On today’s blog we have Sabina Padilla of Balance and Ritual. Sabina has spread her board palette of holistic tools across Portland, Los Angeles and Miami. She runs meditation and yoga courses, tea ceremonies and Ayurvedic workshops along with her private consultations.
We are so excited to have had the opportunity to chat with Sabina and share it with you!
(SE) What does Mindfulness mean to you?
(SP) Mindfulness is much bigger than the word suggests. It does not just involve our minds (the part of us that thinks), but our full selves engaged in the possibilities of the present moment. Mindfulness is the art of bringing our attention to the richness and perfection of life happening right before us as the agitation of modern life attempts to pull us away. We can use techniques to train ourselves so that it becomes automatic, and this high quality of experience becomes our natural way of being.
(SE) What tools do you think are essential for living mindfully?
(SP) Living mindfully is one of the many positive side effects that comes from meditation. Finding a trained teacher and a technique that resonates with you and your lifestyle is key.
Meditation provides deep rest for the physiology allowing for the mind and body to heal itself and return to a state of balance by naturally dissolving deep-rooted stresses from the nervous system. The activity in the brain changes and we become more present, innovative and efficient in all that we do. Mindfulness is the result of a healthy nervous system.
I incorporate other healing modalities into my daily practice as well, like Ayurveda and yoga, but in my experience meditation is the first step in self-healing. Once we begin the process of healing the nervous system, we experience greater awareness in our waking lives and naturally become attracted to things that will continue to balance it.
(SE) Do you have a mindfulness practice, if so, what does it look like?
(SP) I practice and teach Vedic Meditation. It is a simple and effortless technique that does not require focus or concentration and provides the body with 5 times deeper rest than that of sleep. This deep rest enables the body to recover from the negative impact of stress allowing for a more mindful and vibrant life. We emerge from the meditation revitalized, full of energy and greater clarity. The health benefits of practicing meditation regularly are innumerable. It’s practiced for 20 minutes twice a day. If you can think, you can meditate. It really is that simple.
(SE) That last comment is very encouraging. It really is that easy. When did this practice begin for you?
(SP) I learned Vedic meditation 6 years ago in Los Angeles, and have been practicing daily ever since.
(SE) How did you get started?
(SP) I moved to LA to work in the film industry, and found myself getting jobs I had dreamed of. Jobs that only a few years prior, I was certain would bring me happiness and fulfillment. But did they? No. Instead of feeling total joy and gratitude for these incredible opportunities, I was feeling stressed out and unable to fully appreciate the present moment. Then I went to a lunch that changed my life. It had been many years since I had the pleasure of spending time with a dear college friend, Angie Vroom, who had just returned from her Vedic meditation teacher training in India. She told me about the positive impacts meditation made on her life. I was in a desperate place and was willing to try anything. In the past I’d tried different forms of meditation, but none of them worked for me, and instead of feeling relaxed I was left feeling defeated. I was sure I was unique in having an overactive mind, when in fact we all do. So I decided to give it a shot, as I had nothing to lose and so much to gain. It truly is the best decision I’ve ever made. I remain committed to practicing daily because of the immediate and continuous benefits I experience. It’s easy to do and I can meditate anywhere: on the plane, in my car (before driving of course ;)), in a noisy concert, anywhere. Which makes it simple to incorporate into my daily life, especially since I travel a lot.
(SE) That’s a wonderful story. What would you say the practice has done for you as a person?
(SP) Once I learned to meditate it became abundantly clear that happiness is an inside job. Nothing outside of you can bring you happiness; bliss and fulfillment is within each of us. A concept we’ve all heard many times before. It’s a nice idea but I had no clue how to access that within myself. With each day that I sit to meditate, more and more irrelevant behaviors and impressions of past experiences leave my nervous system, making room for me to fully experience life far more deeply than ever before. As a result I no longer feel overwhelmed and am able to adapt to all of life’s demands. It’s like a reset button for my day. Everything improved: my relationships got better; my lifestyle got healthier; my health improved so much that I was able to get off thyroid medication I had been on for 11 years that my doctor said I’d have to take for the rest of my life without a cure; my life choices got better; and my career inspires me everyday. To say the least, meditation was a definite game changer and I recommend it to anyone looking to upgrade their life.
(SE) What advice would you give someone who would like to incorporate a mindfulness practice into their daily routine but cannot find the time or the headspace?
(SP) - Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated. Everything we do from cooking, to washing the dishes, to waiting in line can be an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
- Nature! Spend as much time as you can in nature. If you’re feeling stressed and tired, get outside, remove your shoes and step on the earth or if you can, lie down. It’s amazing how fast this works. Your hectic energy is absorbed into the earth and grounds your busy mind and tense body. Give it a try!
- Routine is also a great place to start. How we begin our day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you wake up to an alarm and jump out of bed rushed to get to work on time, you’re setting yourself up with panic and anxiety for the day. If instead you set your alarm a bit earlier, even an extra 15 minutes, you can float into your day with a bit more ease. This is where you can bring in a self-healing practice, like meditation or simply sitting with tea and setting positive intentions to bring into your day.
(SE) Thank you for the great advice. Is there a particular practice you would recommend to cultivate mindfulness?
(SP) I would recommend finding any meditation practice that resonates with you and one that you remain committed to for at least 40 days. This way you’ll have the chance to really see how/if the practice has helped you. After 40 days you can assess if the technique feels like something you can sustainably continue to incorporate into your daily life. It is said that it takes 40 days to integrate or remove a habit. Consistency is so important when we take on self-healing practices. If we do it once and awhile, we might feel better for that urgent moment when we felt we needed it most, but what we are looking to cultivate is a practice that becomes just as important as brushing our teeth. It is from consistency that we will have a lifetime to enjoy the benefits of our eyes-closed practice.
If you’re looking for a meditation practice and don’t know where to start, feel free to send me an email and I’d be happy to talk to you more about it.
(SE) Can you list three, everyday things that we can do to stay in the present and live a mindful life?
(SP) Tune into your 5 senses: It’s simple and effective to settle the mind. It doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. You can do it anywhere, even sitting at your desk.
Close your eyes, and take a moment to scan through each of your senses. What do you hear, feel, see, taste, smell? Pause with each of your senses to fully experience the sensation, before moving onto the next, and once you’ve finished scanning all 5 of them individually, experience them all together. Take a moment to breathe deeply before opening your eyes.
Whenever possible, eat in silence. This includes watching TV or reading. Give that a try and see how you experience food differently. You’ll notice tastes in a different way, and you’ll be surprised how you may not even want to finish your serving. Often we overeat simply because something tastes good, or we’re distracted by conversation or the show we’re watching that we don’t even notice that our body has already had it’s fill maybe ¾ of the way through. It’s a fleeting joy to eat strictly for sensory pleasure, it’s a deeper joy to eat for nourishment. Give it a try and see how your digestion and experience of eating changes. I have found I become way more appreciative of the meals I’m eating when I sit in silence.
When you feel your mind is scattered, noisy, anxious, or simply daydreaming and not paying attention to the task at hand -- Pause, take a breath, and tune in to what you’re doing. If you’re washing the dishes, notice the water falling onto your hand. Is it cold? Hot? What does the water pressure feel like? Feel the soap in-between your figures. Feel the bowl in your hands. Does it have a rough or smooth texture? Feel the sponge in your hands gliding along the surface of the bowl. How do you feel? How is your breath? How are you standing? How do your feet feel? How does your back feel? You get the idea.
There is so much happening in the present moment that it often goes unnoticed because there is so much activity in the mind and body that we tune it out, unintentionally.
(SE) Do you offer any type of mindfulness training? If so, can you provide details?\
(SP) I teach Vedic Meditation in Portland, Miami and LA, and I am always happy to travel and teach wherever there is someone ready to learn.
The course is taught over 4 consecutive days, and each day lasts 90 minutes. It can be taught either in a group or privately.
It’s a beautifully designed comprehensive course. On the first day, the practitioner receives their individual mantra (a sound that has no meaning) and instructions on how to use it properly. Then the following 3 days the practitioner has an intellectual understanding of what is happening in the mind and body when we meditate, and develops strategies on how to fit their meditation practice into their busy daily life. At the end of the 4 days, the student is a self-sufficient meditator and is well prepared to continue practicing meditation on their own. That being said, they have lifetime support for any further questions and guidance they may need. Once a student has learned they are able to participate in group meditations and retake the course as many times as they like at no additional charge from either myself or any other trained teacher of Vedic Meditation anywhere in the world.
(SE) Are you currently working on anything you would like to share with the Soulful Essence community?
(SP) Yes! I just launched my site and I just opened my Vedic Meditation and Tea space in Portland with my partner, Stefan Ravalli, who is also a meditation teacher. We offer meditation courses, as well as weekly group meditations and tea ceremonies. These group gatherings arebeautiful opportunities to connect with the community and stay consistent in your practice. For more information please visit my website for details:www.balanceandritual.com / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(SE) Is there anything else you would like to share?
(SP) For anyone who feels they don’t have the time to take a moment for themselves, or feel guilty to, either because of their work or family demands, I encourage that you grant yourself permission to. Claim the time for yourself; even 5 minutes can make a difference. Not only will you benefit but everyone around you will too.
Thank you Sabina for taking the time to talk to us! We appreciate all your words of wisdom! We would love to hear what you think about our talk with Sabina, be sure to comment below!
Make sure to follow us @Soulfulessence and Sabina @sabinapadilla on Instagram! Also if you are interested in all things tea, Ayurveda or for more information on Vedic Meditation head over to balanceandritual.com