We can spend all day every day in the dark, meditating in silence, doing all the yoga our body can stand, being mindful of every moment, but is it enough to evolve our soul? Many would say yes, but I've always found a place in my heart for inspirational wisdom teachings, dharma talks, and books written by others who may be further along the path than me. Even in the Eight Limbs of Yoga, two of them, the Yamas and Niyamas, cover the esoteric teachings of ethics and religion. It's no wonder that people who meditate and do a lot of yoga are looking for more than just relaxation and body awareness -- we are seekers looking to spiritually evolve. In this blog, I'd like to cover some of my favorite "wisdom teachers," who have inspired me over the years. Maybe you might enjoy them as well!
Any yoga enthusiast will tell you that the activity is not simply a form of exercise. Granted, yoga does offer many physical benefits. Harvard Health Blog details quite a few. For example, they state that yoga provides a reduced risk of heart disease because of deep breathing exercises that help lower blood pressure; also, it has been shown that the meditation calms the nervous system and improves immune function. Furthermore, regular yoga sessions are known to ease chronic back pain since it helps corrects posture. In a similar vein, yoga is proven to reduce pain and stiffness in patients with arthritis. But yoga’s benefits actually transcend beyond physicality.
For those of us doing the "standard" meditation practice of sitting upright in silence with our eyes closed to observe ourselves, it's good to be aware of the position we take to do this. I've always personally been rather inflexible through my years, so I generally take the easy way out and allow my back to be supported by something as I meditate. I reckon that this is much better than not meditating at all.
That said, I do find it important to occasionally try stricter postures, and of course if I'm not meditating at home, it's a good opportunity to try different things as well.
When I'm on the floor, I pretty much always have something keeping my butt off of the ground to relieve tension in my legs. Sometimes, I might even run a pillow across the underside of my knees to relieve tension there as well. My goal is to allow me to focus on my meditation instead of the pain of sitting awkwardly.
Read some tips about Meditation Posture
Guest blog by Sarah
Every time you watch television, open up a magazine, grab a flyer or simply turn down the corner, there seems to be some new fad or health guru proclaiming that this is the key to self-improvement, better health, more energy, and a better peace of mind. So rarely are any of these promises delivered upon. But there seems to be a small group of people who are getting it right.
There appears to be a correlation, backed up by science that people who routinely practice meditation are healthier, happier, have less stress and have higher energy levels. Therefore, let’s unpack the science and see just how meditation can help me and you to have a better body.
One of the fundamentals of Guided Meditation Treks is the concept of brainwave entrainment with binaural beats. Most of the meditation programs offered through this site implement some form of "binaural beats," which is a technology scientifically shown to steer your brainwaves towards certain frequencies. With this technology, your mind can be coaxed into becoming sleepy, focused, relaxed, or even creative. Binaural Beats are embedded into Guided Meditation Treks albums, but I have also been offering a smartphone app called "Binaural" which lets you generate these tones on your own. Now, I've released a web app that does the same thing! This online app lets you generate your own binaural beats using nothing more than an HTML5-enabled web browser!
Visit the binaural web app.
I just got back from a 10-day retreat in Kaufman, Texas, where I learned teachings passed down for centuries from the man himself, Gautama Buddha. If learning to meditate like Buddha isn't a great marketing spin for a meditation retreat, I don't know what is! The seminar was a mind-blowing experience with its share of ups and downs. This is my story, and my take on the meditation technique of vipassana.
Last month, I made the Binaural apps FREE for both iOS and android. I've now taken it a step further and made the algorithms open source. You can now go to my github page and download fully working sample apps that generate binaural beats and isochronic pulses. Then, you can use these algorithms in your own apps. If you end up using any of this code, give ma shout, and maybe I'll feature your app on this blog!
Even though software development can be a great meditation, I thought a technical description of the code would go too deep for a meditation blog, so instead, I'm posting that detail on my personal blog, which you can find here.
Here's the source code for iOS.
Here's the source code for Android.
Or you can just download the app here and not worry how it works!
I am a strong believer in understanding and trying many different meditation disciplines to find the one(s) that work for you. This guest blog written by Diamond over at eHealthInformer outlines four of them.
Though meditation has been around for centuries, it's still only just starting to take off in the Western world. It first gained popularity in the West during the 1960s as culture changed with music and narcotic experimentation. The Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation from the Maharishi in Rishikesh, which changed their musical sound and lyrics meanings to be about spirituality and eastern philosophy.
Around this time other bands and influential people began learning and experimenting with meditation. However, since then meditation has spread deeply throughout Western culture and is now considered as standard as yoga or shisha pipes.
Meditation is now used not only for spiritual connection but mind health, stress relief, developing focus and vision exercises. Not everyone wishes to use meditation for spiritual purposes, though that is the area the techniques were bred from.
These four unique meditation practices are among the most effective and widely practiced to date. Using the information below you should be able to decide which is right for you and your desires.
You may be familiar with the fact that the double-slit experiment of quantum physics scientifically supports the notion that observation and belief creates reality. However, they took the experiment a step farther to show us an example of how this experiment also supports the notion that observation, interpretation, and expectation can even rewrite PAST reality.
YOU are the creator!
Binaural was my first app created for both Android and iOS. It has been for sale for 99 cents for the last year. Well, after making a brand new update to the iOS version of the app this week to allow a custom volume control, I've decided to go ahead and give this app away for free!
You can feel free to use the binaural app for iOS or android to create your own guided meditations. After all, the world needs more meditation! These apps will allow you to generate your own binaural beats, as well as learn about the concepts of brainwave entrainment, brain frequencies, and binaural beats technology.
Happy Holidays! I hope you enjoy the gifts! If you've already purchased this app in the past, thank you for your support to help me cover the costs of enrolling in the apple & android developer programs. They are not free!
Binaural for iOS can be found at the Apple App Store
Binaural for Android can be found a the Google Play store
It's time for the season of giving! I am going to give away some special gifts this month, and the first one I'm giving away is nature sounds! The Sleep app for iOS comes with a set of nature sounds to help sooth you to sleep, but the app has an in-app purchase to more than double the library of nature sounds. Previously, the expansion pack cost $3.99, but I have just changed the app today to make the expansion pack FREE! This means, if you buy the Sleep App for iOS, you have the option to expand the library of nature sounds for free!
Every nature sound on the app can be looped to infinity!
Stay tuned for another gift from me to you in a couple of days! While the 'gift' in this post only comes to users of the Sleep App, the next one will be a 'no purchase necessary' gift to all!
Appliv has just reviewed the android version of Binaural. They say some nice things and explain the app in their own way. Thanks, appliv!
There are many ways to meditate! As part of a cleanse, I've been taking a hot bath every day for the last two months. A hot bath is a great way to meditate, and it is also a great way for your body to detoxify itself! You can do this in a hot tub or sauna, but since most people have a bathtub, a hot bath is easier.
Like me, you might have a tendency to get out of a hot tub after about 5 minutes as you start to sweat. But if you can hang in there, that's only the beginning of where the fun starts! The key to a detoxifying hot bath meditation is to stay in the hot water and sweat for 10-15 minutes. As with any meditation, at first, it can be challenging to sit still that long (especially in hot water), but it's worth it in the end! Here are my tips!
Many look to science to determine the effectiveness of certain treatments on our health, and there is a belief in Western medicine that the solution to our problems is some procedure or pill from the outside. I write a lot about the power we have to heal ourselves, but sometimes it may seem unscientific to hold this view.
Western medicine looks to physical science to prove or disprove certain hypotheses. However, Eastern belief systems indicate that our physical reality is a subset of reality, which is created by our higher planes of existence (our thoughts on the mental plane and our emotions on the astral plane). As such, our ability to heal on the physical can be affected by these higher planes. However, physical science can only witness the physical plane, and therefore, it may seem like an inadequate tool to measure these other planes of existence, which seem out of the reach of physical science because the physical plane "below" the higher planes.
One way we can directly witness the effects of these higher planes on the physical plane is the age-old psychological concept called "the placebo effect," wherein a subject of a scientific study perceives and believes that they are receiving some external treatment to create a desired effect and then begin to feel well due to this perceived treatment. However, in reality, the subject did not actually receive the treatment. Instead, it was their belief that they received the treatment which made them perceive that their problem was solved, and through this perception, the problem does indeed actually become resolved. In these cases, it is scientifically shown that the external treatment did not cure the person, but rather, the person's belief. Here is a great article and documentary that details how the placebo effect can help us heal!
Read more and watch the documentary...
Watch the Breath
Articles on mindfulness meditation.