When you ask What is Ayurveda? to the National Institute of Health, medical clinicians will describe it as a complementary and alternative medicine, or a whole medical system, that offers the practitioner a way to enhance well-being through diet, meditation and herbal remedies. When you ask a student of the practice “What is Ayurveda,” they will tell you its meaning: “ayur” is the Hindu word for “life,” and “veda” means science. The Vedic culture in India dates back over 5000 years, and the ancient Greek physicians used many of the principles incorporated in ayurvedic medicine to treat and cure disease. Lately, the resurgence in integrative therapies in the medical community has many people asking, “What is Ayurveda?” Read the rest of this entry
Walking into the studio with your comfy clothes on and your gym bag slung over your shoulder may be like entering an oasis, away from the day-to-day stresses of reality; but once you drive out of the parking lot afterward, your once-cleared mind fills up again with what to make for dinner, who to pick up from what after-school event and that schedule change you need to make at the office. A yoga retreat allows you to focus on your yoga practice in a nurturing, stress-free environment, generally away from those distractions that take us out of ourselves. A yoga retreat can also be a vacation getaway with a little yoga thrown in so consider what you ultimately want to take away with you, as well as your budget constraints. Read the rest of this entry
Running is one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to stay in shape, theoretically, but it can also be one of the most destructive when it comes to the toll it can take on the muscles and joints. Many beginning runners start off with a good pair of running shoes, a training log and high hopes, but over the course of a month may find themselves with aches and pains they never thought possible. Slow and steady wins the race, but this concept can be lost on the novice runner who, like the hare in Aesop’s fable, may take off fast then get sidelined by injuries, only to be beaten by the more conservative tortoise. Read the rest of this entry
Are you a type A personality living a workaholic lifestyle? Most of us to some degree are burning the candle at both ends, which certainly increases our odds that our lifestyle includes unhealthy habits. But the research is in and the message is clear. It’s time to add a healthy and fun habit to your daily routine – meditation.
Eastern philosophies have recognized the health benefits of meditation for thousands of years. Meditation lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and delivers an overall improvement in your ability to concentrate. And the best part about meditation, is you don’t need to be a Buddhist monk to experience the many health benefits of meditation.
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Step 1: Choose a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed. Often when you are new to meditation, it is easy to get distracted, so consider putting ear plugs in your ears or even your iPod ear buds in your ears…but forgo playing your Hit List for now.
Step 2: Sit on the floor or in a chair. If you choose to sit on the floor, you may want to put a blanket under you for some extra padding. Once you have some meditation time under your belt, you might want to consider purchasing a zafu and/or a zabuton. A zafu is a round traditional mediation cushion, measuring about 35cm and stuffed with buckwheat hull. A zafu is positioned under a person practicing meditation in a cross legged seated position for extra comfort. A zabaton is a cushion traditionally used in Japanese homes for seating. When meditating, a zabuton or yoga blanket is often set on the floor and then a zafu is placed on top of the zabaton or yoga blanket for added comfort. Using a zabuton, yoga blanket and/or zafu when meditating is more comfortable than sitting directly on the floor. The zafu also helps to maintain proper posture for the health and comfort of your back. These meditation accessories can help define that special place you have created for meditation.
The Manduka eKO Yoga Mat is the heaviest mat I have ever owned but also the most luxurious for the level of cushion it provides. It has a lovely texture and unrolled perfectly flat from the very first time I used it. The lime green is beautiful and I didnt notice any offensive smell as others have commented on ecological yoga mats.
For years I have thought this addiction was not such a bad thing…in the scheme of things…well it’s at best educational. This week, however, I have started to rethink this. I am reading two books on dieting that totally contradict each other and well it has almost made me want to give up on my educational habit and maybe just start reading Harlequin Romance novels… well maybe not…
I purchased my first yoga towel a couple of years ago after growing weary of the beach towel I had been toting around to classes. I am a simple yogi and try not to buy into the latest trends in fear of becoming (gasp!) … mainstream. The allure of the slip-resistant nubs on the Yogitoes Towel proved too much for me and I’ve used it ever since. That is until I experienced the Manduka eQua Yoga Towel.
So this week I decided to move one of my yoga mats right next to my bed so that it is the first thing I touch when getting out of bed in the morning and the last feeling I have before I retire for the night.
This change has inspired me to do several sun salutations right when I wake up or before bed when time permits and even if I don’t have the time to practice yoga upon waking or before sleeping, I stop on my yoga mat and center myself. I pause for a moment or two and think about all that I have to be grateful for in my life and I’m now in the habit of taking a few deep breaths just before I take that final leap into bed and remind myself who I am and what I stand for.