Sisal comes from the plant popularly referred to as an agave plant. A sisal plant lives 7 to 10 years and produces 200-250 usable leaves. Sustainably harvested from sisal plantation, no chemicals are used. The fiber of this plant is sometimes referred to as “sisal hemp” and has been traditionally used for making rope and twine. Today, you can find sisal bags, hats, footwear and rugs. Known for its durability, a sisal rug is great for high traffic areas. Looking for the perfect rug for your beach home? Sisal does not absorb moisture easily and resists saltwater deterioration. A sisal rug makes a great choice.
Feeling grateful has many benefits: reduce depression, sleep better, connect to others with optimism, decrease negativity…it’s all good!
When you greet the day, think of 3 things to be grateful for. Share them with friends via email, FB, text, or just jot down your thoughts in a journal.
Create conversation with gifts, blessings, fortune and abundance.
You are asked “How are you?” rather than say, “I can’t complain” try “Everything is going well, thanks” or “I am blessed”
Instead of “Don’t throw the ball inside!” try “Please take the ball outside”
At work instead of “Can I give you some constructive criticism?” try “Would you like some feedback?”
“Stubborn” can be “Persistent”
Smile at someone. Give someone a hug today. It can be fun turning negatives into positives. Good vibes come back to us. Gratitude is a boomerang!
Simple mindfulness meditation:
- Find a comfortable, quiet place with natural light
- Set an amount of time. most beginners start with five minutes a day and increase time with practice Use a meditation timer, your phone or kitchen timer
- Sit on support – a park bench, a meditation cushion or mat, somewhere solid where you can be comfortable, your feet or knees touch the floor or ground.
- Focus on your breath
- Breathe in with your nose or mouth and follow your breath.
- Breathe out, releasing tension.
- As you breathe in and out, know you are alive in the moment
- If your mind wanders, go back to breathing in and out without judgment or expectation
- If you need to shift position, pause, gently move and then return and follow your breath
- When you are done, gently lift your eyes or open them
- Pause, feel your thoughts and emotions and decide how you want to go on with your day
- Whenever you feel stressed take a mindfulness moment, focus on your breathing and enjoy the moment as tension is released.
- A recent JAMA study found that those who practiced mindfulness meditation had reduced chronic back pain. Others found reduced gastrointestinal issues, less anxiety, improved cholesterol levels and much more
We hope mindfulness meditation adds Zen to your life!
A noren is a traditional Japanese door curtain or Japanese fabric divider. They are hung in doorways, windows or even to conceal a hall or storage closet. Most feature a sleeve along the top for a curtain rod or bamboo rod for easy hanging. The most common noren is rectangular, but you can also find ‘half door’ or ‘top door’ noren for specialized styles. Noren normally have a slit that runs from the bottom to nearly the top. This makes it easier to pass through the curtain.
These Japanese dividers may be used to enhance any room or doorway. Noren are also used professionally in business. Restaurants and small businesses use these in doorways to help keep out dust or as a buffer against the sun. Business owners often print their name and logo on these to draw more attention to their place. Outdoor noren used in businesses allow customers to know if the business is open or closed. The curtains are hung in the morning when they open and taken down at the end of the day when they close their shops. These are popular in Asian restaurants to separate the kitchen and dining room. Noren softens noise and can trap odors in the kitchen.
Noren are available in many styles and patterns including written kanji or calligraphy, fish, birds, poems, temples, mountains, scenery, characters and people. Chopa Zen Home recently added several new patterns. Our favorite is the Kinkaku-ji Temple noren. The Kinkaku-ji temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) resides in Kyoto, Japan and was built to house Buddhist relics. Across the water, an elegant Maiko (Geisha trainee) strolling the garden has stopped to admire the temple. You will enjoy the vivid colors and symbolic designs of this noren. This noren is made by artisans in Japan.
Nothing creative will come out of your efforts if you don’t allow your best ideas to incubate.
Follow the lead of Warren Buffett and allow time for quiet reading and thinking everyday.
It is recommended to devote at least one hour daily to learning, as Ben Franklin did.
Can’t find the time? While you’re commuting or en route to meetings, stay off the phone and listen to a podcast or contemplate what you’ve been reading.
You’ll be surprised by what comes out of your brain if you give it a rest sometimes.
This sounds similar to spending time each day meditation. Learn about the benefits of meditation and positive thinking.
Thanks to Fortune
Man has sought wisdom and answers to questions for centuries. Ancient man probably used bones to divine the future. Developed over 4000 years ago, the I Ching has evolved as an important tool for enlightenment, using trigrams, hexagrams and 3 coins. Many have used the I Ching to discover simple, profound and intuitive advice. We found a simple guide to the I Ching, or “Book of Changes” if you want to explore and find wisdom to follow the right path.
View now at www.chopa.com
If you ask several people, you may receive several different answers. The number 108 is significant for several reasons. Some meditation practitioners believe the journey of the human soul has 108 stages, while others associate the possibility taking just 108 breaths in a day, while in a deep meditation state of enlightenment. We would not recommend one try it.
The best theory we discovered is that the 108 beads on your mala is open to your own interpretation. What is important to you is what matters most. Mala beads were created as a practice tool to use during meditation. While you don’t need mala beads to meditate, most people that use them make it part of their ritual. Mala beads help you to manifest and keep you focused on a mantra. A mala allows one to chant their mantra and keep track of where you are. While many mala necklaces have 108 beads, some contain 54, or half of that amount of beads.
Another explanation for the number 108 is based on Chakras. It is believed there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart. One of these paths is believed to be the path of self-realization. Others state that while chanting your mantra during meditation you are whole when you reach 100 times. The extra eight beads account for errors or are meant to be an offering to your guru.
Another belief is based on the ancient script of India. Within the Sanskrit alphabet, there are 54 letters. Each has a feminine and masculine version adding up to 108. Other theories evolve around desires, lies and delusions. There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals. There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell. There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance. Math also points to some theories of the number 108. Nine times twelve; both of these numbers have significance in various traditions, 9 X 12 = 108. The number 108 is also a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad is from Sanskrit and means ‘great joy’.
When you don’t manage stress effectively you place an unnecessary burden on the one muscle that keeps you alive: the heart. When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” response. The brain releases hormones that cause your heart to pump faster, thicken your blood, and raise blood pressure. If you constantly experience this stress response, it eventually changes the way the heart and blood system function-putting you at risk for heart disease.
There’s a “cure” you can use anytime, anywhere to change the way you respond to stress and actually lower blood pressure and protect your heart from the deadly grip of stress. Cardiologist, Dr. John Kennedy, developed ‘The 15 Minute Heart Cure’-a set of simple breathing techniques that creates a connection between the heart and brain. This method helps you calm down, reenergize, and protects your heart all at the same time.
To get the most out of using this technique, try to do it at the same time each day.
B in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Beginning. Begin in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for 15-minutes. Begin with a positive attitude. View this time as a gift to your health. Seated in a comfortable position, try to clear all thoughts and bring focus to the your breath, slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
R in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Relaxation. Relaxation brought about by this technique creates changes in brain waves and the rhythm of your heart. Visualize yourself walking on a ‘path to relaxation’, perhaps a beautiful hiking path. With each step, you become more and more relaxed.
E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Envision. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Deepak Chopra are called visionaries for good reason. Research shows envisioning is an important part of achieving a goal-be it a story, a revolutionary digital device, or a new paradigm in medicine. Imagine your heart as powerful and strong. Research also shows that imagery can lower your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system.
A in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Apply. In Dr. Kennedy’s book, there are heart-healing images and metaphors for you to apply during your 15-minute practice and during stressful moments. Tapping into the imagery, even from memory, can help break the cycle of stress in the moment it is happening.
T in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Treatment. Your time spent with this technique is no different than taking time for a spa-treatment. See this time as a 15-minute oasis that you create.
H in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Heal. This technique will strengthen neural networks that connect your heart and brain so that your body easily shifts from stress response to relaxation response. Healing is more likely to occur in a relaxed state, bringing more oxygen into muscles, lowering pulse rate and blood pressure, and enhancing immune response.
E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = End. After 15-minutes of mindful focus on the breath and heart-healing imagery, you will feel deeply relaxed and energized and revitalized. As you end your session, quietly notice your surroundings and visualize how you can use the technique throughout your day.
How do you meditate? Do you practice Zen meditation techniques? Many folks need a Zen meditation guide. If you are one of them, you may find the following meditation tips helpful. To gain the most benefits of meditation, we should try to make it a habit. Zen meditation for beginners takes practice and even experienced practitioners seek to improve with meditation exercises. To meditate more naturally & effectively, here are some beginning meditation tips.
Start slowly –
Begin Zen meditation with just a few minutes and gradually increase your time. How do you know when your Zen meditation time is up? To avoid looking at a clock to check the time, set a meditation timer or bell to sound the end of your meditation session. Use of meditation timers or bells enhances concentration for all types of meditation. Some practitioners start by ringing a meditation bell and let the sound carry them into a quiet state.
Set a mediation time –
For successful mindful meditation, set a specific time each day to meditate. Many practitioners say the best time to meditate is the first thing in the morning. One of the best Zen meditation techniques is to commit to a regular time for one month and it will become a habit.
Maintain Correct Posture –
Posture is an important part of Zen meditation. Whether you sit on a mediation bench, mat or meditation cushion, you want to be comfortable, with your back and your head up. As body & mind connect, good posture helps create perfect mind-body balance. Use of good meditation cushions will improve your posture, especially with regular meditation exercises.
Use a Comfortable Zafu and Zabuton –
When practicing Zen meditation, use a comfortable meditation cushion such as a Zafu and Zabuton. They help maintain correct posture to you can focus on spiritual enlightenment.
A sacred space –
Many practitioners set up a meditation room with comfortable meditation cushions, a meditation bell or timer, prayer shawls and incense sticks.
While practicing Zen meditation techniques, count your breath starting at “one” as you inhale through your nose and “two” as you exhale. Count to ten and repeat starting over again. Do not worry if your mind wanders, let this breathing technique bring it back into focus.
Burning incense –
Certain kinds of incense can produce a very calming effect. We can quickly develop positive associations with a particular scent, allowing the mind to quiet and a retreat-like atmosphere settle around us. Some of the best incense for meditation is sandalwood for grounding and relaxing, patchouli to lift your spirits, amber for elevation and letting go, and frankincense for centering and purifying.
Love yourself –
During your meditation exercise welcome your thoughts and feelings as friends, they are a part of you. There is no “doing it wrong”! You are getting to know yourself. When you finish a mindfulness meditation session, smile! Be grateful for any amount of time you take for yourself. You are on a path to spiritual enlightenment.
If you need high-quality products to ensure a successful Zen meditation session, visit Chopa.com now. On this popular online store, you can find a wide range of products, like Zen Books, Zen CDs, books on meditation, prayer shawls, meditation timers, meditation cushions, incense sticks, meditation bells, mala beads, meditation mats and more. Visit http://www.chopa.com
While the goals of meditation differ for each practitioner, they share common benefits. Here are eight of those.
Meditation reduces stress. “Meditation is mind without agitation,” Narasimhan says. Stress creates agitation and is something most of us deal with on some level. And it’s increasing, given the rising use of anti-anxiety medications, notes Stanford University researcher Emma Seppälä. Meditation allows people to take charge of their own nervous system and emotions. “Studies have shown improved ability to [permanently] regulate emotions in the brain,” adds Seppälä, who is also the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford. “It’s very empowering.”
It improves concentration. “I’m more centered and focused in everything I do. I don’t find myself getting as distracted anymore,” says Sara Robinson of Indianapolis, who did the Sahaj course last February. The ER nurse and sky-diving instructor adds that multitasking is easier. At least one study has shown an improved ability to multitask, Seppälä says. “Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to increased ability to focus, memory … We’ve seen this at the level of the brain.” Greater concentration is related to the increased energy meditation provides. “It connects you with your real source of energy,” Narasimhan says.
It encourages a healthy lifestyle. “I tend to want more things that are better for me,” Robinson says, adding that she eats more fresh foods and has cut out nearly all alcohol. She also stopped smoking. Susan Braden, who lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, and also did the Sahaj course, says the practice has made her apply the Hippocratic oath — “First, do no harm” — to herself. “You just want to put good things in your body,” she says. That means “closest to what’s natural. So if it doesn’t look like a tomato, I wouldn’t eat it.” Braden also gave up coffee, replacing it with tea.
The practice increases self-awareness. Before Zaccai Free, a District of Columbia resident, began meditating in college two decades ago, he had a very short fuse – to the point, he says, of wanting to commit acts of violence. Meditation taught him to recognize his own anger and become more detached from it. It cleared his mind and calmed him down, he says. Mostly, “it made me more comfortable in my own skin,” adds Free, who does many types of meditation, including Sahaj, Agnihotra, laughter and walking meditations. “When you take more time to dive inside yourself, you are more comfortable showing who you are.”
It increases happiness. “Meditation puts you on the fast track to make you happy,” says Ronnie Newman, director of research and health promotion for the Art of Living Foundation, the umbrella organization for the Sahaj meditation course. Studies have shown that brain signaling increases in the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while activity decreases in the right side, responsible for negative emotions, Newman says. The other benefits of meditation, including increased self-awareness and acceptance, also contribute to improved overall well-being.
Meditation increases acceptance. Braden was a high-profile senior policy advisor in the State Department, constantly on the go to trips around the world, until seven years ago, when she was struck by multiple sclerosis. She turned to meditation, and her world view flipped. “I have a disease which really brings you back to yourself,” Braden says. “Meditation helps me accept that. You explore your inner self and realize that’s just as big as traveling to Burma.” For Braden, learning to meditate has been harder than learning Arabic. “It’s a lifetime job. But it changes how you feel life, and it’s made it more enjoyable for me,” she says.
It slows aging. Studies show that meditation changes brain physiology to slow aging. “Cognition seems to be preserved in meditators,” says Sara Lazar, a researcher at Harvard University. Lazar adds that meditators also have more gray matter – literally, more brain cells. Lazar’s colleague, Elizabeth Hoge, did a study that showed that meditators also have longer telomeres, the caps on chromosomes indicative of biological age (rather than chronological). That meditation lengthens life “may be a bit of a stretch,” Hoge says. “But there is something about meditation that is associated with longer telomeres … [perhaps that] it reduces stress and its effects on the body.”
The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health. Meditation induces relaxtion, which increases the compound nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up and subsequently, blood pressure to drop. One study, published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, showed that 40 of 60 high blood pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication. Meditation also improves immunity. “I hardly ever get sick anymore,” Robinson says. “I don’t think I’ve had a cold since I started this.”