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Archive for November, 2010

How to Start a Walking Meditation Practice

Monday, November 29th, 2010
how to start a walking meditation

how to start a walking meditation

Instructor John LeMunyon, co-owner of Heartwood Yoga and Body-Centered Therapies (heartwoodyoga.com) in Birmingham, Ala., is a licensed massage therapist and registered yoga teacher whos been meditating for over 25 years.

What is it? This component of numerous meditation traditions slows the walking process with the intention of bringing into awareness its most basic partslifting the foot, swinging it, placing it downin order to bring a greater consciousness to daily life. When we break down the motion of walking, we realize how each action is actually a collection of sub-actions, and how the mind and body work together to create physical movement. This is not walking for transportation, its walking as a tool for developing mindfulness in the present moment, says LeMunyon.
You can practice walking meditation by itself, or combine it with one of the seated styles. Used as an interlude, the walking technique is a good way to embody the insights gained during seated practice and heighten their relevance to daily life.
Walking meditation shows clearly the Buddhist precept that all action is preceded by intention, says LeMunyon. Theres always an intention, and when we are present to the moment there is always a choice. Its at the level of intention that we make our choices of how skillfully we want to live our lives.

Whats it good for? When you find yourself restless or agitated, a physical practice like walking is a great way to quiet the mind and find grounding in the body. It can also help ease the transition from sitting meditation to the motion of real life, and vice versa.

How long does it take? To begin, try walking for about 15 steps in two directions, about five minutes. Beginners can try interspersing this with five minutes of sitting meditation.

mindfulness walking

mindfulness walking

How Do I Do It?
1. Find a private place indoors or out with level ground and at least 20 feet of space.

2. Stand in a relaxed position with your feet parallel, shoulders loose, arms draped at your sides or clasped lightly in front of or behind you. Focus your eyes softly on the ground about 6 to 8 feet ahead (looking right at your feet can be distracting).

3. Breathe in again as you lift the heel of your right foot. Pause and breathe out, leaving your toes resting on the ground.

4. Breathe in as you slowly swing your right foot forward. Place the heel of your right foot on the ground as you exhale and roll the rest of the foot down, transfering your weight so its balanced equally between both feet. Pause for a full breath.

5. Repeat with your left foot, matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation, and continue for about 15 steps. The goal is to keep your mind fully focused on your bodily sensations; it may help to think or softly say, lift, pause, swing, place, transfer, pause as you perform these movements.

6. When youve completed your paces in one direction, come to a stop with your feet parallel, and pause for a few breaths. Then turn slowly, using the same movement pattern, and match each movement of your turn with an inhale or exhale. Pause again, facing the path you just walked. End by retracing your steps back to where you started.

Tip: You may feel self-conscious walking this way, so try it in your hall or backyard rather than a park where onlookers may distract you.

adapted from Natural Health Magazine, By Frances Lefkowitz

Zen Chime Clock, Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock for A Progressive Awakening

Zen Chime Clock, Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock for A Progressive Awakening

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Boulder, CO  80302

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Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice


Take Time to Be a Mindful Eater

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
 
 

mindful eating

mindful eating

Conscious eating

Just as you bring mindfulness to your yoga practice, you can be mindful at mealtime. Yoga philosophy and all of the world’s healthiest diets recommend a conscious eating practice for optimal health. Mediterranean cultures traditionally regard meals as experiences to be savored and a life pleasure meant to be enjoyed. Asian cultures consider eating an aesthetic experience and reverentially enjoy beautifully prepared and presented foods that nourish the senses—to see, smell, touch, taste, and observe any sounds—while slowly eating the meal.

The Slow Food movement is reviving and sharing the benefits of conscious eating and the enjoyment of wholesome foods. Slow Food USA, part of the international Slow Food movement, is dedicated to supporting local farmers, the production of regional foods, and small producers. The movement promotes a slower lifestyle that cultivates time for conscious food preparation and eating, and opposes the fast life exemplified by corporatized foods and degradation of farmland.

conscious eating, a mindfulness practice

conscious eating, a mindfulness practice

Eat Here Now

How can you incorporate mealtime mindfulness into your own life? Try the following essential components of a conscious-eating practice.

1. Schedule time for meals. Allocate at least twenty minutes each for meals and/or enough time to truly experience the food you eat. Avoid overeating. Set your Zen Timer for at least 20 minutes.

2. Eliminate distractions during meals. Eat slowly in a calm, quiet environment without a blaring television, loud music, or your computer as an accompaniment. The experience of the meal should be the focus of your attention and entertainment.

3. Enjoy conscious eating. Practice a state of awareness while you eat. Savor the appearance, smell, and taste of your food, so you can be truly satisfied. Chew each bite twenty times, which will help digestion and keep your attention in the moment. Enjoy the rasa, or “juice” of the food, through our senses.

4. Practice snacking awareness. Avoid mindless snacking, eating while you’re talking, and snacking just because food is present.

5. Use tasteful presentation. Small portions beautifully arranged on an attractive plate nourish the senses and encourage you to savor each bite.

6. Practice cooking meditation. Feed your soul by incorporating mindfulness as you cook. Allow cooking to express your love and be the ultimate gift to others, as the food we eat literally becomes a part of us physically, mentally, and spiritually, in our cells, skin, bones, and thoughts.

7. Count your blessings. Before your meal, experience a moment of thankfulness for having food.

adapted from Natural Home Magazine, November/December 2005 by Elaine Gavalas

Bamboo Zen Timers with Chime

Bamboo Zen Timers with Chime

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Boulder, CO  80302

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Posted in Beauty, Chime Alarm Clocks, Meditation Timers, Well-being, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice


Mind-Body Balancing Practice – Set Your Meditation Timer with Chime

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Body and soul in balance

Body and soul in balance

An imbalance in your mental energy can leave you unable to focus. Break the pattern, and you’ll effectively return to the present moment — and the task at hand. “I call it changing your state,” says Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D., psychologist, attention expert, and author ofFind Your Focus Zone.”

One of Palladino’s tried-and-true balancing practices is four-corner breathing, which combines the use of an outer focal point (a window, a picture frame) with deep, rhythmic breaths. Try this meditation to jolt yourself into high gear or settle a skittish mind. It lowers adrenaline, restores balance, and resets your attention, helping you focus.

Four-Corner Breathing How-To
1. Find an object nearby that has four corners — a box, your monitor, or even this page.

2. Start at the upper-left-hand corner and inhale for 4 counts.

3. Turn your gaze to the upper-right-hand corner and hold your breath for 4 counts.

4. Move to the lower-right-hand corner. Exhale for 4.

5. Now shift your attention to the lower-left-hand corner. Tell yourself to relax and smile. Repeat 3 to 5 times, or as often as you like.

adapted from Body + Soul Magazine, June 2008 by Jill Russell

Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga & Meditation Timer.  It features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings your meditation or yoga session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal. Our Yoga Timer & Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation or yoga session or periodically throughout the session as a kind of sonic yantra. The beauty and functionality of the Zen Clock/Timer makes it a meditation tool that can actually help you “make time” for meditation in your life. Bring yourself back to balance.

Zen Timepiece with brass bowl, a perfect meditation timer with gentle gong

Zen Timepiece with brass bowl, a perfect meditation timer with gentle gong

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Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Well-being, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice


Setting Your Zen Alarm Clock as Part of your Evening Ritual

Monday, November 1st, 2010
Set your Zen Alarm Clock at Night

Set your Zen Alarm Clock at Night

Today, in our too-fast, information-overloaded society, we’ve lost much of our connection to the Earth, to spirit, to nature’s cycles, to our own cycles. And yet, we still need things to feed us, to ground us, to give us courage and connection.
Good rituals are essential to our emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. To help reconnect us to the sacred aspects of our lives, we asked an expert to share everyday rituals that they’ve created or practice.
Sleep Practice

Bedtime is when we drop our defenses and become vulnerable. This is why most religions have a tradition of bedtime prayers, says Alexander. Today, she believes, most insomnia and disturbed nights are caused by overactive minds mulling over the day’s problems.
chime alarm clock  for a peaceful sleep

chime alarm clock for a peaceful sleep

Intention

To mark the break from day to night and ease into a state of physical and mental relaxation.

Materials

Lavender oil, notebook, and writing utensil.

Steps

1. Change (or bathe) with intention. As you take off your clothes, visualize all your daytime anxieties and concerns dropping away. As you wash, imagine that you cleanse away all the negativity of the day.

2. Write down all the positive things that happened during your day.

3. Dab the Lavender oil on a handkerchief and place it near the bed. Lie down, breathe in the soothing scent of the oil, and cast your mind back over the day without judgment.

4. Set your Zen Alarm Clock to the time you need to wake up in the morning right before you go to bed. Use your Zen alarm clock to not only wake you up gradually in the morning, but as a blocker of all negativity. When your alarm clock is set, don’t think about your problems or agenda for tomorrow; instead concentrate on your breathing so you fall asleep peacefully.

Now & Zen Alarm Clocks has adapted this from Body + Soul Magazine

Chime Alarm Clock For a Progressive Awakening

Chime Alarm Clock For a Progressive Awakening

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, Sleep Habits, Well-being, intention, mindfulness practice, sleep, wake up alarm clock