by Aaron Hoopes
In true meditation there is none of the nonsense about emptying the mind or stopping your thoughts, or even contemplating your navel. That having been said, the Buddha listed roughly forty different methods of meditation and other ancient texts speak of over one hundred different ways to practice. There are more than enough books that go into the details of meditation methods, so I will refrain from doing that here. Just be aware that if you are having difficulty meditating, there are methods that might help put you into the ideal frame of mind.
Quite simply meditation means awareness. Whatever you do with awareness is meditation. “Watching your breath” is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation. As long as these activities are free from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.
Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’ . It describes a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns . The observer (one who is doing meditation) realizes that all the activity of the mind is reduced to one.
What fitness program do I choose? Should I go in for the muscular look or the lean look? Is it necessary to diet while pursuing a fitness program? What fitness program will leave me feeling refreshed and revitalized? CONFUSED? Well I should think so. With the world becoming more and more fitness conscious, everyone wants to jump into the fitness bandwagon. But this may not always be the right approach because everyone's fitness requirements and capabilities are different.
Why does one need a fitness program? People generally choose fitness programs to improve physical and mental health. Those of us who are overworked look towards fitness as a means to relax and release anxiety. There are others who take to fitness regimes because they want to control their mood swings. One way or the other we all seek something extra. The question is how do we find that 'Something Extra'?
The most popular wellness programs presently are yoga, regular aerobic/weight programs and motivational workshops. People have a general tendency to stack these practices together under the category of wellness or fitness programs. With due respect to the latter disciplines, this categorization is not fair. All three practices are unique and distinct from the other.
by Evamarie Pilipuf
It's great when we can escape to a full hour of yoga, be it in a class or at home in front of a video, but let's face it, that's not always possible. Enter Yoga in the Office, a series of simple but effective suggested positions to help stretch the wrists, neck, shoulders, back and legs.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.
Neutral Posture: Neutral posture is probably the most important position to understand and practice, for it is the position in which the spine is most stable and properly aligned. Whether standing or sitting, it means placing the feet hip-distance apart and facing forward. Look down at your feet: do they look like this | | or this \ / ? They should look like that first shape: parallel, with no outward rotation. If you're sitting in a chair, your heels should sit right underneath your knees, so that your knees and hips are bent at right angles. Sit near the edge of your chair, and sit tall. Lift your ribcage, and roll your shoulders back to open the chest. Feel a slight arch to your low back, and keep your chin level. Draw your belly button inward lightly, but not so much that your ribcage contracts downward. Breathe smoothly; hold this position for a minimum of 1-2 minutes, all the while concentrating on relaxing your shoulders.
Abdominal Breathing: As simple as it seems, a few minutes of proper abdominal breathing can do much to interrupt your stress levels and help you relax. Sit up in neutral posture and place your hands on your abdomen. As you inhale, feel your abdomen expand like a balloon, then slowly contract your abdomen by "sucking" in your belly button as you exhale. Relax your shoulders. Keep going: inhale with an expanding abdomen, and exhale while contracting your abdominal muscles. If possible, inhale through your nostrils, and exhale through pursed lips (think of the shape of your mouth when you're about to pronounce the letter "P"). Stop the exercise immediately if you feel at all light-headed (proper abdominal breathing should not cause this). When you inhale, try not to lift your shoulders; let the breath "move" into your stomach.