The key to mindful living “off the cushion” is building in a pause to check in with our intention, our body, and our heart before we reach for our favorite distractions. Nowhere is this more palpable and powerful than in our relationships to our devices. When do you reach for your phone? When do you click on social media sites? How do you feel right before heading to your page on the site? What happens in your mind while scrolling or posting? How do you feel afterward?
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Yael Shy is the founder and director of Mindful NYU and the senior director at NYU Global Spiritual Life. Growing up Jewish and being a student of Buddhist and Zen practices, Yael has become a bold leader in New York City, touching the lives of students every day from incredibly diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Her new book is “What Now? Meditation For Your Twenties And Beyond.”
Listen to the podcast here.
It’s not easy being a millennial. According to a 2015 survey of 6,000 adults, conducted by the American Psychological Association, people between ages 18 to 34 make up the most stressed-out generation compared to all other age groups. Not to get morbid about it, but suicide rates for this age group have increased by 27 percent between 2000 and 2015.
What’s making them so upset? For one, finding (and keeping) a good job that’s both financially and emotionally rewarding has never been more challenging. This problem is not exclusive to millennials, but it is particularly hard for those who grew up with smartphones as a major part of their everyday life. As a result of their technology dependency, research suggests these folks are more isolated, physically disconnected (although virtually connected) and, therefore, more depressed than any generation prior. It’s a lot pressure to handle on your own.
My new book, What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond, released this November, calls on Buddhist and mindfulness wisdom to help young people (and really, anyone) not only cope, but thrive in the stressful conditions of modern day life. If you’ve been feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, here are five ways meditation can alleviate the pressure so that you can get back to living a happy, healthy life.
Originally Published on November 15, 2017 on Sonima.com by Yael Shy. Read the entire article here.
According to a study done by Yael Shy in her new book “What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond,” stress has overtaken depression as the number one problem in students. In response to this, colleges are investing in new types of programs directly aimed at this problem.
Shy is actually the founder of MindfulNYU, the largest campus-wide meditation initiative in the country. UNR’s meditation rooms in the PSAC mirror the goals of this program on a smaller scale.
“Data shows that students who meditate experience less stress, greater well-being, and even higher GPA’s than their non-meditating counterparts,” Shy wrote in a press release.
In an interview Shy also spoke to why she believes meditation and mindfulness are so important to college-aged students. “This is usually a period of life when things are in flux and we are still figuring out who we are. Why do we form relationships in the way that we do? Why do we suffer in certain ways? How can we make a difference? Meditation can open up doors to understanding ourselves and give us the wisdom to understand the world at this time in life.”
Originally Published on November 7, 2017 on the Nevada Sagebrush by Emily Fisher.
Yael Shy tackles mindfulness and meditation in a refreshing way that makes it accessible to a pretty frazzled demographic: young people living in New York City. I was so thrilled to learn more about her and snag some of her insights on how to start and maintain a meditation practice. And if you’re as into what she has to say as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out her new book: What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond.
Originally Published on November 6, 2017 on BadYogi.com by Alex Edwards.
On the fourth day of a seven-day silent meditation retreat I was attending, one of the teachers, Eliezer Sobel, asked the crowd what types of things they had been thinking about over the course of the week. People volunteered things like "regrets," "my family," and "my job." After all the answers came in, Eliezer looked around the room with a smile on his face and said, his voice heavy with sarcasm, "Oh, and I’m sure nobody has been thinking about sex?" The room burst into laughter. Of course we had all thought about sex. In fact, I noticed that in one week of silence on retreat, I had more lustful thoughts and fantasies than I’d had in several months at home. I was just way too shy and ashamed to admit it in front of a room full of strangers. What is the connection between sex, sexual thoughts, and this practice? I wondered. I never found the courage to ask a teacher, but the question persisted.
Originally Published on November 7, 2017 in MBGMindfulness.
These eight young meditation teachers are so gifted, bringing a unique integrity, open-heartedness and wisdom to their work, that they've already earned a strong following...
Why she’s wonderful: Twenty pages into reading an advanced copy of Shy’s new book (see below), I did something that I’ve never done before: I requested to write the foreword. It was an honor to be the opening act to a book this good. Shy is no stranger to high praise: In 2010, the Jewish Week newspaper named her one of the “36 Under 36” change-makers, transforming the Jewish world, largely at NYU where she is the senior director of the NYU Global Spiritual Life Center, and ‘Of Many’ Institute for Multifaith Leadership. She is also the founder and director of MindfulNYU, an award-winning, campus-wide initiative that hosts yoga, meditation, and large-scale events for students, faculty, and staff.
Lineage: She was raised Jewish, but has practiced and studied Zen from a young age.
A book of hers I’d recommend: What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond (November 2017)
You would love her if: You want to explore Judaism, Zen, or both; she can speak to all of it in a way that makes these ancient traditions relevant for our modern world. Better yet, to see Yael is to know kindness. She just embodies it in her teaching style.
Originally Published on September 22, 2017 in Sonima
A longtime Democratic senator from California will be the November keynote speaker for this year's St. Louis Jewish Book Festival.
Retired Sen. Barbara Boxer's memoir, "The Art of Tough," was published in June. She'll talk about her experiences Nov. 5 at the Jewish Community Center. A description of her book says, "raised in a Jewish, working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, Boxer was a journalist who decided she could make a difference and ran for local office in California, inspired to fight tooth and nail to help bring that American dream of 'a more perfect union' into fruition."
Before she first became a senator in 1993, she spent a decade in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The book festival, which is in its 39th year, will run from Nov. 5-19.
Not every author has been announced for the November lineup, but those confirmed include Ellen Stern, who has written a biography of artist Al Hirschfeld, Lincoln biographer Sidney Blumenthal, and meditation teacher Yael Shy.
Originally Published on August 15, 2017 in the St Louis Post-Dispatch
In light of the recent killing of Imam Maulana Akonjee and Thara Miah in Queens, New York, we have gathered the voices of various faith leaders to express comfort and solidarity.
Originally published on Aug 15, 2016 by Odyssey Networks in On Scripture.
In an unconventional experiment some 30 years ago, psychologist Ellen Langer (ARTS ’70) brought two groups of elderly men to a weekend retreat in New Hampshire. While there, she asked the first group to reminisce about their lives in 1959, aided by old issues of Life magazine, screenings of Jimmy Stewart films, and conversations about Mickey Mantle and Fidel Castro. She put the second group in the same surroundings, but with one crucial difference: Rather than just talk or read about the good old days, she asked them to pretend they were young men actually experiencing that year as if for the first time.
Originally published in NYU Alumni Magazine in Spring 2011 by Jascha Hoffman
Today mindfulness meditation is practiced in schools, prisons and even in corporate America. This show looks at the spiritual roots of the practice and how it can be used to transform society. Featured are Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual leader of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and Sharon Salzberg, Buddhist meditation teacher and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society.
Originally published on CBS News on June 28, 2015.
When it’s basically your job to be Zen all the time—as is the case with the instructors at MNDFL, a new meditation studio in New York City—you pick up a few tricks that help you keep stress at bay (or at least not flip out when life’s little tensions creep up on you). Since our morning routines usually involve hitting snooze, reaching for our phones to check e-mail, and rushing out the door in a frenzy—not exactly a great way to start the day on a calm, collected note—we asked several of the teachers at MNDFL to let us in on what they do each a.m. to set the tone for a more mindful, relaxed state. Let their tips inspire you to have a more peaceful holiday season this year.
Originally published on November 30, 2015 in Women's Health Magazine by Robin Hilmantel
The news: When regularly practiced, periods of intense mindfulness can combat aging and reshape certain sections of the brain — no Lululemon required.
It was a simple, but enlightening discovery: When scientists looked at the brains of expert meditators, they found some startling physical changes. Extra wrinkles (which in the case of the brain happens to be a good thing) lined the cortex, the outer portion of the brain responsible for complex thinking like abstraction and introspection. The hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped brain structures that help us process memories, was generally bigger and more dense.
Originally published on July 3, 2014 in News.Mic by Erin Brodwin
Yael Shy, Co-Director of NYU's Center for Spiritual Life explains three easy ways to be mindful in New York City.
Originally published by New York University
In a gripping two-parter, Yael Shy gives both beginner and long-time meditators sound advice on what to expect from a practice—and how to be sure it's right for you. As director of NYU's Center for Spiritual Life and The Mindfulness Project at NYU, Shy has years of experience teaching meditation and creating safe spaces for those who just want to dip a toe into this spiritual ocean. Hear her own story of triumph over serious anxiety and discover what she means when she poses the notion: "So much of our life is spent fighting...life."
Originally published by Meditate This! in 2016.
We all know that meditation, mindfulness and contemplation are good for us – in fact it has become almost a panacea for all that ails us – from our personal stress, to better education, and even more effective business leaders. But really do we mean when we talk about meditation? Where does it come from and what does it do?
Originally published in 2015 on HuffPost Religion
For Yael Shy and Alison Laichter, sitting down together for a morning meditation was just part of their daily routine as roommates. Two years ago, nearly a decade after meeting on a Birthright Israel trip, Shy and Laichter both got jobs in New York — Shy as director of development and education at the NYU Center on Violence and Recovery, and Laichter as an urban planner for the city — and they decided to room together.
Originally published on June 15, 2010 in The New York Jewish Week by Sharon Udasin