Too often people meditate and enjoy how good it feels but is it really effective? An effective meditation is one that not only feels good but actually clears the old and sets the new patterns and paves the way for your actions through the day. For a more effective meditation practice, study a concept that speaks to you, meditate on that concept, observe any resistance or sensations and discover the blocks. You may need guidance to learn how to stay in spaces of discomfort. In order to shift into the new pattern its important to explore what the block is and in that space that you will discover wisdom that is internally guiding you. Meditation is not to repress, its to discover and expand! The following is an example of how to put a meditation practice to action. 

 Meditation on The Four Immeasureables: Each component can be its own meditation practice for breaking negative patterns and creating new healthy patterns. After repeating the mantra or phrase, set your intention to action. Always ask for support and guidance from that which sources you.

1.     Maitri- Loving Kindness
2.     Karuna- Compassion
3.     Mudita- Sympathetic Joy
4.     Upeksham- Equanimity

Maitri- developing love and kindness for self and toward others and to all living creatures large and small. This practice is powerful for breaking negative thought patterns. If you notice you are spiraling into negative thinking today repeat to yourself, “ May I be Happy.” And throughout your day be mindful of your speech and actions toward self and others. Avoid gossip, speak lovingly and look at things from different perspectives, creatively apply compassion.

Karuna- Compassion through action, free from physical suffering. If you are physically struggling through your day with cravings, physical pain, then use this phrase “May I be healthy and strong”. And through your day be mindful of how you treat your body, what you consume, hydrate, exercise, and get adequate rest.

Mudita- Joy, happiness for self and celebrate other’s success. If you are struggling in your relationships, envy (coveting what someone else has), competing, feeling unloved, unable to be supportive or in an unhealthy relationship, then use this phrase “May I be Safe”. Take action through your day to express interest, praise, celebrate your friends accomplishments, recognize your strengths and the capacity to always learn and grow, study and learn with eagerness not to compete but for transcendence,

Upeksham- Equanimity, letting go, non-attachment, If you are feeling anxious, dissatisfied, worried, jealous (fear of something being taken away), greedy, needy, not feeling good enough or feeling a general sense of lack, then use this phrase, “ May I be peaceful and at ease ”. Set your intention to action by noticing all that you do have, volunteer, give back and express gratitude. If you notice your thoughts pulling you toward revenge are harmful actions, stop, connect with your breath and say the phrase, then shift your behavior to responding with compassion or shift focus on the loving people in your life and acts of kindness.

*origins from the Metta Sutta of Buddhism and in the ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism and Jainism.

Compassionately authored by: Dena Leibowitz, 9/1/18


Only love baby. Only love.



The Metta Meditation

The Loving Kindness Meditation, also called Metta Meditation, is a practice to cultivate healing, love and kindness, ultimately creating inner and outer peace towards yourself and others. It helps release judgements, foster forgiveness, releases shame, guilt and regret, cultivates self-love, gratitude inner joy, and compassion. If you find yourself critical, gossiping, intolerant, judgmental and blaming, gluttonous or not feeling good enough as a whole, then this is the perfect remedy for you!

There is a tremendous amount of neuro research that demonstrates the power of compassion on structurally changing the brain, in fact, the effects are similar to Prozac. Compassion research shows that repetition of compassion practices over time actually increase activity and neural pathways in the parts of our brain that control positive thinking, discipline and self-confidence, and areas in charge of a feeling of overall well-being. Simultaneously research on compassion shows a reduction in the parts of our brain that are in charge of negative criticism.

Creating a compassion practice leads to enlightenment or what yogis refer to as Jivanmukti, a state of being (total bliss and state of self mastery) that occurs while alive, once a person effectively eliminates latent tendencies and takes control over one’s senses and masters detachment from the material world. Living your yoga is a yoga practice off the mat too, a lifestyle of living your yoga enriched in the Yamas and Niyamas, Yoga is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health and your soul health! Integrate these simple Yogi beliefs and principles into your daily life to help set the metta meditation to action.

  •  Does no harm to others
  • Speaks only the truth
  •  Remains calm and respond with calm when challenged
  •  Is compassionate and empathic toward others
  •  Remains humble yet firm
  •  Values Self-realization not material gain.

Yogis Live by the acronym THINK - Yes, Before you speak … Think!

·       T – is it true?
·       H – is it helpful?
·       I – is it inspiring?
·       N – is it necessary?
·       K – is it kind?

Once words leave your mouth it cannot be taken back. It can cause serious damage to communities, families, friends and yourself. It is like committing murder. Remember ‘for every tree there is a little bird listening”. So what you say will get back to the person, and the harm can only be undone through a forgiveness practice and karma cleanse.

Cultivate inner compassion by practicing this compassion meditation. Every day you will get stronger and more loving. You will become more aware of your internal dialog and old latent patterns of harm. With discipline and practice you can change and you can liberate your self and start healthy new patterns, that change the internal dialog from fear based to love based.





Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, connect with your breathing. Go inward and welcome each breath in and each breath out. Lengthen through the spine on the inhale and exhale go inward focusing more on your breathing and relaxing. Inhale and engage the quads to support the surrender of the upper body, exhale surrender more… notice the support of mother earth below you, holding you.

Loving-kindness meditation is a repetition of the phrases below. It is repeated 5 times each time directing them at different people.

Start by directing the metta phrases at yourself: (May I be happy…) visualize yourself.

1.     May I be happy. May I be healthy and strong. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease. (self) 

Next, visualize and direct the metta towards someone you feel thankful for or someone who has helped you. (May you be happy…)

2.     May you be happy. May you be healthy and strong. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease. (someone you love) 

Now visualize someone you feel neutral about—people you neither like nor dislike and direct the metta toward them.

3.     May you be happy. May you be healthy and strong. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease. (someone you have no feelings toward)

Now visualize and direct the metta towards the people you don't like or who you are having a hard time with.

4.     May you be happy. May you be healthy and strong. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease. (someone you dislike)

Finally, visualize and direct the metta towards everyone in the universe: 

5.     May all beings everywhere be happy, may all beings everywhere be healthy and strong. May all beings everywhere be safe. May all beings everywhere be peaceful and at ease. (universe) 

Shanti shanti shanti 

A daily practice of pranayama filled with self study about the Yamas and Niyamas will strengthen your control over your mind (thoughts) and your body (your feelings). 

Come to meditation weekly and also add an asana yoga practice to your daily routine. 

Shanti shanti shanti

Try This Daily Meditation


A Meditation for creating love and restoring your soul.

Restore your soul, your heart and your mind by giving others what you need at this very moment. Courageously clear the path and stroll through your day sprinkling love even though your heart may be broken. Feel your heart glow with every gift you send, with every smile you force. Breathe in a bit more deeply and feel your lungs expand and belly rise a bit more with each breath as you (your soul) return home to your life again.   Realize you are shifting out of a place of attachment, allowing room for your soul to return home again. Your heart missed you. Your mind misses you. It wants you to remember that you are fully equipped with all that you need. It's easy to forget ourselves when we immerse our selves into another person and become so used to having those needs met. When it's no longer there, it feels different that's all, it's not bad or good, it's just different. We tend to think different is "bad". It's just a feeling, not good not bad, not at all a measure of your being. You can be sad, you can also shift to the concept that everyone needs to follow their path and it has nothing at all to do with you. So we learn that loving is great but when we over attach and lose ourselves, it's a sure defeat. 

Sprinkle love around even though your heart is broken.  Smile even though your feeling sad. You are not your feelings. You are a soul having an experience that's uncomfortable. 

So send those shoulders down away from years and down your back. Breathe in deeply and connect with your fire. Lift the corners of your mouth to remind your mind and body that you still control the direction of your smile! Its not faking it, its being you again. its returning home to yourself to get your needs met! 

Shanti shanti shanti 

A daily practice of pranayama filled with self study about the Yamas and Niyamas will strengthen your control over your mind (thoughts) and your body (your feelings). 

Come to meditation weekly and also add an asana yoga practice to your daily routine. 

Shanti shanti shanti

Redefining Brave!

Redefining Brave! What would you do if you were brave? This quote sits on my desk.  So I thought about it this morning, and came up with a new list of what I would do if I were brave today: 


I would say "no" to something, I would not gossip, I would be honest and not lie, I would go to the party, I would try out for the play, I would give that compliment, I'd go for the handstand, I would walk away, or I wouldn't judge!   The list goes on. Our fears and doubts (some totally unfounded) limit us every day!  If we were brave, the sky is the limit!  We would be doing and not doing so many things! All of our fears and doubts are ego based! We are either ego building or ego bruising! It's not bad and it's not good -- it's just limiting. Our lives could change instantly.  Shift into the mind and body of limitless capacity. 

Everyone will wrong and be wronged. No one is beyond reproach. This intention is about practicing to stop yourself from reacting even when justified because you are limiting yourself or even setting up more of the same problems. The forever snowball effect of cause and effect. Judge and be judged. The more you react, the more of the same problems you will have -- perhaps worse! People can get vicious when ego is threatened, and yes, even you can turn really nasty and ugly!

Especially when those ego based neural patterns of guilt and shame and criticism are activated! That is when people go into a "kill or be killed mode".  The darkness grows into lying, deceiving and gossiping or worse, becoming physically violent to self or other.  Get over yourself and your need to prove your innocence or another's guilt. The sooner you move on, THE SOONER YOU MOVE ON. Better yet, wish them love. And make sure to love yourself too! Lift your vibe. Lift their vibe. You can attract more of the same or decide today to attract love and send love. We all can move on because we are all inherently good (well most of us).  I can, you can.  I'm turning my pain into wisdom and starting over, join me. Let everyone off the hook, most importantly love yourself and start over. Push the reset button.  You can spiral out of control or you can take full control. It starts with you.  We are all going through this (some just don't know it).

Start today by doing one of the following:  

  • When a judgmental thought comes up, thank it and say "that's one way, today I'm being kind" 
  • If a thought of fear comes up, notice it, say okay I'm feeling scared or doubtful and breathe in deeply and said what if I explore brave, or confident," 
  • If a thought of anger or intolerance comes up, say to yourself "I am heard, I am loved, I do belong, or I am important". Give yourself what you needed in that moment, rather than reacting and expecting anything from the other person! 

The light in me sees the beautiful light in you.

I'm holding the space for you and sending you tons of gushing support and strength.

We are all in this together. 

Shanti shanti shanti.  

7 Life-Changing Questions

Let's get philosophical.

Take some time today to answer these seven life-changing questions. Then share your answers with three special people in your life. Notice the responses. Notice what you learn about yourself and the world. Ask them if they would complete this exercise too.

To me living a full life is about living lovingly, passionately, kindly and peacefully. It's about enjoying all the miracles great and small. It's being responsible for the energy that I bring and creating a space that's safe and full of love for my family, friends, clients and students. For me, life's about embracing possibility and expanding my mind to new ideas and new ways of seeing, thinking and doing things. I embrace each moment or challenge as an opportunity to practice love and acceptance towards myself and others. For me, It's about being self-aware, really. Aware of my inner voice. And trusting my intuitive self because it always propels me to my best self. And of equal importance for me, I've learned to lower the volume of any self-destructive talk and of course to distance myself when my intuition advises.

I’ve also learned to listen to my body when it's tense or at ease. When I notice my body tensing or my inner dialog racing, I apply the Dena Power of Three Rule - the "Let me take three and get back to you" Rule; take three steps back, three breaths in, and generate three different perspectives (my version, your version, and the birds’ version) in order to detach and find clarity. (Best advice my mom ever gave me: "don't act on impulse, pause...breathe...if you still want the shoes tomorrow they will be there." Thanks, Mom!)

I've learned to be gentle in my thoughts and loving in my efforts which in turn has made me a better friend and lover. Living a balanced life to me is an attitude. I create balance by respecting my need for quiet time and taking it with no apologies, and I include prayer, love, cleanliness, healthy nutrition and fitness every day. Interestingly, the biggest lesson I learned in life happened while I was falling. In those moments, I heard myself coaching me to rise up. I moved myself from fear to love. And from that point on, I knew what true love was, but I had to fall in love first. Namaste

1. If you could describe your character/attributes in under ten words which words would you choose?

2. What is your philosophy of life?

3. What has been your greatest life lesson?

4. If you could go back in time and tell your younger version of you one piece of advice what would it be?

5. What is your approach to life challenges?

6. How do you create balance in your life?

7. What are the five most important things that you incorporate into your daily life?

Love is the Magic Behind Everything

It's so clear to me how anything is possible when we work together. Once you understand this concept of living lovingly, it's easy to forgive, to forget, to step back away from all drama, no matter how wronged. You be the one to create the space of love and understanding, in order for others to get some clarity of their way, not by telling them, and not by showing them.

It's not yours to figure out their own nonsense. Let everyone work out their stuff and step back, (of course, get out of the target range so you don't get hurt) but don't judge, instead remind them that you still see the light in them, no matter what, no matter how wrong or right. Because there is no justice (as defined by westerners as right or wrong, true or false). Seeking that kind of justice (the apology, the admission, whatever!) will only result in more nonsense, more proving, more fighting.
Lift your vibe and see five years ahead, you'll realize love is the only way through to clearing the lines and lifting each other's vibe. The outer world can be peaceful when the inner world is peaceful. The outer world is chaos when the inner world is filled will complaints and blame and needing justice. fill yourself with love, learn how, go to meditation, do self-study, start now and don't put off another moment. Create inner peace and those energy lines of love will attract more peace all around you, like all day long and everywhere you go. 💜

Only love baby. Only love.

Claim Your Independence

 Make July 4th Your Personal Independence Day!

Holidays can be an excuse to hold on to or create unhealthy attachments. We believe there is a positive intention behind every unhealthy attachment. We are pretty certain you didn’t start your day, month or year saying, “I want to make the worst possible choice.”

The ZenLife Yoga Boutique & Juice Bar Clinicians came up with the top 5 most common unhealthy attachments and we want to help you set yourself free this July 4th! It is time to let go! Detach from things that no longer serve you!

Follow these 4 easy steps to achieve your personal July 4th Independence Day,

1. First, be honest with yourself and identify your unhealthy attachments. You may be telling yourself that you need it but really, if you were not born with it, you will be fine without it.

2. Ask yourself, “What is the positive intention behind my unhealthy behavior?” (For example, your intent may be to relax, to have fun, to feel socially comfortable).

3. Once you have identified your intent, identify 5 other ways you can achieve that same goal.

4. Close your eyes and visualize yourself doing these new healthy behaviors.

Below are some common unhealthy attachments and suggestions. Please add your new five behaviors to the list below.

1. Are you reaching for unhealthy foods loaded with fats and sugar?
Remember you are what you eat! Choose healthier foods. Make a delicious fruit bowl for the party or a veggie tray. Not only will it be easier for you to stick to your nutritional goals but you can even help friends eat healthier too! (Insert one of your new healthy behaviors and complete the visual, perhaps see yourself reaching for healthy foods, feeling more energized and looking more physically fit.)

2. Are you turning to alcohol or other drugs?
Turning to alcohol or other drugs use can lead to increased anxiety, dehydration and you may end up feeling worst (especially in the morning)! Instead, bring tropical juices to a party and water to stay hydrated, volunteer to cook or bring a game. Most importantly, spend time with your friends and family! Be in the moment, reconnect, show interest in their lives and express how much they mean to you. And let’s remember summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your loved ones. (Insert one of your new healthy behaviors and complete the visual, perhaps see yourself enjoying your time with your friends and family and smiling.)

3. Are you hanging out with unhealthy friends and negative people who bring you down?
Unhealthy friends are the ones who bring out the worst in you and lead you to make bad decisions. Positive friends will engage in activities that you enjoy and will support you. It is important to align yourself with people who share similar goals as you. These kinds of friends will make your Fourth of July holiday a day to remember and cherish. (Insert one of your new healthy behaviors and complete the visual, perhaps see yourself spending time with healthy friends.)

4. Are you putting yourself in negative places?
Negative places are settings in which you are neither yourself nor someone you aspire to be and can be disastrous. Put yourself in places that represent the way you want to live. To do this, you may need to explore new activities and go beyond your comfort zone. (Insert one of your new healthy behaviors and complete the visual, perhaps see yourself exploring new social environments, trying new activities and really having a great time.)

5. Are you overspending or living beyond your means?
Attaching yourself to objects, things like top brands, labels, expensive cars, fancy clothes, etc. will never be fulfilling. We are not what we accumulate. Spending an excessive amount of money on material goods will lead you into debt and create greater stress in your life. De-clutter your space and remove the excess. Create a gratitude list and share your list with your family and friends. ( close your eyes and visualize all of the things you are grateful for.)

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your freedom! Please feel free to share your success stories with the ZenLife Yoga Boutique & Juice Bar community.

As usual call me for a hypnosis session if you are still stuck in old behaviors!  It's likely you are still working from the neural loop of the old pattern (in other words you are still in "old story"). Hypnosis will help get you out of an old pattern and reach the depths of your thinking where new patterns develop and stick! Email me or call me at 443-803-3848
Shanti shanti shanti

Learn How to Calm Your Mind and Body

Meditation will change your life.  

It has for me.  I was “type A,” “Ms. Organized,” had to plan everything, clean the entire house daily, beds, laundry, counters and all, and I ran my office with precision. But this can put unnecessary stress on relationships.  I still run a tight ship, and believe me, I've already planned my daughter’s next party even though it's a year away.  The difference is, I'm doing it all with a calm mind and body now.

Meditation is a muscle workout for your soul. And if that's too "out there," (old me would never talk about the soul), if that's too "fluffy" for you, then think of meditation as a word used to describe the art of learning how to go to your happy place within you. That sweet place we all visit from time to time.  That place we lock into, like two lovers who meet and lock in. Where suddenly it feels as though there is no one else but you, deep in love even though you are in a crowded filled room full of people.

Yes, that space.  It exists in you all the time. Lock in to it, and you have discovered the key to life. Learn how with meditation.  It's not a fad. It's not silly. It's not stupid. It's a practice to help you master your mind and body so you aren't constantly being dragged around by your "To Do list."

Believe me, I still have a "To Do list," but it doesn't dictate “me”; I manage “me.” And life is easier. You will feel so relaxed and it will feel as though "time" even listens to you.  

Start practicing with me every Wednesday night. It's so easy to learn and I want to teach you and everyone you know. Why? Because I know it is the answer to much of your struggles, even though you think your life is perfect and you are fine, your life will totally reach an all time high.   

I recently wrote an essay that reviewed some of the latest studies on the benefits of meditation. The research has been done by Harvard, and dozens of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Consciousness, and the list goes on.  Study after study report evidence that meditation not only reduces stress, but changes the brain at a molecular level. That's right folks, you can change your DNA. Goodbye dangerous addictions, goodbye anxiety, goodbye depression. Welcome to 2016 where neuroscience has revealed documented evidence of the neuroplasticity of our brain. Yes, really! You can learn this easily!

I look forward to seeing you all Wednesday night at 8PM

800 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 828
Towson, MD 21204

Contribute To A Larger Picture of Wellness

May is National Mental Health Awareness and National Military Appreciation month. Three years ago today, I was honored with a commemorative coin by our Armed Services for the voluntary services I provide, as an advocate for mental health and recovery awareness. I have always dedicated a portion of my time to providing education and treatment services to the military, medical students, and nurses. 

In 1998, I opened up an affordable out-patient drug/alcohol treatment program in Towson, MD. called Center For Mental Health LLC, and more recently, began a weekly meditation class in our neighborhood.  

I love what I do, and I am constantly inspired by others who also provide such incredible services to the world. You make this world a better place and I am so grateful and thankful. Let the air we share serve as a reminder to give back to community. Millions of men and women serve to protect our country both domestically and abroad.  Perhaps volunteering for you is military service.  For others it's about being kind and compassionate to each other, and earning a civilian coin for your merits.  

Let's use this time to notice how we contribute to a loving, healing environment where inner peace and outer peace can be sustained. We each contribute to a larger picture of wellness.  Earn your coin! 

How To Meditate

Am I meditating right? What is meditation? 

Meditation is a highly focused and relaxed state of concentration where we can access more of our brain, increase our perspective, and access information beyond the limits of our active mind.   The benefits of meditation have been empirically researched and proven to enhance memory, increase physical healing, treat/cure addiction, depression, anxiety, increase creativity, and the list goes on. 

There are three major forms of meditative practice, and some overlap. Explore them all and notice which one speaks to you. For me, breath-work is most effective and easy to learn. I also enjoy studying the Yamas and Niyamas, Kabbalah or Reiki.  

Below is a brief description of the types of meditation:

Concentration: focusing on an object (candle, picture), sound or word (mantra, music), breath-work (counting, even nostril breath, alternate nostril), movement (yoga asana, walking), or prayer (metta prayer and serenity prayer);  

Mindfulness: a nonjudgmental/noncritical observation of thoughts, feelings or any physical sensations that arise; 

Contemplation/spiritual/energetic: turning to higher source of wisdom (wise self, a power greater than self, your creator, source) for inspiration, answers and guidance, by stating the thought or question or setting the intention;

Gift yourself 15 minutes of meditation. We are all busy and we all have the same excuses: "I don't have time," "I don't know how," or "I have too much to do." Simplify your life to add 15 minutes of this ancient practice to your day. Follow these tips for meditating and you'll be on your way to bliss. 

1.      Begin your meditation with PMR. With any meditation practice, I highly suggest you include a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) exercise to relax and settle the active body. (Read any of my meditations on my website and soon to be published book for an easy PMR script). 

2.      Join or attend a guided meditation group in your community. It is best to work with a guide to learn how and ask questions. (We offer a community meditation group each week led by various teachers in the community. Come join us!)

3.      Meditation can be done seated on a cushion, a chair, laying down or standing. You can lean on a wall or stack cushions under your legs. Some teachers encourage a straight spine. As you strengthen your meditation practice,  you can explore the difference with a straight spine or a cross legged pose. 

4.      Eyes can be closed, slightly closed, or open depending on the type of meditation. Visualization may be best with eyes closed, while a meditation with music or nature may be best with eyes open. 

5.      Set aside the same time each day to meditate. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase your time. Set a timer to keep focused. There are apps that you can download like "Insight timer" and many others. (Mornings are a wonderful time to meditate and sets the intention for your day!)

6.      Empty your bladder and turn off electronic distractions. 

7.      Consider adding incense and essential oils as a wonderful way to enhance your meditation practice. 

I hope you found this article helpful. Eventually you'll start to notice the benefits of your meditation. It takes time so be patient with yourself. 

All are invited to join our weekly guided meditation group on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. at 800 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 828, Towson, MD 21204. 443-803-3848

We'd love to hear from you: 

Please share your comments or questions,  or share your meditation mantras, prayers with our community. 

Shanti shanti shanti.