Archive for the ‘books/CD/DVD’ Category

What is a mantra?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A mantra is a tool for protecting the mind from the habitual, unconscious cycles of thought and action we get caught up in. In ancient Vedic philosophy, these imprints on our subconscious mind are known as samskaras.

These impressions that get stored in our mind through cultural conditioning and past experience directly impact how we perceive our conscious experience in the present. Mantras are ancient techniques that we can use to protect our mind from getting stuck in the bottomless well of samskaras. The sounds themselves, even before they are assigned meaning, resonate in different parts of the body and mind, increasing sensory awareness.

The first mantra that you have been exposed to is most likely Om (Aum). It is a universal mantra and the primordial sound of nature. The A (pronounced Ah) resonates in the lower part of the body, the O in the middle part, and the M (pronounced Mmm) in the upper region. The vibrations of OM evoke movements of energy, beginning at the base of the spine and moving upwards to the crown of the head. For the spiritual seeker interested in ancient literature, the Mandukya Upanishad elucidates the syllable of OM and its four states of consciousness.

Mantra recitation guides the practitioner in finding their sacred inner sound – the internal music that has had the volume turned down. Sanskrit scholar Nicolai Bachman explains that Sanskrit originated as the language of mantra and that each mantra has specific or general effects on oneself, others and the world. When pronounced properly, this scared sound energy intimately connects the individual with nature. Swami Sivananda has taught that a mantra practice transforms the mental substance by producing a particular thought movement. According to him, these rhythmical vibrations regulate the unsteady vibrations of the five koshas (sheaths or layers). The koshas are believed to veil our inner Self. Meditation and mantra practice allow the practitioner to peel away the layers, diving deeper into the core of our being.

Daily practice of mantra meditation will make one centered in the core sheath. Developing a japa (mantra repetition) practice with the use of mala beads can take the practitioner into higher states of meditation. As we delve deeper, we use the mantra as a sanctuary that houses the source of power to manifest our intention. When we work with the sound energy of Sanskrit mantras, we tap into an ancient practice that has been performed for thousands of years as an expression of the pattern of nature.

~ Mihir Garudmt

Four Magical Lessons From Buddhism That can Help in Your Own Pursuit of Happiness.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Get intimate with your own mind.

We need two main things to become happy, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition: mindful awareness and loving compassion. The theory goes that the combination of attention and loving-kindness — both of which can be built through contemplative practices like meditation — can help bring the brain into its most plastic, growth-oriented state and support the development of a greater state of consciousness, Loizzo says.

Meditation — “the quiet, humble work it takes on a daily basis,” as Loizzo puts it — is the cornerstone of the Tibetan contemplative science. Through a meditation practice, we can begin to overcome negative thoughts and habitual emotional responese, and start to live from a more calm, centered place, he says.

“Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature,” Sogyal Rinpoche advised in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a guide to meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. “Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation.”

The research is now there to back up the benefits of this time-worn strategy for stabilizing emotions and boosting the brain’s capacity for joy. Studies have shown meditation may be effective in reducing anxiety and depression, lowering stress levels, reducing loneliness and boosting emotional well being.

“Twenty years and a thousand stories that have given me an unshakable confidence in the truly boundless potential we human beings have to heal ourselves and transform our lives,” Loizzo wrote in his 2012 book, Sustainable Happiness.


Practice compassion, at every moment.

Most Eastern spiritual traditions involve some form of practice around compassion, or “loving-kindness.” In Buddhism, there is a meditation for loving-kindness,“mettā bhāvanā”, which involves sending kindness to yourself, loved ones, community members, people you may dislike, and eventually, all beings. In the Tibetan tradition, monks practice tonglen, which consists of breathing in suffering and breathing out happiness, so as to reduce pain and spread peace among all beings.

“What’s unusual about the Tibetans is that they have what I call an industrial-strength version of this discipline,” Loizzo says of loving-kindness practice. “These practices allow us to turn our sense of life as a battle, a struggle for survival against everybody else, into a communal experience of connecting with friends and the larger world. That, we’ve learned, is so important to our quality of life and our personal sense of meaning in life.”

The Tibetans have devised powerful ways of helping people learn how to become more compassionate that are now being used in the Western world. A 2012 Emory University study suggested that compassion training derived from ancient Tibetan practices may boost empathy, and other studies have shown that loving-kindness meditation could increase positive emotions and lead to more positive relationships over time.


Connect with others who support your journey.

The traditional “Three Jewels” of Buddhism consist of the Buddha (the example), the Dharma (the path) and the Sangha (the community). In this tradition, the community is just as important an element as any other in living a happy, purposeful life. Increasing your happiness and well-being is a difficult thing to do alone. It requires the support and love of others, and a sense of belonging to a community.

“Modern neuroscience is showing us that we’re really wired to be extremely social creatures,” Loizzo says. “We’re happier and healthier when we do that in a committed way … We need to learn to connect with others with mindful openness and positivity, and to deal with the daily slings and arrows and work through those and maintain a sense of connection that’s positive. This is something we practice in spiritual communities.”

Strong social support networks have also been linked to a number of health benefits, including lower stress levels and increased longevity.


Embrace death — don’t fear it.

In Western cultures, our attitude toward death is largely characterized by fear and denial – and this can, consciously or unconsciously, cause a great deal of suffering throughout our lives. But a central aspect of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is the belief that death should be embraced, and the concept that dying can be the “crowning achievement” of a life well lived. Although this attitude stems in part from a strong belief in reincarnation, you don’t have to believe in an afterlife in order to better accept the impermanence of life in the here and now. The Tibetans believe that meditation can help us to come to terms with the nature of life and death.

When Loizzo is working with patients who are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, in addition to practicing meditation and loving-kindness, he goes through a traditionally Tibetan practice of asking some of life’s big questions: What has been meaningful to you in your life? How do you face the impermanence of your life and the inevitability of death?

“Being able to embrace the idea of death and being present … some of the women say it gives them a new lease on life,” says Loizzo. “The ancient traditions made a science of trying to understand the death process and make meaning out of it … This kind of approach of facing reality, even the parts that scare us, has tremendous potential for healing.”

Asking these questions can help bolster an acceptance of things that can’t be changed or controlled, which Buddhist teachings have long touted as a key to reducing suffering. Now, this ancient doctrine has science on its side: A recent study from Australian researchers showed that during the difficult changes of later life — moving into residential care and losing independence — an acceptance of what can’t be changed may be a significant predictor of life satisfaction.

Source: Plashcy

 

Five ways to get fit & lose weight with housework

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

In a gym rut? Too cold to run outside? Unmotivated with your fitness? It happens. Fortunately, you can still manage to keep up with a yogic lifestyle, burn calories and get the heart pumping right at home — without exercising…yes, indeed with your housework! Here’s how to clean up the house and get chores done while working the bod at the same time.

Yoga-Inspired Chores

35 is known for not only being a yogi, but a yogi who practices yoga anywhere, anytime, even during housework. The wife of Alec Baldwin, yoga instructor and mom can be found posing around the home while cooking, ironing or doing laundry. And Hilaria shares all of it on her Instagram account @hilariabaldwin. In utkata konasana, Hilaria waters her plant in the sink. She loads the dishwasher with dirty dishes posing in a variation of vasisthasana. Even the dreaded ironing gets done while in gorakshasana. Give your yoga mat a break, and call yoga chores wellness multitasking at its best. Tackle the to-do list while relaxing the body and settling the mind? Easy.

Car Maintenance

Rather than spend $15 at the car spa to make your car look pristine, clean it yourself at home and burn some extra calories. Washing, drying and waxing your car by hand can get you moving and work up a sweat. Don’t forget to wash the windows and tires with special cleaners as well. “Wash your car regularly,” recommends The Art of Manliness. Using your biceps to clean car surfaces prevents corrosion from elements like sun, grease, grime, acid rain and dead bugs. Also, declutter, tidy up and vacuum the interior as a workout bonus.

Carpet Cleaning

To some people, vacuuming is practically a recreational activity and making straight carpet lines is like creating a proud masterpiece. To others, vacuuming is a dreaded chore that happens once every six months to a year, if that. Up and down the stairs lugging the vacuum. The dog barks and attacks the machine with such abhorrence. It’s laborious, and not a good time. But vacuuming can actually burn on average 238 calories, which is equal to the number of calories in a french fry order. Boost your calorie burn (and make your carpet look spotless) by removing stains and giving your carpet a deep clean.

Washing Dishes

You have friends over, which means it’s time to start training for this epic moment of the dinner aftermath! The dirty plates. The clean up. Washing dishes serves dual after-dinner purposes. Not only are you cleaning up, you’re standing up and moving around, which aids the food coma. Washing dishes can burn 85 calories in a half hour. In holiday dinner terms for example, 85 calories is most likely not much compared to how much you ate. But the chore can earn you an afternoon nap.

Chopping Wood

As you mimic Hilaria’s yoga moves around the house, invite your man to get fit with housework too. Greatist.com lists chopping wood as a heart-pumping way to strength train outside the gym. In time, the rugged outdoors and arduous task of wood chopping will transform him right into Paul Bunyan, really. Hauling and splitting firewood is a killer workout, and swaying the heavy ax just looks good. One hour of muscle-building lumberjack work can burn up to 500 calories. And wood isn’t the only thing getting carved. He’ll carve his core, arms and back with every piece of chopped firewood and your fire place will look stunning this winter!

By Abby Terlecki

 

7 ways to rest or relax

Friday, November 21st, 2014

It is a complicated world – gone are the days when it was enough to lie down on your mat, shut your eyes and drift off into a blissful relaxation after your yoga practice!

Living and working in a fast paced, technological world means that there is little distinction between day and night. Many people find it difficult to sleep and are looking at ways to restore their energy and alertness. Computer screens, shift work, 24 hour access to entertainment, long commutes are just a few of the challenges to sleep.

Lack of sleep is dangerous to health, leading to accidents and taking its toll on mind and body. Sleep science is a growing field of research increasing knowledge of the problems relating to insomnia and discovering more about the secrets of our nocturnal life.

Relaxation

It is important to recognize and differentiate between sleep and rest. In yoga, teachers traditionally end a practice with relaxation – usually around 15 minutes after a class lasting less than an hour and a half. This allows the body to realign, warm muscles to cool and the mind to calm.

This may be led by a guided relaxation where the teacher provides a soothing commentary – perhaps instructing physical areas of the body to release or using calming words to create a conducive environment to relaxation. Or, the teacher may decide to remain silent and just provide closing instructions at the end of the session.

Sleep

Sleep can be divided into four stages and two distinct states – rapid eye movement (REM) and non REM (deep sleep). The REM state is when the eyes can be seen to move under the eyelids and dreaming occurs. During deep sleep the body slows down, the muscles relax, breathing and heartbeat become slower and blood pressure decreases.

The four stages can, for an adult, be divided into 90-minute cycles. This starts with some light sleep which is roughly half of all sleeping time, then deep sleep, accounting for about 20 per cent, and finally the lighter REM sleep when dreams occur which is about 20 per cent.

It takes around 15 minutes to awake from a deep sleep and become fully alert.

Napping

Napping is a useful skill to develop and can be used anywhere to build up resources when tired. A nap lasts around 15 minutes and leaves you feeling refreshed – any longer and there is a risk of falling into the early stages of sleep and feeling groggy when aroused.

All that is required is a supported position – either seated of lying still – in a quiet uninterrupted space.

Concentration

Concentration can be seen as an entry point to a meditative state. Patanjali describes concentration as ‘fixing the consciousness on one point or region’ and meditation as “the steady, continuous flow of concentration”. Concentration (or centrring) is often used at the beginning of a class to encourage students to settle and connect with the start of the practice. Tools may include awareness of breath or sound or just sitting or lying silently for around 10-15 minutes.

Meditation

There are many ways to meditate, but all have the same purpose – to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of ourselves, experiences and wider connections in the universe.

Meditation trains the mind to focus on what is real, staying in the present and encouraging a clearer perspective on life and relationships.

Contemplation or meditation (dhyana) involves holding on to an idea in the mind without the mind wandering. This takes practice and time and may involve concentrating on a physical object such as a stone, apple, egg or picture, or meditating on an abstract idea or concept such as love or duty.

Yoga Nidra

In Yoga Nidra, the mind is encouraged to drift and stay in its hypnogogic state which is the transition from wakefulness to sleep or from sleep to wakefulness. During this time, the mind is receptive to sounds and visual images. During Yoga Nidra the mind may also connect with unexplored creativity, intuitions and unexplored creativity.

Guided Yoga Nidra uses tools such as guided visualization including rotation of consciousness and awareness of sensations. It is usually delivered at a speed that encourages the mind to move between images and concepts.

Yoga Nidra can be a profound experience and care should be taken

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga uses props – bolsters, blankets, straps and eye pillows – to place the body in supportive positions for complete physical release. By staying supported in these positions for a longer period (up to half an hour or more depending on the pose) the body and mind are encouraged to relax and readjust.

Restorative yoga can be used as therapy or to provide a deeper relaxation experience.

There are a number of new studios worldwide providing excellent facilities with classes, workshops and training suitable for anyone who wants to learn, or expand their skills.

– Wendy Jacob32

Including Yoga in Your Work Day.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Yoga is an ancient traditional art form of exercise believed to have originated in the Rig Veda. Yoga emphasizes on inner peace and the self-origin of an individual for eternal truth. This form of art is considered great in the form of flexibility and keeping the body and mind free form chaos within. Having a cure for all kinds of ailments and focusing more on the individuals overall health. Incorporating yoga in your day to day activities helps the individual in Reducing stress, control over blood pressure, increased learning and power memory, manages chronic pain.

The best part of yoga is that it can be performed anywhere as the entire focus is on using the individuals energy and efforts which is not depended on any instrument of exercise unlike in gyms. Rather than performing yoga only on specific timings like a morning or evening class, yoga can be performed in small portions throughout the day keeping you energetic and focused all the time.

Few ways of doing yoga throughout the day in small portions

Deep Yogic Breathing 

Taking deep breaths at any given point of time when you are shopping at a grocery store, driving, walking to your workplace, watching TV, attending on conferences etc. Deep breathing calms the heart rate and nervous system and also has an influences the people around you and keeps them calm. Deep breathing forces more oxygen to the brain making you more alert, eloquent when dealing with clients, customers.

Meditation 

Mediation is the key factor in yoga that brings internal peace and bliss. A 5 minute meditation at your work place, college, school, and home can calm your body, mind and make your day more effective. Meditation can be performed in various ways, a simple technique that you can practice is CONCENTRATING ON YOUR BREATH. Close your eyes. Inhale, exhale a one count cycle for each breath, notice the air movement in your body, the belly, nostrils entering and leaving the body. Focus on one point and the see the increased concentration.

Desk Stretching 
A sitting posture e.g. Gomukhasana- cow face pose, stretches the upper body. Seated twist -right, left side stretch with legs shoulder length widened stretching at each side while you inhale and exhale .Shoulder stretch, hip stretch, back bend helps in eliminating physical and mental fatigue. All stretches at one seated place can help you a lot in relaxation.

Yoga at the Lunch Break 

Find an open and quiet place at a park or at your office terrace and perform few yoga asana like Tadasana ( Mountain pose ), Urdhva hastasana (raised arm pose), Uttanasana (standing -forward bend), plank pose, staff pose, Paschimottanasana ( seated forward bend.) These few postures that would energize your body, makes you feel more lighter, eradicating the toxins and increasing concentration.

Courtesy of Flora Cox. Ms. Cox is a part time medical student, who shares her view regarding health issues on many blogs. She is conducting a research on Ehic card (European health insurance card). yg

 

Astrology Soul Coach, July 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

“Go big or go home!”

No, you are not imagining there is a voice within that is screaming now is the time; if you’ve got it flaunt it; or some similar refrain. This month Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system (not including the Sun) leaves family and home-oriented Cancer for the drama and spotlight of Leo. Jupiter changes signs once a year so this is a significant shift in universal energies when the big daddy of them all moves into fiery and self-expressive Leo on July 16th. Jupiter is the planet of expansion and represents how we move past limitations and boundaries. With Jupiter in Leo we are being called to more leadership, self-confidence, generosity, visibility and authenticity. Remember that last one. Leo is nothing if not authentic. Leo loves to shine and is one of the more flamboyant, romantic and playful of the signs.

While Jupiter is in Leo we expand ourselves and enrich our lives when we take risks in the direction of our dreams; accept we were born to light up the planet; and are willing to be great at what we do. Greatness is lurking inside everyone – have you found yours? For more inspiration consider the lion – proud, confident and self-assured. The following people were born when Jupiter was highlighted in Leo, Bill Gates, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Jim Morrison, Yo-Yo Ma, George Lucas, Elizabeth Taylor, Edward Kennedy, Diana Ross, Jimmy Stewart and Eleanor Roosevelt. (Just to name a few!)

This year isn’t about being ostentatious, prideful, or acting superior. It’s about understanding we are each fabulous and spectacular in our own unique and individual way. Find that way and live it.

leoThis is a year to be more visible, more authentic and have a great time doing it!

 Quote of the month: “Be not afraid of Greatness.” William Shakespeare

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, animal communicator, writer, speaker and coach. You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern and can be also be heard on “A Course In Miracles with C.A. Brooks” on Fridays at 8am Pacific – 11 Eastern.

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

Chopa Zen Home and Gift Receives 2014 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chopa Zen Home and Gift Receives 2014 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Panama City Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PANAMA CITY BEACH April 24, 2014 — Chopa Zen Home and Gift has been selected for the 2014 Best of Panama City Beach Award in the Online Retailer category by the Panama City Beach Award Program.

Each year, the Panama City Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Panama City Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Panama City Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Panama City Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Panama City Beach Award Program

The Panama City Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Panama City Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Panama City Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Panama City Beach Award Program

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Best online Retailer Award

Best online Retailer Award

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for June 2014

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

In a relatively quiet month at the cosmic dance, one event stands out – a three week Mercury retrograde pattern that starts on Saturday June 7th. This week as an important file magically disappeared from my computer and SKYPE seemed arbitrarily to quit working, I felt the shadow of mass consciousness sneaking up behind me. Having been born when Mercury was traveling backwards, I look forward to them. Generally my experience is one of finding lost items, realizing solutions that evaded me previously, and feeling extraordinarily connected to my intuition.

In thinking about this upcoming cycle and knowing that many people dread them superstitiously like a bad urban myth, I came upon this quote from Albert Einstein, ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’  It got me thinking about how we humans are often adverse to taking a risk or making a mistake. That certainly didn’t stop Thomas Edison who is famous for saying ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. These creative geniuses had a knack for finding value in every twist, turn and detour. I can’t imagine a little ole Mercury retrograde would have provoked anything but wonder in their minds. 

When the thinking planet of communication does a turnabout, who is to say that the new perspective is not actually the right one? So what if our carefully laid plans get changed? It wouldn’t be so bad to get bumped up to first class on your flight, would it?

Mercury retrograde patterns are times to review, re-evaluate, renew, renovate, restore, refurbish, and re-group. This one which involves both emotional Cancer and mentally dexterous Gemini gives us the opportunity to better integrate our intuition. In fact, many people report, they feel more closely aligned with inner guidance; and experience more synchronicity when Mercury appears to be moving backwards. Open your heart and mind to the wonders of thinking differently. Dare to believe that your life is unfolding perfectly according to right timing.

Quote of the month: Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. (A Course in Miracles)

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, animal communicator, writer, speaker and coach. You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern and can be heard on her new show, “A Course In Miracles with CA Brooks” on Fridays at 8am Pacific – 11 Eastern.

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks22

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for May 2014

Monday, May 5th, 2014

In March we discussed the planet Mars and its retrograde motion – which astrologically speaking tells us it’s a time for planning, designing and getting all our ducks in a row. This month, Mars, the planet of action, is ready to move forward again. Are you? Heading into May we are also under the powerful influence of a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus the sign of creativity and manifestation. It’s definitely time to throw off the hibernation habits of winter and get going!

During May it’s important to do the necessary clutter clearing and releasing to get back to basics. Time to get serious about what we want to create and build in our lives. This might include examining not only the stuff in our lives but our attitudes as well. Are we playing offense or defense? A successful strategy includes a little of both, but we need to make sure we are not living our present moments based on past decisions. If a choice is still valid – it’s also a great time to reaffirm that commitment.

New Moon Solar Eclipses are harbingers of change. They often precipitate both endings and new beginnings. It’s time to do that spring cleaning in our homes, offices and in every area of our lives. It’s time to release old patterns, habits and ‘stuff’ that no longer reflects our current lifestyle or our future. In July, Jupiter, the planet of expansion, will make a bold move as it enters the dramatic sign of Leo for a year. It’s a call for each of us to step on stage with new levels of self-expression that reflect greater authenticity. Will you be ready?

This month we’ll notice an uptake in the energy (Venus in Aries is on fire!) as Mars moves into direct motion again and any sense of stagnation seems to be cleared away. Put away the excuses; the energy at the cosmic dance is moving and shaking!

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, animal communicator, writer, speaker and coach. You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern and can be heard on her new show, “A Course In Miracles with CA Brooks” on Fridays at 8am Pacific – 11 Eastern.

Bright futureca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

Give the Gift of Insight

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

insight meditation kitOh meditation, how we love thee! Especially at this busy time of year! While it may be years until we have enough scientific research to back it up, many converts to the practice of mindful meditation are convinced of its benefits. Nutrition and exercise may be our first line of defense to take care of the body, but there is a reason why meditation has been around for thousands of years: it works.

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