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Mala Collective

Japa Meditation: An Introduction

Japa Meditation: An Introduction

Japa is a Sanskrit word that refers to the audible repetition of a mantra.

A mantra is a word or phrase that has a specific focus or intention, a quality of being that we want to align ourselves with. Japa is often done with a mala string, as it allows you to count your repetitions, so if you have some mala beads you might choose to use them for a practice like this, working your way up to 108 rounds of repetition in one sitting.

Instead of working with Sanksrit mantra for this practice,  I am sharing phrases in English, affirmations that you would repeat in the same way you would a mantra. 

Take a moment to get comfortable. Because you will be saying these phrases out loud, repeating them with me, you will want to be somewhere that you feel you can do this without getting interrupted. Once you have chosen your posture, take a few moments to relax and connect to the gentle movement of your breath. 

This is a japa practice for inner trust and courage. I will repeat the phrases nine times slowly, and invite you to repeat them along with me. 

May I honour the source of my inner wisdom 

May I trust in the unique unfolding of my life

May I walk my path with kindness & courage

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Meditations for Stress Release

Meditations for Stress Release
So often when life gets stressful - as it inevitably does - it’s common that the last thing we prioritize is time for ourselves. It's a shame because a few minutes of quiet can do so much for happiness and well-being. Check out some of our tips below for centering your thoughts in the face of stress.


To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body's natural relaxation response. One of the ways to go about this is by making time for certain activities that can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood. 

Why not try one of the below tactics the next time your stress levels are tested?

  • When you exercise, focus your attention on your breath,
  • Breathe in a scent like incense or essential oils that makes you feel good,
  • Squeeze and then release tense or numb parts of your body,
  • Focus on the present rather than something that’s past or in the future,
  • Visualize in detail a scene that makes you feel peaceful,
  • Listen to music that calms and lifts you up,
  • Take a yoga class, meditate or go for a walk in nature.

Meditation is an excellent way to calm the nervous system when feeling tested or overwhelmed. Even by simply chanting a mantra repeatedly (such as ‘I am calm’, ‘I am patient’ or ‘I am resilient’) you can change your mind-set and alleviate the feeling of pressure or stress significantly.

If you feel like you need some guidance with your practice, why not listen to an audio meditation? Below is a quick stress-busting meditation led by Deepak Chopra. Press play anytime you needed to be guided into calm, controlled breathing to quiet any feelings of overwhelm. Once you settle in to a place of ease, take a moment to prepare yourself for action, which often proves to be the ultimate antidote to anxiety.

It’s important to note that no one can avoid all stress, but you can counteract it by learning how to produce the relaxation response – i.e. a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.


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Tips to Maintain a Daily Practice

Tips to Maintain a Daily Practice

This article was written by your Meditation Challenge host, Natalie Rousseau. For more information about Natalie, please click here.

Meditation is not a flashy practice, nor is it easy, so is it any wonder that maintaining regularity is one of the greatest challenges we face when committing to practice? If you have struggled with maintaining a daily practice know that you are not alone. Every practitioner faces the challenges of Resistance, Boredom, and Doubt, these obstacles are simply part of the journey and there is no way around them, only through them. One of the tools that I have found particularly useful for overcoming these challenges is to simply name them when they arise, know them for what they are, recognize how they show up, and then practice anyway. Below I will outline the common forms they take so you too can begin to recognize these universal obstacles to practice.

Resistance: this obstacle commonly takes the form of busyness. Though we may know full well that we feel better when we make space for meditation in our day, somehow our busy minds convince us that there is no time for the practice today, there are too many other pressing things to do, too many other people to care for or responsibilities to live up to. The funny thing is that even when we have time we may find our mind looking for alternate things to do rather than commit to simply sitting still. Suddenly we have a powerful urge to re-organize our closets, or check Facebook one more time, or even do the dishes we have been avoiding doing all morning. I like to think of Resistance as a smaller brattier version of myself, a distracted child that doesn’t like to listen and has trouble sitting still. When I can see my Resistance in this way it allows me to tap into that larger and wiser aspect of myself, the one that remembers why I choose to practice, and it is her that reminds me calmly that I do have time, and that the world will keep on spinning even if I choose to take five minutes out to be quiet.

How does Resistance show up for you? What forms does it take? What tools or strategies can you use to overcome the voice of your own Resistance? Boredom: boredom is another form of restlessness and can often be an excuse to avoid practice. We live in a very fast paced and stimulating culture, and so when we sit quietly our “monkey minds” often feel like they have nothing to do and can begin to pout and complain loudly, pulling us away from our practice.

Because this is a universal obstacle most traditional meditation lineages include concentration techniques to begin with, techniques that give our minds something to attend to or stay busy with while we sit. Classical concentration techniques include the repetition of a mantra or phrases of affirmation, a focus on the breath or a bodily sensation, or attuning to sounds in our environment whenever our attention wanders. I myself often use a combination of these in my practice and find them especially useful in the first portion of my sitting period.

Often after the first 5-10 minutes of practice my mind and nervous system have begun to relax enough that my awareness can begin to broaden & focus, without becoming restless, in this way I can move past Boredom and into meditation. Do you have a favorite concentration technique that helps you to focus and overcome Boredom in your practice?

Doubt: this may actually be the greatest obstacle on the path and one that we must learn how to recognize for it can pull us away from our commitment to ourselves very easily. Most commonly it manifests as doubt in the practice itself.

We ask ourselves “is this even working?”, “if I was doing this right wouldn’t it be easier/more relaxing?” We may begin to question whether or not we need a new mantra, a new meditation cushion, a different teacher, or a new place in which to practice. Or we may compare our experience to that of others and assume that if we don’t have similar experiences in meditation than we must be doing something wrong. And finally we doubt ourselves, question whether or not we are really cut out for meditation. Doubt is a universal obstacle that even the Buddha had to wrestle with and while we want to maintain a mind that questions, we must also learn to recognize when our Doubt is simply an easy way out of avoiding practice. For myself I have found it helpful to honour Doubt by allowing myself to internally voice my concerns about the practice while still maintaining my commitment to it. I let my Doubt know that I acknowledge it, and that I trust that the answers to my questions will come clear in time. In the meantime I will just keep practicing.

How do you work with Doubt? What forms does Doubt take for you?

Natalie Rousseau ~ Living Yoga, Sept 2016 (

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Meditation: I Am Enough

Meditation: I Am Enough

At first, affirmations or inner speech may seem awkward or feel too contrived.

Remember, these words are yours to claim; "it is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief." See where they take you and what they reveal.

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3 Steps To Living An Authentic Life

3 Steps To Living An Authentic Life

A practice of daily reflection, introspection, or mindfulness will bring together the person you wish to be with the person you actually are. This is the very definition of authenticity.

Here are 3 steps to living with integrity, sincerity, and authenticity.
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