Saturday, October 25, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
There’s a sign on the Ave, an advertisement for hot yoga, that reads: “Do hot yoga, look better naked.” I hate that sign.
I’ve been doing yoga and meditation for years. One of my goals in the next few years is to get yoga-instructor certified so I can teach. And the idea that yoga is there to get your body slim and fit, that it is only a material thing, is one of the misconceptions about yoga that frustrates me. Yoga, at its core, is about the relationship between the mind, the body, and the soul.
The core of yoga’s philosophy is that everything can be supplied from within the individual, whether it be physical exercise or spiritual enlightenment.
Yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago. No one is really sure exactly when, because the practices are often only passed down from student to teacher. Yoga originated from the need for self-understanding, a harmonious interaction between the mental and physical. It has been recommended by doctors for aiding a number of ailments, including back pain, arthritis, depression, and other chronic conditions.
Despite the current surface-level yoga that many people practice, a lot of yoga was originally based in deep meditation. Its purpose was to work toward the ultimate step of classical yoga, samadhi, the Sanskrit word for contemplation. Samadhi is the realization of the essential nature of the self. In fact, three of eight steps have almost nothing to do with the asanas, or the physical exercises, of yoga.
I think a lot of people are scared away from yoga because it seems like an “athletic” exercise, but I can assure you it’s not. My legs look like cold spaghetti when I run but I can still do yoga. Yoga is about trusting your body, about letting it do exactly what it needs to do. I mostly practice alone in my apartment, and I use what I’ve learned to do in yoga class on my own. Practicing yoga is about letting go and understanding yourself on a physical and mental level.
Being flexible isn’t a requirement for a good yoga practice. If you haven’t done it before, I suggest signing up for a Hatha yoga class. These are more pose-based and slower-paced. Hatha allows you to explore your body at your own pace. It also gives you a chance to focus on breathing techniques. (MORE)
Source: Daily UW
Thursday, October 23, 2014
As harried commuters filed aboard a Metro Red Line train at Cleveland Park — jockeying for seats, hoisting bulging tote bags — Denise Keyes gazed straight ahead, took deep breaths and searched for inner peace.
There were no lit candles, no incense, no chanting of “om.” But Keyes was meditating.
Finding stillness on a subway during rush hour might sound impossible. But those who practice “mindful commuting” swear it brings tranquility to the daily misery of crowded trains, late buses, honking horns and traffic jams.
If it sounds too New-Agey or out there for you, consider this: Almost 2 million people use one meditation-on-the-go app, and plenty of others are downloading what has been a recent explosion of guided meditation podcasts and Web recordings. Others, like Keyes, take mindfulness classes.
“It gets me into the mind-set I want to be in for work,” said Keyes, who lives in Bethesda and is a senior associate dean at the Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. “I want to be somebody who — not to sound all Oprah — but I want to be my best self. I want to be compassionate and really listen to people. This helps me do that.”
Potomac resident Nancy Kaplan, 63, said she initially hesitated to tell colleagues about her mindful driving because she didn’t want them to think she was “involved in woo-woo stuff.” (MORE)
Source: Washington Post
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A religious activity that is equally as important as prayer is meditation. This religious activity is practiced all over the world, including here in the U.S.
However, in the U.S., it is not practiced as a religious exercise — but more of a tool for relaxation and improvement of physical and mental health.
I remember the first time I meditated in a high school gym class. We laid down on the wrestling mats listening to the sounds of nature playing from a stereo, and the teacher instructed us to focus on relaxing our bodies, starting from our feet and moving upward. By the end of the meditation lesson, I was almost asleep I was so relaxed.
Meditation, though, is primarily used in religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. I am not well versed in the religion of Buddhism; however, I do know the Buddha used meditation to achieve enlightenment.
When studying world religions as a sophomore in college, I watched a documentary about the lives, routines and rituals they had, and the philosophies and beliefs of Buddhist monks.
Often, these monks would meditate for hours at a time and would sometimes meditate for several days — not eating, not sleeping, not interacting with anyone else. They experienced complete oneness with meditation, their bodies and their spirituality.
I was amazed by some of the stories about monks who would stay in these long-lasting periods of deep meditation. (MORE)