Showing posts from August, 2016

How can we achieve Inner Sanctuary?

What Is Meditation? My students answer: "Being With Myself"
by Kathleen Lisson
When I asked my meditation students in week three of my IPSB Meditation and Mindfulness class to define meditation, I received some surprising answers. I had taught them in week one that meditation is nonjudgemental intentional focused attention to the present moment and we had experienced this type of attention by following our breath, inhale and exhale, for ten minutes. Three weeks later, my students were reporting that meditation was, to them, the practice of knowing and being with themselves. They had instinctively grasped the power of meditation to lead the way to their inner sanctuary.

Both seated meditation and walking the labyrinth can provide this experience of inner awareness. In today’s society of 24-hour news cycles and social media, we are urged to learn an astounding amount of information about other people, from national politicians to our old college friends’ constant stream of baby …

Treatments for Injured Runners in San Diego

What to Do When You Are Injured - Meditation, Massage and Chiropractic Treatments for Runners
by Kathleen Lisson
I am a half marathon runner, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and a RRCA Certified Running Coach in San Diego, CA. In late December 2014, a few months after my 40th birthday, I tripped while trail running in Idyllwild, Ca and suffered a grade two sprain of my right ankle. I had to hobble a mile out of the woods to our car and watched in frustration as my ankle swelled and bruised black and blue.  I was signed up to run the Carlsbad half marathon in three weeks time and reluctantly transferred my bib to another runner the day the doctor put me in a walking boot. I was in the walking boot for the month of January 2015 and wore it all day except for in the shower.
My new lack of mobility was disheartening. I did convince my physician that I should be able to walk 15 minutes a day, but she flatly stated I couldn’t run at all. I have always been an active person and had previousl…

Three Tips for Becoming More Calm and Centered

Three Things Calm, Centered Women do Every Day

by Kathleen Lisson
One: Calm, centered women are aware and accepting when they are not calm and centered. Our quick-fix society puts an emphasis on immediately eliminating any emotion that is not positive. A crying child is distracted with treats or told to ‘quiet down,’ and a teenager with text anxiety is reassured with ‘don’t worry, you’ll do fine.’  It is difficult to have an emotion without trying to change it if it is unwanted or hold on tight to it if it is wanted. We can try it ourselves with this test right now: Wherever we are, try to become aware of our posture and feel our neck, shoulders and back without immediately straightening up or moving around. It’s hard to resist! Cultivating an acceptance of our emotions, good and bad, can take away the stress of trying to be someone we are not.
Greater awareness is the another key to feeling more centered. As anyone who has snapped “I’m not angry!” to their spouse has realized, knowing …

How to get Oil out of Hair - Tip from a Massage Theapist

How to wash oil out of your hair after a massage
By Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

As a a Massage Therapist with training in Ayurvedic Massage in San Diego, I see a lot of clients who benefit from a relaxing scalp massage.
Ayurvedic Massage uses oil to massage the body, which means clients walk out of their massage with relaxed muscles and an oily head of hair. My secret tip for removing oil from hair is to apply their regular shampoo to dry hair before stepping into the shower, lathering and rinsing.

I tried this after a Abhyanga massage and Shirodhara treatment and it was far more effective than trying to shampoo hair after wetting it in the shower.

Shirodhara is an effective treatment for insomnia. Read the study done in California here:

How to Be a More Likeable Person - Meditate!

Tips for Becoming a Likeable Person
by Kathleen Lisson

Getting to the heart of likeability leads me back to a lesson I learned on the playground - but not from other children, from my own parents.
Mindful attention is what we have been crying out for every since we were little children begging our parents to look at us while playing on the playground. As children and adults, we can feel instinctively when a conversation partner isn’t really listening anymore. Their eyes will drift over our shoulder or their hand will toy with their smartphone. In an argument or discussion, their mind will be racing to perfect their reply before we have even had the chance to finish voicing our opinion.
The solution: making a meditation practice a part of our daily wellness. Regular meditators are more likeable people because they have trained their listening skills. Spending time in meditation develops the ability to pay attention in the present moment with purpose, focus, and non-judgement.
As a medita…

How Children Can Practice Gratitude - Please share this post with a child.

Practicing Gratitude - a post for Children
by Kathleen Lisson

“Say Thank You” “Count Your Blessings”

We’ve all been told to do these two things, especially by our parents, but life gets busy and sometimes we forget. Taking time out of your day to remember things that are good in our lives is a fun way to relax and gives our health a boost, too.

Research has shown that practicing gratitude strengthens the immune system, reduces feelings of loneliness and anxiety increases feelings of joy. You can test it for yourself and see what being grateful feels like in your body in less than a minute!

Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Take a few deep breaths and feel your body sitting. When you are comfortable, follow these two steps for practicing gratitude:
Focus on good things in our lives, and Recognize that they happened because of other people.

You can remember something nice a friend did for you or think about all the hard work that strangers did to grow and harvest the food you ate for breakfas…

Where to get free Lymphatic Drainage Massage in San Diego

Where to get free and reduced cost Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson

Many people find Manual Lymphatic drainage massage effective for reducing pain and swelling following trauma, surgery, including cosmetic surgery and some even use it as a complementary therapy during detoxification. As a long time philanthropist, I am I am pleased to partner with the Alternative Healing Network to offer massage services free of charge on most Thursday afternoons.

Alternative Healing Network offers Acupuncture, Massage, Energy Healing and Naturopathic Medical Consultations provided free of charge on a first come first served basis at the Tubman-Chavez Center and the City Heights Wellness Center on alternating Thursdays. Lymphatic Drainage Massage services will be 15 - 20 minute treatments. I encourage you to also visit with a Naturopath to get more information on how a variety of complementary treatments can benefit your health.
Find out more about Integrative Health Nig…

How to Get Excited about Meditation!

How to get excited about Meditation (again) 
by Kathleen Lisson

Elephant Journal recently published my advice on how to use the deep, life-changing 'why' of your meditation practice to make sure that meditation has a regular place in your daily rituals.

Read the article here:

7 Step Experiment - Feel the Effects of Awe in your Body

How to Feel Awe in Daily Life
by Kathleen Lisson

Balancing the demands of school, work, family and social obligations can lead to overflowing to-do lists, a feeling of busy-ness that leads to anxiety, and the sense of not having enough time to do everything. Taking time to go out in nature and ideally experience awe is one natural way to combat stress. Have you ever seen something amazing and you feel like time literally stood still? That’s the beauty of a feeling called awe.
Here’s a quick 7 step experiment that can show you the effect of awe on your own body.
Take a moment to sit comfortably in a safe space and close your eyes. Take a slow, deep breath. Bring to mind a time when you experienced awe. How did it make you feel, where were you and who were you with. Really feel the emotion in your body. Notice where you felt the emotion. Did you shoulders and face relax as you remembered your experience? Open your eyes and take another deep breath. How busy and overwhelmed do you feel aft…

How to Use Meditation for Better Sleep

How to Use Meditation for Better Sleep

by Kathleen Lisson
One frustrating obstacle for newer meditators is how often the sessions involve at least a few moments of sleep. If the intention of a meditation session is not sleep, there are several techniques for staying awake. But what if sleep is exactly what your body needs?

A busy travel or vacation schedule means at least a few hours of downtime on a plane, train or car. Making the most of a plane ride can be the difference between arriving at your destination groggy or refreshed. What if you could enjoy a long nap along the way and arrive feeling balanced and peaceful? I recommend trying one of the following three types of guided meditation the next time you are facing a long car, train or airplane ride.

What you need:

Sleep mask, neck pillow and blanket or large scarfSmartphone or ipod with headphonesMeditation app like Insight Timer or downloaded guided meditations (UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness has several)

Types of Guided Medi…

How to Celebrate National Relaxation Day August 15th

Celebrate National Relaxation Day with Mindfulness Exercises
by Kathleen Lisson

If you have ten minutes - take a walk. Focus on each of your senses for five or six breaths as you take a pleasant walk in nature. As you walk, notice what you can see for five breaths, then what you can hear for five breaths. Continue walking and feel your feet moving for five breaths, then become aware of smells, then experiment if you can taste anything in the air or feel the texture of your tongue in your mouth. Begin again at the top of the list with sight and continue feeling each of your senses until the ten minute walk is finished. Notice if paying attention to the present moment instead of getting lost in thought has made you more relaxed. If you cannot find a place in nature, consider walking a labyrinth! Find labyrinths in San Diego here:
If you have five minutes - try a body scan. Sitting or lying down, find a comfortable position and gently focus on different parts of your b…

Is Massage Effective for Reducing Pain in Patrients with a Cancer Diagnosis?

How to Reduce Cancer Related Pain 
by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT
As an oncology trained massage therapist trained in San Diego, I am interested in scientific research studying the effect of massage therapy on the side effects of cancer treatment including chemotherapy and radiation. One major side effect of cancer treatment is pain.

There is a study titled 'Meta-analysis of Massage Therapy on Cancer Pain' published in Integrative Cancer Therapies that shows "massage therapy significantly reduced cancer pain compared with no massage treatment or conventional care" and that "massage is effective for the relief of cancer pain, especially for surgery-related pain. Among the various types of massage, foot reflexology appeared to be more effective than body or aroma massage."

Read the full study here:

How to Use Meditation to Get to Sleep Faster

Three Tips for Getting a Full Night's Sleep
by Kathleen Lisson

A full 8-9 hours of restful rejuvenating sleep is a key part of wellness and the only way I can train hard in the morning and then work a full day. The hard part: disconnecting from technology and getting to sleep in the first place.
I have been married for a few years and my husband and I are still working out bedtime rules we can both follow. Turning off electronics a half hour before bedtime and tucking ourselves in at least 8 hours before the morning alarm is set is key to making sure that our tomorrows will be as productive as possible. For me, a busy day filled with emotion almost guarantees tossing and turning after the lights are turned off unless I practice my favorite sleepy-time meditation. My choice: a mantra meditation that lets me focus on well wishes to relieve all being’s suffering. Another meditation practice called body scan has great results for many meditators I have spoken to. I can completely relax …

Tips for Overcoming a Running Plateau

How to Get Out of a Running Rut
by Kathleen Lisson

As a San Diego half marathon runner, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and a RRCA Certified Running Coach I have seen first-hand the effects of getting into a running rut in my off season. I enjoy periodized workouts when training for half marathons, but how do I keep my interest in running for the months I’m not actively training? Here are my tips for getting out of a running plateau.

San Diego offers 12 months of good weather for outdoor workouts, so San Diego athletes can get stuck in a workout plateau if they are working with a growth-based mindset but not a growth-based workout routine. During the first few months of a running program, focusing on improved health is easy - we are running farther and faster and our body is becoming stronger. Once we are locked into our workout, only negative feedback will drive us to prevent the loss of our fitness gains. This prevention mindset feedback is mostly failure based - we can see when we…

Three Tips for a Mindful Visit to the Museum - Worldwide Art Day August 9

Three Tips for a Mindful Visit to the Museum

by Kathleen Lisson
The most stunning piece of artwork I ever saw was the Mona Lisa. I remember feeling pulled in by her stare, and feeling confused - could a painting really be looking directly at me? I also remember the crowd of dozens and dozens of people in the room slowly shuffling forward forward, excitedly talking to one another and then … turning their backs to the famous painting to take a selfie. To truly interact with paintings and sculpture instead of just collect selfies, follow these three tips to mindfully experience an art museum:
Step One - Sit or stand in a dignified position. Our focus and energy are at their peak when the spine is straight and our body is rising up from the ground. Visiting the restroom before starting a museum walk, eating before our visit, wearing comfortable shoes and turning our phones off will remove many common obstacles to fully enjoying an art exhibit.
Step Two - Open the door for mindfulness. Once we…