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meditate mudras MediumDear Deepak,

Sometimes when I meditate I get a really ticklish sensation in my heart area – it simultaneously makes me want to laugh but there is also sense of anxiety or fear attached to it. If I keep sitting – I just feel like my heart has opened up and I feel a part of me is very vulnerable/scared, but at the same time another part of me feels very soothed. What could this mean?

Deepak responds:
One can have almost any type of physical sensation during meditation in any area of the body. Because the mind and body are so closely connected, when the mind experiences more expansion in meditation, the body gains a deep enough state of rest to normalize any imbalances that may be stored in the body. The ticklish sensation in your heart just means that some normalization is occurring there, allowing for a more full expression of your emotions. The sense of anxiety or fear is a by-product of that clearing process. Don’t give these sensations and feelings too much importance. It is a valuable process, but don’t focus on it; simply return to the meditation process.



don't meditate aloneTo learn more about  meditation and develop your own practice in the comfort of your home, join us for our free 21-Day Meditation Challenge. Register for our Winter Mind-Body Odyssey Meditation Challenge happening right now! Learn more and sign up here.

Angela Chee, the zen mom

Angela Chee, the zen mom

by guest blogger Angela Chee

Life moves fast and we’re all busy. We have our work, our families, and responsibilities – then on top of that, keeping up with friends, our social networks, technology, our hobbies, and everything else.  It can be exhausting.

One of my goals this year is to be more peaceful,  more zen, if you will.  You would think that since my blog is called The Zen Mom, being zen would come naturally for me.  Well, it doesn’t, and that is the whole point of my blog  – exploring  ways to experience more balance, calm, and joy in the midst of parenting chaos.  It’s about the daily journey. So a few months ago I decided to start exploring meditation.

I’d practiced yoga for years, but I’d never meditated. Okay, maybe I’d sat in a room trying to be peaceful and quiet, only to have my to-do list run through my head. But I’d never learned a specific practice or technique.  I always thought I’m busy enough already. Who has time to meditate? When I had extra time, I would rather work out or pamper myself, but this year I realized I need to make time to hear myself.  By slowing things down a bit, I hoped that I might actually find that I’d have more time rather than less.

Diving into Meditation
MeditationWeekend-GatewayProgramsI started with the Chopra Center’s  free 21-Day Meditation Challenge. I loved it! The guided meditations were very enlightening and soothing, and I liked that I could access them online to fit my schedule.  There’s a new Mind-Body Odyssey 21-Day Meditation Challenge starting today (Feb. 20)  – and you can still register for  here.

From Guided Meditations to Primordial Sound Meditation . . .
My experience with the 21-Day Meditation Challenge piqued my interest and led me to attend the Chopra Center’s Meditation Weekend retreat last month. At the retreat, the guests received instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation, which is different from guided meditations. Primordial Sound Meditation is a mantra meditation practice, and once you receive your mantra, you can meditate anywhere, without the need for audio equipment or anything other than a place to sit down.

At the Meditation Weekend, I learned a few things I’d like to share.

  • ―Meditation is not about forcing the mind to be quiet; rather it’s a process to rediscover the quietness that’s already there.
  • ―Don’t worry if you sit down to be still and your brain won’t be quiet.  The human brain has about 70,000 thoughts a day. Mediating is not about not having any thoughts, but rather about slowing them down.
  • ―To live a more balanced life, we need to focus more on being than doing.

If you want  to learn more about the weekend itself, here’s a link to the description on the Chopra Center’s website.

Creating a Meditation Routine
Discovering meditation is great, and getting away for a weekend retreat was wonderful, but how do you make it a part of your life, especially as a mom?  Well, it hasn’t been easy.

After the Meditation Weekend, I committed to meditating thirty minutes in the morning thirty minutes at night.  With two kids under the age of four, the challenge was finding the time before they woke up and the energy after they went to bed.  I thought the morning would be harder since they wake up at between 6 and 7 a.m., and getting up at 5:30 didn’t sound like fun.  But I committed and set my alarm early. Most days it works, but there are some days when they wake up early and I get interrupted or I end up hitting snooze.  My excuse is usually that I’m too tired, but then I try to remember the fact that I’d learned that meditating for half an hour provides more psychological rest than a full night’s sleep.  And who couldn’t use more rest?

It was actually more difficult for me to do my evening meditations, especially on the weekends. There was never a good time to break away from family to meditate for half an hour. I know that sounds like another excuse and it was, but it made me feel discouraged every time I missed an evening meditation.

Being Gentle with Ourselves
kindnessFor now I have shifted my goal. I am committed to meditating at least thirty minutes in the morning  and am working up to meditating regularly in the evenings as well. It’s a work in progress, but I am still committed to my practice. I think it’s important to not be so hard on ourselves.  Isn’t that the point of meditation . . . to be more peaceful, especially with ourselves?  As a Type A person, this is hard for me, but I focus on remembering why I decided to start a meditation practice.   So if you’re thinking about starting something, just start and know you may hit some roadblocks. And when you do, don’t give up!

How do you find stillness and calm and how are you making it work in your life?  I’d love to hear your comments.


Angela Chee is a former TV news anchor, now mother of two,  juggling life as a host, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur.  She started The Zen because if you’re a mom, you know motherhood isn’t always so zen.  Her mission is to empower through wisdom, inspiration and laughter.  You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter @thezenmom.

CalmQuestion: What is the purpose of meditation?

Answer: People are drawn to meditation for many different reasons. Some begin meditating because of a doctor’s recommendation, seeking health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. Others come to meditation seeking relief from the fearful, angry, or painful thoughts that constantly flood their mind. Still others come to meditation in search of greater self-understanding and expanded states of consciousness.

It is accurate to say that the purpose of meditation depends on the meditator – but it is also true that anyone who meditates regularly receives profound benefits on all of these levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Meditation isn’t a random or chaotic experience. On the contrary, it is a systematic process that allows the mind to experience its nonlocal source – the field of pure potentiality. That is why meditation can be taught and why it produces repeatable results.

We invite you to experience the power of meditation in your own life by joining us for the 21-Day Meditation Challenge beginning February 20. Registration and participation are free! Join us for a guided Mind-Body Odyssey led by Deepak Chopra, davidji, and other master Chopra Center instructors. Learn more and register here.

“There is no greater magic than meditation. To transform the negative into the positive. To transform darkness into light – that is the miracle of meditation.” ~Osho

Frozen River SmallDuring the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in frantic activity that leaves you exhausted, out of balance, and susceptible to winter colds and flu. If you want to truly enjoy this special time of year, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is nurturing self-care.

1.  Do one thing at a time.
Instead of multi-tasking, give yourself the joy of focused attention. When you’re cooking, turn off your phone, Blackberry, and TV.  Let yourself fully experience the sensory pleasures of preparing and eating your special holiday meals. If you’ve decided to send out Christmas cards (remembering that you can ignore the voice telling you “should” do so), make it a pleasurable ritual. Turn on some beautiful music and focus on the gratitude you have for each person to whom you’re writing a card.

2.  Commit to less.
Don’t succumb to the collective hallucination that would plunge you into a mad scramble to find thoughtful gifts for everyone from your mother to your child’s teacher, create reindeer topiary for the lawn, and make platefuls of cookies, candies, and pies from scratch. Choose to participate only in those holiday activities that hold meaning and joy for you and your loved ones.

3.  Communicate consciously.
A helpful tool to prevent emotional strain at family gatherings is the Buddhist practice of “right speech.” Before you speak, ask yourself these three questions: Is what I am about to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?  Find more conscious communication tips here.

4.  Maintain a restful sleep routine.
While it’s easy to fall into an erratic schedule with parties, travel, preparation, and other seasonal events, you will feel better and actually be able to accomplish more if you cultivate a restful sleep routine. When you find yourself pushing too hard or overdoing any activity, rest.

5.  Learn to meditate.
Besides sleep, the best rest is the deep relaxation provided by meditation. When you meditate, your breathing slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels fall. You go beyond the mind’s noisy internal dialogue and experience an oasis of inner silence and stillness. An easy way to get started with meditation the Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge – we have a brand-new free challenge starting in February 2012, and you can also start right now by downloading our Summer Meditation Challenge. Learn more here.

6.  Eat warm, Vata-pacifying foods.
ginger teaWhen the weather is cold, limit your intake of dry and raw items such as nuts, chips, and uncooked vegetable, which all tend to aggravate the body’s nervous system and digestion. Try delicious soups, cooked whole grains, and nourishing stews. Drink plenty of hot tea, such as ginger tea. Find a simple ginger tea recipe here.
Learn more about Vata-balancing foods here.


7.  Don’t skip lunch to do holiday shopping.
Skipping meals aggravates both the Vata and Pitta doshas, so stick with regular mealtimes.

8.  Exhale your stress.
In stressful situations we have an unconscious tendency to breathe shallowly, which only increases anxiety in our mind and body. Kapalabhati is a yogic breathing technique that releases stress and toxins from the body. Find Kapalabhati instructions in our library.

9.  Nurture your senses with aromatherapy and essential oils.vanilla
In your home or office, use soothing scents such as orange, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, vanilla, orange, basil, or clove. Performing a relaxing self-massage with sesame or other natural oils is a deeply healing practice that you can treat yourself to every day.

Asking “What is spirit?” is another way of asking “Who am I?” Your true Self is pure, infinite spirit. Spirit isn’t something outside you, but is intertwined in everything you feel, think and do. Looking for spirit, the Vedic sages observed, is like a thirsty fish looking for water.

Even when you know that your essential nature is spirit, you can easily be deluded by the incessant activity of your mind and ego . . . the continuous cascade of thoughts, sensations and emotions. The mind can get mired in a conditioned pattern of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, stress, depression and limitation.

In truth, you are always free. You can go beyond mental conditioning by using the timeless tool of meditation to expand your consciousness and access the field of pure potentiality. Meditation allows the mind to become quiet and experience the silence and peace of pure awareness. Numerous studies also show the many health benefits of meditation, including lowered blood pressure, stress reduction and increased immune function.

Expanding Your Spiritual Awareness
With a regular practice, the expansive awareness you enter during meditation begins to permeate your life outside of your meditation sessions. You might experience flashes of elation and notice feelings of well-being sweeping over you at unexpected moments. You will begin to walk with more buoyancy and feel a warmth and peace in your heart. These are all signs that you are opening to spirit.

Dont meditate aloneTo experience the benefits of meditation firsthand, we encourage you to join us for the Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge. The Summer Challenge begins August 15.  Register for free here.

Seduction of Spirit is our classic meditation and yoga retreat – an extraordinary week of deep meditation, heart-opening yoga, and timeless practices for fulfilling your highest human potential. For the first time, we are offering Seduction of Spirit in Georgia, in the beautiful area of the Evergreen Mountains, this March 20-26. We have a few spaces left in this upcoming retreat, where Deepak and the Chopra Center’s master teachers will guide you to connect to the deepest layers of yourself.

If you’ve never gone on a retreat and wonder if it’s for you, here are just 5 of the best reasons to join us for Seduction of Spirit:

1.) Take Time for Yourself . . to Renew and Restore Balance
Seduction of Spirit is an opportunity to leave behind the demands and pressures of everyday life and experience a week of deep meditation, inner transformation, and blissful silence. Away from the daily needs of your children, partners, and co-workers, you will be free to finally let go and move beyond the mind’s noisy internal dialogue . . . drifting effortlessly into the profound peace of pure awareness.

2.) Meditate with Deepak

Seduction of Spirit is one of the Chopra Center’s most popular events, where Deepak will guide you in advanced meditation practices and teach you ancient meditation sutras that will take you to deeper levels of your spiritual self. The meditation retreat is a rare opportunity to experience Deepak’s wisdom, teaching, and insight; deepen your meditation practice; and open yourself to higher states of consciousness.

3) Awaken Your Spirit
The most powerful tool we have for connecting to our unbounded nature and the field of all possibilities is meditation. A meditation retreat allows you to transcend the mind’s internal chatter and reconnect with your spirit and the truth within you. The Seduction of Spirit retreat is an opportunity for an extended and intensive meditative experience that will take you to deeper levels of stillness spiritual awakening. Once you have glimpsed your soul, everything else that happens in life seems to shine with the brilliance of bliss.

4) Ignite your Creativity
In a busy mind filled with repetitious thoughts, conditioned beliefs, and emotional turbulence, there is little space for creativity to enter. Meditation takes you beyond the rational mind to the source of all creativity: the domain of pure consciousness. As you expand your consciousness, you tap into your hidden potential. Your expanded awareness ripples out into your daily life, and as you go about your daily activities, you will begin to notice new insights, ideas, and inspiration flowing into your mind.

5) Nurture Your Body
Seduction of Spirit nurtures your body as well as your spirit. Each day you’ll cultivate a deep state of body-centered restful awareness with morning and evening sessions in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. During the retreat you’ll dine on delicious ayurvedic meals created from fresh, healthy foods that will nourish and energize you during your stay. You may be inspired to make improvements to your diet and daily routine when you return home! You’ll also celebrate with dancing and laughter and special performances by guest performers, including Beth Nielsen Chapman.You’ll also enjoy time for optional nature walks and self-reflection.

Learn more about Seduction of Spirit and our special price for Georgia residents here or call 888.736.6895 to speak to a program consultant.

There’s still time to register for the Journey into Healing workshop this February 16-20 in beautiful Vancouver!

Learn more here >>

If your New Year’s goals include physical health, emotional well-being, and spiritual awakening, the Chopra Center’s Journey into Healing workshop in Vancouver is a rare opportunity to learn with the masters.

For the first time, Cesar Millan will be a featured speaker at this signature event, where he will teach the practical steps for reconnecting to the body’s natural state of health and balance. Along with mind-body healing pioneer Deepak Chopra, the Vancouver premiere of this signature workshop include the Chopra Center’s medical director, Valencia Porter, M.D.; co-founder of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute, Daniel Vicario, M.D.; and Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, an internationally renowned ayurvedic physician and teacher.


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