Special Diets are Not Just Trendy
In 2023, it may seem "trendy" for people to have special diets and food allergies. From being "gluten free" to "dairy free" to "raw food vegan" to people who do not eat any carbs, and now with the World Economic Forum telling us that "you will eat ze bugs," there's a huge playing field for the special needs of individuals on a diet. The hardest part is that there's no "one diet" that works for everyone. In this blog, I explore some of these diets and my own personal journey in finding my own special diet.
There is a time for mouth breathing. Playing saxophone is easier with the faster air flow, not to mention in a heated verbal debate or song singing. Panting seems to be a natural reaction in athletics to increase oxygen. I've even dedicated an entire line of study to various forms of breathwork, some of which encourage the use of mouth breathing during the meditation for that very reason.
What if i told you, except for these rare exceptions (which in some cases can be overcome), you should always breathe through your nose?!? After years of research and personal independent study, I am about to make this case for you: Don't be a mouth-breather.
This is a guest blog post by ChatGPT! Even AI knows the benefits of meditation.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and with good reason. The benefits of meditation are well documented, and include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased focus and concentration. Whether you're new to meditation or have been practicing for years, there are many techniques you can use to help deepen your meditation practice and experience the full benefits of this ancient practice.
Meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why! This practice can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression—helping you feel better both physically and mentally. It can also boost your immune system, improve your sleep quality, and increase overall happiness. While meditation is powerful on its own, there are some things you should know before you begin meditating to ensure that your practice is safe and effective.
The Wim Hof Method
There are many variations on the general concept of "Pranayama Meditation" -- The meditation of the breath. At Meditation Treks, we have released the Healing Breathwork Album, which creates an oxygen rich environment in the body while guiding you through this state of consciousness with meditations that focus the mind on different cognitive behavioral states to clear old patterns and establish new ones. The pranayama practice of the Breathwork album is strikingly similar to (though not exactly the same as) the "Wim Hof Method" of breathing, invented by its namesake, Wim Hof. While the GMT Breathwork album focuses on improving mind patterns through a breath that acts on the heart, the Wim Hof method focuses on improving the cardiovascular system itself through a breathing practice that also includes breath suspension. In this blog we present the background as well as a free guided meditation from Wim Hof himself, which you can try at home.
NPR reports... In mice and one person, scientists were able to reproduce the altered state often associated with ketamine by inducing certain brain cells to fire together in a slow, rhythmic fashion... The finding also could be a step toward finding non-drug methods to control states of consciousness... The team used a tool called optogenetics, which Deisseroth helped invent. (As opposed to binaural beats, which use sound, optogenetics) uses light to control the firing of specific cells in the brain. As a result, the team was able to artificially generate this rhythm in the brains of mice.
The concept of Binaural Beats was first discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in the early 1800s(1), when he mounted tuning forks at different frequencies at the end of tubes that went into listeners' ears. The listener perceived a third frequency, which was a difference between the two tones. This concept was mostly just a curiosity until the 1970s, when Dr. Gerald Oster wrote a scientific article that fully outlined the phenonenon(2). In the 50 years that followed, there has been much research on the topic, and this blog outlines the scientific studies which have tested the efficacy of binaural beats on everything from pain management to curing insomnia, making people more focused or relaxed, helping with ADHD, and many more outcomes, depending on the frequencies programmed.
Binaural Beats Use Cases
It is well established that binaural beats can affect states of mind by "programming" the frequency of the brain. However, can binaural beats also be used to affect the physical body? For example, can binaural beats trigger the endocrine system to produce and release molecules into the bloodstream? Can they connect the mind to the astral plane, or induce an out of body experience? Over the years, there has been much written about the special powers of binaural beats. Some of it has been supported by scientific studies, and some of it must be tried by the listener to determine if it works or not. In this blog we will explore some of the "edge cases" for the usage of binaural beats to induce different states of mind and body...
Binaural Nature Meditation App
Download for iOS or Android now!
As a followup to the free Binaural app (with over 100,000 downloads), this is the app version of the "Nature Meditation" album, as it combines nature sounds and brainwave entrainment with binaural beats and isochronic tones into one fully-customizable platform to bring you closer to nature and guide your brainwaves into states that you program yourself. Learn more about this app.
It's already known that meditation offers an endless list of benefits to its practitioners, but what about some personal stories? Often, hearing from someone about how meditation specifically helped them personally can really help us see the benefits, more so than some boring scientific studies that focus on "absolute truth" instead of the "subjective truth" that we each experience in our own world. Take a look at this list of testimonials about how meditation has helped these individuals. I even submitted my story too...
Nature Meditation Album Release
The latest release from Meditation Treks is out on mp3 album, including Spotify, iTunes, and all the usual streaming providers. Binaural Nature Meditation is the culmination of years of field recordings and months of editing and mastering. The first four tracks are specific meditations recorded from Mother Nature: The rainforest of Costa Rica, The thunderstorm of Texas, The Waves of the Caribbean, and the La Fortuna Waterfall. As if this 5 hours of nature sounds wasn't enough, the album includes four additional tracks: Sleep, Relax, Create, and Focus, which are edited versions of the first four tracks + binaural beats for those brainwave states in the title. The last track is a mix of the nature sounds.
Sleep Album on BandCamp
The 2015 album, Sleep, offers four different Guided Meditations for Sleep: Fall Asleep, Fall Asleep with the Light, Take a Nap, and Induce a Lucid Dream. Get in touch with your spirit, which never sleeps, as your body relaxes in bed. Stream ore purchase it now from Bandcamp, or below...
Volume 2 On Bandcamp
Guided Meditation Treks, Vol 2 has been added to BandCamp. You can find it on the Guided Meditation Treks artist page there! You can also stream it below...
Now on Bandcamp...
The first album, Guided Meditation Treks Volume 1, is available on bandcamp, and can now be streamed right here in this blog post. This album makes meditation easy. Grab your earbuds (for the binaural beats), sit on a chair, sit on the floor, or lie on your back. Close your eyes and enjoy one of these four meditations right now. Released in 2012.
Reviews and Testimonials
With over 100,000 downloads, Binaural is currently the most popular app from Guided Meditation Treks. Of course, it's the free one. I am working on a pro version with a "next-level" programming experience for Binaural in the mean time. Some of the feedback I get through this website is used to craft the next releases of my apps, as well as address bug fixes on existing apps. Some of the messages are simply messages of gratitude, which I love. These are some of my favorite feedback messages from users of the Binaural meditation smartphone app:
"I am very impressed with the app, they way it is set up it is user friendly and just the functionality as a whole is amazing. Whether your a beginner or a seasoned user of this type of technology, it is useful and helpful for all. Love and light to you and may you continue to help in bringing us together as one with the Universe. Thank You
Thanks so much I believe in you people.
The Sounds of Nature
As a child, one of my favorite albums was a 30 minute cassette tape I bought of a thunderstorm. Many a good night sleep began by cueing it up with my headphones in bed. Since then, I've listened to countless nature sounds recordings. One of them, I recorded myself when I lived in Texas on a cool night in San Marcos. With that recording, I had the idea to create a nature sounds album. This album is in the works with new recordings from Costa Rica.
In the mean time, someone showed me mynoise.net from a guy who has been traveling the world for years searching for and recording nature sounds.
His website has built-in controls so you can create your own mixes. It's actually quite similar to the concepts used in Guided Meditation Treks, with the volume faders. In this case, your nature sound mix is created from a bunch of different elements, which are essentially just different microphone placements. It's a really awesome site, here's rain on a tent to get you started.
Healing Breathwork Apps
The Healing Breathwork album is available now on CDBaby as an album or as an app for iOS and Android.
The fifth release from Guided Meditation Treks introduces you to the "Healing Breathwork" practice, an active pranayama meditation that is used to transmute stuck emotions and behaviors by activating the respiratory system and heart chakra through the practice. This is a powerful meditation that can come with strong physical and emotional effects. These awakening effects could even be life changing. This practice can unlock deep feelings, so use it under your own discretion, for your greatest good, of course.
Like Vipassana, part of the purpose is to teach you the technique of the breathing practice. If you only do the breath itself, without anything else, you will feel effects, and so the app has a "timer" feature where you can hear a breathing track in the background and time your breath to follow it. The most important part of the technique is for you to move as much air as possible in and out of the lungs. The goal is to create an oxygen-rich state in your system, which will create specific psychological effects that will bring your consciousness out of your head and into your heart.
Big news for the android apps!
First off, we finally got around to updating Guided Meditation Treks Vol 1 and Guided Meditation Treks Vol 2 Android apps so that all four meditations are included without an additional in-app purchase. This brings android on par with the iOS app, which was updated last year. Now, for 5 bucks, you get all four meditations of the album, which is cheaper than buying the album from iTunes!
In fact, it's half price!
Secondly, we have released the beta for the next app, Healing Breathwork. You can enroll in the beta by clicking on this link from your android phone. What's really cool about this app is that it is also written in Android's newest programming language, kotlin. And the code is available open source online!
Stay tuned for the production releases of the iOS and Android versions of Healing Breathwork later in 2019.
New Healing Breathwork Album
Guided Meditation Treks is proud to announce the next album: Healing Breathwork. The culmination of years of life experience with this type of meditation modality and a 4-level training from my mentor on the subject, David Elliott, this is the 5th album from Guided Meditation Treks. The topics for this album go deep into both the light and dark elements of our lives that may need healing.
The first track, Stepping Into Your Power, reminds us of the inherent power we have as a soul in this incarnation to "do what we came here to do," and helps us shed any layers of doubt that have been imposed upon us from society. The second track, Grieving and Celebrating a Loss, allows us to take any given specific instance of "loss" in our own life and evaluate where we are in the grieving process, then move on to the next state until (in time) we reach acceptance. The most charged track of the album is Healing Sexual Abuse, where we cultivate space to honestly deal with and move beyond the emotions and situations that arise from having an episode of sexual abuse in our life. Finally, the album ends with a light exercise around Abundance, where we connect the inherent abundance within ourselves to the abundance which surrounds us to create a circuit of manifestation. In each track, the listener is instructed to practice a specific form of pranayama breathwork, which is the featured active meditation of this album.
The album was written, produced, and recorded by Russell Eric Dobda, and is now available on CDBaby, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and other music distribution sites worldwide. As with all of the GMT albums, there will be an app version for Android and iOS, which will be released later in 2019. Check out the dedicated page for this album to hear a sample and read more detail about the work.
New Pricing for iOS Apps
Due to recent changes in the iOS store, as well as feedback from users, the Guided Meditation Treks V1 and V2 apps for iOS have undergone an upgrade. Previously, these apps each came with one meditation, with the option to purchase 3 more. With this change, the app now includes ALL FOUR of the meditations at one price. All previous users of the app will be "grandfathered in" and can receive all of the meditations for free, simply by upgrading to the latest version of the app. As an added token of gratitude, I will be keeping the price at $2.99 until the end of January, at which point there will be a price increase to better keep price parity with the audio-only album versions of these apps, which are generally $9.99, in alignment with most audio albums these days. I'm not exactly sure what the new iOS app price will be, but if you want to get all of the meditations on each volume for under $3, then make your purchase before February 1. Also, I have made the code for these apps open source on GitHub (without the copyright audio of course). Thanks for your support!
moxaLight: Acupuncture Without Needles
I've been an avid consumer of acupuncture for over a decade. As a software developer and pianist, I spend a lot of time at a keyboard using my wrists and arms. This causes tension that runs up my arms, and also around my shoulders and into my neck and back. I believe that regular acupuncture has helped keep me from developing severe tendonitis, or worse, carpal tunnel syndrome. I try to go twice a month, and I've advised friends to use it for their own muscular pain and tension. However, some people are against acupuncture because they are either afraid of needles or have a bad history with them. Recently, I was given the opportunity to try the moxaLight, which applies the concepts of acupuncture via a system of LED lights attached to the body. It seemed promising, not only for those who fear needles, but for myself. Sometimes, I just can't get enough acupuncture. In the past, I'd stolen needles from my acupuncturists to administer it at home, but I learned that this can be dangerous if I hit the wrong points. The moxaLight seemed like a much safer alternative for home-administered acupuncture, so I was excited to try it. With that, I present my review of this product...
Breaking up is hard to do...
Fortunately, I am currently in a nurturing and stable relationship with an amazing, caring, and beautiful soul. However, this hasn't always been the case. I've had a few break-ups, and I can tell you from experience that severing the cord was not always easy. Especially if you are a loving and caring person, it can be hard to let go of someone with whom you once shared everything in your life. I always set intentions around my break-ups to cut loose my former lovers in a way that is for the greatest good of the both of us. Once the realization is made that the world is a better place with us apart than together, the work begins to separate ties. This is not always easy, and in this blog, I present some practical methods and specific (free) meditations you can do to help the process...
With the release of the Vipassana App, and in keeping with the spirit of the late SN Goenka to offer free services that helps others, I have made the code for these apps open source to the public (except for the audio files).
Why is this helpful? It allows anyone to pull down a copy of my code, make a few changes to it, add your own images and audio, then create your own meditation apps! It requires a little bit of technical knowledge to create a basic iOS and/or Android app, but most of the actual work of the app itself is already done for you. This is the actual code used by my production Vipassana apps!
How Yoga Improves Sleep Quality
With the stress and responsibility of our modern lives, many people are suffering from insomnia. If you’re not suffering from insomnia, you may wake up periodically throughout the night. You may not make it to the deep resting stages that are essential to keeping you mentally and physically healthy. Yoga has many benefits and one of them has been proven to improve sleep quality.
A new study has said that yoga can help improve sleep for people who can’t sleep at night. So how does yoga work on the body to allow the mind to relax enough so you can sleep?
Vipassana Android App Released!
To complete the trifecta, the android version of the Vipassana App has been released to production on the Google Play Store! It was quite a journey to practice this meditation twice daily for a year after an intense 10-day retreat to learn it. I had a great time practicing this type of meditation as well as making the app. I even mentored a junior developer who is learning Java/Android development in the process. It was a fun ride, and I noticed many changes in myself over the past year. With that, I bring to you this instructional series which teaches you the meditation technique believed to have been used by the Buddha to find enlightenment.
Download it now from the Google Play store
If you have iOS, you can get it from the Apple Store
If you don't have a smartphone but want the mp3 version, you can find it on CDBaby
Watch the Breath
Articles on mindfulness meditation.