Affirmations and the power of positive statements.

June 7th, 2017

Affirmations are simple positive statements you can make each morning as soon as you awaken or get out of bed. Similar to mantras, you can also practice saying these while meditating.
By repeating a series of affirmations, you can visualize yourself reaching the goal or objective you set out to achieve. Many people practice saying affirmations around the world. The power of affirmations can become a powerful tool in your self-help toolbox. We like to supplement our meditation practice by incorporating positive affirmations at selected times of the day. Try it and see if you become a believer.

Here are 8 affirmations our staff submitted from their own daily rituals.

I am feeling healthy and strong today,
I am happy and content with my life.
I am patient and calm and greet the day with ease.
I make the right choices all day using my inner wisdom.
I have all the information I need to solve any challenges that come up today.
I have the knowledge to make smart decisions for myself today.
I have all that I need to make this a great day in my life.
I am filled with gratitude for another day on this earth.

meditation-with-affirmations

Affirmations for meditation.

Space Clearing with Tingsha Cymbals

May 6th, 2017

A customer called the other day asking about space clearing with tingsha bells versus smudging.

Space clearing is the practice of removing or clearing negative energy in your home, office or other personal space. The practitioner walks around the perimeter of the room or space they want to clear and rings the tingsha cymbals slowly and methodically.  The resonating sound and vibrations of the hand cymbals cleanse the negative energies and replaces them with good vibrations and a positive flow. Space clearing is an integral part of Chinese Feng Shui.

Smudging works in the same manner, except a smudge stick is used instead of a space clearing bell. Smudging is done with a bundle of sage, cedar or other herbs. The smoke emitted from the smudge stick is believed to attach itself to the negative energy and when the smoke dissipates, it takes the bad energy with it. Negative energy goes up in smoke, so to speak. Smudging was originally a practice of native American Indians.

We have spoken with numerous space clearing practitioners over the years and believe it is a matter of personal preference. Quite simply, some prefer tingsha, while others prefer smudge sticks. In our discussions, we discovered that some who preferred tingsha bells quite often had sensitivities to smoke or were concerned about the clients they worked with. It is possible that clearing an office space through smudging could cause discomfort to office staff, or that many commercial spaces today are deemed “smoke-free”. One teacher pointed out that some states, like California have strict laws about commercial, smoke-free zones and this discouraged them from smudging. Others had concerns with smoke in client’s homes, especially if they have young children, seniors or even pets in the home.

Today, we are more conscious than ever about chemicals,smoke and other potentially harmful elements in our personal spaces. Some space clearing masters indicate apprehension about using smudge sticks manufactured in other countries. They are concerned about the potential for harmful chemicals and ingredients used in the process, especially if scents are added. Chopa Zen Home offers a nice selection of tingsha, bells and chimes for space clearing practices. Visit our store and shop online.

tingsha bells

Tingsha Cymbals

What is sisal?

February 27th, 2017

SISALSisal 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.

Gratitude is Good for Us!

November 23rd, 2016

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Showing Gratitude

Examples:

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!

Mindfulness Meditation – Get your Zen on!

November 21st, 2016

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.
    • Rest your hands on the top of  your legs, palms upward is most common but not necessarymindfulness-meditation-outdoors
    • Allow your spine to naturally curve,
    • Gaze gently downward or close your eyes
  • 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!

 

What is a Japanese Noren?

October 14th, 2016

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.

Japanese noren curtain

Noren – Kinkakuji Temple

Warren Buffett and Ben Franklin did this….

September 29th, 2016

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.

how to meditate

Stop and meditate

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

The I Ching?

April 27th, 2016

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 How to Use the I Ching

Why does a mala have 108 beads?

March 23rd, 2016

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’.

The more research you perform, the more ideas and theories you will discover. We fall back to our beliefChakra Rudraksha Mala that whatever is important to you is what matters.  Namaste!

 

15 Minute Heart Health, It’s all about breathing.

February 25th, 2016

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.
Breathing-Techniques_for-Meditation