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Mindful Walking, a Spiritual Practice

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
mindful walking

mindful walking

When you apply a few simple techniques, you can turn your daily walk into a rewarding practice.

What is mindful walking? It’s a technique that uses awareness of the mind/body connection to improve the quality of your walking experience on all levels. By approaching a walk in a mindful way, you make it a practice like yoga, meditation, or tai chi; every session brings new insights and challenges. As in yoga, you think about your body position, breathing, movements, and awareness, turning inward and outward at the same time. You’re working to get fit, and to improve your life as a whole. Treat walking as a practice, and it will become not only something you do with your legs but also a way to bring your mind, body, and spirit into balance.

Five Steps to Make Walking a Mindful Practice

Identify your intention. The key to any mindful activity, intention provides focus and motivation, elevating your practice from routine to ritual. What is your intention? To walk for an hour every day? To develop a sense of centeredness and calm? To reduce stress? Your goals and intentions will evolve as you evolve. Let them, as long as they keep you in line with your higher sense of purpose — and keep you moving forward.

Be consistent. A true practice requires ongoing attention. Of course, it’s natural to feel resistant at times, no matter what kind of activity you do. Your mind will create a thousand excuses not to walk today. Don’t let these passing thoughts distract you from your deeper intention. Get moving; start walking around your office or home, or wherever you are. You can quiet the mind by moving your body and get yourself back on track.

train your mind to focus

train your mind to focus

Train your mind to focus. The mind loves — and craves — engagement. Without something to focus on, it will tend to wander, taking your practice with it. By learning to focus, you will be able to walk more efficiently.

Listen to your body. As with any relationship, the connection between mind and body depends on how well one listens to the other. Our tendency is to try to rule the body with the brain; however, they are more like equal partners, offering feedback and direction as you go. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you by noticing any sensations that come up while you’re walking. You may feel energized as your leg muscles engage or relaxed as your breathing deepens. If you detect any complaint from your body, such as pain or discomfort, identify the source. Then make small adjustments in your technique and see whether the sensation lessens.

Embrace the process. Goals provide a greater context for your practice. But building patient awareness of the process is even more important. Sometimes walking will feel easy and rewarding; other times, more like a chore. As part of a mindful practice, you accept the challenge as part of the process and continue to stick with it. My tai chi master sees difficulty as an opportunity — a lesson to be learned. Accepting all of these parts of the process lies at the heart of making walking a mindful exercise.

adapted from Body + Soul Magazine, April/May 2006

Meditation Timer, The Digital Zen Alarm Clock in Solid Walnut

Meditation Timer, The Digital Zen Alarm Clock in Solid Walnut

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO 80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, mindfulness practice, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Uncategorized, Well-being, Zen Timers


Need a Good Night’s Sleep? Turn Off Your Devices and Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012
Wake up refreshed, love your alarm clock, transform your mornings with The Zen Alarm Clock's progressive awakening with gentle chimes.

Wake up refreshed, love your alarm clock, transform your mornings with The Zen Alarm Clock's progressive awakening with gentle chimes.

If you haven’t woke up feeling refreshed in who knows how long, you can blame your gadgets from ruining your slumber.

A new study by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that people are overwhelmingly using technology before sleep, which has proven to disrupt sleeping patterns. Ninety-five percent of the people surveyed admitted to using some sort of device in the hour before sleep – and that doesn’t even count the people woken up by text messages, phone calls or emails during the night.

“Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep,” Doctor Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital explained in the press release.  “This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.”

Wake up with gradual, beautiful acoustic chimes. The Zen Alarm Clock transforms your mornings and gets you started right, with a progressive awakening

Wake up with gradual, beautiful acoustic chimes. The Zen Alarm Clock transforms your mornings and gets you started right, with a progressive awakening


Lack of sleep is a problem for everyone since sleepiness can affect work and school performance, mood, driving habits, sex life and your health. It’s especially bad for the younger generation because they are still developing. Interactive technologies, such as games, surfing the Web and talking on a cell phone can be particularly disruptive because they stimulate the brain and stop you from beginning the sleep onset process.

The study revealed:

– One in ten said they were woken up by a text message or call, with 20 percent of those people saying it happens more than once a week.

– Sixty-seven percent of baby boomers surveyed admitted they watched TV in the hour before bed, with only 49 percent of people aged 19 to 29 tuning in.

– Six out of ten people used their laptop before sleeping at least once a week. Most guilty of this were the 13- to 18-year-olds: 55 percent copped to the deed.

– Only one-third of people 13 to 29 played video games before bed. The number drastically drops in the older age groups.

– The average American copes by taking naps and drinking caffeinated beverages. We’re averaging three 12-ounce caffeinated beverages per weekday. Slightly more than half of the people under 29 said they take at least one nap during the work week or school week, compared to 40 percent of people 30 and 64.

Scientists suggest doing wind down activities before bed, sticking to a strict sleep schedule and exposing yourself to bright light in the morning, but avoiding it at night. Try not to take late night naps or drink caffeinated beverages right before bed. If you’re someone who constantly worries, keep a physical – not on your computer – worry journal that you can jot things down in the middle of the night if you wake up.

And, don’t be afraid to turn off your cell phone: Whatever it is, it can wait until the morning.

adapted from Time.com, by Michelle Castillo

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.

The Zen Alarm Clock transforms mornings, awakening you gradually with a series of gentle acoustic chimes Once you use a Zen Clock nothing else will do

The Zen Alarm Clock transforms mornings, awakening you gradually with a series of gentle acoustic chimes Once you use a Zen Clock nothing else will do

Now & Zen – The Soothing Chime Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


A Place for a Power Nap – Choose the Best Soothing Chime Alarm Clock

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
A Place to Power Nap - Toyokuni Utagawa, Flower Arrangement

A Place to Power Nap - Toyokuni Utagawa, Flower Arrangement

With 510 franchises in the U.S. and abroad, Le Gourmet Gift Basket in Castle Rock, Colo., is the model of an always-on global business. Employees arrive early–5 a.m. isn’t unusual–to deal with clients in other time zones. They have all honed their techniques for avoiding jet lag and fatigue as they travel from the Colorado office to other U.S. locations, like Hawaii, or to Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia to meet with vendors and train new franchisees who sell the company’s high-end gift baskets. But that isn’t enough for CEO Cynthia McKay. She believes that good sleep means good business, and she has made it part of her company’s workplace culture.

In one of two designated sleep areas in Le Gourmet’s offices, employees can nap for 15 or 30 minutes on a foldout couch or single cot. If the alarm clock doesn’t rouse them, McKay will, to make sure they’re getting the short naps she thinks will do the most for productivity. “I consider my staff irreplaceable,” she says, “and I want to keep them off the road if they are not at their best.

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 Time.com by Francine Russo

The Best Soothing Chime Alarm Clocks - Boulder, CO

The Best Soothing Chime Alarm Clocks - Boulder, CO

Now & Zen – The Chime Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


Are Your a Light or Heavy Sleeper – Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock No Matter What…

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Are You a Light or Heavy Sleeper? Ukiyo-e, A Tea Party by Toyokuni II

Are You a Light or Heavy Sleeper? Ukiyo-e, A Tea Party by Toyokuni II

How many times do you wake during the night? Do the slightest disturbances — the sound of a toilet flushing, say, or the TV in the next room — rouse you from sleep, while your partner slumbers soundly through a thunderstorm?

It turns out that some people’s brains are better than others’ at blocking the constant incoming flow of environmental stimuli during sleep, and in a new study, scientists have identified and measured the process. They hope that one day they will be able to manipulate this ability in order to give lighter sleepers a better night’s rest.

Ambient sound is the most common cause of sleep interruption, since even during sleep, the brain must actively receive sensory information. But as it continually monitors stimuli from the environment in order to protect against threats, the brain also actively blockades them to allow body and mind to recharge and rest during sleep. Now, for the first time, sleep researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, led by neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Ellenbogen, have isolated the brain-wave pattern that predicts where an individual’s brain has struck a balance between those demands — a window into how likely noises are to wake people from deep sleep.(See a Q&A on why we can’t sleep at night.)

“People currently working on how noise disrupts sleep typically look at it from two perspectives,” says Ellenbogen. “They look at the source of the sound — so public policies attempt to stop airplanes from flying at certain times or over certain areas — or they address the path of the sound, at things like double-paned windows or earplugs. I’m adding a third perspective — the brain. Because the key part of normal healthy sleep is being able to block the response to sounds.”

Sleep Sounder - Choose A Gentle Wake Up with Progressive Chimes

Sleep Sounder - Choose A Gentle Wake Up with Progressive Chimes

For the three-night study, Ellenbogen’s group invited 12 volunteers who reported being deep and healthy sleepers into a sleep lab with a comfy queen-size bed outfitted with enormous speakers at the headboard. The researchers recorded the participants’ brain waves as they slept normally the first night, and then on subsequent nights as they were bombarded with 14 different noises — from the din of car traffic and the roar of airplane engines to flushing toilets and slamming doors — which were played at progressively louder volumes.

Ellenbogen paid particular attention to the patterns generated by the thalamus, a region deep in the brain that processes incoming visual and auditory stimuli. He found that the number of pulses, known as sleep spindles, generated by this organ and measured by an electroencephalogram, which records electrical activity in the brain, varied among the sleepers. Those with the highest number of spindles were able to sleep through more sounds without waking than those whose brains showed fewer spindles. “We wanted to know, if we counted the spindles the first night, did that predict anything about their subsequent sleep?” says Ellenbogen. “And indeed it did. More spindles meant they were more likely to be protected from sleep disruption.”

Further research is needed to confirm the association, but Ellenbogen is confident that his findings will lead to better sleep for more people. For now, restless sleepers can have their sleep spindles measured by any sleep lab, which can help them determine their sensitivity to sounds. That information can in turn help people insulate themselves from potential disturbances during sleep — by wearing earplugs, for example, or requesting a room far away from the ice machine in a hotel.

In the coming years, Ellenbogen hopes the research will lead to drugs or other interventions that can manipulate the number of sleep spindles and give lighter sleepers a better way to block out disturbing sounds. “The name of the game in sleep is stacking the cards in your favor, and one of those cards is having a quiet environment,” he says. “When it’s not quiet, we need to figure out how to block that sound from getting the brain to cause you to wake. And hopefully brain-based solutions will one day be an option for protecting sleepers from losing sleep every night.”

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 Time.com by Alice Park

Gentle Chime Alarm Clock -- The Zen Clock by Now & Zen, Inc. - Boulder, CO

Gentle Chime Alarm Clock -- The Zen Clock by Now & Zen, Inc. - Boulder, CO

Now & Zen – The Zen Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


Sleep Habits Leave Americans Grouchy – Choose The Peaceful Chime Alarm Clock as an Alternative Clock

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Are You Tired and Grouchy? Sharaku Toshusai, The actor Matsumoto Yonesaburo as Shinobu

Are You Tired and Grouchy? Sharaku Toshusai, The actor Matsumoto Yonesaburo as Shinobu

A new poll on sleep habits suggests that millions of Americans are in a bad mood, short-tempered and prone to overeat because they are tired.

The National Sleep Foundation Poll, released today, finds that people say they’re much or somewhat more likely to make mistakes, get impatient or aggravated when waiting, or get upset with their children or others when they haven’t gotten enough sleep.

One fourth said they were more likely to eat more than usual on days when they didn’t get enough sleep, with slightly more women than men reporting this was common.

The poll establishes a link between how Americans sleep and “their overall behavior, mood and performance,” said Richard Gelula, the foundation’s executive director. “It shows ‘you are how you sleep.’ And it indicates that some of the problems that we face as a society, from road rage to obesity, may be linked to lack of sleep or poor sleep.”

The foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization researches sleep problems. It has conducted a poll on sleep habits each year since 1998, part of a springtime sleep-awareness campaign tied to the return of daylight- savings time, which begins Sunday.

The poll of 1,010 adults, taken between October and early December, found that nearly a quarter felt they weren’t getting the minimum amount of sleep they need to be alert the next day. Thirty-seven percent said they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their activities a few days each month; 16 percent said they experience this level of fatigue at least a few days a week.

Overall, sleep habits have remained fairly steady since the poll began, but the number of people reporting they sleep less than six hours a night both on weekdays and weekends rose slightly last fall, to 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively. On average, people say they are sleeping an average of 6.9 hours on weeknights and 7.5 hours on weekends.

Adults living in the West were more likely to get eight hours or more sleep on a workday than those living in the Midwest, South and Northeast.

Those who got fewer than six hours of sleep on weekdays were twice as likely to describe themselves as stressed or sad.

Sleep habits may contribute to your bad mood

Sleep habits may contribute to your bad mood

And people who reported often being sleepy during the day were considerably more likely than those who were never or rarely sleepy to describe themselves as dissatisfied with life (21 percent versus 7 percent) or angry (12 percent versus 4 percent).

More than half of those surveyed said they experience symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more; 37 percent said they snore frequently and 1 in 10 experiences pauses in breathing while sleeping.

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 SFgate.com, by Lee Bowman, Scripps Howard News Service

The Zen Alarm Clock transforms mornings, awakening you gradually with a series of gentle acoustic chimes Once you use a Zen Clock nothing else will do

The Zen Alarm Clock transforms mornings, awakening you gradually with a series of gentle acoustic chimes Once you use a Zen Clock nothing else will do

Now & Zen – The Zen Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


Snooze Alarm No Answer for Sleep-deprived Americans, Experts Say – Choose a Gradual Chime Alarm Clock with Gentle Sounds

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock - Eisen Keisai, Woman Getting out of a Mosquito Net

Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock - Eisen Keisai, Woman Getting out of a Mosquito Net

When his clock-radio goes off at 7 a.m., David Epstein’s latest wake- up strategy roars into high gear: He stumbles out of bed, walks across the room and pushes the snooze button. Then he climbs back between the sheets.

A few minutes later, his travel clock rings. He presses snooze and rolls over for more sleep — until the alarm on his BlackBerry goes off. Sitting up, he punches keys to reset it for 10 more minutes; then it’s back to the pillow.

The pattern repeats amid a cacophony of assorted rings until his real wake-up time, 8 a.m.

In a nation that clocks around six to seven hours of sleep a night when an average of eight hours is recommended, it is a rare person who wakes up without an alarm. And because it is usually a struggle, pushing “snooze” to delay the day has become as much a part of the wake-up ritual as a cup of coffee.

But is a bumpy arousal for 30, 60 or even 90 minutes a way to recoup much- needed sleep? Or is it a recipe for exhaustion?

Although scientists have not specifically tackled the question, sleep researchers agree that short bouts of sleep are far from ideal. The restorative value of rest is diminished, especially when the increments are short, said Dr. Edward Stepanski, who has studied sleep fragmentation at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. And a teeter-totter effect of dozing and waking causes shifts in the brain-wave patterns.

“Even a subtle noise that doesn’t actually wake you up is disruptive enough to affect the sleep quality,” Stepanski said. “That’s why someone who falls asleep with the TV on may wake up exhausted. So, if a person is rousing themselves enough to reset a clock, there’s likely to be an even more profound effect.”

Banish the Snooze Button -- Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock

Banish the Snooze Button -- Choose a Gentle Chime Alarm Clock

It is an axiom of sleep research that not all sleep is equal. A night’s sleep is divided into five continually shifting stages, defined by types of brain waves that reflect either lighter or deeper sleep. Toward morning, there is an increase in rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, when the muscles are relaxed and dreaming occurs, and recent memories may be consolidated in the brain. Sleep-deprived snooze-button addicts are likely to cut short their quota of REM sleep, impairing their mental functioning during the day.

How tired a person is when the snooze-button frenzy begins is important, experts say. Someone who got a full eight hours of sleep may push the snooze button, but won’t nod off again very easily, Stepanski said. And some people seem to be more tolerant of short-term sleep loss.

But the person who has been getting too little sleep for too long may be a wreck, especially by Friday after racking up a large sleep debt during the week.

To complicate matters, feeling alert is not just a matter of getting the right dose of different kinds of sleep. The body has its own alarm clock, a circadian rhythm in which fluctuations in hormones like cortisol, melatonin, ghrelin and growth hormone regulate sleepiness and alertness, as well as other body functions.

And sleep patterns can run on a schedule different from a person’s body clock. Trying to sneak in more sleep when someone is used to getting up early can cause the body to switch to an alert mode, making any extra sleep light and fragmented, said Dr. Timothy Roehrs, the director of research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

On the other hand, if someone’s body is on a later cycle from habitually staying up late, waking up early is that much harder because the body is not yet pumping out peak levels of cortisol and other hormones that help wake people up.

Still, most hard-working people cope, managing to live in what researchers agree is a perpetual sleep-deprived state.

They mask fatigue by keeping themselves alert with a variety of stimuli, like caffeine, exercise or simply keeping busy. Some people with sleep debts do not consider themselves tired, believing that they are functioning normally, said Dr. David Dinges, chief of the sleep and chronobiology division at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

But evidence is mounting on the behavioral risks of long-term partial sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep day after day takes its toll. And it is not only medical interns and truck drivers doing double shifts who can suffer from serious mistakes at work because of it.

In the August issue of the journal Sleep, Roehrs published one of the first studies to measure the effect of sleepiness on decision making and risk taking.

Roehrs and his colleagues paid sleepy and fully alert subjects to complete a series of computer tasks. At random times, they were given a choice to take their money and stop. Or they could forge ahead with the potential of either earning more money or losing it all if their work was not completed within an unknown remainder of time.

“The alert people were very sensitive to the amount of work necessary to finish and the risk of losing their money if they didn’t,” Roehrs said. “The more work they had, the more apt they were to stop. Without fail, the sleepy people chose to quit when it was optimal to continue, and they gambled losing it all by trying to finish the task for more money even when it was 100 percent likely that they would be unable to finish.”

Numerous studies have documented sleep impairments on memory, reaction time, comprehension and attention. Even emotional states can be affected. One of the first signs of sleep debt is irritability and increased depression, said Dr. Arthur Spielman, a professor of psychology and sleep researcher at City College of New York.

So what is a sleepy person to do? Start paying back sleep debt, for starters, experts say. Turn off David Letterman and get to bed half an hour earlier. Night owls who do not feel sleepy should cut off the stimulation: turn off the lights and television and lie in bed with closed eyes for one minute to unmask their sleepiness, Spielman recommended.

He added that those who still found it hard to get to sleep early at night should wake up early and experience morning light to reset the body clock.

After a couple of weeks, they will feel more tired in the evening and go to sleep earlier, making it easier to get up the next day, he added.

And come morning, setting the clock for only 10 minutes earlier than the optimal wake-up time, allowing for only a single opportunity to press the snooze button, will provide the most restorative period of solid sleep.

Of course, waking at the last possible minute requires a leap of faith.

“I’m not convinced that this would work, because I don’t trust myself to get up,” Epstein admitted. “Besides, I like to ease myself out of bed. When that alarm rings, I would sell my soul for an extra 15 minutes of sleep.

“So, by setting my clocks an hour earlier, I get to wake up and know that I can go back to bed. It feels really good.”

Have no fear – there is an Alternative to the Snooze Button — Choose the built-in Snooze – a Gradual, Soothing Chime Alarm Clock

Now & Zen ® creates natural lifestyle products that make a real difference in people’s lives. The growing preference for natural foods and natural fibers is carried forward by Now & Zen® in the natural acoustic sounds and natural hardwood materials featured in every Now & Zen® product.  With a selection of different styles, these unique alarm clocks wake you gradually and naturally.  A series of acoustic bell-like chimes transforms your daily arrival into a tranquil beginning.  Each timepiece combines beauty and versatility.  These are high quality products that are not only modern and luxurious but are also peaceful and add to a stress-free day in an already stress filled world.

adapted from SFgate.com, by Martica Heaner, New York Times

Gradual Chime Alarm Clock with Soothing Sounds

Gradual Chime Alarm Clock with Soothing Sounds

Now & Zen – The Zen Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


Necessities with a Zen Aesthetic – The Origins of The Zen Alarm Clock

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, Uncategorized


Guru to the Beatles retreats after 50 years / Transcendental Meditation founder now spends his days in silence, contemplation

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has turned over the day-to-day oper... PETER DEJONG / AP

It was 1967, and the Indian meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, dressed in white with long flowing black hair and a gray beard, beamed as he stood surrounded by four smiling young Beatles at the peak of their popularity.

George Harrison, clutching a sitar, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were on their way to a retreat in Wales led by the Maharishi, and the Hindu holy man was on his way to worldwide fame.

It has been more than 50 years since the Maharishi began teaching a technique known as Transcendental Meditation. He is now believed to be 91. On Tuesday, a close adviser said he has retreated into near silence and turned over the day-to-day running of his global network to aides.

“He is not as young as he once was,” adviser John Hagelin, an American physicist, said by telephone from the Dutch village of Vlodrop where the TM movement is now headquartered. “I think he probably has a more limited reserve of physical energy to draw upon. He was working … 20 hours a day for years.”

Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is a 20-minute twice daily routine in which the meditator silently focuses on a sound, or mantra, to induce relaxation and “dive into a state of pure consciousness.”

Most scientists agree TM can ease stress, high blood pressure, pain and insomnia. But some argue it is no more effective than many other mind-body relaxation techniques.

Movie director David Lynch once extolled the virtues of TM in a speech.

“Anger, stress, tension, depression, sorrow, hate, fear – these things start to retreat,” said Lynch, a longtime practitioner. “And for a filmmaker, having this negativity lift away is money in the bank. When you’re suffering, you can’t create.”

The Maharishi’s movement says some 6 million people have become practitioners.

But it was not until the Beatles visited his ashram in India in 1968 that the guru became an icon of the counterculture movement. John, Paul, George and Ringo came for spiritual instruction as they struggled to come to terms with the death of their manager Brian Epstein.

Other celebrities who followed the Maharishi’s teachings included singer Donovan, actress Mia Farrow and the Beach Boys.

The attention his famous followers focused on the Maharishi’s movement turned it into a global phenomenon with outposts in some 130 countries. For the last 17 years, he has run it from a former Franciscan monastery in a secluded forest near Vlodrop, an eastern Dutch village near the German border. He often spent hours on end speaking by video links to followers around the globe.

The Maharishi told senior aides at a Jan. 8 meeting in the Netherlands of his plan to withdraw from administrative duties and spend his time absorbed in the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement. The announcement caught many followers off guard.

“He had been involved very dynamically administratively in his worldwide movement for over 50 years, so it’s quite a significant change to see him dive back purely into knowledge and let other people take care of the administration,” Hagelin said.

There is no one designated successor but many people have been trained for years to carry on the Maharishi’s various tasks, Hagelin said.

The Maharishi – a Hindi-language title for Great Seer – now spends his days in silence contemplating and preparing a commentary on the Vedas, a vast Sanskrit canon compiled some 3,500 years ago, from which he evolves solutions for today’s troubled world.

“I think everybody’s quietly feeling some sense of celebration that he’s finally going to complete his commentary on the Vedas, which probably will have a longer-term impact,” Hagelin said. “It’s a vitally important body of literature.”

adapted from SFGate.com, Mike Corder, Associated Press, 1/2008

Meditation Timer Store in Downtown Boulder, CO

Meditation Timer Store in Downtown Boulder, CO

Meditation Timers with Chimes and Tibetan Singing Bowls

Meditation Timers with Chimes and Tibetan Singing Bowls

Now & Zen’s Chime Timer Store

1638 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Uncategorized


Eight Weeks of Meditation Produce Big Changes – Use Your Meditation Timer with Soothing Chime

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Meditation Produces Big Changes in Your Brain

Meditation Produces Big Changes in Your Brain

The benefits of meditation can’t be called new. For decades the practice has been endorsed, even by mainstream medicine, as a proven means to reduce stress and produce relaxation. In fact, if it were not for “the relaxation response,” a sanitized version of Eastern meditation that was popularized thirty years ago, it is doubtful that a secular society could be persuaded that meditation is real. Until recently, code words like “peacefulness” and “serenity” went about as far as anyone could go without seeming to bring religion in through the back door.

Now a new study from Massachusetts General Hospital has made headlines by showing that as little as eight weeks of meditation produces changes in various areas of the brain associated, not simply with feeling calmer, but with improved sense of self, empathy, and memory. Again this isn’t exactly new. Since the Seventies a change in brain waves, particularly alpha waves, was associated with the regular practice of meditation. Today, with far more sophisticated brain imaging, researchers can pinpoint where these changes are taking place with remarkable precision.

The short period of time needed to produce benefits surprised everyone. Brain scans of Buddhist monks had already shown dramatic alteration of gamma waves in the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with higher cognitive responses as well as moral feelings like compassion. But learning that a life-long meditator produced gamma waves at 80 cycles per second instead of the usual 40, although fascinating to neuroscientists, still kept meditation far out of reach of busy, secular Westerners. Now we can say, without fear of seeming “too Eastern,” that meditation sharpens the mind and produces benefits everyone would want. The old bugaboo that navel gazing makes you passive and “too peaceful” can be banished once and for all.

If you back away and look at the bigger picture, what you see is startling. There is a direct path that begins in the mind — with meditation, mindfulness, or more basic things like beliefs and emotions — and then the path leads to the genes, where signals are sent that modify the brain cell, which in turn sends its own signals in the form of neurotransmitters to every cell in the body. The reason that eight weeks is enough to cause significant changes in the brain is that the underlying circuitry that connects mind, genes, and brain operates every second of our lives. Ultimately, I’m confident that the results will spread even farther. We will discover that a person’s awareness balances and controls almost any bodily process you can name. The old phrase, “biology is destiny,” will have to be seriously re-examined. A good replacement would be “consciousness is destiny,” which is the guiding reason that meditation arose in the first place. I foresee enormous opportunities for personal freedom here. Instead of being dictated to by your genes and chemical processes in the brain, it may turn out that you are the author of your own life, capable of change, healing, creativity, and personal transformation. Who wouldn’t want to be free to write the program that runs brain and body? Such has been the spiritual promise for thousands of years. It’s time that modern society woke up and realized that the promise still holds good.

Meditation Timer with Soothing Chime

Meditation Timer with Soothing Chime

Although meditation can be done in almost any context, practitioners usually employ a quiet, tranquil space, a meditation cushion or bench, and some kind of timing device to time the meditation session.  Ideally, the more these accoutrements can be integrated the better.  Thus, it is conducive to a satisfying meditation practice to have a timer or clock that is tranquil and beautiful.  Using a kitchen timer or beeper watch is less than ideal.  And it was with these considerations in mind that we designed our digital Zen Alarm Clock and practice timer.  This unique “Zen Clock” features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings the meditation session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal.  The Digital Zen Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation 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.

adapted from San Francisco Chronicle by Deepak Chopra – the author of over 60 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including “The Soul of Leadership.” Feb. 2011

Now & Zen's Family of Chime Timers and Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen's Family of Chime Timers and Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen’s Chime Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

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How Much Time Should You Meditate Daily?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
How Much Time Should You Meditate Daily?

How Much Time Should You Meditate Daily?

There is a great story about a Kundalin yogi who was determined to reach spiritual enlightenment. He would meditate each and everyday, and continue to meditate for longer and longer each day. As months and then years went by the now wise Kundalin yoga master meditated 22 hours per day.  Unfortunately, not all of us can meditate for 22 hours a day, we do the best with the time we have. Finding balance is an important philosophy in a natural lifestyle. Balancing your meditation and your time are going to be important.

Zen Timers for Meditation by Now & Zen

Zen Timers for Meditation by Now & Zen

On average for a beginner, the daily recommended time formeditation is 20 minutes. As you strengthen your meditation skills, you can begin to increase your time gradually. A great way to keep track of your time is to get a meditation clock timer. Our Zen Timepiece is a perfect tool for yoga, meditation, bodywork, or any other calming activity. The meditation clock timer can be set to strike its gong repeatedly at any time interval. Getting you prepared for 22 hours per day much like the wise Kundalin yoga master.
Our Zen Timepiece’s acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”
Now & Zen’s Meditation Timer Store
1638 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO  80302
(800) 779-6383
Bowl Gong Meditation Timer - How Much Should You Meditate Daily?

Bowl Gong Meditation Timer - How Much Should You Meditate Daily?

Singing Bowl Meditation Store - Boulder, CO

Singing Bowl Meditation Store - Boulder, CO

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