Monday, April 21, 2014

Daily Inspiration

Meditation Simplified: Why It's the Wisest Investment in Yourself

The chief financial officer of a multibillion-dollar company is listening to me kindly, at best. His face holds a polite smile, but his eyes are flat as if to reveal, "What you're saying sounds nice, but let's be realistic, it's not for me." I've gotten this look before, many times from many people.
This is the inevitable moment in conversation catch-ups with old business colleagues where I have a decision to make. Either I put myself out on a limb to further satisfy their question of, "But what can meditation really do for me at work?" Or, I just let it go and allow the conversation to drift to the safer topic of summer plans.
Today, I decide to go off-roading from the path of least resistance and explain myself further. This CFO and I worked together for years and he offered me guidance and perspective that can only come from someone who's been in the industry for over 25 years. Now it is my turn to explain an investment strategy to him: how meditation will have the biggest return for your time spent that day.
Meditation came on my radar years ago, because it is one of the cornerstones of the yoga practice. For me, it was surprising to learn the purpose of the physical practice of yoga (the asanas, or poses done on a mat) is to prepare the body and mind for meditation (dhyana) -- the mental practice of observing your thoughts in a calm and clear way so they eventually slow down and you feel a powerful stillness settle in.From the stillness of meditation arises the wisdom we all hold deep within ourselves of what's right and wrong for us in life.  (MORE)

Source: Huffington Post

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Daily Inspiration

Taking Yoga To The Corporate 'Suits' In Hong Kong

Like other major financial centers such as London, Shanghai or New York, Hong Kong is home to legions of suited workers toiling long hours in vast, glass towers at breakneck speed.
But in this crowded, materialistic city, there's a man trying to build a business from de-stressing the workplace.
"The wellness of employees is the wellness of the company; the very strength of a company is its employees," said Dario Calvaruso, a yoga instructor who set up Holistic Wellness -- a company that offers a series of in-office programs to reduce stress.
He's on a mission to make yoga mats an essential fixture under every Hong Kong worker's desk.
The 39-year old spent 15 years living in India studying the ancient discipline, which seeks to relax those who practice it, through elongation, slow movement and controlled breathing.
When Calvaruso moved to Hong Kong in October 2011, opportunity knocked on his door. "Many of my friends were major company managers and approached me for private (yoga) classes," Calvaruso said. "After seeing its benefits they thought 'this should come to my company'."
Within this territory's constricted work spaces, practicing yoga requires relatively little room and minimal equipment -- a large ball and a mat are enough. As the instructor plays calm music, everyone stretches, breathes deeply and closes their eyes.
"All the team is present at the lessons and it's a great way to start our day," said Manuele Bosetti, general manager of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macao.
This organization has to deal with the day-to-day problems of its member companies and sometimes taking the time to listen can be a challenge, Bosetti told CNN. But performing yoga as a group has helped.
"We noticed that everyone at the office was more relaxed, and we managed to treat our business partners in a more kind way," Bosetti added. (MORE)

Source: CNN

Monday, March 31, 2014

Daily Inspiration

Everything You Need to Know About Meditation

"It'll change your life!" my trendier friends say. For the past year, they have been urging me to meditate. "Not my thing," I answer. I'm not good at Zen—I'm good at running late to an appointment as I fire off five texts. But after a particularly chaotic week in which I reeled from work crisis to kid crisis—feeling panicky, my mind whirring nonstop—I decided to try it out. It's not like meditation has any weird side effects or causes injuries. It doesn't require any gear (like my failed cycling venture) or an expensive trainer. So why not give it a go?
Although I couldn't care less about being on-trend, meditation is having a moment. Katy Perry reportedly does a 20-minute session every morning ("the only time my mind gets absolute rest"). Hugh Jackman, who actually sits in stillness with his two children, has said that the ritual changed his life. Actress Jordana Brewster meditates on set. It's become a go-to stress reducer for powerhouses Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom have offered classes to their employees.
Meditation used to be viewed as a self-involved exercise done by, as devotee Russell Brand put it, "weird, old hippies." But that perception has vanished thanks to an avalanche of research on the ritual's benefits: It can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, slow Alzheimer's and curb tobacco cravings. One major review from Johns Hopkins University showed mindfulness meditation may be just as effective as antidepressants for treating anxiety symptoms.
I couldn't imagine finding the time to make meditation a daily thing—but, oddly enough, that's what happened. (MORE)
Source: ABC News

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Daily Inspiration

Taking a Closer Look at Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation research has come a long way since the first scientific study on meditation was published in a peer-reviewed journal in 1971 [1]. That study declared the discovery of a major fourth state of consciousness— the state of restful alertness — experienced during the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.

Now there are over 1,000 published studies on various meditation practices, with over 600 studies on the TM technique alone. Many universities, medical schools and hospitals offer classes in mind-body medicine and provide training in meditation.

Nevertheless, recent press reports about a scientific review [2] published in JAMA Internal Medicine (January 2014) raised questions about the extent of health benefits that can be claimed for meditation. While the review has been criticized as too narrowly focused to represent the current state of meditation research — it excluded many major studies and randomized clinical trials — there is an upside: The JAMA review may prompt health professionals to look closer at meditation and discover how far the research has actually come at verifying the health benefits and specific effects of different practices.

One meditation researcher, the physician and author Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, is currently touring universities and medical schools across the U.S. to update health scientists, physicians and students about the latest meditation research and the role of meditation in stress reduction and the prevention and treatment of heart disease. (MORE)

Source: Pysch Central

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Athletes Using Meditation To Improve Performance

For 15 minutes a day, Tim Frazier, Penn State's senior point guard, finds a quiet place, switches on a podcast, and meditates. Along with his teammates, Frazier, the team's all-time leader in assists, has found that practicing mindfulness meditation - focusing on the breath with his eyes closed and becoming aware of his thoughts without judging them - has amped up his performance on the court.
"The game moves so fast, it's hard to focus on the here and now," said Frazier, who is pretty fleet of foot himself. "Meditation slows me down [mentally], keeps me more relaxed and more focused."
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help manage anxiety, depression and pain, according to 47 studies analyzed in JAMA Internal Medicine. It also helps to reduce anxiety and stress in cancer patients, studies show.
But now elite athletes from Penn State's Frazier to the NFL champion Seattle Seahawks are using meditation and yoga to enhance performance and avoid destructive habits like dwelling on mistakes.
"Sometimes during the game, you focus on whether past plays were good or bad," Frazier said, "but meditation brings you back to the play at hand."
The meditation podcasts for his Penn State team are recorded by Cara Bradley, director of Verge Yoga Center and Verge Athlete in Wayne, to supplement her regular visits to Happy Valley. Bradley, a certified strength coach who also works as a mental strength coach, has taught meditation to the Villanova football team over 10 seasons, including the 2009 FCS National Championship team.
She said she can always tell if teams are unified mentally. The Seahawks used a sports psychologist to teach the team meditation, and they "were unstoppable" in the Super Bowl, she said. "They were so collective in their energy." (MORE)