DR. STEVE'S 5 CORE RITUALS
Although I have broken out and listed my favorite core rituals or practices there are two considerations I would like to mention:
1. These are simply my personal favorites. I look forward to hearing what you do and
comparing notes . It is in the spirit of partnership that we share ideas some
of which I can then pass on to other patients
2. You will notice that there is a lot of overlap. When practicing mindfulness in say a seated or walking meditation we can incorporate breath practice, mobility practice , posture etc. What I am suggesting is that we are always practicing our health and wellbeing. Life is our practice, we do not need to step out of life to go to the gym or yoga class- every moment is a moment to practice and I personally believe and I know I have experienced the core benefits of this practice . Life really does become so much more fun and so much less of a chore.
Through personal practice and experience, I’ve come to recognize that a real practice in mindfulness is the core practice of our lives to become better human beings. Health and vitality is as much about how we treat others as it is how we treat ourselves, and I’ve discovered that in order to be that person we really need to better understand the nature of how our minds work. I’m talking about practical mental training- no different than physical training- only concentrated on our minds. The fundamental truth is that the only thing we have to offer ourselves and others is oor mind. How can that not be our primary focus. I have learned that most other health and wellbeing considerations – such as fitness , diet , rest etc, come along for the ride as we stabilize our mindfulness through meditation practices.
“Breathing is the vehicle of spiritual experience, the mediator between body and mind.
It is the first step towards the transformation of the body from the state of a more or less passive and unconsciously functioning physical organ into a vehicle
or tool of a perfectly developed and enlightened mind.”
The Three Pillars of Zen
What if I were to share with you that we all possess, at no cost and always and immediately available, one of the most valuable resources we can use for our health and wellbeing. Well, we do, and it is our breath. I am not, by the way, revealing anything that has not been known for thousands of years in many healing and spiritual traditions throughout the world. It seems however, that this knowledge has been subsumed by our modern complex culture. I am a bit embarrassed that it is only within the past year that I have personally realized and have since practiced a daily commitment to my breath. Along the way I think I have discovered three important ways we can use our breath to improve our health and wellbeing.
1. Active vigorous breathing
2. Slow controlled breath work
3. Breath as an object of meditation
POSTURE - MOBILITY - SUPPLENESS
I used to cringe when Id get the posture questions in practice. Id cringe because I had no better answer than to pay attention. ( something our grandparents and parents might have told us countless times when we were young) It turns out they were right. Awareness of posture seems to be a byproduct of a mindfulness practice and a breath work practice. Ive come to enjoy little posture practices throughout my days whether it be checking in on how im using my body while treating you to standing perfectly still and relaxed at the traffic light below my house waiting to cross PCH, to sitting perfectly still in easy lotus for a 20 minute meditation.
( you don’t know pain until you experience the ironic pain of sitting motionless)
REST & RECOVERY
Sleep is a big topic these days and rightfully so. Many recent scientific studies have shown
the general lack of sleep we as a nation are getting and the significant health consequences of such a lack of sleep. Being fortunate that Ive never really suffered from sleep disorders and
not being anything close to an expert ( I know all the basic sleep hygiene considerations just as well as you do) I do however have great resources to share wit you in this area.
What I do practice is what I call active rests throughout the day. From as little as 2-5 minutes
to a full shavasana ( also using block to mobilize the spine while resting
MINDFUL WALKING & RUNNING
This is where we get to put it all together. I can get kind of primal here and remember that the human animal was and is perfectly designed to walk and run. As snakes sliver and birds fly and fish swim we walk and run. That said I believe these simple forms of ambulation are our best avenues for fitness. Lets practice what we are designed to do…