A prime tool for achieving a less stressful, more centered and happy life.

By Kat Tudor

Rooted in cultures and civilizations thousands of years old, meditation is “in” again. According to Forbes, businesses such as Google, Aetna and the Goldman Sachs Group offer mindful living programs for employees. Scientists have found that as little as 12 minutes a day of meditation over a two-month period can change the physical structure of the brain, and help you process information more efficiently, as well as reduce insomnia, manage anxiety and lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

Mindfulness Meditation

At the SunWater Spa and the new SunMountain Center, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, developing mindful living is at our core; meditation is a prime tool for achieving a less stressful, more centered life. If you aren’t in our neighborhood, here are tips to help you start an at-home practice. A key: allow yourself to breathe.

  1. Begin with a 5-minute session. Gradually work up to 15-20 minutes.
  2. Relax before you begin. Yoga and a gentle neck self-massage can put you in the mood; comfortable clothing also helps.
  3. Set your timer before you begin. You don’t want to interrupt the “zone” by glancing at your clock.
  4. Find a distraction-free zone in your home, office or yard. The book, Altar Your Space, A Guide To The Restorative Home, is filled with tips on creating a peaceful space.
  5. Relax and be consciously aware of your exhale and inhale as your breathing quiets your mind. Here is an excellent story on breath.
  6. Don’t try to force your mind to stop thinking. This will happen naturally as your practice develops, perhaps by repeating mantras such as these.
  7. Consistency is best. Make this a daily routine.
  8. Experiment with different types of meditation: mantras, transcendental, Zen.
  9. Explore guided meditations. There are many to choose from. Freemindfulness.org provides gratis meditations at varying lengths.
  10. Relax and find the joy.

If you happen to be in Colorado, the SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, as well as the new SunMountain Center, offer a range of meditation programs, including a Breakthrough Meditation Workshop that focuses on breath. For more information, visit www.sunwaterspa.com or www.sunmountaincenter.com.

Kat Tudor is the founder and creative director of SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, as well as the founder and visionary behind SunMountain Center, a premiere wellness retreat in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.


By: Kat Tudor as originally seen on Live Naturally.

Why (and how) Music Matters to yoga.


Back in the day, yoga purists practiced in silence. Flash forward to 2018, and rare is the class that doesn’t feature a playlist of specially curated music, from gongs and drums to classical, pop and rap downloads created specifically for yoga.

According to a study in the journal of Sports Medicine Open, listening to music increases the likelihood of sticking with your exercise program by 70 percent. The music industry has taken notice with two dozen albums inspired by bhakti yoga included on the first 58th Grammy’s Ballot list. Even the pop group Maroon 5, led by the yoga-loving Adam Levine, has created a playlist.

Both yoga and music are known for their ability to de-stress and make us feel better about ourselves. Recent studies have also shown that music can allow a person to enter a “flow state,” which, according to renowned psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

At SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado, we offer a range of yoga classes from Sivananda (traditional hatha yoga) to aqua (yoga in the pool), restorative (relaxing and gentle), and yin (a passive practice, involves variations of seated and supine poses), as well as Kundalini workshops (spiritual and physical with mantras, movement, dynamic breathing techniques and meditation).

See also The Joy of Yoga.

A number of our teachers use music to enhance their classes, oftentimes sourcing from Pandora stations. Click on links below to some of our favorite playlists and music sources.

No matter what direction your yoga practice takes, try a bit of music to enhance the experience. It might get you through the longer poses and provide a deeper satisfaction with the process.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/garetsworkshop