you. In time, these will slow. But some days will be better than others and just know that if you are sitting there, that is a good beginning.

One of the best things to do is to start by just getting up 5 minutes early and going to bed 5 minutes early and sitting up and meditating for 5 minutes twice a day. Then work your way up to longer periods. If you want, a good break during the day can totally reset you – whether for a minute or longer.

Whatever you do start small so that you can keep up. Then grow your practice as you see and feel the benefits unfold in your life. It really is magic, if you allow yourself to give in to the gifts that meditation unveils.

Here are some resources on meditation:,,,,,
Happy Meditating!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Supplements For Thought!

I recently rediscovered supplements and how fantastic they make me feel. They have given me more energy and just helped stabilize my energy levels and health. So I thought I would share with you some of the supplements that I have incorporated into my life….I do not recommend them for everybody, however, I always wondered what to start with and these are a few that I discovered through friends, doctors, healers and others that had some amazing wisdom to share with me.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so these are just some that work for me. If you are considering using supplements and/or are on any other medications, you might want to check in with a doctor or your naturopathic doctor to learn more and see how they might affect you or interact with your current regimen.

Cayenne – Cayenne is great for helping with stomach and overall digestive health. One thing that is counterintuitive is that it helps with ulcers. My recommendation is to start with a lower heat index (like 40,000 units and work your way up). Some more information can be found at:

Cinnamon – Cinnamon is used for colds, gas, nausea, diarrhea, diabetes, indigestion and painful menstrual cycles. It helps balance blood sugar levels if taken in capsule form (if it hits the saliva that undoes these benefits) and is believed to improve circulation, vitality and energy levels. and

Turmeric – Turmeric is an ayurvedic herb that has been used over the centuries for its healing properties. It is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It helps circulation and promote liver, heart and digestive health, among many other things.

Rhodiola – Rhodiola is an herbal remedy that helps regulate your glandular and endocrine system, minimizing the effects of stress and almost acting to disable your from reacting to stress. It also helps with migraines, heart problems and supports natural weight loss. and

Ashwagandha (Winter Cherry) – has a tonifying effect that helps your body equilibrate and come into balance. So if you have some hormones that are overstimulated and others that are under stimulated, it helps to bring them back into balance. It also helps with immunity, energy, helps your nervous system, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Because it can be relaxing, it is best to take at night. It is also an antioxidant and anti stress and supports fertility.

Probiotics – Probiotics are a healthy type of bacteria that are known for promoting digestive and overall health. Probiotic help multiply friendly or good bacteria in your system. One important thing to note, when you are taking probiotics, it is best to eat healthy when you are dosing up on probiotics so the bacteria in your digestive system that multiply are good. Also, if you take antibiotics, it is critical to take lots of probiotics as the “anti biotic” kills good and bad bacteria in your system which can allow for the bad bacteria to grow back in force. When too many bad bacteria are in your system it may cause digestive problems, sluggishness, candida, headaches and more. and

Xylitol – Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from fibrous vegetable and fruit cell walls. In addition to being an amazing sugar substitute, it is also an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-aging remedy. It is good for your teeth and periodontal health, stabilizes insulin and hormone levels, contributes to weight loss and bone density, and promotes good health. and and

Evening Primrose Oil – EPO has benefits for your metabolism, cholesterol, premenstrual syndrome, migraines and more. and

One other thing I will say is when you start a supplement regimen, start small. Get used to taking a few and then over time add in others. The last thing you want to do is start strong and then peter off. So keep it simple, pick one supplement to start with, get into the habit of taking supplements with or between meals and then add to those as you become more habituated. The last thing you want to do is have a bad reaction to one and then throw the whole bunch out.

This is just supplements for thought from a resident non-health expert but someone who’s always been fascinated and obsessed with being healthy!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at