Posts Tagged ‘meditation tools’

Three Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Relationship

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

If you’re wondering how you can improve your relationship with your partner, here are some tips to start now. If you already have a loving relationship, these principles can help maintain the magnitude of a loving relationship by allowing growth on many levels. So get your partner & begin today.

1. Principles to Reinforce Your Partnership

The first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are the Yamas. These encompass universal morality and respect for all living things, or Ahimsa (non violence). This means that kindness and friendliness should be exhibited in all situations dealing with living beings. Kindness is contagious, and if you’re able to treat complete strangers with empathy and respect, it will be that much easier to do the same with your partner.

Deceit and lies are two common elements of bad marriages and relationships. They’re detrimental in broken relationships and have the potential to shatter the love. Satya refers to speaking the truth as long as it does not hurt someone. When combined with Ahimsa, honesty trumps deliberate deception. For instance, telling your partner about an extra-marital affair would be extremely hurtful, but carrying on a fake relationship is harmful to all, including the third party individual.

Aparigraha is the Yamas principle that encourages divestment of materialism. Hoarding wealth beyond what you and your family need implies a self-centeredness that is inherently detrimental to relationships. Buy a homeless person a meal if you can afford it or help someone in need. Furthermore, gifts for your partner should be about the thought as opposed to the long-term value. For example, buying flowers or treating your partner to his or her favorite meals create lasting memories without the acquisition of material things.

2. Sexual Vitality

A 2013 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants in long-term relationships were motivated to have an intimate relationship because it was important to their partner. In other words, people will be intimate even when they don’t want to if it makes their significant other happy. Granted, waiting in the beginning of a relationship can help to strengthen emotional bonds and commitment to one another, but a major challenge in long-term relationships is keeping everything interesting and fresh. And that’s where yoga comes into play.

A 2010 study published by the Harvard Medical School found that women experienced more pleasure and arousal after 12 weeks of yoga practice. Psychology Today cited a study from a yoga camp that found men ages 24 to 60 experience similar benefits after several yoga sessions. A yoga date every week can only improve your relationship it seems!

3. Shape Up

A study by yogi Alan Kristal and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that people who did one yoga session per week for four years lost five pounds versus the non-yogis who gained 14 pounds. Kristal credited yoga’s mind-body principles, which helped change the participants’ relationship with food and eating. Yoga also can help you quit smoking and get better sleep at night. Both will promote healthier looking skin, whiter smiles and positive emotions; all of which will help build your confidence in relationships.

Yoga connects you with the truths of the here and now. Likewise the focus of healthy relationships is the present, not the past or future. Incorporating yoga into your regular life ensures beautiful memories with your partner and promotes a future of love and commitment. And all of us can use love as a catalyst for growth on many levels.

Isn’t to day a good day to begin? Let yoga make Love!

~Brian Wilkinscy

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

5 tips to refresh your commitment to yoga

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Time to move on – not away from yoga
You have trained long and hard, practiced diligently and now you have doubts – about yourself, your teaching and commitment. What is happening?
The answer is: you are practicing yoga. Self-inquirytrends in yoga, reflection and doubting your intentions are the manifestation of a deeper relationship, that can withstand and flourish through inquiry and emotional turmoil.Compare your relationship with yoga with other meaningful relationships that endure through change and even conflict. If they are strong, they will develop and strengthen. Yes, flaws may be revealed and that relationship may change, but the underlying love will endure and prove richer in the long-term.

Where, when and how you discover yoga will determine the start of your journey. This may be a route that takes us into a practice, or even teacher training that requires commitment to a certain style that later in life, may not nourish and support your growth. An acceptance and even ultimately a rejection of a particular school of yoga is neither a reflection on the practice, but merely an acknowledgement that it is time to move on. The body and mind evolves during our journey through life. Yoga may keep us flexible, strong and active in the physical body, but our aims may change, as we recognize and nurture other areas of our practice.

Physical injury, health concerns and natural aging also determine the suitability of any practice and may mean changing or adapting your practice. One of the many comforts in yoga is that there is always something that you can do – either softening your practice until recovery allows you to return to your previous choice, or moving into different areas such as pranayama or meditation.How do you move forward?
• Firstly, it is important to accept and be open to change. Drawing back and observing your intentions may at first contribute to feelings of loss and even anger. To ‘let go’ of a rigid practice can also cause feelings of guilt as you release yourself of the commitment and possibly regular practice that has become part of the pattern of your daily life.

• Remember, you are only recognizing changes in yourself. Recall how well the practice suited you in the past – what you have learnt and how it has supported you. Let go of guilt and be thankful for the experience.• Have a break and encourage the body and mind to rest and find the space for observation, inquiry and introduction to other aspects or styles of yoga. This may even result in a refreshed interest and commitment in your previous practice.

• Talk to your teacher and other students. You will discover that these doubts and feelings are not unusual. Your teacher may suggest other classes or training that will support your growth. If this is ‘farewell’, a respectful parting will prevent any bad feelings.

• Observe other areas of your life and how they may be contributing to your confusion.  It can be tempting to use yoga as a crutch to support other areas of life that are out of control, or even to be disappointed in yoga no longer gives you the feelings of strength, stability and calm that it provided when you first started.

• Do not rush! Any decision should be taken slowly and calmly. Remember how long it took to develop your practice and how it has helped you develop.

It may be time to move on, but that does not mean moving out! And if you decide to take a break – yoga will be there waiting patiently to welcome you back – no questions asked.

By:  Wendy Jacob

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 and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 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.

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

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Press 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


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 and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 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.

Pembroke Springs Retreat – Japan meets the country Bed & Breakfast

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

A weekend getaway is a great way to unwind and reenergize. A popular alternative to the traditional hotel is a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts often provide a much homier feel as well as personal touches and attention. Nestled on 175 acres of beautiful forest and surrounded by mountains is The Pembroke Springs Retreat.  Located in Star Tannery, Virginia, this serene B&B provides a country feel with distinctive touches of Japan.

The Retreat features five rooms, each with gorgeous mountain views.  Each room is decorated in a separate theme and has its own bathroom.  Guests are provided Yukata (Japanese bathrobes) to enjoy during their stay.  In the morning guests are treated to an authentic Japanese breakfast. This typically includes grilled fish, rice, seaweed, vegetables, egg, miso soup and fruit.  Guests may request an American style breakfast and the innkeepers will accommodate vegans.

During the day, guests can enjoy nature walks on the miles of trails on the property, observing the abundant wildlife and taking in the amazing views of the mountains.  Play a game of tennis on the all-weather tennis court or fish in the pond for bluegill and bass. The area is rich in history, from both the French and Indian wars to the Civil War.   There are endless antique stores in nearby areas.

One of the highlights of the retreat, are the two large Japanese baths which are fed with their natural spring waters. The ofuro has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies.  This ancient technique of immersion in hot water removes tensions, stress and soothes muscular pains.

While each of the five rooms has a variance of features, the Sunrise room brings Japan to you.  Facing the east and overlooking the forest, this splendid room features shoji screens, tatami mats and a horigotatsu or sunken table.

While the area hosts a variety of restaurants within a half hour drive, guests won’t want to miss dinner service (check availability). You can view images of the tasty meals presented by an obviously very talented chef on Facebook []. These dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious.  The innkeepers of this Bed & Breakfast jewel are Walter and Taeko Floyd.  The manager is Lisa Floyd.  To learn more about Pembroke Springs Retreat, visit their website

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for August 2013

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

It’s time to shine with the Sun and communicating Mercury both in sunny Leo this month. Leo is the sign of self-confidence and self-expression. Under the influence of Leo we get in touch with our need to be our authentic selves and to be appreciated by others. You don’t’ need to be born under the sign of Leo to help yourself to a heaping helping of attention and recognition.

This month we will also be treated to a New Moon in Leo on August 6th reinforcing our desire to get in touch with the innocent but precocious side of ourselves. The energy of this Lunar Cycle conjures up images of a young Shirley Temple – adorable, talented, outspoken and not afraid to be seen. Now you may not sing and tap dance, but you were born with innate and unique talents that when you allow them to shine, they contribute to the light of all consciousness.

The Full Moon in Leo’s opposing sign Aquarius on August 20th balances the potentially aristocratic Leo energy with a healthy dose of appreciation for differences and the unique qualities of individuals. Ruled by the revolutionary planet Uranus, Aquarius is the  sign of originality, humanitarianism, and social reform.

The first few weeks of August are the perfect time to take a good long look at your environment and think about how your home or office does or does not support your sense of self. What does it say about you? Use the Leo energy of self-expression to rearrange, re-design and re-create your environment to reflect your unique personality. After the Full Moon, take your cue from Aquarius and give away or donate those gently used clothes and home furnishings to a good cause.  Your choices and possessions speak to the world about you. Make sure they are representing your most authentic self!

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach

You can find her at and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern. Leo

5 Delicious and Beautifying Summer Drink Recipes

Monday, July 1st, 2013
Healthy drinks

Healthy drinks

During the summer, it’s especially important to stay hydrated for optimal health and beauty. Your body will crave more fluids as you perspire more. While pure water is always best, sometimes you want a little flavor in your refreshment. Unfortunately, many popular summer drinks are filled with sugar and chemicals that offer no favors in terms of your health or hydration. But there are many other good choices, and you can enjoy a refreshing summer beverage without all of the chemicals and sugar. Here are five great recipes.

Cucumber Water
This is a different twist on citrus-flavored water. Cucumber is a powerful beauty food, and this refreshing beverage infuses water with the flavor of cucumber. Cucumbers are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as folic acid. Best, the drink is super easy to make and really delicious!

1 medium cucumber, cleaned and cut into ½ inch slices
2 quarts of pure water
Combine cucumber and water in a large pitcher and allow to sit for one hour or longer. Serve cool.

Agua Fresca
This popular Mexican drink infuses water with your favorite fresh fruit.
4 cups pure, cold water
2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (berries or papaya?)
Stevia to taste
2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
Lime wedges
Place fruit and water in a blender and puree.
Place a small sieve over a pitcher and pour mixture into it, straining the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids.
Add lime juice and stevia.
Garnish with lime wedges.

Iced Rooibos Mint Tea
Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, so it promotes youthfulness and great skin. Over a little ice with mint and lemon, it’s a refreshing and detoxifying summer beverage.
6 Rooibos tea bags
One lemon, sliced
Several leaves of fresh mint
Stevia to taste
1 gallon of boiling water
Pour water over lemon, teabags and mint leaves and steep, stirring occasionally, until liquid cools. Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, and refrigerate. Serve cool or over a little bit of ice.

Basil Lemonade
Lemons are high in vitamin C and promote alkalinity and cleansing in the body. The basil adds a refreshing flavor to this sugar-free lemonade.

½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups of cold water
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
Stevia to taste
Place basil in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle it by slightly crushing the leaves. Combine lemon juice and water and pour over basil leaves. Add stevia to taste. Chill, and serve over ice.

Cilantro and Jalapeno Limeade
Cilantro is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxification, while jalapeno can help rev up your metabolism. Lime is high in Vitamin C.

4-1/2 cups of water
1 cup organic cilantro, washed and chopped
2 large jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
1-1/2 cups of fresh lime juice
Stevia to taste
Lime slices for garnish
Pour water over cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, and then cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in lime juice. Add stevia to taste. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices.

Enjoy. If you like these drinks, give us a shout out on Facebook.
Thanks for the great drink advice from Kimberly Snyder. Visit her site at