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23 January 2015

A Beginners' Gude to Meditation at Home

A Beginners’ Guide to Meditation at Home

Meditation has many known health benefits, such as increasing longevity and reducing stress. People have been practicing meditation for over two millennia, with Hindu texts describing meditative forms as early as the 6th-century BCE. In my youth, if I heard the word ‘meditation’, all I could think about was a person in the Far East, sitting with his legs crossed and humming to himself. A couple of years ago I was introduced to real meditation and discovered the calming and healing properties it has, and now I’d love to share them with you.

What is meditation
The Webster dictionary defines meditation as “the act or process of spending time in quiet thought: the act or process of meditating”. Many people meditate without even knowing that they’re doing it. A person sitting and fishing for a few hours in silence is performing a type of meditation, the same as another who might be jogging with their headphones on. It involves dedicating 100% of your attention to one subject. Meditation has also been a key factor in Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as Western religions like Christianity and Judaism.

Health benefits of meditating
Meditation has many proven health benefits, such as silencing your internal chatter, calming and grounding one’s self, and getting in touch with yourself, to name a few. A recent Harvard University study discovered that daily meditation can rebuild the brain’s gray matter in as little as eight weeks. Participants also reported a reduction in stress - a prime factor in the decrease in gray matter density. 
Who can meditate
From young children to elderly people, everyone can meditate. There are many forms of meditation, some more suitable for people of different ages, so don’t be daunted if one form doesn’t work for you. Finding the meditation that suits you best is very gratifying.

Before you start meditating
The first thing you need to do, is decide on the purpose of your meditation: You may want to calm down, get to know yourself better, or even make an important business decision. Knowing why you’re meditating is the first step to a useful meditation. You don’t need special clothes (but comfortable ones make it easier) or equipment. All you need a quiet spot and to reserve some time for it.

When you begin your meditation, don’t lay down or sit in a slumped position – these positions do not help you stay alert and focused. Sit up straight, either on a chair, on your heels or cross-legged. Find the position that is comfortable for you, sitting in the lotus position is not mandatory in meditation.
Don’t meditate after eating, digestion can be very distracting during a session. If you just had a meal, wait for 2 hours and let your stomach calm down. You should avoid smoking for at least 30 minutes before the meditation.

Find a quiet spot that you will be comfortable in, this is essential for the first few times you meditate. Once you are comfortable with meditation, you’ll be able to do it in noisier places. Remember to switch off your cell phone - it’s a distraction. Consider lighting a scented candle or some incense to help your meditation and switch off or dim the lights – bright lights may also be a distraction.

How to meditate
Do some basic stretching before you start, it will loosen up your muscles and help you be more attentive to your body later on.

Breathing is the most important factor in meditation, we use each breath as a focal point. Close your eyes and deeply inhale through your nose, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Feel how your chest expands and contracts with each breath. Listen to the silence between breaths - notice how everything becomes still and quiet. You may even notice your heartbeat slowing down. If your thoughts begin to scatter, concentrate on your breathing.
As a beginner, focusing might not come naturally. Give it time and be patient with yourself. Some people find that focusing on their breathing won’t quiet their minds, and may need to try other methods: 

  • Counting your breaths may help – count each breath and when you reach ten, start over. However, if you become focused on the numbers and not on the breathing, stop.
  • Another alternative is repeating a mantra – there’s a reason some people say “Om” when they meditate – it helps drown the outside world and focus on the sound. You can repeat any other word that helps you calm down if Om is not for you.
  • Try visualizing a calm place – it can be anything: the beach, a forest, your childhood home, etc. as long as it’s your sanctuary. When you find your sanctuary, don’t be afraid to explore it – there's no need to try and “create” your surroundings, they’re already there.

Set aside at least fifteen minutes a day for meditation (more is welcome). Remember: short daily repetitions are better than one long weekly session because they form a habit. Eventually, the practice of meditation will find its way into your everyday life. You’ll find yourself considering your food choices more carefully, making decisions more consciously and focusing on things you read, watch or listen to with greater attention.

One last thing
Learning to silence your inner thoughts takes practice, but managing to attain inner peace is a huge reward. Remember – “practice makes perfect”, so keep meditating regularly. It may take you a few weeks or even a couple of months to learn to properly focus, so don’t get frustrated or disheartened it you’re not a meditation guru overnight

Contact for Teaching Yoga-Pranayama-Meditation for better health, personality development.

20 January 2015

Top 10 reasons to eat fruit

Top 10 reasons to eat fruit

How many times have you heard people say that you are what you eat? When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, this is definitely a principle to live by.
If you keep on loading up on carbs, insisting on consuming fatty foods and not minding the caloric content of food at all – then there could be disastrous results as far as your weight is concerned.
Now, the same principle applies when it comes to the effect of the foods that you are eating to the quality of your skin.

You might be surprised at how loading up on a lot of fruits and vegetables can do wonders for your skin.
The problem is that we live in a world where everybody seems to be looking for that quick fix.
Rather than thinking about the natural methods that you can use to improve the quality of your skin, most people browse through the shelves of drugstores and the ‘Healthy & Beauty’ sections of department stores.
They look for creams that help prevent wrinkles, lotions which make the skin smooth, ‘miracle’ pills which will make them instantly youthful-looking and beautiful.
But if you really want to have better looking skin, it is better if you will do it the old fashioned way: by “feeding your skin with foods that will help you retain that youthful glow “.
The Top 10 Foods that Benefit Your Skin the Most
Aside from giving you a lot of benefits health wise, consuming these food items will help your skin remain luminous, elastic, smooth to the feel and healthy.
Take a look at the top 10 foods that will give you great skin:

1. Avocados
This rich tropical fruit is filled with vitamins C and E which works well towards fighting the effects of skin aging.
Although it is considered to be high in fat content, the type of fat that avocados have is monounsaturated.
This means that the fruit is also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids that help improve the quality of your skin.

2. Berries
Blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries are all beneficial for your skin.It is even better if you can consume the exotic Acai berries which come from the Amazonian forests in Brazil.

Acai berries have the most potent antioxidant content among any other fruits in the world, which is the reason why it is called a ‘superfood‘.
When you load up on foods which are rich in antioxidants, the effect on your body is that free radicals will be neutralized.
These free radicals are the culprit behind premature skin aging and cell damage.In addition, berries are a great source of vitamins C and E, Riboflavin and fibers.
More importantly, these tiny fruits have a natural ingredient which helps the body manufacture collagen – which makes the skin supple and smooth. Not bad for really small fruits, right? [Fruits For skin care]

3. Dark Chocolate
Surprisingly enough, the oh-so-sinful dark chocolates do have a high antioxidant content which helps improve the flow of blood to the skin.
It also gets rid of the rough feel to your skin while at the same time protecting it from sun damage.

4. Green Tea
If there’s one food item in our list which is also considered as the ultimate health drink, it is none other than green tea. This beverage is considered to be healthier than water and when it comes to the health of your skin, it is the one to beat.

Did you know that green tea is even used as a natural remedy for acne? Green tea is also a potent antioxidant. When you drink green tea regularly, you will get the daily dose of vitamins C, D and K that the body needs.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits that you will get to enjoy by drinking green tea while also improving the quality of your skin – so ditch the caffeine and substitute it with a cup or two of green tea now.

5. Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines & Fresh Tuna
You may notice how all of these fish variants are on the oily side.
Don’t think that just because they’re oily, it already means that they will not contribute to the health of your skin at all.
These types of fish actually contain the healthy and essential fatty acids in the form of Omega-3 oils.
What it does for the health of your skin is to decrease the chances of your skin clogging up while at the same time improving its elasticity. All in all, aside from the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids to your health, it also generally improves the quality of your skin – making it suppler and younger-looking.

6. Oysters
Although they are popular as aphrodisiacs, oysters actually are an excellent source of zinc.
What this does for your skin is to help renew and revitalize it, while assisting with the production of collagen at the same time.

7. Pomegranate Fruits & Pomegranate Juice
Just like Acai berries, pomegranate is also considered to be a super food because of its high antioxidant content.
Whether it’s the pure juice form or the fruit itself that you will eat, you will get to enjoy a unique benefit to your skin – which is to prevent the appearance of varicose veins.
This is due to the fact that pomegranate contains Anthocyanins which help strengthen the walls of the tiny blood vessels which in turn supply the skin with the nutrients that it needs.

8. Spinach
Popeye’s power veggie is something which you should also be eating a lot of.
Spinach is rich in alpha-lipoic acid and lutein – these two compounds work great against skin aging and also have anti-inflammatory benefits.

9. Tomatoes
Plump, red and juicy tomatoes are a great source of lycopene.
This does not just work well as an antioxidant to benefit your skin, but lycopene helps prevent the occurrence of certain cancers as well.

10. Walnuts
Just like fish oils, walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
The result when you feed your skin with this is that you will have smoother skin, and your body will be more able to battle inflammatory diseases.
Fill your grocery cart with these items the next time that you go shopping and watch nature work wonders on your skin!