A Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Podcast Series
- Welcome To My Blog
- Who writes this stuff?
- 20 Quiet Minutes
- The Healing Womb
- Minucha B'Lev - Resting in the Heart
- Inspiring Blogs and Websites
- Gratitude Quilt
- A River Of Stones
- Offerings: Spiritual Direction*Creativity Coaching*
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- Counting the Omer
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Minucha B'Lev - Resting in the Heart
Mindfulness is woven into the fabric of Jewish tradition. Every blessing we say, every season and holy day we celebrate invites us to pause, to "be” hineni, present in our lives; attuned to the joy, the challenges and the many sacred ordinary moments in between that may not seem so exciting, but are worthy of our attention, for every moment has the potential to teach. In meditative silence, we cultivate chessed, lovingkindness and rachamim, compassion, by honoring and not pushing away thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, we dive into the ocean of our experience, recognizing the wave patterns of judgment, anger, desire, aversion, fear/anxiety, and so forth revealed as they rise and fall, so that with chochma, wisdom we can discern what is helpful and may what be causing harm. We begin to observe what is true in a given moment through direct experience, beyond the stories that we might otherwise tell ourselves, stories that separate us from what is actually unfolding, causing unnecessary suffering. Sifting through and lifting those layers of habit allows us to rest in our hearts, minucha b'lev, less burdened. Over the years, with patience and practice, on and off our cushions, (God willing) we will develop the capacity to simply be with “what is” with gratitude, for this gift called life.
Minucha B’Lev, is an original Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Podcast series written, guided, recorded and edited by Laura Hegfield, a member of Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH.
Props, Alignment and Technology
With 24 years experience practicing yoga, I feel strongly about the value of props for support and comfortable alignment. Alignment is important as it allows our breath to flow with greater ease, helps us to stay alert in our practice and protects our bodies from injury. I offer what is written below as suggestions from personal experience and information I’ve learned from my teachers through the years. YOU know what works best for your body, if something hurts, feel free to readjust yourself at any time during our practice.
On the floor:
If using a zafu (meditation cushion) or folded blanket on the floor, sit so that the sits bones and fleshy part of your bottom is on the thickest part of the cushion or back just beyond the edge of the folded blanket. Reach your hands beneath your buttocks and gently pull the flesh outward so that you feel the bones connecting with the cushion. I suggest that you do not cross your ankles as you sit, instead rest the sole of one foot against the opposite inner thigh and the sole of the other foot against the shin of the opposite leg. Your pelvis should be tilted slightly forward so that your hips are a little higher than your knees, allowing for space between the vertebrae of your spine. This alleviates the “crunched” up feeling in your lower back that can be painful and cause fatigue.
Straight-backed chair: If you are on a chair, there are a few options to try. You may prefer one to another. Sit toward the edge of the chair with only your sits bones and the fleshy part of your bottom on a folded towel (set atop the seat of the chair) thighs extending forward, your feet flat on the floor. Placing a folded towel beneath your buttocks will raise and tilt your pelvis slightly forward. If your legs are short like mine, you will need to place a few books, folded blankets, or yoga blocks beneath your feet so that they are supported and your base is completely stable. If you fatigue easily and do not have a lot of core strength, you may find that sitting back in the chair with a hand towel rolled and placed between the small curve of your lower spine and the back of the chair, along with a folded towel placed beneath just your sits bones and books, blocks or folded blankets under your feet is more comfortable. Like those who are sitting on the floor, you will want to reach beneath the fleshy part of your buttocks and gently pull the flesh outward so that you feel the connection between your sits bones and the seat of your folded towel.
Reclining: If reclining you may wish to place a thick rolled bath towel, bolster or rolled blanket beneath your knees. This relieves tension in the lower spine. You may also find it comfortable to place a rolled hand towel in the space between the surface you are resting on and the curve of your neck for extra support.
Play with the towel rolling, book piling, and blanket folding before we sit together, to find the heights and thicknesses that work best for YOUR body.
I find having an extra blanket, shawl or sweater to throw over my shoulders as I sit is cozy. I get cold easily, it is no fun to sit and shiver, it tenses up the body and while noticing pleasant and unpleasant is part of mindfulness practice, why not at least start out somewhat comfortably?
How can I listen to the podcast? I will record each session and create an mp3 recording to post later on this page. You will be able to listen to the meditation podcast through your computer by clicking the mp3 link. You can also download the recording if you want to.
I am a certified Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher, Interfaith Spiritual Director (blessed by four of my teachers to do this holy work), certified Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach, Usui Reiki I & II practitioner, and SoulCollage® Facilitator. I graduated from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Teen Educator program in 2006; this was where I first met my primary meditation teacher, Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg and yoga teacher, Rabbi Myriam Klotz, leading to wonderful experiences guiding mindfulness practices through art, yoga and meditation for ten years, at Temple Beth Abraham, Prozdor Hebrew High School. I've been a guest teacher for The Foundation for Jewish Camping with me dear friend, Jewish Chick Rocker Naomi Less. Most recently I led morning chants and mindfulness meditation side- by-side with Rabbi Myriam Klotz and Rachel Dewan, RYT at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
To learn about one-on-one, services I offer such as Spiritual Direction, Lev b'Lev SoulCollage and Creativity Coaching please visit my website: