Now & Zen, Inc - 800-779-6383
Digital Zen Alarm Clock Zen Timepiece Tibetan Phone Bell & Timer

Secure Site

Now & Zen Blog

Archive for the 'Walking Meditation' Category

How to Teach Yoga to Kids – Use a Gentle, Yoga Clock & Timer with Chime

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
how to teach yoga to kids

how to teach yoga to kids

If you’re planning to teach yoga to kids, there are a few general things to know that will enhance your experience. The greatest challenge with children is to hold their attention long enough to teach them the benefits of yoga: stillness, balance, flexibility, focus, peace, grace, connection, health, and well-being. Luckily, most children love to talk, and they love to move—both of which can happen in yoga. Children will jump at the chance to assume the role of animals, trees, flowers, warriors. Your role is to step back and allow them to bark in the dog pose, hiss in the cobra, and meow in cat stretch. They can also recite the ABCs or 123s as they are holding poses. Sound is a great release for children and adds an auditory dimension to the physical experience of yoga.

Children need to discover the world on their own. Telling them to think harder, do it better, or be a certain way because it’s good for them is not the optimal way. Instead, provide a loving, responsive, creative environment for them to uncover their own truths. As they perform the various animal and nature asanas, engage their minds to deepen their awareness. When they’re snakes (Bhujangasana), invite them to really imagine that they’re just a long spine with no arms and legs. Could you still run or climb a tree? In Tree Pose (Vrksasana), ask them to imagine being a giant oak, with roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet. Could you stay in the same position for 100 years? If you were to be chopped down, would that be OK? Would it hurt?

When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a tree, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and the microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same “stuff.” We’re just in different forms.

Think of yourself as a facilitator—the term we use in the YogaKids program—rather than a teacher. Guide your children while simultaneously opening your heart and letting them guide you. They’ll no doubt invite you into a boundless world of wonder and exploration. If you choose to join them, the teaching/learning process will be continually reciprocal and provide an opportunity for everyone to create, express themselves, and grow together.

Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga 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 Yoga Journal by Marsha Wenig

yoga timer - tools for teaching yoga to kids

yoga timer - tools for teaching yoga to kids

Now & Zen – The Yoga Clock & Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in intention, mindfulness practice, Walking Meditation, Well-being, yoga, Yoga Timer, Yoga Timers by Now & Zen


How to Increase Your Energy – Use Your Yoga Timer

Saturday, October 13th, 2012
wellbeing

wellbeing

The longer you sit at your desk, the more your posture resembles the curved, compressed arch of a camel’s hump — and the more uncomfortable you feel. Your back stands to suffer long-term misalignment as a result of slumping, while the resulting impaired breathing can lead to chronic muscle tension and drag your energy level down.

With its emphasis on core strength and alignment, Pilates counters these stresses by helping you look — and feel — a little taller. “This particular fitness discipline aims to create stability and freedom through the entire body by targeting the muscle groups that support the spine,” says New York City-based fitness and Pilates instructor James Darling. That includes the muscles deep within the back, abdomen, and pelvis. By focusing equally on strengthening and lengthening, the following Pilates favorites will foster a buoyant support system for your spine, bringing deeper breathing, more energy, and posture that’s both graceful and effortless.

Spine Stretch Forward
What It Does
Creates space between the vertebrae, lengthens the muscles of the back, and reduces lower back pain. Counteracts stress by calming the nervous system.

How to Do It
Sit on the floor with legs straight and spine tall. Drop your chin into your chest and contract your core, as if you’re trying to curl your torso up and over a beach ball. Focus on drawing your center in as opposed to curving your spine. Rest your hands where they fall, and breathe here for 30 seconds to a minute, use your Zen Timer to repeast the process with the “repeat mode”. Slowly roll back up to the starting position. Repeat six times.

adapted from Body + Soul, October 2008

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

Bowl Gong Timer and Alarm Clock for a Gentle Wake UP

Bowl Gong Timer and Alarm Clock for a Gentle Wake UP

Now & Zen’s Yoga Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in intention, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Walking Meditation, Well-being, Zen Timers


Time to Get Bored, Leave all Alarm Clocks Home and Go for a Walk

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
downtime

downtime

I’m not great with downtime. In line at the post office, I whip out my cell phone and delete old text messages. When I’m stopped at a light, I retrieve a cloth from the glove compartment and dust the dashboard.

At home, I try to snuggle with my pug and relax, but I can’t. I get up to unload the dishwasher, check my e-mail, sort socks, or get a jump on tomorrow’s research and writing. Clearly, I feel better ticking items off my to-do list. The question is: Would I be better off just letting my mind drift?

Truth is, the urge to occupy idle time is tough to fight. We’re a nation of doers, after all: bustling workaholics who have a hard time sitting still (unless it’s in front of the TV). As much as we try to crowd it out, however, experts tell us that boredom is an essential part of the human experience. It’s a counterbalance to all that busyness. In fact, some argue it’s a gateway to peace.

“Create space in your life,” says Body+Soul life coach Cheryl Richardson, “and you’ll find serenity and inspiration on the other side.”

If a little thumb-twiddling can truly lead to better things, why do many of us so desperately avoid it? To demystify our aversion to idleness, we asked Richardson and psychotherapist Richard Winter, M.D., to explain what’s fueling our discomfort with those frightfully unscheduled moments. Here, they share the top three reasons we’re so down on downtime, as well as offer up ways to embrace it — and find deeper satisfaction in the everyday.

We’re Overstimulated
Remember when the doctor’s waiting room was just that — a place to sit, with nothing to do but wait? Now, with TV screens popping up in medical offices, taxicabs, elevators, and even the checkout line (not to mention the lure of your cell phone, iPod, and BlackBerry), every spare moment provides another opportunity for stimulation. As a result, the empty pockets of time we once took for granted have vanished.

schedule downtime

schedule downtime

The problem with overstimulation, says Winter, author of “Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment,” is it creates a “psychological callus” that hardens over time and can eventually keep us from responding with depth to anything or anyone. “Because we can’t discriminate between so many options, we completely shut down our attention to almost everything.”

That, he argues, essentially leaves us feeling passive and craving temporary relief from boredom. Worse, we end up with no time to reflect on our lives, making it harder to forge meaningful connections with the people around us.

Find joy in the humdrum. Recharge your inner resources by reacquainting yourself with quiet. This can prove surprisingly hard if you’re used to nonstop stimulation, so aim for specific actions. Turn off the TV after a certain time each evening. Drive one way of your commute without listening to NPR.

Better still, take a calming walk three nights a week after dinner — and leave the iPod home. The physical activity will satisfy your need to do something, all while energizing you in a way that watching Law & Order can’t. By welcoming a little idle time and its attendant reflection, says Winter, you’ll soon come to “delight in the ordinary again.”

adapted from Body + Soul October 2008

Zen Clock for Timing your downtime with a gentle chime

Zen Clock for Timing your downtime with a gentle chime

Now & Zen’s Alarm Clock Shop

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

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


Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation, Tips from Now & Zen – The Meditation Timer Store

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
walking in waves, a mindfulness meditation

walking in waves, a mindfulness meditation

There is nothing more soul-renewing than a very long, meandering, aimless walk. And I do mean aimless — as in, “I’m heading out! I have no idea how long I’ll be or where I’m going!”

I started walking this way quite by accident, in the midst of recovering from the heartache and confusion of losing my job. I had been slothful through winter, alternating between insomnia and sleeps so deep I wasn’t sure what day it was when I woke. But with the changing light of spring, I was beckoned out of doors.

Finding Peace Amidst the Chaos
I was in Manhattan, and cities are excellent places for meditative walks. They’re full of interruptions and distractions, but there is always a bus stop or a person with directions within easy distance. So you can suspend the anxiety about getting lost or getting home.

And all that noise does for humans what shape does for bats: Even if we aren’t tuning into it, it guides our steps and signals danger or direction.

A city walk also delivers the pleasure of unexpected architectural discoveries: trolls clinging to the corners of buildings, swags of flowers carved into stone friezes.

These days I’m walking in the country, in coastal Rhode Island, where the blackbirds and foxes keep me company.

“Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind,” writes Rebecca Solnit in “Wanderlust: A History of Walking.” The mind eventually begins to follow the feet, and a logjam of anxiety starts to come loose.

Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation

Soul-Renewing Walking Meditation

From Type A to Point Be
Long walks are the cure for writer’s block, lover’s block, mother’s block, friendship block, and any other kind of obstacle that we try to deliberately gnaw our way through, worrying over the problem and getting nowhere.

Better to let yourself really go nowhere and experience the delicious paradox of losing yourself to find yourself.

Walking with indirection has, at heart, a paradoxical benefit. When you stop making decisions for a little while, before you know it, you are filled with purpose, and the goals and paths of your life take on a new clarity.

It is by such grace that life unfolds; how lovely to suspend disbelief (I will never feel good again) and arrive at conviction: Life is wonderful! What a joy to be moving!

How-To: Walking as Meditation

1. Focus on your breathing. Paul Smith, walking-meditation instructor at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, recommends inhaling slowly through your nose for 4 steps, keeping your breath in for 2 steps, exhaling for 4 steps, then waiting 2 steps before inhaling again.

2. Gently corral your wandering mind. Try repeating an affirmation in time with your breathing and steps. Smith recommends phrases such as “My life is a pleasure,” “I speak the truth and listen without judging,” or “I see all things in clarity.” Another trick: Visualize putting your worrisome thoughts in a balloon and letting go of the string.

3. Hold one hand behind your back. This will help slow you down. “Don’t let yourself get into race-walking mode,” Smith says.

4. Pay attention to your senses. Focus on vision first, which is easiest. Notice a plane overhead, leaves in the trees. Then notice sounds around you, the sun on your face, the smell of cut grass. Smith says, “These are ways to stay in the present.”

5. On a practical note: If you’re walking for distance, carry a little “mad money” in case you tucker out miles away. But no cell phone — or turn it off if you must have it on you.

adapted from Wholeliving.com, September 2010 by Dominique Browning

Singing Bowl Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock

Singing Bowl Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock

Our Zen Timepiece’s – (a Singing Bowl Meditation Timer) acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”
Hokusai Wave Zen Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

Hokusai Wave Zen Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

Now & Zen – The Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Hokusai Wave, intention, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, nature, Walking Meditation, Well-being, Zen Timers


Walking Meditation

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
What is a Walking Meditation

What is a Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation
What is it?
This component of numerous meditation traditions slows the walking process with the intention of bringing into awareness its most basic parts—lifting the foot, swinging it, placing it down—in order to bring a greater consciousness to daily life. When we break down the motion of walking, we realize how each action is a collection of sub-actions, and how the mind and body work together to create movement. “This is not walking for transportation, it’s walking as a tool for developing mindfulness in the present moment,” says John LeMunyon, L.M.T., co-owner of Heartwood Yoga in Birmingham, Ala., and a meditator for 30-plus years. You can practice walking meditation by itself, or combine it with one of the seated styles on the preceding pages. Used as an interlude, the walking technique is a good way to embody the insights gained during seated practice and to heighten their relevance in your daily life. Walking meditation shows clearly the Buddhist precept that “all action is preceded by intention,” says LeMunyon. “There’s always an intention; and when we are present to the moment, there is always a choice. It’s at the level of intention that we make our choices of how skillfully we want to live our lives.”

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

Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation

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

How do I do it?
1. Find a private indoor or outdoor place with level ground and at least 20 feet of space to move.
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 as you lift your right heel. Pause and breathe out, leaving your toes resting on the ground.
4. Breathe in again 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, transferring your weight so it’s balanced between both feet. Pause for a full breath.
5. Repeat the entire sequence with your left foot, again matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation, alternating for 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 you’ve 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 matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation. Pause again, facing the path you just walked. End by retracing your steps back to where you started.

adapted from naturalhealthmag.com By Frances Lefkowitz

Zen Alarm Clocks and Meditation & Yoga Timers with Acoustic Sounds

Zen Alarm Clocks and Meditation & Yoga Timers with Acoustic Sounds

Now & Zen – The Chime Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Meditation Tools, Walking Meditation


Meditation Prescribed More Often as Alternative to Conventional Medicine – Choose a Gentle Zen Timer for Your Practice

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Meditation Practice - Try a Singing Bowl Meditation Timer for Your Stillness Practice

Meditation Practice - Try a Singing Bowl Meditation Timer for Your Stillness Practice

Nearly 40 percent of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. These practices include meditation, yoga, acupuncture and other types of mind-body-practices. And now, many are receiving the support of conventional doctors who have seen apparent benefits in some of their patients.

Some studies suggest meditation can help lower blood pressure and even improve immune function.

“There are a lot of great benefits for people that are starting to meditate and we find that that’s cumulative,” said Harden. “So the more you meditate, the more the benefits last.”

Meditation has more recently been tried to treat eating disorders, alcoholism, psoriasis, and even impotence. More than two dozen medical centers across the country, including specialized cancer centers, have attached complementary medicine centers, or provide meditation or other mind-body classes.

However, many of these uses of meditation are experimental, and the results vary by each patient. Many experts say meditation is more likely to treat medical conditions successfully when it is used in conjunction with conventional therapies.

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.

Meditation for Well-being, Choose a Gentle Zen Timer to End Your Practice

Meditation for Well-being, Choose a Gentle Zen Timer to End Your Practice


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.

adapted from worldnews.com by Lara Salahi & Catherine Cole

Now & Zen – The Zen Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

It's exquisite sounds summon your consciousness out of your meditative state with a series of subtle gongs. Once you experience the Zen Timepiece's progressive tones, you'll never want to meditate  any other way.

It's exquisite sounds summon your consciousness out of your meditative state with a series of subtle gongs. Once you experience the Zen Timepiece's progressive tones, you'll never want to meditate any other way.

Posted in Walking Meditation, Well-being, Yoga Timer, Yoga Timers by Now & Zen, zen


Butterfly Baddha Konasana

Sunday, March 20th, 2011
yoga get grounded pose

yoga get grounded pose

A harmonizing practice for people in recovery

As you practice the following sequence, remember to honor your limitations, going to your edge with love and acceptance rather than judgment and discouragement. If you are unable to move into a posture at this time, focus on breath-ing deeply as you think about the affirmation—that in itself is healing. At the end of the routine, take some time to write down your thoughts.

Benefits Gently opens the pelvis and hips.

Affirmation My spirit is as gentle as a butterfly.

Sit up straight. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, pulling them in toward your groin. Your knees should be out to the sides so your legs are like a butterfly’s wings. Inhale. As you exhale, lean forward. Clasp your feet and begin pressing your forearms into your upper thighs, gently inviting your legs toward the floor. Breathe. You can also lie back in the supine variation. Bring your arms out to the sides, and relax as you breathe deeply.

adapted from Yoga Journal, by Annalisa Cunningham, author of Healing Addiction with Yoga

yoga timers with chmes for a gentle reminder

yoga timers with chmes for a gentle reminder

 

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Walking Meditation, Well-being


What Energizes Me

Saturday, January 15th, 2011
what energizes me?

what energizes me?

Universal fixes help, but managing your energy levels can also be a very personal process. Here’s what some whole-living luminaries do to recharge:

“To paraphrase Thoreau, my tonic is the wilderness. When I am low on energy, I go to nature, and it restores me every time. Whether I’m sitting next to a lake or canoeing in it, just being in a place where plants thrive feeds my energy.”
–Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist, teacher, and founder of United Plant Savers

“Doing deep yogic breathing, Sun Salutations to fun and upbeat rock music, and inverted poses like handstands get me going. Plus, I conserve my energy and redeploy it into the priorities of what must be done, cutting out all extraneous activities, like internal dialogue (negative and overwhelming banter), anger, frustration, and fears.”
–Ana Forrest, yoga pioneer and creator of Forrest Yoga

“My dogs walk me twice a day, and they’re the best energizer I know. There’s nothing like getting out in nature with two joyous beasts who don’t have to think twice about the meaning of unconditional love, both for me and the trail, however well beaten a track it is.”
–Kenny Ausubel, founder of the Bioneers Conference and co-executive director of the Collective Heritage Institute

wilderness is a tonic

wilderness is a tonic

“A frothy cup of green matcha tea and some breathing exercises help get me energized, as does an invigorating swim in my pool. Plus, looking forward to something with excitement always motivates me.”
–Andrew Weil, M.D., author of “Healthy Aging” and editor of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter

“I love my work and get pulled in by endless to-do’s, often chugging along until I’m exhausted and ‘too-done.’ While exercise, yoga, and meditation help keep my energy high, so do regular breaks from the usual routine. I keep my knitting bag, beading box (I love to make malas and prayer bracelets as gifts), and a fast-paced mystery novel handy for 10- to 15-minute breaks three or four times a day. Letting go of responsibility to bask in creativity, or to drop into a fictional world very different from my own, keeps the juices flowing.”
–Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., psychologist and best-selling author of 12 books, including “Saying Yes to Change”

adapted from Body + Soul, September 2006

Bamboo Zen Timer and Natural Alarm Clock with Gentle Chime

Bamboo Zen Timer and Natural Alarm Clock with Gentle Chime

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in intention, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, nature, Walking Meditation, Well-being, zen