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...
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!
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?
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
Today, we have released the Vipassana app to the iOS store.
In this meditation app, we explore the technique of body sensation awareness made popular by the Theravada Buddhists. The app makes it easy for beginners to learn this ancient practice.
Start with the breath... a simple shamatha practice to focus on your breathing
Continue with the sensations of breath... two anapana breath meditations which will sharpen the mind
Witness your body's surface sensations... four different vipassana meditations for sensation awareness
Go deeper into vipassana... bring your awareness to inside the body
Come to place of loving kindness... conclude your sessions with unconditional love for all
Each track builds upon the other, teaching you a toolbox of different vipassana meditations from which you can pull the meditation that works best for any given session. Customize the length of each session based on the amount of time you have available. The album also contains a simple meditation timer so you can practice in silence once you no longer need to be guided through the meditations. The app also keeps track of your total time spent in meditation and requires you to do the meditations in order to learn the proper technique.
The android version of this app will be released soon!
The latest album from Guided Meditation Treks is out on CDBaby in mp3 format! It will be available on iTunes, spotify, and other streaming providers in the coming weeks. Not to mention, the iOS and android apps for this album are almost complete and ready for release on their respective app stores. You can learn more about the album at the Vipassana page, purchase it on CDBaby, or wait a bit for it to be released in the iOS and Android app stores in the coming weeks. There will be another post when the app versions come out, but I wanted to release the mp3 album first, just to keep with the tradition of Guided Meditation Treks! I hope you enjoy it!
Through my personal experience, I have become an advocate for bodywork as a means to long term wellness. As a hardcore software developer and writer, I have been using acupuncture to manage inflammation in my arms and wrists for over a decade, and there's nothing like it to keep my energy from getting blocked in certain areas. In addition, my acupuncturists have always been trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, offering some interesting treatments (can I get a shout out to cupping?) that have helped my body as well. In addition to acupuncture, when I lived in Austin, I visited a chiropractor regularly. He not only made me feel relaxed after every visit through a good 'back cracking,' he also used a muscle-testing technique to help me determine which herbs and vitamins were in harmony with my body. Finally, in the last year, I've discovered the field of Rolfing, which has helped my body posture and alignment in ways that I could have never imagined. In this blog, I outline some of the nuances and my personal experiences with these wonderful wellness modalities, which are often dismissed by Western medicine specialists who cannot fully comprehend or understand their methods, resulting in their unfortunate lack of recommending them as valid means to maintain a healthy body and mind.
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!
Watch the Breath
Articles on mindfulness meditation.