Feng Shui = Art and Intuition

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

For me Feng Shui is all about art and intuition. The practice of Feng Shui is not a science. Its origins are derived from an Ancient Chinese philosophy and the practice of this philosophy is considered an art.

The word “Feng” translates to wind and the word “Shui” translates to water. The movement of wind and water makes the world go round. And the ancient Chinese believed that the energy or “Chi” of these elements (as well as wood, earth, metal, and fire) could be manipulated enough to make a difference in people’s lives. Understanding how to balance the energy in our lives truly is an art.

In the modern world you will find many versions of how best to practice the art of Feng Shui, and, at the end of the day, Feng Shui Joan’s Way relies quite heavily on my connection to a client and their space. My sense – my intuition of my encounter with a person’s energy and the energy around them dictates my approach to the art of Feng Shui.

And the art of Feng Shui can lead to some pretty powerful stuff!

Let me illustrate with a personal experience that involves Feng Shui, Two Roads Brewery, two dogs, and a pair of slippers.

A Match Made in Heaven
We welcomed a new member to our family a few weeks ago. My son and daughter-in-law tied the knot at The Farms Country Club in Wallingford. What a beautiful and memorable day – rain and all!

My son’s new wife first came to me as a client. As she and I worked together to thoughtfully clear and prepare to sell the home that had belonged to her mother before her passing, the universe kept sending me messages about this special young lady.

There were many messages. But the three that lead me to also take on the role of a match-maker was her affinity to dogs, Two Roads Brewery, and a pair of slippers.

Now, as a Feng Shui practitioner, I do believe that the clearing of a home, room, or clutter can be the catalyst for opening your life to new people and experiences. And most times, the connections I make in this process for clients do not involve my own children.

Their story was best captured by a good friend of mine, Kathrine Vass of Ever After Memories She officiated their marriage and recounts their story so beautifully that I asked my children if I could share this with my readers.

Here is an excerpt:
“… As Lauren and Mason begin their own branch on this family tree, let’s take a moment to go back and remember how it all began.

It’s often said that the best things in life come to us when we least expect it and perhaps in the unlikeliest of ways. Almost 4 years ago, Lauren was simply looking for someone to help sort out and organize her home. What she got was the help from a professional Feng Shui decluttering expert who would turn out to be, not only a matchmaker, but her soon-to-be mother-in-law.

Finding someone to love can be a lot like cleaning an old house; it feels daunting, and you don’t know where to start. If any of you know Joan, she always has a way to keep it simple. As she worked with Lauren and got to know her better, she offered one day: “I don’t usually do this, but I wonder if you’d be interested in meeting my son, Mason. You both have dogs, you both like going to Two Roads Brewery and you both have the same slippers.”

Just three little things — a good place to start.

Lauren thought, “why not?!” and with an open mind, a date was set to meet Mason…”

Beautiful, right!

Mason remembers that afternoon, at Two Roads, as the day he first saw this pretty girl with the beautiful smile and nice eyes. She was animated and talked a lot with her hands, but Mason liked her and right away there was a spark.

Lauren enjoyed being with Mason as well and they spent the time talking about dogs, family, traveling and everything in between.

After that day, they went on a few great dates but then, as it tends to do, life took them in different directions for a time.

It wasn’t until the following fall when they reconnected. Everywhere she went Lauren seemed to be constantly running into Mason. Each time, he would make it known that he was still interested.

Lauren, impressed by his persistence, decided to give him a chance. There was something different about him in the all the best ways and she knew she needed to get to know him better to find out.

Joining Mason for his Friends-giving dinner that November made it official. Lauren was “his lady” and he was proud to have her by his side. From that day forward, they spent as much time together as they could, moving slowly and kindly to build the strong foundation their relationship has now. In a big moment, the first meeting of their dogs, Cosmo and Gus, something new happened – they created their own pack!

As I listened to Mason and Lauren’s story, on a sunny afternoon, surrounded by the dogs, one word constantly came to mind: loyalty. In any relationship, of course love is important – but, the promise of loyalty, faithfulness, unwavering devotion – that is not always easy. From their spots on the couch, where Cosmo and Gus peacefully snored, loyalty is not a word for dogs, but a way of life.”

Beautiful, right! I can’t promise to make a love connection for you. I can promise that I will listen to your story. And I will do my very best to help you open the doors and windows of your life to the possibilities that await you.

Pizza Place with Pizzazz

Interview with Mackenzie Carey – Chief Chef and Bottle Washer!

 The Parlor
999 Stratford Avenue

A new business on the Avenue!!!!

The Parlor took over the old Jerry’s Shakespeare pizza – nostalgic for many Stratford residents. Many customers drop by to reminisce in the old space and are hooked by the smell, soon becoming regulars at our modern joint.

According to Mackenzie Carey, they have taken a different approach to pizza than the previous owners by installing a brick oven kit from Italy that they cook their “New Haven style” pizzas in. We also offer vegan options that set us apart. Our most popular pie is probably the one we named after our restaurant – The Parlor. This spicy/sweet combo is surely a hit!

We also have a loyal Vegan community whom would most likely mention the Strega Nona as #1- a favorite amongst vegan and non vegan customers, adorned in fresh garlic, basil and plant-based meatball.

We were very happy to find a location in Stratford to open our restaurant since it is the town we grew up in. We love the opportunity to be able to offer delicious pizza to all of our existing friends and family, and making new ones along the way!

Mackenzie, who is the owner, is a lifelong Stratford resident, having graduated from Stratford High School and Southern Connecticut State University.

We would like fellow Crier readers to know that not only do we serve up delicious pizzas, salads, and apps, but we are a family friendly place and love our customers! We look forward to meeting new potential customers and hope we can make something yummy for you!

The Parlor is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-9pm. Sundays 12-8pm. Monday’s are closed.
Service options: Dine-in · Takeout · Delivery
Phone: (203) 522-5055

Fame and Reputation is not Just for Athletes or Actors

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

Fame and Reputation is important Feng Shui. A focus on fame and reputation is not just for athletes, actors, and politicians. The energy around how one is perceived in a career, in a circle of friends, a neighborhood and a community is absorbed from and reflected back into the universe in powerful ways.

Validation and recognition for our efforts at work, home, and life helps us grow and sustain our psyche. We all need recognition in some form or fashion.

Phil Mickelson is top of my mind as I think about his celebrations after winning the final round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C.

What do people think about when they hear your name?

There is no doubt, one should be aware of one’s reputation in day-to-day living.

However, it is especially important for those looking for work. More immediately there is a huge number of folks who are thinking about returning to work after COVID Pandemic related layoffs and business closings. And with the month of May, we also have new graduates entering the workforce.

So, now is as good a time as any to reflect on what people think about when they hear your name. In a world seemingly dominated by “social media”, thinking about reputation is more important than ever. I think we all know “tweets” and “posts” can come back to haunt us.

My recommendation is to read whatever you are getting ready to put out there at least five times and ask these questions before you hit enter:

  • What would my family and closest friends think about this post?
  • What would my community think about this post?
  • What would my audience think about this post? (Note: this can apply to politicians, actors, athletes, retailers…basically anyone who has clients and is selling/representing a product, service, or brand.)
  • What would prospective employers think about this post?
  • Do I really want people to witness my frustration, anger, deeply personal feelings in such a public forum?

Note: Red Fame and Reputation Box at top/center of the Bagua
To influence the energy in the Fame and Reputation gua (area) in your home and office:

  • Like all gua’s, keeping this space clean, dusted, and free of clutter is important.
  • Decorate with up images, like hot air balloons, the moon, the stars and the sun, tall buildings etc.
  • The fireplace is especially helpful if it happens to be in this area of your home and office. If not, you can use candles and other symbols of fire here.
  • This would be the perfect place to showcase your diploma, certificates of recognition, and awards.

Think of your visits to a doctor’s office. Imagine the doctor with this diploma hanging behind is desk. Placed as a validation of the skills needed for the position, that diploma also creates a sense of confidence for the patient.

Speaking of Fame and Reputation, Google reviews are today’s “word-of-mouth” for many small businesses. If you haven’t left a review for a favorite small business, I can tell you first-hand they are invaluable.

I received the best review today. We all need a pat on the back occasionally. This testimonial brought tears to my eyes because this client’s experience is what I hope to bring to every consultation.

My new client said, “I chose Joan initially because her website indicated that she was a down to earth normal looking person who just happens to practice Feng Shui. I had had other experiences with Feng Shui practitioners in the past and my experience with Joan was the total opposite, and a breath of fresh air. Her unpretentious presentation and assessment of my life and HOME was extremely helpful to me. She made subtle changes that had almost an immediate impact on my general well-being. I was not asked to buy her crystals or any little Feng Shui gadgets! She gently probed personal situations in my life and offered constructive ideas on how I might make changes to those when I feel ready. I would highly recommend Joan if you are looking to sell your home, or just to live comfortably in your own home. She is a real find, and right here in my backyard in Fairfield County”!

Sweet Treats on the Avenue

Cakes by Sonia

Interview with Owner: Sonia Diaz
2067 Barnum Avenue

She first opened her business down Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport in late 2019 — not the greatest timing in retrospect. Since her opening there are days when there is a line out the door for these delectable sweet treats.

When did you first realize that you were able to bake and decorate cakes?
I first realized I was able to decorate and bake when I was around 16. I would always watch baking competition shows and I fell in love! It started as a hobby but I later figured I’ll probably be doing this for a living!

I started from home baking and then I got hired by Food Bazaar as a cake decorator at 18 as my first job.

Why cupcakes?As much as I love decorating cakes I wanted to do something that is smaller and easier for everyone to eat! Cupcakes are a perfect size!

What is the most unusual cake you have ever been asked to create?
To me the most unusual cakes are those with very different flavor combinations! Who would think chocolate and lemon would be a thing! One thing I learned in the baking industry you’ll have to be open to create everything.

What made you decide to go “brick and mortar” with cupcakes?
What made me decide that I needed a brick and mortar was when I realized how much space I was running out of in my mom’s apartment. I always dreamed of having my own shop but I knew it was time when my small home kitchen looked like a bakery!

How many different varieties of cupcakes do you have, and how are they rotated?We have around 30 flavors. I like to always have my classic flavors and also different gourmet flavors and combinations, it gives everyone a lot of options to choose from.

Your “specialty cakes” have appeared on your website, as well in Facebook sites where people requested a special cake, and then posted a photo. Missing from all those photos were wedding cakes. Do you make wedding cakes?

We do make wedding cakes!! Wedding cakes are definitely my favorite they’re so simple and elegant. It makes me feel honored being part of anyone’s big day!

For a special cake we require at least 1-2 weeks in advance we do get lots of orders so to make sure you can book with us I always say to plan ahead!

What are your hours of operation?
We’re open from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Feng Shui Opens the Door to Powerful Relationships

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

Feng Shui opens the door to powerful relationships by showing us how to create environments that encourage positive engagement with the people in our lives.

A wide range of tools are available for Feng Shui practitioners to utilize in their work with clients. I suspect most folks have seen this familiar image of the Bagua. Note the Love and Relationship area of this Bagua is circled.

Bagua Chart and Relationships
The Bagua is One of the Most Important Tools in Feng Shui
The Bagua is a visual map of how energy flows in our world. It is a key tool in Feng Shui study (link), and it offers a way to evaluate the energy in your environment.

Feng Shui is one of many ancient Asian philosophies that sought to understand how we could live in harmony with nature. And even today, Feng Shui principals are utilized by many of the world’s leaders, such as Richard Branson of British Airways, to plan and mange home and work environments.

Coupled with other Asian philosophies such as Yin and Yang and the Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) it is believed that Feng Shui can have an impact on one’s success in both home and work relationships.

The nuances of Feng Shui are intricate and many. That is why, as a certified Feng Shui practitioner, I begin my journey with clients by taking the time to understand their challenges and the outcomes they wish to achieve.

The first step in my process in working with clients is really the first step into a good Feng Shui relationship. I listen to your story and from there we evaluate what may need to happen in order to grow, enhance, or even repair relationships in your life.

Chi Counselor
I’m not a marriage counselor but I am a Chi Counselor. In a consultation with a client who might be feeling a strain in their marriage I would likely start with an evaluation of the master bedroom. Everything from the colors in the room to the placement of furniture can impact the energy in this important space.

For example, one client of mine was considering moving in with her significant other. But just simply could not get a good night’s sleep in her “new” shared bedroom.

A review of the bedroom indicated that a heavy ceiling beam was positioned over the side of the bed where my client slept. It was not a surprise to find my client was unable to have a good nights sleep with this weight literally “hanging over her head”.

Fixes might include representations of pairs of items in the area or even a laughing Buddha with raised hands to lift the weight of the beam and “raise the roof.” I found the laughing Buddha at a local thrift store, Palm & Able in Shelton CT.

Time to Develop a Green Thumb!

Local Family Encouraging Gardens and Landscaping

Shannon Landscape & Garden Center

1111 Honeyspot Road (directly across from UPS)  

Shannon Lawn & Landscaping is a local family business that started in 1987. It is owned by Michael Shannon, his wife Christine Shannon and Michael’s brother, John Shannon—all of Stratford. They recently moved their company to a larger facility which was necessary to support the growth of their landscaping operations business. Their new location offered them a space to showcase their beautiful plants and trees, giving them the opportunity to begin this new adventure into the retail market and to provide an easy, serene shopping experience to their customers.

According to Christine Shannon, “each year, we bring in plants and materials for use in our landscape installations and lawn care services. We only select plants and stock that do well in our region based on our 35-year experience in the industry. We carry many trees and shrubs that thrive in our region and plan to bring in more native plants as they become available. Our designers on staff select varieties that are popular in landscaping beds and privacy screenings. Our planting recommendations are designed to provide continuous color and beauty throughout the growing season.”

The Garden Center has many products available for outdoor projects including a large variety of trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers, fertilizer products, seed, tools, sod, mulches and soils. “Our newly renovated building and landscape yard is a great place for our clients to see first-hand the materials we will be using when planning our design and installations at their homes. We are taking requests from anyone looking for something specific and are happy to schedule an estimate if you prefer the plants be delivered and installed for you.”

Their Shannon Lawn & Landscaping’s service business features all facets of landscaping including planting design and installation, lawn fertilization and insect treatments, pruning and mulching, masonry installation, property maintenance & irrigation and landscape lighting systems. They currently service over 2000 customers and employ 35 people in our community. “We are industry experts for all your outdoor landscaping projects and are welcoming new customers every day.”

Grand Opening this weekend: There will be a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Laura Hoydick on Friday May 7th to kick off their Grand Opening just in time for Mother’s Day.

“Giving back to our town is very important to our family, so we are sponsoring a fundraiser for our local Stratford Police Athletic League (PAL) this weekend. We are donating $1 for each tree and shrub sold this weekend to Stratford PAL.”

Looking ahead, “when time allows, we will be installing a Waterfall and Koi Pond in our outdoor garden to feature pond installation services which we provide. We are committed to the future growth of our landscape service and sales divisions as we continue to beautify the properties in our service areas and provide a friendly workplace for our family of Shannon employees.”

Shannon’s Garden Center is directly across from UPS, and the new the home of their 3 business divisions – Shannon Lawn & Landscaping, Shannon Landscape & Garden Center and Shannon Irrigation & Landscape Lighting. They can be reached at (203) 375-8240, on Facebook, as well as their website www.ShannonLandscaping.com.

Their landscape service divisions are open on weekdays during normal business hours, with the Shannon Landscape & Garden Center also open on Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm.

Tea Time in Stratford

Tea-rrific Free Gift Available for Readers!

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

Those of you who know me well, know tea is a thing for me. But not just any tea. My absolute fave tea and place to drink tea is Open Door Tea in Stratford.

The Open Door Tea Café and Shop just shouts good Feng Shui to me. Here is why:

  • Great Location in Paradise Green, Stratford (3552 Main Street).
  • The physical space – ambience calms me with great music and welcoming seating arrangements.
  • Local artists are featured on the walls creating a sense of community and support of other small businesses.
  • Tea options range from calming to healing and the tea-cups are charming relics of times gone by. In fact, one of my “Ask Joan” club members donated a tea-cup collection that once belonged to her mom to the folks at Open Door Tea.
  • The staff is amazing! Owner Kasia Lindeberg’s knowledge of tea is only surpassed by her passion for sharing it and its healing properties with her customers. And the entire Open Door team is just as knowledgeable and passionate.
  • The food is great – from salads to smoothies and the best baked goods ever! All made there.

Enjoy the tea in person or order online. You can pick-up, order for delivery, and arrange for catering. Just visit the website for details. And, if you want to have a little virtual fun with your office staff or friends, you can arrange a virtual tea tasting!

So, my friend, Kasia wanted me to share some of her amazing tea with you.

Just email me your snail-mail address and I will send you a FREE sample of Open Door Tea while supplies last!

Oh and my friends know where to find me when we meet at Open Door Tea. My favorite seat faces the door – that is good Feng Shui of course. Now that Connecticut is opening up, I’ll look forward to seeing you there soon.

Be well!

Positive Thinking Begets Positive Results

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

In the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
Today I saw the dragonfly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

Positive Thinking Begets Positive Results
Many folks think of the dragonfly as a symbol of re-birth or of transition from one life to another. The transition a dragonfly or a butterfly undergoes in its life-cycle is positive and beautiful. So too is that of we humans.

I have two very happy examples to share with you this week…
First, the response to last week’s newsletter and blog has been amazing and, to be honest, quite unexpected. I was uncertain how folks would react to my news about becoming an End-of-Life Doula. But, the reaction was truly uplifting and indeed positive. Here is another story about someone else who has taken up “my” new gig…What it’s like to launch an unusual side hustle, from a mom starting a gig as a death doula: https://grow.acorns.com/what-is-a-death-doula/.

What is a death Doula?
While many people think of doulas as providing nonmedical support to people before, during, or after a birth, a death doula provides such support for those nearing the end of their lives.

They are an emotional support person that is hired by the family or the dying person to assist in the transition process. A death doula might help someone in their final months or days build a legacy project chronicling their life, for example. They also help families process grief, help caregivers with daily tasks, prepare the dying space, as well as providing other aid.

Is there a Doctor in the house?
Secondly, my amazing daughter, Audrey has been accepted to medical school! She will be attending Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to become a Doctor in that specialty.

Creating positive intentions to help folks live a better life is what I do…but it is your kind and supportive intentions that keep me positive about a bright future ahead for all of us.

Thank you

A Will’s Not Enough

Feng Shui and End-of-Life Planning Helps Us Live our Best Lives

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

Feng Shui is about living our best lives. And believe it or not, end-of-life planning is also. Just as clutter can weigh us down and hold us back in life it can also trap us in a circle of grief when we lose a loved one. We are currently living in a time of uncertainty all centered around a pandemic that has changed the world. And, while there is hope ahead, many of us have been thinking about what if we must face the unthinkable.

“Death, taxes, and childbirth! There is never a convenient time for any of them!” These are the famous words of Margaret Mitchell of “Gone with the Wind” fame. Before Margaret there was Ben Franklin’s famous quote, “…in this world nothing can be certain but death and taxes.”

We Never Stop Learning
I pride myself on being a life-long learner. As a natural progression of my own work to help others approach life’s yin and yang or ups and downs with intention, I have added a new service. I am excited to announce that I am now a certified End-of-Life Doula . In a nutshell this means I am certified to help folks and their families navigate an end-of-life plan in a loving and positive way.

New Tool in the Toolbox
In my work and in my own life journey I continue to make connections that have led me to the conclusion that this new area of study will help me better serve my clients. My intent is to utilize this new area of study as a tool in my toolbox rather than make it an adjunct “profession”.

Much of the work I do in the realm of clutter-clearing or downsizing is with widows and widowers. And, from my work and my own life experience, I know the task of “the letting go of” or “the re-imagining of” sentimental things is a big deal.

What one of my clients said recently in a Goggle review might give you a window into this process, “I do not know how to write a review for a person who has done so much for me. I am a mid-50’s widower who was totally lost as to how to even start to downsize following my wife’s passing. Joan stuck with me through my most difficult days and always knew the best solution to challenges I was facing.”

I believe my new certification will help me offer better counsel to clients as I work with them to move forward after a loss.

Manage Life and End-of-Life with Intention
Clutter-clearing or downsizing utilizing Feng Shui principals is about managing our environments with intention. So is end-of-life planning. It is about creating an energy and environment around the process of death with intention. Knowing what and who you or a loved one would like around them as they transition, as well as how one’s possessions are to be retained and remembered can be a positive and meaningful exercise.

My son says with a smile, “hey mom, now you can Feng Shui people’s after lives too!” I’m sure that statement is raising a few eyebrows right now. But perhaps it is not too far off the mark. Creating positive intentions helps folks live a better life. Creating positive intentions for end-of-life allows this inevitable certainty to be compassionate and loving.

You might find this link to a wonderful interview about being an End-of Life Doula interesting: WTNH Interview: Ann Nyberg and Suzanne O’Brien

The non-profit organization, Aging with Dignity promotes “National Healthcare Decisions Day” each year. This year it is on April 16, 2021. This organization has created a “Five Wishes” form that is designed to help individuals and families begin a conversation about the important stuff. I will tell you; it will not be about the “things” you own. It will be about the people you love.

Email me your snail mail address and I will mail you the “Five Wishes” form to keep for yourself or to utilize for a loved one. If you find that you or your loved one needs assistance in filling out the “Five Wishes” document, I am most happy to help!

Be Well,

Rest and Rejuvenate – ‘aum’

The Art of Mediation- What is it actually?

By Sally Head
Correspondent

Have you ever wondered what mediation is actually? Have you heard of Mediation but never tried it? This week I sat down with Elizabeth Ziegler, meditation teacher and co- owner of the Jiiva Center, 2900 Main St, Stratford, to talk about the benefits of meditation and where to start if considering to give mediation a try.

According to Ms. Ziegler, “mediation is actually a ‘practice’ and it is referred to a practice for a reason. It can be very challenging because our minds are so busy. It is difficult to release your thoughts because our minds are busy at work.”

Basically, meditation is a way to relax the mind and calm the nervous system but in order to get there it takes practice. Ms. Ziegler also reminded me that even if your mind wanders, “which it does a lot,” she added, to just acknowledge the thoughts and walk yourself back to your practice. This is a lot easier said then done. So, I thought I would give mediation a try and to see what all the buzz was about.

 

Jiiva Center offers three meditation classes per week. You do not have to physically go to the center to take the class, they offer hybrid classes where you can either choose to do the class from your own home or take in person. Classes run either 1-hour or up to 75 minutes in length. All classes ask their participants to dress comfortably and if they are at home to turn off any distractions such as TV’s, radios, other conversations. I arrived to class early to gather any props I may need, but I brought my own blanket and blocks just in case. I was warmly greeted by the Elizabeth and her twin sister Margaret, who had me sign my waiver and to either use a chair or to get comfortable sitting on the floor.

“Sit in a comfortable place, either on the floor with feet touching the floor or in a chair,” Ms. Ziegler said in her soft, quiet voice. The center offers chairs to those who prefer a chair. The class will then work on breath work, called Pranayama, and then the instructor will lead them on a guided meditation.

At the end of the class the participants are asked to sit in silence anywhere from 5-45 minutes. Ms. Ziegler chimed that is this silent period that many people have their most struggles. She reminded me that she would never ask anyone who has never down mediation before to sit in silence for a very long time, but would recommend a shorter time frame. She also reminded me that it is ok to move around, fidget, make small adjustments but over time it gets easier. She added, “the goal is to remain in physical stillness, move if you have to move, return to your breath and do your best.” This part was actually very soothing and uplifting. In fact, I felt like I had more energy after I left the class.

In fact, she repeated “do your best” during the class. Knowing it can be challenging to stop the mind from wandering, prevent those sneaky thoughts from entering our brains, she told us to “always go back to the breath.” If you never have tried meditation before you are in for a nice treat. There is some effort, however, to work on the breath and controlling the mind, but over time it improves. I struggled with the second breathing exercise we did was called sama-vritti, which is Sanskrit for “equal breaths/fluctuations”.

According to Ms. Ziegler, “in the beginning there is such a strong effort and probably the most important effort you will ever make because it is so life changing.”

So by now I have hopefully piqued your brain about the benefits of meditation, now what? You don’t need anything fancy, or special equipment to practice mediation, in fact, according to Ms. Ziegler, “even if you practice 5-10 minutes every day you will see and feel the benefits. It is that powerful.” Not ready to head over to Jiiva just yet, then try meditation on your own in the privacy on your home. Here is a great way to simply start a gentle meditation:

1. Find a comfortable place to sit. Preferably something thing that can keep your back and spine nice and tall. Remember you do not want to fall asleep, so it is not recommended that you lie down on your backs. A chair or on the floor is recommended. You can use yoga blocks, pillows or blankets to keep your back supported.

2. While sitting tall, try to relax the belly

3. Close your eyes and count the breath. Do 10 rounds of breaths: inhale for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 and hold the breath for the count of 4. You can use your fingers for each time you do a round of breath. Keep your eyes closed, face relaxed and breathe both in and out through the nose.

4. “Try doing this for a few minutes each day, especially in the morning will really change your entire day,” Ms. Ziegler added.

Meditation is a simple yet powerful way to calm the body and the nervous system. It helps you to draw awareness deeper within. Take a class and learn how to calm your mind, settle your body and achieve the healing of the mind, body and spirit. Everyone can benefit from meditation and meditation is recommended to anyone and everyone, no matter your age or fitness level. Beginners to practicing meditators will benefit from a class.

If you would like to find out more about how to get started with mediation or would like to try a class, feel free to check out the Jiiva Center, located at 2900 Main Street, Stratford, by calling 203-345-7747 or by visiting www.jiivacenter.com.