Category: Body Mind Spirit

This category includes Health and Fitness.

Wherever you go there you are

A while back I finished a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you go there you are – Mindfulness Mediation in Everyday Life. I love Jon’s low key style. The book which consists of very short chapters, most of them only a few pages long, covers different aspects of mindfulness and meditation. There are also practices in many of the chapters. The easiest way to describe the book is to take part of the introduction:

In this book Jon Kabat-Zinn maps out a somple path for cultivating mindfulness in one’s own life. It speaks both to those coming to meditation for the first time and to longtime practitioners, anyone who cares deeply about reclaiming the richness of his or her moments.

Here comes some quotes from the book, texts that hooked me:

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally.

Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It is about feeling the way you feel.

Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way.

Meditation means cultivating a non-judging attitude towards what comes up in the mind, come what may.

Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by chaing ourselves.

There is no successful escaping from yourself in the long run, only transformation.

And finally this reassuring quote:

You are already perfect.

See also:
Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness for Beginners
Arriving at your own Door

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Milk and Sugar

Yoga and my spiritual development makes me change gradually what I eat. The two things I focus on at present is to eliminate or at least cut down on sugar and dairy. When it comes to sweets I do not like the concept of artificial sweeteners, I avoid them completely.

Zen Habits has a great post about sugar: Beat the Sugar Habit: 3 Steps to Cut Sweets (Mostly) Out of Your Life. There is a list of the bad things with sugar as well as a list of tips on how to beat the sugar habit.

Epic Self raised an interesting question in “Dare We Eat Dairy?”:

When it comes to nutrition, the milk debate is probably as confusing and controversial as it gets. Is cow’s milk a cancer fighting, PMS subduing, osteoporosis preventing super food? Or is it just another multi-billion dollar industry working with the government to alter dietary guidelines in their favor?

It also says:

Today we tend to look to scientific evidence to tell us what and how much to eat. But, what happened to paying attention to how you personally feel after eating certain products? Tuning into the internal workings of your own body will give you some clues into how to moderate or in some cases eliminate dairy from your diet.

My own experience is that dropping sugar and dairy makes me feel better.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Google has a collection of company videos at YouTube. There are a lot of sessions worth watching.

I came across Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn which is terrific. The workshop is an hour long but is well worth that time, it also includes a meditation session. Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about mindfulness and meditation, awareness, non-doing, beginner’s mind, to bring doing and being together, to be fully present.

Jon reminded me of the value of just tuning in to our own breathing as a simple way of bringing as back to here and now. Not with the intention to control our breathing, just to follow it and become more present.

I liked this presentation so much that I have ordered some of his books. Now I am looking forward to “Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness”, “Mindfulness for Beginners” (CD) and “Wherever You Go, There You Are”.

See also: The 5-minute Meditator.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Appearances can deceive

I love this quote from The 5-minute Meditator, a book about ‘spot meditations’:

A person in a Buddhist centre, sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed for an hour, may be completely unfocused and not meditating at all. He could be daydreaming, falling asleep or thinking about everything at random. Conversely, someone who is fully present while preparing food or walking to the shops is meditating beautifully.

This is valid not only about meditation. There is the classic You can’t judge a book by its cover, before you can judge something you need to take a closer look at it.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Scientists probe meditation secrets

When browsing the net about meditation I came across an article at BBC: Scientists probe meditation secrets. The article says that scientists are beginning to uncover evidence that meditation has a tangible effect on the brain.

Research into the health claims made for meditation has limitations and few conclusions can be reached, partly because meditation is rarely isolated – it is often practised alongside other lifestyle changes such as diet, or exercise, or as part of group therapy.

The BBC article is interesting, it says that:

It is a new area of research, but indications are intriguing and suggest that meditation may have a measurable impact on the brain.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Five Steps Closer to Calm

I subscribe to the Daily Insight newsletter from YogaJournal. On May 5th it was about Five Steps Closer to Calm. It says:

If it’s hard for you to still your mind to meditate, the senior teachers at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health have developed a five-step approach that could help. Follow these steps and allow yourself to fall into a deep meditative state that will reveal a closer connection to the present and help calm you when you’re upset.

The five steps are:
1. Breathe—Focusing on your breathing is an essential practice that draws your awareness inward and helps you experience the presence and flow of energy.

2. Relax—The more you relax, the more you deepen awareness of sensation.

3. Feel—Let your sense of feeling move beyond physical sensation. Acknowledge who you are as a being of energy.

4. Watch—Sense who you are as a witness; be a scientist observing phenomena arising in and around you.

5. Allow—Sense who you are with no preferences. Be present to the process of your life unfolding moment by moment.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

The 5-minute Meditator

I have finished a book written by Eric Harrison and titled The 5-minute Meditator, I like it a lot. It is the perfect book for people who ‘have no time to meditate’. The book has about a dozen ‘spot meditations’ lasting from half a minute to five minutes. Short meditations are just as effective as long ones, that suits me perfect since it is easier for me to do several short meditations than a long one.

Meditation is about choosing where you direct your attention. If you focus on something that is simple and sensual, you relax.

The basic instructions are: focus on the sensations of the present – sight, sound, taste or touch – and let your thoughts pass by in the background.

Eric writes that just a few minutes of deep breathing each day can make a difference to our well-being. I do a simple practice of three deep breaths that works very well for me.

You do not have to make yourself relax. You just stand back and let it happen. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Your body and mind will naturally settle if you give them half a chance. The less you try to do, the better it works!

That sounds easy but it takes practice before it works. Eric says this about staying present:

To stay in the present, focus on one thing in the present. We call this the meditation object. It is your anchor, it is what you persuade your mind to return to when it wanders away.

One thing to focus on is our breath, easy and always available. Eric mentions that a visual object can be much easier to focus on than the breath so your mind is less inclined to wander. The choice is yours, pick an object that is available and do a short meditation.

I work as a coach and I use a short meditation before sessions to unwind, relax and become focused on the session to come. It helps me become more present.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Spirituality made simple

Over at Pick the Brain is an interesting post about Spirituality for Dummies. I fully agree that spirituality does not have to be religious.

Having spirituality simply means believing in something greater than yourself. It can be incredibly powerful to have a sense of spirituality in your life, and very often it can haul you through the difficult times in your pursuit for success, happiness, and fulfillment.

David B. Bohl lists three ways to find your spirituality: going to church, commune with nature and meditate. Nature and meditation works for me, religion does not. I can visit a church as place of peace and calm or because of architecture but religion is not for me.

I work as a coach and agree to the importance of harmony in life as a foundation for achieving other things.

Spiritual and personal development should begin with the goal of creating a better work life balance, enabling you to achieve success in both your personal and professional lives.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Ki, Chi, Qi

Ki kanji sign and logoWhen I started Key Coaching I picked the Kanji-character for Ki as my logo. It’s a beautiful sign. I’m interested in Eastern philosophies and I like the concept of life energy.

Qi, also chi or ki , is a fundamental concept of traditional Chinese culture. Qi is believed to be part of every living thing that exists, as a kind of “life force” or “spiritual energy”. It is frequently translated as “energy flow”, or literally as “air” or “breath”.
Text from Wikipedia.

Ki is an old japanese word which does not translate easily into English. It is used in many common Japanese idiomatic phrases where it conveys a meaning of spirit, energy, power, or air (gaseous). There is an old connection between spirit and breath (air) related to the Chinese word Chi (or Qi) and to the Hindu word Prana. This older meaning of Ki as being a term for the life force (breath) and natural power within us and within all things is how we use the term here.
This text is borrowed from Understanding Ki.

Chi (pronounced chee and also spelled qi or ch’i) is energy – the life giving, vital energy that unites body, mind and spirit. A concept that has its origins in early Chinese philosophy, chi has been likened to the yogic concept of prana and could also be thought of as life force.
This text is borrowed from Chi – The Fundamental Mystery and Miracle.

The Ki / Chi / Qi is part of names like Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Those are practices that involve the concept of life energy. Prana is a concept that’s included in yoga.