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Buddhist Alarm Clock

Monday, January 28th, 2013
zen appreciation

zen appreciation

If you have been browsing on-line you may have seen a Google Ad-words for the search term “Buddhist alarm clock” that leads to our website www.Now-Zen.com.

“Buddhist Alarm Clock” is not a product name or search term we created, but instead one that people have been using on their own.  We are the makers of the world famous “Zen Alarm Clock” and although we are using the word “Zen” as part of our trademark, we are not trying to associate directly with Buddhism or any other organized religion. We have no control over “Buddhist Alarm Clock” being used by Google.

The founders of our company have great respect for the spiritual teachings and the aesthetic achievements of Buddhism, but we also respect and appreciate a wide variety of other spiritual paths as well. Zen is the name of an ancient form of Japanese Buddhism, but ever since Robert Pirsig’s famous book, Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was published in 1974, the word “Zen” has come to have a larger meaning within American popular culture. Zen also connotes a sort of nondenominational metaphysical quality that transcends any particular spiritual forms or teachings. The word evokes the image of a beautiful rock garden or a weather beaten pine tree on a windswept mountainside.

The timeless aesthetics of Zen Buddhism did provide inspiration for our Zen Alarm Clock, but the design also arose from other influences, such as the sublime patterns of sacred geometry.  We thus use the word “Zen” in the name of our product as a kind of lighthearted tribute to progressive spiritual culture.  But, as we have been careful to explain over the 15 years we have been in business, we make products for both spiritual and non-spiritual people and we are not directly associated with Buddhism or any other specific form of spirituality.

Our motto is “quality of thought, stillness of being” and we hope that this is the kind of spiritual message that everyone can appreciate.

We apologize any confusion that the Ad-words search term “Buddhist Alarm Clock” may have caused. If you continue to have any questions at all, please contact us or visit www.now-zen.com for more information.

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, zen


Aromatherapy and Pure Essential Oils Promotes Sounder Sleep

Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Sleep sounder

Sleep sounder with pure essential oils

Studies indicate that certain aromas may promote sounder sleep, enhance dreaming, and improve awareness and receptivity the following day. EEG (electroencelphalogram) tests at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Center in Chicago indicate that lavender increases alpha wave activity in the posterior portion of the brain and helps induce sleep. “Alpha wave activity increases when you are relaxed,” says Alana Hirsch, M.D., medical director at the Center. “Put a few drops of lavender pure essential oils on your pillowcase before going to bed,” Hirsch recommends. Studies also show that vanilla helps people fall asleep quicker and promotes faster movement into the REM or dream state, he adds. In addition, research at the Society of Psychophysiological Research found that sleepers in jasmine-scented rooms enjoyed better quality sleep and morning-after alertness than those that slept in a non-scented room. To start sleeping sounder, purchase organic vanilla essential oil at your local natural food store or online at http://homespaorganics.com; pure essential oils of lavender and jasmine are also available at natural food stores and at www.aveda.com.  Sweet dreams…
adapted from Healing Lifestyles & Spas, Kyle Roderick, Sept./Oct. 2005
Bamboo Zen Alarm Clock with Chime

Bamboo Zen Alarm Clock with Chime

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Sleep Habits, Well-being


Compassionate Listening Practice by Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Sousaku Hanga woodblock print by Yoshida Toshi, ca. 1970

Sousaku Hanga woodblock print by Yoshida Toshi, ca. 1970

Compassionate Listening Practice by Thich Nhat Hanh

When we speak of listening with compassion, we usually think of listening to someone else.  But we must also listen to the wounded child inside of us.  The wounded child in us is here in the present moment.  And we can heal him or her right now.

Practice: “My dear little wounded child, I’m here for you, ready to listen to you.  Please tell me all your suffering, all your pain.  I am here, really listening.”  If you know how to go back to her, to him, and listen like that every day for five or 10 minutes, healing will take place. … Do that for a few weeks or a few months, the wounded child in you will be healed.  Mindfulness is the energy that can help us do this.  The Tibetan Bowl Timer will gently bring your practice to an end after 10 minutes.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, from Anger: Wisdom to Cool the Flames

Zen Alarm Clock for a Gentle Awakening with a Bowl Gong and Mindfulness Timer

Zen Alarm Clock for a Gentle Awakening with a Bowl Gong and Mindfulness Timer

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Progressive Awakening, Yoga Timer, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers


Silence, Listening Can Be the Best Medicine – Choose a Soothing Chime Alarm Clock

Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Kiyonaga Torii, Beauties Listening to Bonsai Vendor Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print

Kiyonaga Torii, Beauties Listening to Bonsai Vendor Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print

How can we save the world from growing intolerance, how can we stop the spiral of violence? ‘ Silence is often the best answer,’ says the Dalai Lama.  More and more experts are admitting he is right.  This is not the time for analyses, reports and threats.  We now need to stop and take the time to really listen to one another.  Of course, listening is not always easy, but a growing number of initiatives are aiming to help people master this difficult art. The International Listening Association declared March to be International Awareness Month.

As part of their campaign they gave tips on how to listen.  ‘Count to three when the person you are speaking with has finished talking.  That person will often take this to be a signal to go on talking. You will be surprised at how much extra information you get.  If you are interrupted, do not get irritated, do not attack and do not lecture, but simply say: “Please listen for a moment, I am not finished yet.”

The American psychologist Michael Kahn wrote a book that includes the topic of  listening:  The Tao of Conversation (Rainbow Pockets, 1998).  He describes people entering a conversation with the intention of winning, people that only feel better if the other person feels worse.  ‘We so badly want to be heard and confirmed that we think it is worth having an argument. ‘ The listener is the one who is catching his breath after having presented his view.

Peonies, c. 1900 unknown

Peonies, c. 1900 unknown

Kahn explains what a relief it was when he discovered a conversation does not have to be a contest.  Like the Tao, it can flow calmly and peacefully and still be very powerful.  Kahn’s tip: ‘Engage in a conversation as if you were making love to someone.  Your good mood depends on how good the other feels.  Or is your idea of a conversation a jam session, where musicians listen to each other and are inspired by each other?  Ask yourself:  Do I want to learn or do I want to win?’

Listening, true listening, heals. This was beautifully described years ago in Michael Ende’s classic Momo and the time savers.  Because she is the only one in a hurried world who has time to really listen, the little vagabond girl Momo steals the hearts of all.  Even children – taking after their parents – have less and less time for stories and games. In the end, Momo saves the city from the gloomy oppression of the grey men who are stealing everybody’s time. Listening as the solution to the world’s problems seems so simple, but in practice turns out to an enormous challenge.  It is time we learned that history only repeats itself because nobody was listening the first time.

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple

Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple

adapted from Ode Magazine, April 2003 by Tijn Touber

Now & Zen’s Soothing Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Goodness, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Progressive Awakening, Truth, Well-being


wabi-sabi, a mindful approach to everyday life…

Friday, January 18th, 2013
the beauty of imperfection

the beauty of imperfection

Wabi and sabi refers to a mindful approach to everyday life.  Over time their meanings overlapped and converged until they are unified into Wabi-sabi, the aesthetic defined as the beauty of things “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

Things in bud, or things in decay, as it were, are more evocative of wabi-sabi than things in full bloom because they suggest the transience of things.  As things come and go, they show signs of their coming or going and these signs are considered to be beautiful.

In this, beauty is an altered state of consciousness and can be seen in the mundane and simple.  The signatures of nature can be so subtle that it takes a quiet mind and a cultivated eye to discern them. In Zen philosophy there are seven aesthetic principles for achieving Wabi-Sabi.

Fukinsei: asymmetry, irregularity

Kanso: simplicity

Koko: basic, weathered

Shizen: without pretense, natural

Yugen: subtly profound grace, not obvious

Datsuzoku: unbounded by convention, free

Seijaku: tranquility

Each of these things are found in nature but can suggest virtues of human character and appropriateness of behaviour. This, in turn suggests that virtue and civility can be instilled through an appreciation of, and practice in, the arts.  Hence, aesthetic ideals have an ethical connotation and pervades much of the Japanese culture.

adapted from wikipedia.org

Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Zen Alarm Clock, Ukiyo-e Hokusai Wave Dial Face

Now & Zen Headquarter Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, wabi-sabi


garden-making is high art

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Ryoan-ji - dry zen garden

Stone garden in the karesansui style at Ryōan-ji.

Karesansui Gardens or “dry landscape” gardens were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation.

In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, intimately related to the linked arts of calligraphy and ink painting.

Ryōan-ji

Ryōan-ji

Unlike other traditional gardens, there is no water present in Karesansui gardens.  However, there is raked gravel or sand that simulates the feeling of water.

The rocks/gravel used are chosen for their artistic shapes, and mosses as well as small shrubs are used to further garnish the Karesansui style (Japanese Lifestyle).

All in all, the rocks and moss are used to represent ponds, islands, boats, seas, rivers, and mountains in an abstract way.  Ryoan-ji, temple in Kyoto, has a garden famous for representing this style.  Daisen-in, created in 1513, is also particularly renowned.

adapted from wikipedia.org

Zen Clocks by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Zen Clocks by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Zen Clocks and Dream Recall, Zen Timers


Choose a Gong Timer – Are You Ready to Meditate?

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
Buddha

Buddha

Meditation can be challenging. Even after you’ve had a taste of its benefits and long for those sweet moments of inner calm, clarity, and deep connection, it can be hard to just sit. If you’re like most people, you may find that one day your mind is speeding into the future, your body feels agitated, and you can’t sit still, while the next day you’re so lethargic that you can hardly stay awake. Don’t be discouraged. Resting with ease in meditation doesn’t magically happen. But there is a path to help you get there: Through your breath, you can tap into the flow ofprana (life force) to increase, decrease, or focus your energy, bringing you into a state of balance and making it easier to sit with relaxed attention in meditation.

Prana flows along energy channels in the body called nadis.The three main nadis are the sushumna, the central channel along the spine through whichkundalini, your spiritual energy, ascends; and the ida and pingala, which start on either side of the sushumna and spiral upward in a double-helix pattern around it.

Prana moves with breath and mind (which includes your thoughts, mental images, and emotions). A change in one affects the other. Through the breath, you can open, regulate, and direct the flow of prana, which, in turn, will stabilize the mind and body for meditation.

Depending on your mood and energy level, one of the following asana and pranayama practices can help you move from agitation to relaxation, from lethargy to lightness, from fragmentation to integration—so that you might ease gently into meditation. (To find a variety of meditation practices, click here.) The emphasis in each of the following practices is on linking slow, mindful movements with the breath and creating dynamic, flowing transitions to integrate mind and body. Each series is repeated several times, during which the length of the exhalation and inhalation—and the pauses in between—change progressively.

Sometimes you need to wake up, and sometimes you need to calm down. Often you need a combination of awakening, calming, and focusing energies. But to understand your needs, it’s essential to spend some time discovering what state your energy is in.

Meditation - Choose a Gentle Tibetan Bell-like Gong for a Timer

Meditation - Choose a Gentle Tibetan Bell-like Gong for a Timer

How Do You Feel?

Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended. Fill your body with awareness, as if you were filling a glass with water. Notice how your body responds. Does it begin to release and relax, or is there resistance? Close your eyes and feel the weight of your skull and pelvis, the contact of your back on the floor. Are there places that pull away from the floor and areas that are more in contact?

Then mentally scan your body one area at a time. Begin with your toes and travel up to your legs, pelvis, spine, lower and upper back, and shoulders, then down your arms and hands, and back up your arms to your neck and head. Are there areas of discomfort, places that feel stiff or more spacious, or parts that feel warm, cold, or numb? Some areas of holding are so habitual that we skip over them without noticing; let your attention gently tap into those places. As you scan your body, see whether a running commentary is going on in your head. Try not to judge or analyze what you discover. Instead, simply notice what is present. Now bring your focus to the central column of your spine. Imagine a wide river from the base of your spine to the base of your skull. Does the river flow freely? Are there areas where it’s blocked, narrowed, or stagnated?

Meditation for Relaxation

Meditation for Relaxation

Next, bring your awareness to your entire body at once. Notice if there are any strong sensations remaining, areas of the body calling for attention. Now allow your mind to draw into the breath. Notice the quality, texture, and rhythm of your breathing. Is it short and choppy, long and smooth, or somewhere in between? Do you tend to hold your breath after breathing in or out? Notice the relationship between your breath, body, and thoughts.

Now check out the flow of thoughts moving through your mind. Do you have a perpetual to-do list? Are you rehashing some conversation or planning the future? Are you spacing out, or do you feel sharp and clear? Try not to make judgments—simply observe. As certain thoughts come, is there a physical response in your body or your breath?

Next, place one hand on your heart. Take a moment to feel the beating of your physical heart, your chest rising and falling with your breath. Let your awareness settle into its rhythm, then drop your attention in a little deeper, sensing the emotional heart. Is there sadness, joy, or anxiety? Don’t go deeply into any one feeling; just get a sense of the overall tone that is present at this moment. Make note of the relationship between your emotional state and your breath, between your feelings and your physical body.

Finally, feel all of these dimensions at once: physical, energetic, mental, and emotional. Notice the part of you that is observing—your unchanging awareness. Now rest in this spacious awareness.

Remember, your observations may change from day to day, depending on the hour, your schedule, and all of the other variables that affect your energy and mood. If you observed that your breathing was labored, your mind dull, and your heart heavy, try an energizing practice. Was your breathing rapid, your mind racing, and your body tense? Then a calming practice might be most appropriate. Feeling scattered and disoriented? A focusing practice can help you come into balance. Listen to your mind, body, and heart for guidance about a movement practice that can bring you into balance, ready to sit and draw your attention inward.

Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga and 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.

adapted from YogaJournal.com by Janice Gates

Gong Timer for Meditation

Gong Timer for Meditation

Now & Zen’s Gong Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening


Get a Better Night’s Sleep by Following Your Own Rituals for Relaxing – Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
KOITSU -- Full Moon at Akashi Beach - Choose an Alternative to a Snooze Button Alarm Clock

KOITSU -- Full Moon at Akashi Beach - Choose an Alternative to a Snooze Button Alarm Clock

Kick your insomnia for good by creating a simple and restful nighttime routine.

Whether it’s yoga to reduce muscle tension, breathing to slow the heart rate, or an herbal massage to calm a racing mind, a simple routine can be the most effective and safest road to a better night’s sleep. There is growing evidence that small behavioral changes can make a big difference in getting some good shuteye. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that participants who made modifications like reducing stimuli in the bedroom and learning relaxation techniques improved their sleep more than those who took drugs.

The first step to feeling well rested is to institute a regular bedtime. Maintaining consistency will help keep your circadian rhythms—the biological changes that happen every 24 hours—steady. Eventually, your body will naturally understand and crave sleep during these hours.

The next step is to create some space between your busy day and sleep time. “You can’t just work until 9 at night, and then stick your head on the pillow and fall asleep,” Khalsa says. So turn off the television, computer, and radio. Cut down on or eliminate evening classes and exercise that leaves you feeling amped up. When you come home, honor this transition by playing relaxing music, lighting candles, or putting on your favorite pajamas. Think of the yoga precept ofpratyahara: Withdraw your senses in order to turn inward.

Once you’ve chosen your specific nighttime ritual, repeat it every night to cue your body that it’s time for sleep. Khalsa says that after a few weeks of practice, your sleep will improve. “These things don’t work instantly, but over time you normalize arousal and sleep starts to get better.” And as opposed to suffering from side effects such as headaches, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, and long-term dependence on drugs, you’ll feel better overall, instead of worse, with your nighttime routine. “It improves individuals on a holistic level, and other problems that they might have had also might start to dissipate,” says Khalsa. Now that sounds like a side effect we can all live with.

Chime Alarm Clocks for a Progressive, Peaceful Awakening

Chime Alarm Clocks for a Progressive, Peaceful Awakening

Waking up in the morning should be as pleasant as falling asleep at night. The Zen Alarm Clock’s gradual, gentle awakening is transformative.

Boulder, Colorado—an innovative company has taken one of life’s most unpleasant experiences (being startled awake by your alarm clock early Monday morning), and transformed it into something to actually look forward to. “The Zen Alarm Clock,” uses soothing acoustic chimes that awaken users gently and gradually, making waking up a real pleasure.  Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime.  When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong.  Then, as the ring tone gradually fades away, the clock remains silent until it automatically strikes again three minutes later.  The frequency of the chime strikes gradually increase over ten-minutes, eventually striking every five seconds, so they are guaranteed to wake up even the heaviest sleeper.  This gentle, ten-minute “progressive awakening” leaves users feeling less groggy, and even helps with dream recall.

adapted from Yoga Journal by Nora Isaacs

Zen Clocks for a Progressive Awakening

Zen Clocks for a Progressive Awakening

Now & Zen’s Chime Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Natural Awakening, sleep, Sleep Habits


Stress Out by the Holidays?…Slow Down…Use Your Soothing Chime Timer & Clock

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Research published in the last two years shows that certain slow activities–like gentle yoga or gardening–can reduce your stress level and blood pressure and improve your body’s ability to regulate sugar. Past studies have shown that other habits like meditation can help reduce chronic pain and enhance mental clarity. The first step to finding “slowness”is to clear some room in your life–watch less TV or spend less time browsing at the mall. “Jettison the clutter that clogs up your schedule,” says Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness (HarperOne, 2004). “When you focus on the things that are important at work or at home you can enjoy those things more,”he says. You can also take a more relaxed approach to the things you already do and adopt new habits that require mindfulness. “It’s one thing to say you’re going to slow down, but a slow hobby helps you put those words into practice,” says Honoré. To get you started we’ve come up with seven ways to destress and reenergize.

gardening is a great mindfulness practice that cultivates stillness of mind

gardening is a great mindfulness practice that cultivates stillness of mind

1. Become a Gardener
Caring for flowering plants may help you relax and get grounded. In 2004, researchers at Japan’s Utsunomiya University found repotting plants lowered fatigue and promoted physiological relaxation in study participants, and that working with flowers seemed to have a stronger positive effect than working with nonflowering plants.
HEALTH BENEFITS Research shows that exposure to plants–and even just looking at them–can reduce blood pressure, increase concentration and productivity, and help you recover from illness, says Andy Kaufman, Ph.D., assistant professor of tropical plant and soil sciences at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He cites a classic 1984 study, published in Science, which showed that even the view of a green garden helped surgical patients recovering from gall bladder surgery. Among a group of 46 patients in a Pennsylvania hospital, the 23 who had rooms with windows facing greenery had shorter postoperative stays and needed fewer pain–relieving analgesics than the 23 whose windows faced a brick wall.
GETTING STARTED If you live in an apartment or don’t have much room to garden, invest in the EarthBox (earthbox.com), a self–watering container garden that comes with potting soil and fertilizer. “Even if you have a brown thumb, you can grow things [in it],”says David Ellis, American Horticulture Society spokesperson. You could also join a community garden; visit ahs.org, the American Horticulture Society’s website, for more info.

yoga helps to slow us down

yoga helps to slow us down

2. Practice Slow Yoga
Slow yoga emphasizes one drawn–out breath for each movement you make. Like tai chi, it uses many repetitive flowing moves. “When you practice slow yoga, you create more awareness between mind and body,”says Beth Shaw, founder of Yoga Fit Training Systems in Los Angeles. This creates a deep sense of stillness and helps develop patience and lower stress, she adds.
HEALTH BENEFITS Last year, researchers in Sweden and India showed that practicing yoga can reverse the negative effects of high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood sugar. The studies, published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, showed reduced waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides (the chemical form of fat cells) and higher HDL (so–called good cholesterol) levels in a control group that practiced yoga versus a placebo group.
GETTING STARTED To find a Slow Yoga class near you visit yogafit.com or inquire at your local yoga studio. You might also consider restorative or yin yoga, two other gentle forms of the practice.

Take a nap

Take a nap

3. Take a Nap
You snooze, you win, according to a Harvard study published last year in The Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers revealed that people who regularly napped at least three times a week for an average of 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower risk of heart attack than those who didn’t nap. “It shows that napping is an important preventive strategy just like regular exercise, eating right, and not smoking,”says Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D., author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life (Workman, 2006).
HEALTH BENEFITS A daily nap also boosts serotonin, says Mednick, which may lead to improved memory and performance. Napping can even contribute to weight loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism in 2007. That study looked at hormone levels in 41 men and women who were part of a seven–day sleep–deprivation experiment. Those allowed to nap for two hours following a night without any sleep showed a significant drop in cortisol, a hormone related to high levels of stress, and a complement of growth hormone, which helps regulate insulin and fat storage. Researchers concluded that a midafternoon nap improves alertness and performance and reverses the negative metabolic effects of sleep loss.

GETTING STARTED The best time to nap is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., but a 15– to 20–minute power nap at any time can help. Set your Zen Alarm Clock for 20 minutes. Close the office door and take a snooze, or find a quiet place where you feel safe. Nap on weekends, Mednick says. “Just don’t use the weekend to catch up on sleep lost in the week.”Check with your doctor about napping if you’re being treated for insomnia.


4. Start a Slow Hobby

learning to paint

learning to paint

Hobbies that require mindful, solitary activity–such as knitting, painting, sculpting, crocheting, or quilting–can act as a brake on your hectic pace.
HEALTH BENEFITS “Slow hobbies help you cultivate the lost art of concentration and being in the moment. They have a meditative quality to them,”says author Carl Honorè. “And that calming effect goes beyond the act itself. Maintaining that inner stillness enables you to negotiate the fast–moving waters of the rest of your day.”
GETTING STARTED Sixty–four percent of people who knit or crochet say they use these crafts to help them reduce stress and relax, according to the Craft Yarn Council of America. Visit craftyarncouncil.com for information. To learn about drawing, visit drawspace.com. Check with a local college or community center for other craft classes.

5. Eat Slowly
Eating too fast creates stress in the body, says nutritionist Marc David, author of The Slow Down Diet (Healing Arts Press, 2005). That causes a spike in cortisol and insulin, which in turn diminishes your ability to burn calories and makes you more likely to gain weight. Eating quickly also leads to overeating. “The brain demands more food if it doesn’t have time to register its needs for taste, aroma, and satisfaction,”says David.
HEALTH BENEFITS Taking time to eat creates a relaxation response, which means you’ll have fewer digestive complaints and your body will be able to take in the nutrients it needs. Plus “we make better food choices, and we know when to stop,”he adds.

GETTING STARTED To ease the pace, double the time you spend on your meals; for example, if you usually eat breakfast in five minutes, stretch it out to ten. “Focus on your food: Taste it, enjoy it, notice it, savor it,”says David. “Find relaxed time between bites by slowing down your internal conversation. Let go of any sense of urgency, and allow the moment to be sensual.”The cooking process can help you slow down too, says David. “Instead of microwaving something, make a soup from scratch.”

6. Do One Thing at a Time
A lot of us believe we get more done by multitasking. But research at the University of Michigan published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2001, shows the opposite is true. “If you concentrate on one task at a time, you get more done faster and make fewer mistakes,” says David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition, and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan.
HEALTH BENEFITS Taking on chores one at a time reduces chronic stress and protects your short–term memory, which comes under fire if the brain is overtaxed.
GETTING STARTED To curb outside distractions and focus better, set aside time when you can concentrate on one activity from start to finish. For example, check e–mail once an hour and turn off your instant messaging; let your phone messages go to voice mail and only check them occasionally throughout the day.

practice meditation in order to slow down

practice meditation in order to slow down

7. Meditate
“Meditation teaches us to focus,”says Steven Hartman, director of professional training at the Kripalu Health and Yoga Center (kripalu.org) in Stockbridge, Mass. “All day your mind is chattering. When you meditate, you can hear your own inner wisdom.”
HEALTH BENEFITS Studies have shown that practicing meditation also improves blood pressure, fortifies the immune system, and promotes a sense of well–being. “A daily meditation practice can bring body, breath, mind, and spirit into balance,”says Hartman.
GETTING STARTED Check out a program like Transcendental Meditation. (See tm.org.) Or begin at home: “Put an egg timer on and stay with your breath for just two and a half minutes,”says Hartman. “Keep your spine tall and straight and allow the breath to be natural.”If you’re seated on the floor, a cushion can raise your pelvis and bring your spine into a natural position. As you get comfortable with the practice, you can increase your time to 15 or 30 minutes a day.

adapted from Natural Health Magazine, by Chrystle Fiedler

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

Zen Meditation Timers with Soothing Chime

Zen Meditation Timers with Soothing Chime

Now & Zen – Soothing Chime Alarm Clock & Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, intention, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, sleep, Sleep Habits, wake up alarm clock, Well-being, yoga, Yoga Timer, Yoga Timers by Now & Zen, Zen Alarm Clock, Zen Timers


Time for a Long Winter’s Nap: How Hibernation Helps You – Use Your Gentle Chime Alarm Clock

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
winter hibernation

winter hibernation

In the depths of winter, do you find yourself wanting to sleep more, eat more and curl up by the fire? We often behave as if seasonal changes are irrelevant to a modern lifestyle. After all, in many ways, civilization is all about overcoming nature. But our bodies are evolutionarily old and remember how weather once dictated behavior. In winter, we hunkered around a fire, repairing tools and telling tales that wove our culture. We packed our bodies close and slept long.

Now we act as if it’s always summer, demanding consistently high productivity at work and at home. But our bodies require cycles of activity and rest—daily, annually. When days are long, our metabolisms and energy levels amp up.  In winter, we produce hormones that make us sleepy, giving us time to restore body, mind and soul.

And there’s nothing wrong with that cycle—except that we work against it, forcing ourselves to operate at summer levels even in winter. No wonder so many people feel depressed at this time of year!

How SAD is that?

You’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. You might even suffer from it—as many as half a million U.S. citizens do, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The fact that most clinicians address the issue via technology (daily exposure to high-intensity electric light) and/or medication provides an interesting perspective on our time. But some have noted that SAD’s symptoms have more in common with hibernation than with clinical depression.

Could SAD be a result of modern living’s demand to move at top speed all day, every day—and mostly indoors, disconnected from the sun’s cycles? Could we give in to a bit of hibernation?

Time for Winter's Nap

Time for Winter's Nap

Oh, to hibernate!

Hibernation is a survival strategy some animals use to get through foodless winters. Though humans don’t hibernate, some cultures have come close.

In 1900, the British Medical Association published a description of winters among Russian peasants. For centuries, they survived scant winter food by engaging in lotska—sleeping the whole season away. “At the first fall of snow the whole family gathers round the stove, lies down, ceases to wrestle with the problems of human existence and quietly goes to sleep.”

The peasants woke daily to eat some bread and drink some water and then dropped off again, taking turns keeping the fire going. After six months, “the family wakes up, shakes itself, goes out to see if the grass is growing, and by-and-by sets to work at summer tasks,” the article states.

In a 2007 New York Times editorial, historian Graham Robb similarly described rural 19th-century France:

Economists and bureaucrats who ventured out into the countryside after the Revolution were horrified to find that the work force disappeared between fall and spring…Villages and even small towns were silent, with barely a column of smoke to reveal a human presence.  As soon as the weather turned cold, people all over France shut themselves away and practiced the forgotten art of doing nothing at all for months on end.

slowing down

slowing down

Dreaming of a better world

What if we indulged our inclination to slow down in winter? We’d sleep more and demand less from ourselves.  We’d be more inward and reflective.  I once met an artist who had mastered this. Perusing her work, I asked how she stayed creative as a painter, writer, weaver and sculptor. Her answer:

She changes media each season. In summer she’s out on her deck chiseling a sculpture. In fall, she is reflective and poetic. In winter, she works with warm fiber at her loom. And as spring beckons her outdoors, she sets up her easel in the meadow. Should our lives be any less a work of seasonal art?

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

Adapted from Natural Home Magazine, January/February 2009 by Carol Veniola

Zen Alarm Clock

Zen Alarm Clock

Now & Zen – Natural Chime Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, sleep, Sleep Habits, wake up alarm clock, Well-being


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