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5 Benefits of Daily Meditation and How to Get Started

[Contributor, Online Fitness Magazine, Published July 2018]

If you want to feel optimistic, focused, and rested, it’s time to start meditating a little bit every day. Here are five benefits of daily meditation and how to get started.

1) It can reduce stress, anxiety, and chronic pain.

“Finding stillness in mediation provides an opportunity to slow down, to focus on our deep and mindful breath, and for our brains to relax,” says yoga instructor Melissa Okabe. “In doing so, daily mediation can help to reduce anxiety and stress. Imprinting positive habits of a meditative state provides a calm foundation to return to on the onset of stress. [It] promotes a less reactive approach even in stressful situations.”

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People Tell Us the Unique, Interesting and Mundane Places They've Meditated

[Expert Yoga Contributor, Published July 17, 2018]

Every day we find ourselves in different environments. Some of these environments are unique, some are ordinary. We could be on vacation, at home, at the office, commuting through the city...all of these present moments of peace, distractions, stress, fun, fear and so much more. These special moments present an opportunity to focus on all kinds of different sounds, images or feelings, but it’s completely up to you to allow yourself to concentrate and focus your mind.

We figured with all that meditating, people must be tuning in at some pretty unique and interesting places! So, we asked yogis, meditation experts and experienced adventurers to share their unique and inspiring experiences about where they’ve meditated. Here's what they said:

On Top of a Cruise Ship

The most interesting place I've meditated was on top of an open air deck on a moving Viking River Cruise Ship at sunrise. The river cruise experience is amazing, but being around so many people, like staff and other guests 24/7, can be a lot at times, so it was so nice just to have the morning to myself. To be still and meditating on a moving vessel was a unique experience, but ever so soothing with the soft splash of the water to the sides, and beautiful charming towns and natural open land on either side of the river bank.

-Melissa Okabe, yoga instructor of melissaoyoga.com

American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division

15 Ways Your Lifestyle Should Change as You Age 

Vol. 28 No. 2, By G.M. Filisko

[Contributor, April/ May 2018 Edition of Experience Magazine, Senior Lawyers Division of The American Bar Association] 

If you’re not already, start doing yoga. Los Angeles-area yoga instructor Melissa Okabe says the practice builds bone density, increases and maintains your flexibility, enhances balance, and helps reduce stress.

If you haven’t been doing yoga, she recommends starting with a beginner’s class. “Don’t overdo it or compare yourself to your neighbor,” she advises. “Yoga is a personal practice. Try to feel and listen to your body; don’t try to do what your neighbor may be doing in class.”

Use props, she adds. “Props such as blocks, blankets, straps, and bolsters are there to help your body attain proper alignment,” she explains. “That helps energy flow more optimally though your body and will help your body open up more quickly with consistent practice. And don’t be afraid to use a wall or chair for added support, especially if you’re struggling with balance in the beginning.”

Be sure to let your instructor know if you have any injuries or medical conditions, and don’t get discouraged if the first class feels hard. “You’re working new muscles that probably haven’t been lengthened or strengthened in the past,” explains Okabe....

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6 Most Common Yoga Injuries and How to Avoid Them

[Contributor, Online Fitness Magazine, Published March 15, 2018]

By now, you’ve heard all about the benefits of yoga: A regular yoga practice can lead to better sleep, lower stress levels, reduced blood pressure, and increased flexibility and strength. But, if you’re not careful, yoga can also cause injury, particularly to your wrists, lower back, shoulders, elbows, knees, hamstrings, and neck. In fact, a 2016 study discovered that yoga-related injuries have nearly doubled from 2001 to 2014. Our experts dive into the six most common yoga injuries. Here is how you can avoid them to get the most out of your time on the mat.... “Each person’s body and yoga journey is different,” says [Melissa] Okabe. “The goal of yoga isn’t to perform any given pose. It’s a mind-body experience that has the power to transform you from the inside out if you allow it.” ...

 
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Slumbr : Restorative Yoga For Deep Sleep

[Contributor, Online Article, Published, June 2017]:

5 RESTORATIVE YOGA POSES FOR DEEP RELAXATION AND UNWINDING BEFORE BEDTIME

Anxiety, stress and the tensions of the day can sit heavy with your body at night, preventing you from comfortably slipping into sleep. Yoga is a powerful practice for releasing these tensions -- particularly the gentle form of restorative yoga. Yoga has also been shown to combat insomnia. The good news is, you don’t have to be a super-bendy yogi or have practiced for years to get started.

To help you unwind, Slumbr teamed up with LA-based yoga instructors Kalina Salvador and Melissa Okabe to share 5 relaxing restorative yoga poses, using Slumbr’s Ara Buckwheat Pillow..... 

 
 
 

Yoga & Fitness Modeling  

 

 

Yogathology Shoot, Winter 2018

  • Fitness Model for Yoga Book
  • Coming to Publication Spring 2018

MyYogaWorks.com : Spring 2017

  • Yoga Model for Online Yoga Videos
  • Main Instructor: Justin Timothy

Got Gym Lifestyle Shoot, Summer 2016

  • Fitness Model 
  • Photo Credit: Douglas Vignon