Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Leave your ego at the door

The problem with ego is not the fact that we have one; it is useful, even necessary to have an ego in order to function and live. The problem arises when the ego believes it is the Self. If all we do is in service of the little self, our life will be sorrowful. Only when we recognize and serve our higher “Self” does liberation become possible.

From a spiritual perspective; identification with the ego denotes considering oneself to be distinct and/or separate from others (and the Divine) due to identification with the physical body and impressions (Samskaras) in various centers of the subtle (energetic) body. In other words, the ego-self is allowed to lead our life by us maintaining the false notion that our existence is limited to our five senses, our mind and intellect, and identifying with them to various degrees.

“In yoga we first learn to observe the body. Once this observation is established, we know that we are not the body but an observing agent independent of the body. Otherwise we could not observe the body. The next step is that we start observing our thoughts. Eventually, from being established in that observation, we know that we are not our thoughts, since we can detach ourselves and observe them like the thoughts of a stranger. Who are we, then, if we are not the body and not the mind (manas, the thinking principle)? The agent that claims ownership of body and mind is called ahamkara — ego. Its function, which is the erroneous commingling or mixing of seer (pure consciousness) and seeing (the mind), is called egoity or I-am-ness (asmita).”- Gregor Maehle

Yoga deals with the body but it is so much more about managing the mind. It’s a moving meditation and everything that you need to deal with emotionally is going to come up. You are doing yoga so that you can let go. Everyone in the class, regardless of how skinny or bendy or cute they look, had a first class where they felt lost and scared and incompetent. It’s just part of the deal. Stop being so hard on yourself, stop judging yourself and just be in the moment and do the best you can. 

"The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life." - B.K.S. Iyengar

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yoga Isn't About Being Flexible....

If you think that you shouldn't set foot in a yoga class because you aren't flexible, then yoga is exactly what you should be doing. Yoga is strengthening and stretching at the same time. Each pose is an isometric exercise, and flexibility is simply one of the many positive by-products of the practice. In other words, you don't have to be flexible before you start practicing yoga. You just need an open mind and a yoga mat.

It may seem at first glance that yoga is about flexibility, because of all the 'show-off' pictures that you see. Yoga is about exploring your limits and not striving to achieve some pretzel-like perfection (even though it looks really cool). However, yoga is really about exploring your personal strengths, limits, imbalances and learning to work with things as they currently exist. The flexibility that occurs as a result of the practice is merely a by-product. As you become more familiar with yoga and the breathing that goes with it, the nervous system will naturally move into a more relaxed state of being. Your brain becomes more balanced as a result. Another by-product of the practice. Not only will you feel better, but you will sleep better too.

Don’t let a stiff body be an excuse never to start yoga. You should just start practicing from wherever you are right now. Don’t judge your practice by how far you can or can’t stretch. Never feel inadequate because you can’t hold a pose for long, or because it doesn’t perfectly mirror the pose in a picture. Practice spreading your awareness through your whole body.
Just practice the poses and breathe...balance your body and mind, and reduce your stress. It's worth every penny and every minute. 
Just start the journey. You never know where it might take you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Man’s Search For Meaning

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

“The meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Sunday, July 28, 2013

We are ONE

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as ONE.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I am thankful for today

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life moves on and so should we...

Who Moved My Cheese?

This very short book is about rethinking our own life in general, about our own approach about how to deal with issues of any kind. Cheese, as mentioned in the book, could symbolize anything dear to a certain individual – money, sound health, loyal friends, great family, and so on.

As human beings, we often tend to overanalyze most of the events in our lives with our “complex brains,” as Spencer Johnson referred to the human brain in his book. Meanwhile, hamsters “keep it simple.” If there is no cheese in the area (Cheese Station) where they are or the cheese doesn’t taste good anymore for whatever reason, hamsters would start looking for it somewhere else, instead of trying to figure out whether that cheese will be delivered to their place again or start complaining about having no cheese for various reasons, as humans would do.

The message that the author aims at sending through “Who Moved My Cheese” is that if your current approach in life doesn’t give you the results that you want, then you should change your approach. Looking for your cheese is the metaphor that he uses in this book.
This book should serve the purpose of rethinking our own life, and what we could change in it in order to make it better but we should still remain at least somewhat cautious before we make up our mind.

Who Moved My Cheese? - really is a marvelous little book. Full of brilliantly simplistic insights into our hopes, dreams, fear and actions, the story acts as a gently yet imaginative reminder of some key facts that we all need to acknowledge.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Long does It Take to Break a Habit?

They say if you do anything for three weeks it will become a habit. Habits seems to be more than behaviors – they seem to be part of who we are. Habits are just that - part of us. Habits are essentially patterns of behavior that become "worn in" to our brains.

The reality is, habits are easier to make than they are to break. If you repeat a behavior often enough, those synaptic pathways are going to get worn in. The human brain is a very adaptive piece of machinery. But does that take 21 days? Who knows? Everyone's brain is different, and habit formation also relies on aspects of experience and personality.

Breaking a habit is a lot more complicated, because while parts of those worn-in pathways can weaken without use, they never go away. They can be reactivated with the slightest provocation.

The best you can do, then, is to form a new, parallel pattern, like exercising when you feel stress, rather than indulge the old pattern, which triggers "food" in response to stress.

For most people, staying away from a bad habit is a lifetime effort, backed up by the fact that those well-worn synaptic pathways never go away. There's no apparent scientific reason why it would take three weeks to break an old habit or make a new habit. Depending on your unique physical and psychological make-up, it could take three weeks, it could take five days, or it could take nine months.

But there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success in the endeavor, including:
- Take small steps. Don't try to do everything at once. (So, instead of "I'm going to exercise every day," start with "I'm going to exercise twice a week.")
- Only try to change one habit at a time. (Instead of "I'm going to quit eating junk food, start exercising, and go to sleep at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.," start with "I'm going to quit eating junk food.")
- Write down the habit you want to change, and write down specific plans for achieving that goal. (Rather than writing "I will exercise," write, "I will start walking 30 minutes twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, and I will wake up at 7 a.m., so I can walk before work on those days.")
- Repeat the behavior you're aiming for as often as you can. The more a behavior is repeated, the more likely it is that it will become "instinctive."

At the end of the day, when it comes to forming new habits it takes as long as it takes. We need to shift the focus away from seemingly arbitrary numbers and realize that habits will take various amounts of time to form based on the individual and the complexity of the chosen behaviors. Instead, an approach that focuses on simple tasks and building up and tracking a pattern of success is one that will be sustainable and contribute most to behavior change.

“Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival.  A normal adult is 60 to 70 percent water.  We can go without food for almost two months, but without water only a few days.  Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink.  In fact, many live in a dehydrated state.

The effects of even mild dehydration include decreased coordination, fatigue, dry skin, decreased urine output, dry mucous membranes in the mouth and nose, blood pressure changes and impairment of judgment. Stress, headache, back pain, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure and many degenerative health problems are the result of UCD (Unintentional Chronic Dehydration).

If you are thirsty, it means your cells are already dehydrated. A dry mouth should be regarded as the last outward sign of dehydration. That’s because thirst does not develop until body fluids are depleted well bellow levels required for optimal functioning.

Monitor your urine to make sure you are not dehydrated:
A hydrated body produces clear, colorless urine.
A somewhat dehydrated body produces yellow urine.
A severely dehydrated body produces orange or dark-colored urine.

Morning is when you are most full of toxin and dehydrated. Reach for a big glass of water first thing in the morning. This water in the morning really gets the blood flowing. While at work, keep a glass of water by your desk or on hand where you work. Keep a bottle or water on you at all times throughout the day. Make it a habit to have a glass of water before and during each of your meals. In addition to before and during, have some fluid with each of your meals. If you're not a big fan of water, try adding some lemon, lime, favorite sliced berries or cucumber to water to add refreshing calorie-free taste.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Your Mind - Your Best Friend or Worst Enemy

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a  
battle that goes on inside people.  He said, "My son,  
The battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.  

One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret,  
greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment  
Inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope,  
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,  
empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."  

The grandson thought about it for a minute  
and then asked his grandfather,  
"Which wolf wins?"  

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

- A Native American Metaphor

Monday, July 22, 2013

How often should You practice Yoga?

Your yoga practice is very personal. Each person is working with his/her own mind, body, finances and schedules. People practice for different reasons too: some practice to lose weight, some to calm their mind, while others want to build greater strength or flexibility. The wonderful thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere, with just yourself! I think it’s important to attend classes when you can, so an instructor can do adjustments with you, to build your awareness of how you move, how to practice safely, and how to use your breathe in a pose.

- If you just enjoy stretching, then you can do yoga whenever you want, but don’t expect any concrete results and don’t think that you are actually practicing yoga.
- If it is your first time and you are just starting, practice at least once a week, absolutely not less.
- After 6 or 8 weeks, aim to practice twice a week if you can. Not less than once.
- Maybe after 6 months or a year, if it is right for you and you want to see more progress, then practice 3 or 4 times a week when you can.
- If you are planning to teach, then start to aim for 6 days a week, not less than 5.

When and if yoga becomes your way of life then it is up to you, you will know what’s best for you already. If your life and your body permits, then why not aim to practice everyday and just rest when your body tells you it’s time to rest.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.”

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” Paulo Coelho

Friday, July 19, 2013

The happiest people on Earth

A tiny population known as the Hunzas (pronounced Hoonzas)said to be the healthiest, longest-lived, and happiest human beings on Earth.

The Hunza people, who’re also known as Hunzakuts are inhabitants of the Hunza valley, which is a remote & mountainous region in Pakistan, have received the attention since the 1970′s when National Geographic published an article on the ancient people.

It’s not unusual for these people to live to 130 or even 145 years. They also enjoy near perfect mental and physical health—practically untouched by cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, high and low blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or other ailments common throughout the rest of the world.

The Hunzas demonstrate an extraordinary mind over matter principle.

Contrary to some beliefs, longevity has more to do with the lifestyle choices we make than the parents you’re born to. The Hunzas of Pakistan and the Okinawans of Japan regularly live long, productive lives and stay healthy throughout their elder years. Hunza people live to an impressive average age of 90 and remain vigorous until death. The manner in which they have achieved their long and healthy life span, has been the use of organic farming techniques and eating unprocessed foods, which contain no synthetic chemicals. They practised a Spartan form of agriculture, returning all organic matter to the soil. 
Their food consisted chiefly of raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted pulses, whole grains, nuts milk products from goats, and occasionally a small portion of meat, usually during holidays and weddings. They also eat most of their food raw, due largely to a lack of available fuel, and participate in a ritual yearly spring fast. Eating raw ensures that the natural enzymes remain undestroyed – as happens when cooking and processing is carried out – meaning that the maximum health benefits are gained from they foods they eat.

The Hunzas eat just 2 meals a day—despite their active lifestyle filled with demanding physical labor. The first meal is served at twelve noon, although the Hunzas are up every morning at five a.m Actually, the Hunzas rise with the sun, and go to bed at nightfall. The reason for this is simple: they possess no artificial means of illumination - no electricity, no gas, no oil. On the other hand, they are completely in tune with nature. Of course it would be impossible for us to live that way. But you should be aware of one important point: your deepest hours of regenerating sleep occur before midnight.

The Hunza people live in a mountain region that is more remote than most inhabited regions on earth. One proposed explanation for the long lives of the Hunza people lies in the mineral content of the glacier water they drink, which is always on tap thanks to nature and their geographical location. Also, the apricot fruit forms an important part of the Hunza diet and is used simply as a source of food, while they are also pressed to create cooking oil and fuel, for when cooking and heating is necessary.

Every spring the Hunzas fast for a number of days.

Another great Hunza health secret concerns the considerable amount of time each day devoted to physical exercise. Most exercise is done outdoors in order to take advantage of the pure mountain air, which in itself has a beneficial effect on health. Although a large part of their day is spent outdoors, working the fields, the Hunzas do a lot more than that. For one thing, they take regular walks - a 15 or 20 kilometer hike is considered quite normal. Of course they don’t walk that distance every day, but doing so does not require any special effort. You should also keep in mind that hiking along mountain trails is a lot more demanding than walking over flat terrain.

In addition to daily physical exercise, the Hunzas practice certain basic yoga techniques, notably yogic breathing, which is slow, deep and rhythmic, and which makes use of the entire thoracic cavity. Relaxation is the key to health, and the Hunzas, both young and old, practice it regularly, doing short meditation sessions a number of times a day.

Although they work very hard for long hours each day, the Hunzas are familiar with the art of relaxation and energy management. In addition to working slowly, the Hunzas take short but regular breaks, during which they practice various meditation and relaxation techniques. Although these exercises take only a few minutes, they are incredibly effective for recharging energy. During their pauses they do not talk, but instead focus inwards, listening to the silence of their soul.

The Hunzas do not seem to worry about the future, nor are they burdened with concerns about the past. They live in the present moment. And it is only in the present that eternity exists.Self doubt and the fear of failure, which tend to undermine the well-being of so many people, are unknown to the Hunzas.

Is there some secret technique that allows these people to live so long, and stay so healthy? The answer is yes – the Hunzas do know something we don’t. But there isn’t just one secret, there are many.

The first, and certainly the most important of these secrets concerns nutrition. Interestingly enough, the Hunza approach resembles that outlined by Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, who lived over 2000 years ago in ancient Greece. The basic precept of their common notion of what constitutes a proper diet is simple: the food you eat is your best medicine.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yoga is for Everyone

“The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” - Rodney Yee

I believe Yoga is for Everyone. Yoga keeps the body healthy and the mind clear. Yoga can be many things to many people. Our strong parts are striving to be flexible and our flexible parts are striving to be strong.Yoga can create a wonderful sense of balance in your body, mind and spirit.

Yoga will teach you to listen to your body. The point of yoga is not to stick your foot behind your head. The point of yoga is to reconnect you to the deepest part of you – to rediscover who you are, and then carry that out into the world. Yoga is awesome physical exercise, and yes, it’s going to help you lose weight, get strong, and feel great.

But yoga also helps you get still, find peace, and remember who you are, why you’re here, and what you want out of life. And if you can bring that stillness, peace, and confidence from your practice into the rest of your life, life is going to change in amazing ways. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yoga Etiquette

Etiquette is an accepted social behavior in a particular setting; it defines the proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or occasion. Etiquette is not a loud and explicit rule; it is soft and subtle and yet always carries you further when you observe appropriate etiquette in the right setting. Master the etiquette of the occasion and you will immediately draw favorable attention of the crowd. Yoga, which everyone can do, is no exception. A tradition as ancient and beautiful as yoga comes with a certain level of implied etiquette and it is the sincere hope of any devoted yoga practitioner to see all his or her fellow yoginis observe the same unwritten proprieties.

Be not only on time to your yoga class, be early. Make it a habit to arrive early. Nothing disrupts a local class mood like the late comer! When it comes to being on time, you are either on time or you aren’t. Everything else is an excuse. Get into a habit of leaving 5 to 10 minutes in advance. Experience a new perspective by holding yourself accountable and by respecting everyone for never arriving after class has started.

If you have any injuries (past or current), concerns or contraindications, talk to the teacher before class. This way, the teacher can recommend variations on certain poses during practice to allow you to reap the benefits without unnecessary strain.

Remember yoga class is often a very intimate setting and you may practice yoga closer to your fellow yoginis than you prefer due to lack of space or a crowded room. Please mind your personal hygiene. Be respectful of people’s sensitivities; please no perfume – especially in the hot yoga room.

Select clothing based on what type of yoga you’ll be doing, the temperature of the room, and what will be most comfortable for the duration of class. Avoid clothing that is too baggy and loose (which can get in your way during certain poses) as well as clothing that is too tight or revealing—no one wants to witness a “wardrobe malfunction” during class!

When walking around the studio never walk on someone else's mat.  When doing Partner Yoga always check that it is ok with your buddy to stand or sit on their mat.  It is best to acquire your own mat as it will gradually build and hold your yogic energy.  Borrowed mats should always have a towel placed on top and wiped down at the end of class with a cleanser.

Before class starts be quiet and focus inward as you arrive and set-up. The few minutes before class are ideal for a short meditation and for setting an intention so refraining from chit-chat is not just good etiquette but also really beneficial for your state of mind.

Turn off your phones and pagers before class. Exit the world of constant communication which we all love and step into your mat fully liberated. Remember that others have done the same and interrupting the yoga zone with a ringtone (any ringtone!) is rather unforgiving, regardless of the calm reaction you may receive.

Savasana is a delicious period of relaxation at the end of each yoga class. If you roll up your mat and dash out the door during this quiet time, you’re not only annoying your fellow students, you’re missing out on what is arguably the most essential part of the practice. Forget about the to-do list that awaits you after class, and allow yourself to really sink in to this incredibly restoring pose. Breathe and remind yourself this is why you’re here. You’ll be glad you did!

Namaste :) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Coconut Oil

I am big fan of the coconut. Everything about the coconut is amazing.
Coconut oil is said to be the healthiest of all the oils.

- It’s healthy to cook with: Coconut oil will not turn rancid and oxidize when introduced to heat (unlike other oils – including olive). This means it is suitable for cooking at high temperatures, and has a shelf life of approximately two years or more.

- It won’t mess with cholesterol: Coconut oil is one of the only few dietary sources of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and it is said to be the best source. MCFA are special because they do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and they are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

- It will aid in weight loss: Effective weight loss can be achieved when you replace long-chain fatty acids with medium-chain fatty acids. These guys are easily digested and converted into energy, speeding up metabolism.

- It treats candida and other fungal and bacterial infections: The lauric acid in coconut oil is highly toxic to viruses, funguses and bacteria, which makes it effective for treating candida albicans, fungal infections and athlete’s foot. It also targets bacterial infections and viruses like measles, influenza, hepatitis C and even HIV. Breast milk is the only other source of lauric acid.

- It prevents wrinkles: The medium-chain triglycerides, naturally occurring fats in coconut oil, deeply penetrate, moisturise and act as a protective barrier against environmental and free radical damage.

- It replaces sunscreen: Coconut oil is the only thing I apply to my skin if I feel I need sun protection. Ever since I adopted a super nourishing diet I have found that my skin doesn’t really burn. However if I am going to be out in the sun for longer than I want, I will apply coconut oil to further prevent burning. Coconut oil screens 20 % of ultraviolet exposure.

When you buy it, look for coconut oil that is organic, unrefined, undeodorised, and cold pressed. It’s also good to use one that is in a glass jar rather than plastic. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Some people think of intuition as a mystical power. Skeptics write it off as a matter of lucky guesswork. But scientists who study the phenomenon say it a very real ability that can be identified in lab experiments and visualized on brain scans. Research shows that our instincts often hit us first on a visceral level, telling us what we need to know well before our consciousness catches up.

It's easy to tell something's afoot when your heart is pounding, you're drenched in sweat, and your stomach is tying itself in knots. But even if the shift in your pulse or perspiration is subtler, your intuition may still be trying to deliver a message. 
You may be able to better follow your heart (and your sweat glands) by practicing meditation. A 2005 study found that in meditators, brain regions associated with sensitivity to the body's signals and sensory processing had more gray matter. The greater the meditation experience, the more developed the brain regions.

Learning to trust your instincts, using your intuitive sense of what's best for you, is paramount for any lasting success.
It's really more of a feeling than a voice—a whispery sensation that pulsates just beneath the surface of your being. All animals have it. We're the only creatures that deny and ignore it.

How many times have you gone against your gut, only to find yourself at odds with the natural flow of things? We all get caught up in the business of doing, and sometimes lose our place in the flow. But the more we can tune in to our intuition, the better off we are. I believe it's how God speaks to us.

When you don't know what to do, do nothing. Get quiet so you can hear the still, small voice—your inner GPS guiding you to the right direction.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Live Laugh Love

“Be happy for no reason like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.” - Deepak Chopra

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How To Live Before You Die

“Remembering that you are going to die one day is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. Follow your heart.” - Steve Jobs

Friday, July 12, 2013

When is the best time of day to meditate?

The time you choose should be comfortable for you, and should fit in with your daily schedule and the schedule of others. Ideally, the better times for meditation are early morning or late evening.

The ancient teachers of yoga meditation say that the ideal time is about 3:00 or 4:00 am. The times just around sunrise and sunset are also particularly nice for meditation.

First thing in the morning
Recommended for: daily meditation practice.
Your routine first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Before breakfast is generally a good time to meditate.

Whenever you're stressed
Recommended for: as-needed mini-meditation.
Throughout the day, it's helpful to meditate for a few minutes whenever you feel overwhelmed or pressed for time. Meditation can help you settle your mind, feel more relaxed, and think clearly about an appropriate next step or action. It sounds counterintuitive ("I don't have time to meditate, I have so much to do!"). But it's often the thought of having too much to do rather than actually having too much to do that can create the stress. Meditation can help you feel better and less overwhelmed.

On your lunch hour
Recommended for: daily meditation practice or as-needed mini-meditation.
A midday meditation break has a number of potential benefits. It's an effective way to de-stress after a long meeting or difficult conversation. It can relax tight muscles caused by sitting slumped over a computer. By breaking your normal cycle of thinking, it can also boost focus, creativity, and productivity. Plus, it can be a great awareness building tool, allowing you to be more open-minded and accepting of others.

End of your workday
Recommended for: daily meditation practice.
For some people, meditating at the end of the workday is the perfect way to create a natural boundary between work and the rest of life. For beginners or people who find meditation intimidating, using the breath to re-center then can work really well. It's the intention to create a clear boundary that's powerful. What you don't want is to allow work thoughts to run into the evening so that you're neither still at work nor really fully at home. You can miss out on life that way!

Right before bedtime
Not recommended
Avoid meditating too close to bedtime so that doesn't become confused with relaxing into sleep. In meditation, we're practicing the opposite—falling more fully awake. Usually, it's best to have an hour between meditation and sleep so that those two things stay clearly separate in your awareness, your body, and your habits.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meditation Techniques

Meditation has many benefits and anyone who has tried even a single meditation technique will swear by it. Everybody meditates to bring peace and serenity into their lives, to be one with their inner selves, to heal and to improve their mental and physical health. Thus, no matter what the reason for practicing it, meditation is universal.

Now, although meditation is universal, meditation techniques may differ from one culture to another. Often different meditation techniques are suited to different personality types. Some techniques are expansive and allow for the free flow of thoughts and their observation whereas some types are concentrative that involve bringing focus into one's thoughts.

If, as the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then the journey of meditation begins with the cultivation of awareness, or attention. In fact, awareness is the mental muscle that carries you along and sustains you on your journey, not only at the start but every step of the way. No matter which path or technique you choose, the secret of meditation lies in developing, focusing, and directing your awareness. 

An overview of various meditation techniques has been listed for your reference:

Mantra Meditation: The mantra meditation technique involves the conscious repetitions of certain sounds that appeal to the mind in order to achieve a meditative state. Mantra literally means ‘revealed sound’ or a combination of sounds that develop spontaneously. It is important not to confuse a mantra with religious chants. A mantra maybe given by a guru or may be a personally chosen sound or word, but the important thing is that it must appeal to the mind.

Trataka Meditation: The Trataka meditation technique is one that has been followed by many religious systems, including Sufism and Christianity. In this, a steady gaze is performed on any one particular object. Trataka is an established yoga cleansing technique and dedicated practice of the same takes it to the highest level of meditation.

Chakra Meditation: Chakras represent a higher level of energy manifestation and development of self. The meaning of the word ‘Chakra’ is a wheel. Each chakra represents the major nerve centers that branch off from the spinal cord, serving the major organs of the body. In all, there are seven chakras. The main aim of this meditation technique is to help individuals discover and explore their chakras, thereby awakening them on a conscious level in a balanced and integrated way.

Vipassana Meditation: The word Vipassana means ‘insight’. It refers to the ability to see things as they really are, attained through a process of self-observation. It means identifying one’s own nature, recognizing the bad elements and consciously eliminating them from the system. Vipassana is a meditation technique that is free of rites, helps develop wisdom and allows an individual to study different sensations in the body such as cold, pain, itching, etc.

Raja Yoga meditation: This form of meditation takes the yogi (person who practices meditation) through to a higher level of oneness and a greatly ennobling experience. It fills the yogi with super-sensuous joy or bliss that elevates the mind away from pleasures of the flesh and reforms bad habits. A Raja Yogi establishes a relationship with God and gives up all worldly pleasures and devotes all energies to the spiritual awakening of fellow beings. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Benefits of Meditation

The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, is calm and serene and at peace, meditation happens.

The benefits of meditation are manifold. It is an essential practice for mental hygiene. A calm mind, good concentration, clarity of perception, improvement in communication, blossoming of skills and talents, an unshakeable inner strength, healing, the ability to connect to an inner source of energy, relaxation, rejuvenation, and good luck are all natural results of meditating regularly.

In today's world where stress catches on faster than the eye can see or the mind can perceive, meditation is no more a luxury. It is a necessity. To be unconditionally happy and to have peace of mind, we need to tap into the power of meditation.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What is Meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to awaken in us the sky-like nature of mind, and to introduce us to that which we really are, our unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death.

Meditation is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being, beyond all habitual patterns. In the stillness and silence of meditation, we glimpse and return to that deep inner nature that we have so long ago lost sight of amid the busyness and distraction of our minds.

Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on a particular object — generally something simple, like a word or phrase, a candle flame or geometrical figure, or the coming and going of your breath. 

In everyday life, your mind is constantly processing a barrage of sensations, visual impressions, emotions, and thoughts. When you meditate, you narrow your focus, limit the stimuli bombarding your nervous system — and calm your mind in the process. The reason meditation works so effectively is that it connects you with a spiritual dimension, which different commentators give different names, but many people simply call it "being."