Exploring a Guided Meditation Exercise with Urban Breath Yoga
We’re not necessarily a high-strung bunch, but when the ALIVE staff found out that Urban Breath Yoga would be leading us through a guided meditation exercise specifically for the workplace, our collective interest was immediately piqued. And, once we discovered that the instructor would be Madeleine Webb—a pro with 500 hours of yoga teacher training and experience studying the Sivananda tradition in India—we were sold. (Webb also served as a yoga consultant for a mindfulness-based stress reduction study at Washington University, some of which she referenced in the meditation exercise.)
Great for the workplace, Webb led us through exercises that explored the idea of separateness and mindfulness—allowing the ALIVE team to take a step away from our everyday tasks to connect with both ourselves and our coworkers in a shared space.
Here are three of our favorite activities from the guided meditation exercise to try at home, or with your coworkers.
1. Check in with yourself. The practice of identifying only two words allowed us to vocalize exactly how we were feeling in a succinct way.
Activity to try: Close your eyes and sit for a moment. Pick two words; one that describes your current state, and one at describes what you are hoping to cultivate within yourself. Take turns going around the room and saying those two words aloud.
2. Understand separateness and learn to bridge the gap. According to Webb, “We suffer because we confuse the ego, or protective outer shell, our social mask, with our true self, or soul. The ego gets bruised and stressed, not the soul. The soul is constant. We all just want to be seen, on the soul level, and this realization can help us to speak and work with others with more unity and understanding.” Remembering that an annoyance to you is sometimes just the ego, or social facade of another, and not their soul can help when your patience is being tried. Bridge the gap by looking beyond the protective outer shell.
Activity to try: Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Feel the space inside your body, and then feel the space around your body, realizing or visualizing that there is no separation between the two. It’s all energy.
3. Discover the importance of present moment awareness and mindfulness. “Mindfulness is being non-judgmentally aware of the constant, ever-changing orchestra of thoughts, feelings and sensations that are moving through us at all times. This has huge implications for how we deal with life, how we treat ourselves and our bodies, and how we deal with others. When we practice mindfulness, we are no longer at the mercy of life’s ups and downs; instead, we are able to see the ups and downs as temporary, affecting us on the ego level but not necessarily the soul level. We can see stress, pain, irritation, fatigue, energy, negativity, etc moving through us, without identifying with it. We can allow these experiences to be temporary guests in our home. Mindfulness helps us to get to know ourselves,” says Webb.
Activity to try: Work on active listening, not listening while thinking of the correct response, but listening without speaking, truly soaking in the words and emotions expressed by the speaker.
Urban Breath Yoga specializes in yoga for beginners, classic hatha yoga and flowing vinyasa practices. They offer extensive specialty programming that includes prenatal yoga, workshops, weekend immersive experiences and yoga instructor trainings. Urban Breath Yoga has two studio locations, Maplewood and The Grove. Catch Webb at her Monday and Wednesday evening practices from 7:30-8:30pm at the Maplewood Studio location.
This post was created in partnership with Urban Breath Yoga.