The Neuroscience of Compassion

By Silvia Mordini, Featured on Yoganonymous

The conversation was loud and lively as we were waiting for the San Francisco IVY event we had gathered for: The Neuroscience of Compassion featuring Dr. James Doty.

A group of Bay Area young professionals had gathered for a couple of hours before the main event to socialize and take advantage of the open bar, but when Dr. Doty took the stage, the crowd was rapt.

Dr. Doty is a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director and founder of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the newly published book Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart, which has already been translated into 19 languages.

Continue reading the full article here on Yoganonymous.

Sleep is the Best Meditation by Silvia Mordini

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We don’t need science to tell us that when we’re tired, we’re often moody and irritable. We react more intensely, our emotions skyrocket, and as a result a lack of sleep can seriously stress our personal relationships. Sleep deprivation causes emotional and mental clutter. As a result, we can also make poor food decisions in an attempt to gain energy and alertness. Read the full article here by Silvia Mordini

3 Reasons to try Meditation with a Mala

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“These days, my friends may notice that my wrists and neck are covered with multiple strands of mala beads that I’ve discovered on my travels. However, my first mala was a rosary.

I connected to a mala from the moment I first held one. The energy and significance I feel when using a mala for meditation is transformational. The mala holds me accountable and stores my best energy. I liken my mala beads to a comfort blanket — they never fail me and they are always there no matter what.”

Read the full article by Silvia Mordini on MindBodyGreen

5 Minute Gratitude Meditation

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5 Minute Gratitude Meditation

Of the eight limbs of yoga, four or more are based on meditation. The goal when doing yoga postures is to open the hips, strengthen the back, and quiet the mind so we can sit comfortably and meditate. Studies show that people who regularly acknowledge the things they are thankful for live happier lives, so I started this meditation so I can express these things to myself even on days when I only have five minutes to sit down and meditate. Other thoughts will come up, but you don’t have to chase them. Don’t go to war with your brain’s honorable attempt to do its job. So grab a seat in criss cross apple sauce or hero’s pose, and let’s get started!

Minute one

Take this minute to focus on your breath. Inhale for five counts, exhale for five counts. Walk your internal gaze through your body, breathing into any places that you’re holding tension.

Minute two

Think of all the things you are thankful for in yourself. All of the parts of your character that help you to spread positivity and light to those around you. Avoid ‘wishing’ you were a certain way, and remember that even the little things are worth acknowledging.

Minute three

Think of every person you are thankful for in your life. Surely one minute will not be enough, but just flip through your mental photo album of everyone who loves, supports, and pushes you to do better. Taking just a minute to do this every day will enrich your relationships, even if it’s just subconscious.

Minute four

Fill in the blank with your own thank you prayer to the universe. Mine today- Thank you. I am grateful. I am grateful for this moment. I am thankful for my family, the roof over my head, my boyfriend, my friends. I am thankful for my process, and what I have accomplished in my life so far.

Minute five

Repeat the mantra: My life is full and abundant.

How Yoga Brings Us Into Consciousness by Silvia Mordini

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Seeing how Frozen has captivated the minds and hearts of children (and adults!) worldwide, I think back to the story of Sleeping Beauty. As a little girl, I wasn’t so into Snow White: that story frightened me. Goldilocks was so different from me that I couldn’t relate. But Sleeping Beauty, I understood.

Without realizing it, I grew up trying my life as a version of Sleeping Beauty: I waited for my prince to come and kiss me awake, to get married, and, well, live happily ever after. As often happens, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

Even with a prince hero archetype, my problems remained or grew worse. The practice of yoga taught me that there is no prince, at least not in the sense of another person coming to make me happy, save me, and fix all my problems.

Read the full article on DoYouYoga.com

Grateful for Meditation

I am so grateful for my meditation practice & I love teaching others as I am here at Prana del Mar Retreat Center. I can’t wait to lead another retreat here again: Gratitude & Manifestation November 30 – December 7, 2013!

“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment.” -Rinpoche

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Italy Yoga Retreat Mindfulness Practice

In June I will return to Italy where I am always more conscious of the pacing of life. In the art cities like Siena and Florence the cadence of one’s walk is mindful, never too fast (whether or not you’re walking in heels on cobble stoned streets.) And in the Tuscan countryside the way in which one eats and drinks is even slower so as to savor the tastes completely. Then my travels will bring me to the warmest sun of all, that of the Amalfi area of Southern Italy. There I reconnected to the Sun in the most splendid way while living on Ischia!

And what I observe when living in the sun is that you move more slowly.

Tuscanycollage2013I am inspired to bring this learning back into the practice of Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskar, in yoga class too. There is nothing natural about practicing our Sun Salutes at break neck speed. If that’s the pace then your breath speeds up in a frenetic way causing your mind and body to overheat. You leave feeing frantic even if at first you misidentify this as “energized”.

Try it for yourself, on a sunny day go run around as fast as you can and then observe whether or not you feel more or less connected to your life. For me, I only ever want to feel more, and let light make me see more too. I don’t want to rush in my yoga because I’ve found that rushing in my life only led me to emotional and mental burn-out.

Yoga empowers us to be present to our magnificence but not manic. It is as Stephen Covey writes, “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Celebrating which in sanskrit is “Namaskar” requires us to enjoy the light of each moment. Therefore Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutations, are a traditional way to celebrate mindfully the light within us for each of us is self-effulgent like the Sun.

We have no need to prove anything or create undue friction by going too fast. As Hafiz so eloquently puts it,

“I am happy even before I have a reason. I am full of Light even before the sky. Can greet the sun or the moon.”

Today practice Sun Salutation A and B with this awareness. Even practice outside on a sunny day. And for variation in Warrior A try this:

*Inhale reach up from your waist say to yourself “I am celebrating!”
*Exhale hands behind your back in yoga mudra, breath in, breath out and fold, “I am releasing.”
*Inhale reach up
*Exhale open your arms into prana mudra say to yourself “I am receiving”

As you celebrate your life, share your brilliance from the inside out and receive the warm blessing of the sun into your heart. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
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