|Posted on 19 November, 2017 at 6:15||comments (0)|
THE FOUR-FOLD BREATH
With physical exercise too, moderation is advised. (You should be cautious, or not attempt it if you have a respiratory or heart condition. Check with your physician if in doubt, and don’t overdo.) One of the most useful physical exercises is pranayama, or controlled breathing (actually a type of hatha yoga exercise). For this and any other calesthentics or hatha yoga which you might choose to do a ‘kitchen timer’ is suggested (many of these aren’t accurate for under three minutes, but are helpful for longer periods).
The main purpose of pranayama is to relax the body and mind. There are many kinds of pranayama, but a simple one called the ‘four-fold breath’ will suffice. This consists of four short quick inhallations, then four short quick exhallations; then repeat, continuing until the allotted time is used up. It will take about 1 1/2 seconds for the four inhallations, and about 1 1/2 seconds for the four exhallations; or about 3 seconds for the complete in-out cycle (‘rep’ for repetition). There should be no strain of any kind during your pranayama. You will probably notice a slight dizziness, particularly at first, since the effect of pranayama is to hyperventilate. Try sitting back in a chair with your eyes closed when you do your pranayama. Begin a minute a day for the first week and gradually increase up to about five minutes a day. If you do the pranayama befor your magical activity, it will help you to get ‘into the mood’. It is also an excellent aid to relaxation and tension release. Pranayama should not be done during heavy air pollution. Other exercises you might consider are hatha yoga, calesthentics, walking or jogging.
|Posted on 10 November, 2017 at 7:00||comments (1)|
Scientific Benefits of Meditation
We all have heard that “meditation is good for you”. But good in what terms? Is that just reports from people doing it for 10 years, or are there good scientific studies showing specific benefits that I care about?
In this massive article I have summarised several scientific discoveries on the benefits of meditation. Over 100 studies were analysed (some of which were already analysis of other hundreds of studies), and categorised the findings into 76 benefits (divided into 46 subheadings). You will be surprised in reading some of these.You will noticed that on many blogs and forums when people answer the question “why should I meditate” or “what are the benefits of meditation”, they do mention a few benefits, but leave a lot behind. Or they often lack scientific evidence backing up what they say. There are over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation2, but I have not found any blog that compiles hundreds of researches into an organised article, so decided to fill in the gap.
These studies were based on different “styles” of meditation, and I have included details, whenever relevant. Some effects, such as increased compassion and social bonding, are more salient as a result of specific types of meditation (such as loving-kindness Buddhist meditation). However, my understanding and personal practice is that any kind of authentic meditation will include most of these benefits, in one degree or another.
Some of the studies indicated that meditating even 20 minutes per day for a few weeks was already enough to start experiencing the benefits.
1. Brain & Moods
Mindfulness practices decreases depression
In a study conducted at five middle schools in Belgium, involving about 400 students (13 ~ 20 years old), Professor Filip Raes concludes that “students who follow an in-class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.”
Another study (University of California), made with patients with past depression, concluded that mindfulness meditation decreases ruminative thinking and dysfunctional beliefs.
Yet another concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat depression to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy”.
Sources: ScienceDaily, Link Springer, Jama Network
Mindfulness meditation helps treat depression in mothers to be .
High-risk pregnant women who participated in a ten-week mindfulness yoga training saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. The mothers-to-be also showed more intense bonding to their babies in the womb. The findings were published inComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Source: Medical News Today
Meditation practices help regulate mood and anxiety disorders.
This is also the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.
Another research concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy.
(Somebody please tweet that! The world needs to hear!)
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Jama Network
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general.
A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that the practice of “Open Monitoring Meditation” (such as Vipassana), reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress. Meditators were more able to “attend moment-to-moment to the stream of stimuli to which they are exposed and less likely to ‘get stuck’ on any one stimulus. ”
“Open Monitoring Meditation” involves non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment, primarily as a means to recognize the nature of emotional and cognitive patterns.
There are other studies as well, for which I simply present the link below, to avoid repetition.
Sources: NCBI, Wiley Online Library, The American Journal of Psychiatry, ScienceDirect, American Psychological Association, American Psychosomtic Medicine Journal, Medical News Today
Meditation helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder.
In a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 22 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder or panic disorder were submitted to 3 months meditation and relaxation training. As a result, for 20 of those patients the effects of panic and anxiety had reduced substantially, and the changes were maintained at follow-up.
Source: American Journal of Psychiatry
Meditation increases grey matter concentration on the brain.
A group of Harvard neuroscientists ran an experiment where 16 people were submitted to an eight-week mindfulness course, using guided meditations and integration of mindfulness into everyday activities. The results were reported by Sara Lazar, PhD. At the end of it, MRI scans show that the grey matter concentration increases in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective.
Other studies also show a larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of grey matter for long-term meditators.
Sources: Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, ScienceDirector.
Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep needs.
On a research conducted by the University of Kentucky, participants were tested on four different conditions: Control (C), Nap (N), Meditation (M) and Sleep Deprivation plus Meditation. Non-meditators, novice meditators and experienced meditators were part of the experiment. The results suggest that:
Meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators. In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.
Sources: NCBI, DoctorsOnTM, Time Magazine
Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain.
In a study with Tibetan Buddhist monks, conducted by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, it was found that novice meditators “showed a slight increase in gamma activity, but most monks showed extremely large increases of a sort that has never been reported before in the neuroscience literature”.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Meditation helps reduce alcohol and substance abuse.
Three studies made with Vipassana meditation in incarcerated populations suggested that it can help reduce alcohol and substance abuse.
Source: Journal Of Alternative and Complementary Medicine1
2. Mind & Performance
Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress.
A study led by Katherine MacLean of the University of California suggested that during and after meditation training, subjects were more skilled at keeping focus, especially on repetitive and boring tasks.
Another study demonstrated that even with only 20 minutes a day of practice, students were able to improve their performance on tests of cognitive skill, in some cases doing 10 times better than the group that did not meditate. They also performed better on information-processing tasks that were designed to induce deadline stress.
In fact, there is evidence that meditators had thicker prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, and also to the effect that meditation might offset the loss of cognitive ability with old age.
Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, Link Springer
Meditation improves information processing and decision making.
Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and improving attention.
Source: UCLA Newsroom
Meditation gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence.
PhD psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander reports in his book Wise Mind, Open Mind that the process of controlling the mind, through meditation, increases mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence.
Source: Dr. Ron Alexander
Meditation makes you stronger against pain.
A research group from the University of Montreal exposed 13 Zen masters and 13 comparable non-practitioners to equal degrees of painful heat while measuring their brain activity in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. What they discovered is that the Zen meditation (called zazen) practitioners reported less pain. Actually, they reported less pain than their neurological output from the fMRI indicated. So, even though their brain may be receiving the same amount of pain input, in their mind’s there is actually less pain.
Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, David Lynch Foundation
Meditation relieves pain better than morphine.
In an experiment conducted by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, 15 healthy volunteers, who were new to meditation, attended four 20-minute classes to learn meditation, focusing on the breath. Both before and after meditation training, study participants’ brain activity was examined using ASL MRI, while pain was inflicted in them by using heat.
Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study, explains that.
This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. (… We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.”
Source: Huffington Post
Meditation helps manage ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
In a study made with 50 adult ADHD patients, the group that was submitted to MBCT (Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) demonstrated reduced hyperactivity, reduced impulsivity and increased “act-with-awareness” skill, contributing to an overall improvement in inattention symptoms.
Sources: Clinical Neurophysiology Journal, DoctorsOnTM.
Meditation increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions.
A study from Emory University, Atlanta, demonstrated that participants with more meditation experience exhibit increased connectivity within the brain networks controlling attention. These neural relationships may be involved in the development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction. Moreover, the benefits of the practice were observed also in normal state of consciousness during the day, which speaks to the transference of cognitive abilities “off the cushion” into daily life.
The meditation practice examined was focusing the attention on the breath.
Source: Frontiers Journal
Meditation improves learning, memory and self-awareness.
Long-term practice of meditation increases grey-matter density in the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory,
self-awareness, compassion, introspection.
Mindfulness meditation improves rapid memory recall.
According to Catherine Kerr of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Centre, “Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall”.
Meditation improves your mood and psychological well-being .
Researchers from Nottingham Trent University, UK, found that when participants with issues of stress and low mood underwent meditation training, they experienced improvements in psychological well-being.
Source: Link Springer
Meditation prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often.
Multitasking is not only a dangerous productivity myth, but it’s also a source of stress. “Changing gears” between activities is costly for the brain, and induces feelings of distraction and dissatisfaction from the work being done.
In a research conducted by the University of Washington and University of Arizona, Human Resource personnel were given 8 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation techniques, and were given a stressful multitasking test both before and after training. The group of staff that had practiced meditation reported lower levels of stress and showed better memory for the tasks they had performed; they also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.
Source: ACM Digital Library
Meditation helps us allocate limited brain resources.
When the brain is presented two targets to pay attention to, and they right after one another (half a second difference), the second one is often not seen. This is called “attentional-blink”.
In an experiment conducted by the University of California, a stream of random letters was shown in a computer screen, in rapid succession. In each session, one or two numbers or blank screens would appear in the middle, and participants were later asked, immediately after the stream ended, to type the numbers they saw. They were also asked whether they thought a blank screen was shown or not.
Subjects that had undergone 3 months of intense Vipassana Meditation were found to have a better control over the distribution of attention and perception resources. They showed less allocation of brain-resource for each letter shown, which resulted in reduction in “attentional-blink” size.
Source: PLOS Biology
Meditation improves visuospatial processing and working memory.
Research has shown that even after only four sessions of mindfulness meditationtraining, participants had significantly improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.
Meditation prepares you to deal with stressful events.
A study from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, conducted with 32 adults that had never practiced meditation before, showed that if meditation is practiced before a stressful event, the adverse effects of stress were lessened.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
benefits of meditation - creativityMindfulness meditation fosters creativity.
A research from Leiden University (Netherlands) demonstrates that the practice of “open monitoring” meditation (non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment) has positive effects in creativity and divergent thinking. Participants who had followed the practice performed better in a task where they were asked to creatively come up with new ideas.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
3. Body & Health
Meditation reduces risk of heart diseases and stroke.
More people die of heart diseases in the world than any other illness.
In a study published in late 2012, a group of over 200 high-risk individuals was asked to either take a health education class promoting better diet and exercise or take a class on Transcendental Meditation. During the next 5 years researchers accompanying the participants found that those who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
They noted that meditation “significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in coronary heart disease patients. These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors.”
There are also other researches pointing out similar conclusions, about related health conditions.
Sources: Time Magazine, American Heart Association, HealthCentral
Meditation affect genes that control stress and immunity.
A study from Harvard Medical School demonstrates that, after a practicing yoga and meditation, the individuals had improved mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency. This improvement develops a higher immunity in the system and resilience to stress.
Sources: Bloomberg, NCBI, American Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, Journal of International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Meditation reduces blood pressure.
Clinical research has demonstrated that the practice of Zen Meditation (also known as “Zazen” reduces stress and high blood pressure.
Another experiment, this time with a technique called “relaxation response”, yielded similar results, with 2/3 of high blood pressure patients showing significant drops in blood pressure after 3 months of meditation, and, consequently, less need for medication. This is because relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up your blood vessels.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, NPR News
Mindfulness training decreases inflammatory disorders.
A study conducted in France and Spain at the UW-Madison Waisman Centre indicates that the practice of mindfulness meditation produces a range of genetic and molecular effects on the participants. More specifically, it was noted reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.
Source: University of Winsconsin Madison, & HealthCentral & Medical News Today
Mindfulness meditation decreases cellular-level inflammation.
In the three studies below, the group that undertook mindfulness training had better results at preventing cellular level inflammation than the control groups.
Sources: ScienceDirect (1), ScienceDirect (2), ScienceDirect (3)
Mindfulness practice helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
In a research conducted by neuroscientists of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two groups of people were exposed to different methods of stress control. One of them received mindfulness training, while the other received nutritional education, exercise and music therapy. The study concluded that mindfulness techniques were more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.
Source: Medical News Today
Meditation and meditative prayer help treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms.
This is the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
yoga and mindfulness reduce stress.
Mindfulness meditation reduces risk of Alzheimer and premature death.
Results from recent research, published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, states that just 30 minutes of meditation a day not only reduces the sense of loneliness, but also reduces the risk of heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s and premature death.
Mindfulness training is helpful for patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
In a study published in PubMed, 11 participants that suffered from fibromyalgia underwent an 8-week mindfulness training. As a result, the researchers found significant improvement in the overall health status of the participants and in symptoms of stiffness, anxiety, and depression. Significant improvements were also seen in the reported number of days “felt good” and number of days “missed work” because of fibromyalgia.
Source: NCBI (1), NCBI (2), Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Journal
Meditation helps manage the heart rate and respiratory rate.
In a study published by the Korean Association of Genuine Traditional Medicine, practitioners of “Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique” showed a significant decrease in heart rate and respiratory rate for up to 8 months after the training period.
Mindfulness meditation may even help treat HIV.
Quoting from a study from UCLA:
Lymphocytes, or simply CD4 T cells, are the “brains” of the immune system, coordinating its activity when the body comes under attack. They are also the cells that are attacked by HIV, the devastating virus that causes AIDS and has infected roughly 40 million people worldwide. The virus slowly eats away at CD4 T cells, weakening the immune system.
But the immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients face another enemy as well – stress, which can accelerate CD4 T cell declines. Now, researchers at UCLA report that the practice of mindfulness meditation stopped the decline of CD4 T cells in HIV-positive patients suffering from stress, slowing the progression of the disease.
Creswell and his colleagues ran an eight-week mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) meditation program and compared it to a one-day MBSR control seminar, using a stressed and ethnically diverse sample of 48 HIV-positive adults in Los Angeles. Participants in the eight-week group showed no loss of CD4 T cells, indicating that mindfulness meditation training can buffer declines. In contrast, the control group showed significant declines in CD4 T cells from pre-study to post-study. Such declines are a characteristic hallmark of HIV progression.
Meditation may make you live longer.
Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Though the research is not conclusive yet, there is data suggesting that “that some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance.”
Source: Wiley Online Library
Health benefits of Transcendental Meditation.
There is an abundance of studies around the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation (a popular modality of meditation). In a nutshell, TM is found to reduce metabolic syndrome (American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2006).
Extended longevity (American Journal of Cardiology, May 2005)
Lower blood pressure in at-risk teens (American Journal of Hypertension, April 2004; and DoctorsOnTM)
Reduce atherosclerosis (American Journal of Cardiology, April 2002)
Reduce thickening of Coronary Arteries (Stroke, March 2000)
Reduce myocardial eschemia (American Journal of Cardiology, May 1996)
Help manage and prevent anxiety (here & here)
Helps manage cholesterol (DoctorsOnTM)
Help treat epilepsy (DoctorsOnTM)
Helps you stop smoking (DoctorsOnTM)
Creates a state of deep rest in the body and mind (Hypertension 26: 820-827, 1995)
Increases skin resistance (Phyysiology & Behavior 35: 591-595, 1985)
Clarity of thinking (Perceptual and Motor Skills 39: 1031-1034, 1974)
Sources: David Lynch Foundation
Loving-kindness meditation improves empathy and positive relationships.
meditation enhances psychological well-beingIn Buddhist traditions we find the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation, where the practitioner focuses on developing a sense of benevolence and care towards all living beings. According to a study from Emory University, such exercises effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.
Another study points out that the development of positive emotions through compassion builds up several personal resources, including “a loving attitude toward oneself and others and includes self-acceptance, social support received, and positive relations with others”, as well as “feeling of competence about one’s life” and includes “pathways thinking, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and ego-resilience”.
Sources: ScienceDaily, NCBI, PLOS One
Loving-kindness meditation also reduces social isolation.
In a study published in the American Psychological Association, subjects that did “even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals, on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation”.
Source: American Psychological Association
Meditation increases feelings of compassion and decreases worry.
After being assigned to a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT), individuals showed significant improvements in all three domains of compassion – compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. In a similar situation, the practitioners also experienced decreased level of worry and emotional suppression.
Sources: Stanford School of Medicine (also here), Sage Journals.
Mindfulness meditation decreases feelings of loneliness.
A study from Carnegie Mellon University indicates that mindfulness meditation training is useful in decreasing feelings of loneliness, which in turn decreases the risk for morbidity, mortality, and expression of pro-inflammatory genes.
Meditation reduces emotional eating.
Scientists believe that Transcendental Meditation help manage emotional eating, which prevents obesity.
mindfulness in schools5. Mindfulness For Kids
In a huge compilation of studies made about mindfulness in schools, MindfulnessInSchools.org presented research evidence for the following benefits for kids:
reduced depression symptoms
reduced somatic stress
reduced hostility and conflicts with peers
reduced substance use
increased cognitive retention
increased optimism and positive emotions
increased feelings of happiness and well-being
improved social skills
improved academic performance
There was also numerous reports of benefits for teachers and staff, including:
increased personal qualities of open-minded curiosity, kindliness, empathy, compassion, acceptance, trust, patience, and non-striving, and the skills of focusing, and paying and switching attention, improvements in physical and mental health that tend to follow the learning of mindfulness, including conditions particularly relevant to the teaching profession such as stress and burnout improved teaching self-efficacy, improved physical health, increased ability to give more appropriate support for students by through being more motivated and autonomous decreased stress.
increased work motivation
improved spatial memory, working memory and sustained attention
Some more interesting facts about meditation:
Saying the OM sound before a surgery helps in preparation and recovery
Meditators are more able to affect the reality around us, in a quantum level
There is also some account of mindfulness meditation improving your sex life (here, here, and here)
Reduces race and age prejudice (Sage Journals)
In a nutshell, science confirms the experience of millions of practitioners: meditation will keep you healthy, help prevent multiple diseases, make you more happy, and improve your performance in basically any task, physical or mental.
|Posted on 3 November, 2017 at 7:20||comments (0)|
Boost Immune system Naturally & Boost Immunity Part 3.
EAT ORGANIC:- As much as you can afford to buy and have the time to grow. The much higher life force from plants and animals being nurtured on good chemical free quality soil, using old traditional farming practices, is well worth the extra expense. Mass produced food is grown in tired soil, stimulated with chemical fertilizers to grow fast and have no goodness, sprayed with toxic chemicals to control pests. Some is also genetically modified to look good, have a good at Coles-Woolworths stores they have no goodness in them or any large supermarket stores stay away from if you can, travel well and last a long time on the supermarket shelf. The end result has dramatically lowered nutritional value or has none nutritional value at all. The cost of organic food is the true cost of nutritious food. The true cost of non organic food is chronic sub health and the recent alarming rise in serious diseases in western society, also consider the money you will save in the long term with no chemical tablets that destroy the body, Healthy immune system means a healthy life and a good life and in balance with all things. COOK:- Processing foods you buy from supermarkets or fast food outlets has lessen or no nutritional value for your body at all. Use as much whole organic food as you can with your budget needs and cook it yourself, it doesn't take long to cook a stir-fry or anything you like. It's the only way to really know what you are eating and the goodness for your immune system. LIMIT ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS:- They increase the work your liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatics have to do. Take a serious look at every cleaning product and personal care items in your house. If you can't eat it, don't breathe it or let it touch your skin. Natural products do just as good a job and using them instead of their chemical equivalents does you, your children, your grandchildren and the environment a huge benefit and favour for all involved.
|Posted on 30 October, 2017 at 7:25||comments (0)|
The Legend of the Crystal Skulls
Alrighty… where to begin.
The other day I wrote an article about a new emerging technology… or perhaps, a re-emerging ancient technology which many pointed out to me upon posting the article. The article was about a new kind of Crystal Storage, moving nano-particles around inside a sheet of Clear Quartz Glass, which allowed for storage to last up to 300 Million+ years. That’s a big deal.
If you missed it, and want to dive in, you can read that article here. But today, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Upon posting this previous post on facebook, the comments erupted in amazing speculation about the Crystal Skulls. I like where everyone’s mind is at.
The Crystal Skulls
You’ve heard the tales. The legend of the Crystal Skull is the tale of our Ancient Ancestors using Crystal Technology to store memories, understandings, and even pure Consciousness itself, in a Pure Quartz Crystal Skull. Every thousand years, for the past 13 thousand years, there have been stories that a new Crystal Skull was created by the indigenous descendants of the Atlanteans.
I don’t know about my math, but that would mean that we are living in the time when the 13th Crystal Skull is emerging, and perhaps even has emerged.
Almost 2 years ago, a young boy I was parading across the country on a road trip with my compadre’s, we stumbled across a small metaphysical shop in Mount Shasta, and met a woman who claimed to own the 13th crystal skull. No joke.
The woman told us her incredible tales, and then we whisked away on further adventures, and to this day. I haven’t returned… What can I say? I’ve been incredibly busy, not to mention flat broke.
What is particularly exciting however, is when we take this ancient ideas about crystals and memories, and combine them with our new technology that we as a species are now beginning to develop. The ability to read and write to data in a piece of Quartz Crystal! Imagine what we could do with that.
With that technology and some proper development (and of course, the right intentions) we can actually use our computer technology to open up the mind of the crystal skulls for the world to behold! We can unlock the mysteries of these crystal skulls, once and for all.
Some might argue the moral implications of such an endeavor. I understand that, In fact, i’m feeling it too as I write this. It’s a fear that says “Shouldn’t we be able to just connect with the Skulls through our minds, rather than our external technology?”
I get that, and as I write this i’m feeling that perhaps it doesn’t have to be one or the other, perhaps it can be both. With the right intentions, we can use technology for the good of all mankind. It doesn’t have to end up like iRobot or Terminator – We can balance our awareness and love in both the internal, and the external world.
Besides, a Crystal Skull is nothing more than an external technology too, isn’t it?
It may take some time, and it may take some effort, but I believe we can do it, and we are the ones to do it. That’s what the spirit centers are for, am I right?
What secrets and insights do you believe the Crystal Skulls hold? Post your thoughts below, and don’t forget to share this with your friends!
|Posted on 30 October, 2017 at 7:20||comments (0)|
Boost Immune system Naturally & Boost Immunity Part 2
Herbs and the Immune System-Like any part of the body, the immune system gets stronger the more it is feed healing benefits from herbs and plants. Over-use of antibiotics can lead to a lazy immune system, antibiotic resistance and/or yeast overgrowth. Combine this with a weak immune system and the outlook can be grim if a really serious infection occurs. There are many very effective herbal medicines for bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Other herbs can be used to stimulate the immune system when necessary. No resistance seems to develop against herbal remedies and they support the healing process rather than suppress it. Reducing Stress:- Even in medical circles, stress is now known to cause many illness and lower the immunity within us all. Your adrenal glands must be healthy for you to mount an effective response against any challenge- including disease. Stress, worry and anxiety all deplete your adrenal glands. There are many herbs and flower essences which act as adrenal tonics and assist during times of stress. Don't forget to take time out to relax, Meditation is also known to reduce stress, worries, anger, anxiety,etc and bring peace and harmony to the individual if practice on a daily basis.
|Posted on 29 October, 2017 at 7:20||comments (0)|
True meditation has no direction or goal. It is pure wordless surrender, pure silent prayer. All methods aiming at achieving a certain state of mind are limited, impermanent, and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency.
True meditation is abidance as primordial awareness.True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not being manipulated or controlled. When you first start to meditate, you notice that attention is often being held captive by focus on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets and tries to control what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.
In true meditation all objects (thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc.) are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to focus on, manipulate, control, or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself.
Primordial awareness is the source in which all objects arise and subside.As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the mind’s compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.
As you rest into stillness more profoundly, awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive control, contractions, and identifications. Awareness naturally returns to its non-state of absolute unmanifest potential, the silent abyss beyond all knowing.
|Posted on 28 October, 2017 at 9:45||comments (0)|
Boost Immune system Naturally & Boost Immunity Part 1
There are many disease we can do without if we eat healthy, wise and feed our spirit. When the Immune system is healthy we are one step closer in seeing how important, the Immune system to our journey through life. CLEAN LYMPHATICS- Your lymphatic system picks up metabolic wastes and environmental toxins from throughout your body and excretes them through your skin or bowel. When your "glands are up"(your lymph nodes are swollen ) this is a sign they have gathered an amount of toxic waste ( i.e they are doing their job ). When you get sick your lymph nodes help isolate the infection. As the infection passes they should slowly and safely excrete their wastes. Unfortunately, in modern times we have many toxins in our body which it was never designed to deal with so the lymphatic system is often permanently congested and sluggish. Exercise helps pump lymph and clean this system through sweating. To cleans the lymphatic system there are specific herbs which can achieve this. Check our web page on food and health for more information at www.journyman1.com. HEALTHY BLOOD:- "DIRTY BLOOD" is a naturopathic term referring to blood laden with waste products. Iron deficiency can contribute to this. Good iron levels are necessary to oxygenate all the cells in the body and to burn out infection. The long terms effects of low iron levels are potentially very serious. For Vegetarians to get your iron intake know your lentils and vegetables.
|Posted on 27 October, 2017 at 6:40||comments (0)|
Milk Does Not Do A Body Good ??? Massive New Study Says
Milk seems to be making its way through various stages of truth, especially within the past couple of years. Like many other examples, what we once thought to be healthy for us to consume is turning out to be the exact opposite.
A large study coming from researchers at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that drinking milk led to an increased mortality rate and actually made bones more prone to fracturing, not less.(1)
The study was recently published in the peer reviewed British Medical Journal, and was specifically conducted to examine whether high milk consumption is associated with mortality and fractures in both men and women.
The study took place across three different counties in Sweden, and used data from two large Swedish cohorts, one with 61,433 women aged approximately 39-74 years old and one with 45, 339 men aged approximately 45-79 years old. They were all administered food frequency questionnaires. The study used “multivariable survival models” that were “applied to determine the association between milk consumption and time to mortality and fracture.
The results were as follows:
“During a mean follow-up of 20.1 years, 15 541 women died and 17 252 had a fracture, of whom 4259 had a hip fracture. In the male cohort with a mean follow-up of 11.2 years, 10 112 men died and 5066 had a fracture, with 1166 hip fracture cases. In women the adjusted mortality hazard ratio for three or more glasses of milk a day compared with less than one glass a day was 1.93 (95% confidence interval 1.80 to 2.06). For every glass of milk, the adjusted hazard ratio of all cause mortality was 1.15 (1.13 to 1.17) in women and 1.03 (1.01 to 1.04) in men. For every glass of milk in women no reduction was observed in fracture risk with higher milk consumption for any fracture (1.02, 1.00 to 1.04) or for hip fracture (1.09, 1.05 to 1.13). The corresponding adjusted hazard ratios in men were 1.01 (0.99 to 1.03) and 1.03 (0.99 to 1.07). In subsamples of two additional cohorts, one in males and one in females, a positive association was seen between milk intake and both urine 8-iso-PGF2α (a biomarker of oxidative stress) and serum interleukin 6 (a main inflammatory biomarker).” (1)
The study concluded that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women. It also concluded:
“Given the observational study designs with the inherent possibility of residual confounding and reverse causation phenomena, a cautious interpretation of the results is recommended.”(1)
This Is Not The Only Study That Suggests Milk Is Not Good For Our Body
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig emphasizes that bone fracture rates tend to be lower in countries that do not consume milk. compared to those that do, also noting that there are many other sources of calcium. (source)
Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that dairy consumption might actually increase the risk of fractures by 50 percent. (2)
Studies have also shown that calcium isn’t as bone protective as we thought. Multiple studies on calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing bone fracture risk. In fact, vitamin D appears to be more effective when it comes to reducing bone fracture risk. (3)
Studies have also shown that dairy products might increase a males risk of developing prostate cancer by 30 -50 percent. (4)
The list literally goes on and on.
It’s also interesting to note that approximately 65 to 75 percent of the total human population on our planet have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. (5)(6) In some countries, over 90 percent of the adult population is lactose intolerant, think about that for a moment.
Lactose intolerance is an impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is normally broken down by an enzyme called lactase, which is produced by cells in the lining of the small intestine.
Keep in mind that the milk we have so much trouble digesting after infancy is cows milk, not our mother’s natural breast milk. In fact, we are the only species on Earth that consumes the milk of another animal.
Since lactase’s only function is the digestion of lactose in milk, most mammal species experience a dramatic reduction in the activity of the enzyme after weaning. Lactase persistence in humans has evolved as an adaptation to the consumption of non-human milk and dairy products consumed beyond infancy. Our diet has changed a lot, and as a result some of our genes have adapted, but it’s not an easy process. This is why most humans are lactose intolerant.
Every other species weans and then never drinks milk again for the rest of their lives, and because of that they don’t have an enzyme to break down the sugar in milk. But during human evolution, some humans experienced a mutation in the LTC gene, the lactase gene, these mutations allow us to process lactose as adults. With approximately 65- 75 percent percent of humans on the planet unable to properly process it, it is evidence enough that we are not doing what is natural and in accordance with our bodies.
Milk/Dairy Is Not The Only Source of Calcium
This list is extremely long, here is a very small list of non dairy/vegan sources of calcium, many of them out there provide a healthier source and even more of it. It’s important to do your research, there are so many foods out there that contain a healthy and abundant source of calcium.
Kale: One cup of raw kale is loaded with calcium, approximately 90 mg to be exact. This means that a 3.5 cup of kale salad provides more calcium than a one cup class of milk.
Oranges: One Naval Orange contains approximately 60 mg of calcium
(2) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6):992-7.
(3) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):504-11.
(4) Tseng M, Breslow RA, Graubard BI, Ziegler RG. Dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes and prostate cancer risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-up Study cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1147-54.
14 Ways to Cleanse the body from Chemtrails GMO???s Flouridated Water and other Environmental Toxins
|Posted on 20 October, 2017 at 8:15||comments (0)|
14 Ways to Cleanse the body from Chemtrails GMO???s Flouridated Water and other Environmental Toxins
From the chemtrails being sprayed over our neighborhoods to the poisons killing our bees and making our food toxic ‘medicine’ we need a way to purge the deadly elixirs of a greedy government, owned and run by corporate interests. For the sake of keeping your attention, I won’t go on ad nauseum about fluoridated water, oil spills, and contaminated air and water due to fracking and mining.
As research since the early 1900s suggests, our bodies simply cannot handle the level of toxicity in our environment without some help, though it was originally designed to cure itself from every conceivable toxin – from heavy metals to the common cold. We have simply burdened the mechanism so profoundly, that the intelligence of the human form is being strained to its acme. We either learn to adapt to the toxic environment that our governments so blatantly support, or we die. We can’t wait for congress or the senate to do the right thing. It’s time to get radical. It’s time to tell your friends about this, even if it is absolutely rabble-rousing.
For some time we have been able to simply ignore, or turn an apathetic ear toward warnings about our food, air and soil being polluted, but when the EPA and FDA, arguably puppet institutions meant to placate farmers and citizens into thinking that their concerns over our war-time and consumer-based lifestyles are benign, states that yes, pesticides ‘are harmful to human health,’ then its time to pay attention. That kind of confession is like telling us the sky is blue. If they didn’t at least state the painfully obvious, it would be very difficult to maintain even a modicum of respect in social and political circles. Most people are already laughing them out of the room.
Our Blood and Bones Contain Over 85,000 Different Toxins
We are a toxic world. Our blood and bones now contain over 85,000 different chemical pollutants. Depleted uranium from bombs, and nuclear energy sites like Fukushima, as well as chemicals as sinister as Agent Orange and toxic mold are now part of our genetic make up. There are too many other toxins to name here. Their names and devastating health effects could fill books. These toxins have seeped into our cells, causing cancer, depression and even insanity.
These pollutants are making our children less intelligent and slowly breaking down our immune systems until they can’t even fight a simple virus. Our hormonal systems are so out of whack from these toxins that both boys and girls are starting puberty way too soon, and fetuses are not developing properly. ADHD, ADD, and Autism are on the rise like never before. Our bodies are fat and tired too, because a toxic body can’t metabolize fats and proteins properly.
Channels of Toxic Elimination
Under better conditions our bodies can get rid of toxins through numerous natural channels:
· Finger and Toe Nails
In lab tests, extremely high levels of toxins can be found in a single strand of hair, even in people who think they live a ‘healthy’ lifestyle – they workout, don’t smoke, try to eat their vegetables, etc. Hair is actually one of the most telling when testing toxicity levels. It even contains remnants of LSD and cocaine in people who used drugs more than six months prior to testing. It also shows traces of aluminum, mercury, bismuth, lead, arsenic, tin, titanium, silver, asbestos, chlorine, tar, uranium and antimony, just to name a few toxins.
If any of the channels of toxin elimination are compromised, it can make the body very ill and eventually cause it to die. Our liver works diligently to eliminate toxins through bile production. Our skin, one of the largest detoxifying channels, is constantly shedding skin cells to rid itself of poison. Our bowels and digestive organs including the bladder and kidneys, large and small intestines also work very hard at keeping us toxin free. The lymph system keeps T-lymphocyte cells circulating to help kill foreign invaders like viruses that come from mold exposure.
Recycling of Toxins Leads to Disease
The problem is that once the body tries to get rid of a toxin, repeatedly trying to make it water soluble, for example, (though this is just one way of eradicating a toxic poison from our systems) so that it can be excreted, then it starts to recycle that toxin in an effort to find some channel, any channel that can expel it properly. This is how disease starts to happen. A Russian scientists and naturopath named Eli Metchnik did extensive research on this phenomenon in 1904.
In Ayurvedic medicine this is called the ‘multiply and localize’ stages of disease development. A toxin starts to move through blood plasma, and into the reproductive cycle of cells and tissues, so wherever you are weakest in your body, you are likely to develop disease. A disease is ‘born’ in the physical body when genetic predisopositions for disease give way to environmental stress – i.e. toxicity.
What Can I do to Detoxify My Body?
Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways to start to cleanse the bowels, hair, skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, and even the cells, but it starts with realizing we are toxic. Then we must take action.
· Install a HEPA filter or a High Quality Air Purifier. You can also spend time in nature, since trees and flowers act as natural air purifiers.
· Start by throwing out all the toxic cleaners we use to spruce up our homes. Turn to vinegar, baking soda and citrus, particularly lemon juice, and sunlight. These four items can clean our houses (and sometimes us) from top to bottom without causing depression, hormone disruption, cancer, and a host of other diseases caused by the carcinogenic and toxic substances in household cleaners, like diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) just to start.
· Sweat. Indian sweat lodges aren’t just for inducing a vision quest. While many people attain spiritual insights from participating in a sweat lodge, they also help to clear the mind and body of toxins, so we naturally become more lucid. You can also use a dry-heat sauna for the same effect.
· Fast. Most of us don’t want to skip even a single meal, but just taking one day off form eating to allow the body to purge toxins stored in fatty tissue can make a world of difference. Fasting has been practiced by different cultures and religions around the world for centuries as an effective way to detoxify. Nutritional cleansing programs like the Isogenics cleanse include periods of intermittent fasting (alternating periods of fasting and non-fasting).
· Purge. There are ancient yogic teachings, which cleanse the mouth, tongue, trachea, stomach and intestines by drinking sea-salted water and then eliminating it. Much like a natural enema, Shankhaprakshalana helps to clean out the entire intestinal tract. The term is actually a Sanskrit word meaning Conch, as in the shell, and it refers to the circular and winding shape of our internal cavity – from mouth to anus.
· Use the six Shat kriyas or Shat Karmas practiced in Hatha Yoga. These Sanskrit words refer to six ancient cleansing techniques. Shankhaprakshalana is just one of them. Some like, Nauli, or stomach churning are difficult for beginning students, but Jala Neti, nasal irrigation is easy for almost anyone to practice.
· Drink more water, but only if its purified. Many toxins are water soluble, so if you drink clean, purified water, you can help to remove them. Just make sure you aren’t drinking unpurified municipal water, it is often full of hundreds of toxins.
· Bathe in hot then cold water. Bathing in the ocean was practiced by the Kumu Hula (master teachers) as a means of purification, but not everyone has ocean front property, so bathing is a great purification ritual. It is also practiced all over Japan, Turkey, India, Africa, and Australia, just to name a few countries with bathing purification traditions or rituals. Bathing in first hot water, expands the blood vessels, and helps the ‘brown’ fat cells work more efficiently to reduce fat and toxins from the body. The cold water allows multiple dips, and also allows us to remain in the hot water longer. If you live near a hot springs or untainted, natural underground water source, many of these pools have excellent nutrients in them, which help to draw toxins out of the body. Also, just warming the body improves the lymph system and immune function. Epson salt baths can help if you don’t have a natural hot springs or the Dead Sea near you (but even the Dead Sea is becoming toxic!)
· Try one of the myriad natural cleansing products available on the market today. There are lots of products that are affordable and help to cleanse everything from the bowels to the liver.
· Eat Detoxifying Foods. You can detoxify with green tea, coffee enemas, and cilantro even. Turmeric is great for detoxifying the body, as is sour sop fruit. Apple Cider Vinegar is wonderful and so is lemon juice and ginger.
· Use Shaolin Clay to Draw Impurities From the Skin. Shaolin Monks used a special clay to help draw impurities from their bodies and to heal more rapidly from injuries received practicing martial arts. It was made into a paste with several herbs and placed on the skin, or ground into powders and taken with herbs (like Dan Gui, Nan Xing, Bai Zhu, etc.) as an oral herbal treatment. Clay baths are especially effective at removing heavy metals and mercury or lead.
· Take Milk Thistle, or Dandelion Root to Detox the Liver. This important organ removes toxins from our blood stream. These two herbs can greatly help the liver process toxins before they ever reach the bloodstream, so that they can be purged from the body via the feces or urine.
· Increase Your Vitamin C. Several studies pointed to a simple Vitamin C supplement in higher doses (which are safe since Vitamin C is water soluble) as a very effective means of detoxiing from Nuclear Fallout.
· Consider Aboriginal Kanwa Minerals are extracted from bubbling pools deep in the desert areas of Australia that are full of hundreds of trace minerals that can help detox the body. Also known as Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, this special ‘mud’ can do everything from absorb bad bacteria to reverse bone decay. Only because this soil had been untouched for millions of years, is it filled with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, silica and manganese, as well as other trace elements that help restore a toxic body.
Even though companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Pfizer, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and the military industrial complex want to keep pouring toxins into our world and us, we can detox with some simple remedies to make living a healthy possible in a contaminated world. We may not be living in a pure environment, but we can still treat our bodies as temples, and purify them of the spoils of war and a fast food, pharmaceutical empire.
|Posted on 20 October, 2017 at 8:10||comments (0)|
You Have All The Knowledge You Need
You Are God, though your understanding of God my need to shift before you really understand what I mean when I say that You Are God. It’s no wonder that people have such a hard time seeing God when they’re looking for someone else’s vision of God. In fact, good luck putting God into words in the first place, though I foolishly attempt that impossibility on a regular basis.
Something rather miraculous has happened to Humanity in the past couple hundred years. There has been increasing access to enormous amounts of knowledge. Writings that were long kept secret have been made public, and now with the advent of the internet, they’re easily accessible, even from a phone. Everything from ancient mystic texts to cutting edge scientific studies is readily available, yet has all this access to such a wide array of knowledge gotten people any closer to God? Any closer to their own Divine Presence?
Part of the issue in dealing with such huge amounts of information is how do you separate fact from fiction? It’s plenty of work just to read it, how do you know you’re not wasting your energy on fantasies and propaganda? With all the contradictory information, it cannot all be true, and unfortunately this means people usually just go with what they want to believe. This is a very foolish thing to do if your goal is Truth. Truth is simply what Is, it very rarely fits into preconceived beliefs.
Lucky for you, you have all the knowledge you need. Divine Truths are no longer secret, but something horrible has happened to them, they’ve become cliché. They’ve been repeated until they’ve become mundane, dry repetition. I can say “GOD IS LOVE!” and people will agree with me, they can acknowledge that what I said is truth, but how many have the Living Experience of God Being Love in this Present Moment? Very few. This is part of why knowledge alone wont get you to God. An intellectual understanding isn’t enough, in fact it’s because people live in a world of intellectual understandings that the Divine seems separate from this Moment.
You have a wealth of knowledge within you already that was created to assist you in rediscovering your Divine Nature. It’s been “hidden” in plain sight, it’s even in popular songs on the radio. “All You Need Is Love”, everyone has heard this, yet only a tiny few actually live that way. Another example of how knowledge alone isn’t enough.
Most spiritual teachers, they’re packed full of spiritual knowledge, filled with intellectual understandings of what you’re supposed to do to find God/Truth. That’s all it takes to be a spiritual teacher, it can be taught in the same way a person learns to be a doctor. You don’t have to walk the walk, you just have to talk the talk, then people who don’t know any better will actually pay for this spiritual knowledge. This is why there’s millions of Buddhists, yet an actual Buddha is an extreme rarity.
Spiritual knowledge can help you along the journey, but knowledge alone isn’t enough. You can’t learn your way to God, if simply knowing something was enough, most people would already be Self-Realized. Religion would bring Enlightenment instead of ignorance. There’s knowledge, then there’s what you do with the knowledge, and then there’s what you are Being. God is in the Being, knowledge can only follow Being, knowledge doesn’t preclude Being. When you put all your focus upon knowledge, the Being is missed, you’re just paying attention to your mind. This is why children are closer to God, their minds haven’t been filled full of knowledge yet.
Please don’t try to interpret what I’m sharing dualistically, I’m not saying knowledge is “bad”. If you believe knowledge is bad, all you’ve done is added another belief to your mind. Knowledge is what it is, simply an interpretation that follows experience. It’s an abstract thought, manipulation of experience into something that can be grasped by the mind. It’s not a bad thing, but believing knowledge is the path back to God just creates chaos and confusion, as humanity demonstrates on a daily basis. You aren’t going to reach the Unlimited with a limited mind.
For many that’s a rather disturbing thought, since their whole approach to spirituality, their whole approach to life, is all based in the mind. It’s like those old maps of the world, where the unknown parts were assumed to be filled with monsters. The mind is terrified of the unknown, the unknown is outside of the mind’s realm altogether. In fact the Ultimate aspect of God/You, the Unknowable, is completely impossible to know through the mind. This is why your Being, your Heart, and those Subtle Feelings, are so much more important than knowledge if you want to rediscover God.
|Posted on 19 October, 2017 at 6:50||comments (0)|
The Mantra of Compassion: Om Mani Padme Hum
“All that is visible, clings to the invisible.” ~ Novalis The purifying and often debated mantra of Tibet: Om Mani Padme Hum is one of the most recognizable mantras in the world and appears in much religious Buddhist imagery, as well as the average chanting session for any beginner in their introduction to the world of meditation. But how much do we really understand its meaning? While in the West, the mythology of the Greeks and Romans, as well as Christian symbolism and theology may be more familiar, the origins of Eastern mythologies are much more mysterious to us until we actually visit a specific country or take a keen interest in one aspect of it. Even the word; Mantra, can be better understood from the root Man ‘to think’ (Greek, Menos, Latin, Mens) and the suffix Tra, which forms ‘tool’ words. According to the book – Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, by Lama Anagarika Govinda, the mantra can be dissected and better understood as follows:
OM The seed-syllable of the universe, OM invokes the ever-present power of consciousness. In fact, it represents the all-encompassing consciousness, combining both sleep and waking consciousness that is experienced beyond words and thoughts on the forth dimension. OM is liberation, an opening up to the universe, a statement that one is ready to climb the first few rungs on the ladder towards enlightenment. This statement also extends to the claim that one will follow the path to be a Bodhisattva; cultivating what is good and swearing life-long service to helping others. ‘To awaken this consciousness was the life’s task of the Buddha.’ OM, being the first syllable in the Great Mantra, is not the ultimate goal, but the most fundamental. It is the ‘primordial sound of timeless reality’, that which resonates and reverberates within us in the timeless past, present and future.
MANI Often known as the jewel of the mantra, MANI represents the elixir of life or the gift of immortality. The Philosopher’s stone and the task of separating the object of the alchemist’s experiments from the base elements of matter; of earth, air, fire and water present a true problem for the Buddhist monk. For where do these four elements end? Where on this universe can we find the end of matter, or something perceivable lacking in these fundamental materials? The answer, the Buddha discovered, was in the purity and radiance of the true nature of the mind, in pure, universal consciousness. The kingdom of heaven or paradise itself can be found in such a syllable, and is often associated with the imagery of the diamond sceptre, or ‘Vajra’ in its three stages of unfolding. It represents the highest form of attainment, the jewel in the crown and may even lead to extraordinary powers, such as a prolonged earthly life. It is the transcendence of perception then; the realization that these tangible, sensual things are in fact figments of the mind and were an illusion in the first place. We need only master the highest form of alchemy and perform mind over matter, plunging ourselves into the seventh-class of consciousness and rise above the world of the senses into joy and bliss. It is the place where we become complete and the ‘I’ completely vanishes. It is the transformation ‘into the imperishable jewel of the adamantine mind.’
PADME The lotus blossoming is also a well-known image associated with Buddhism, and it is here, in PADME that we meet it. Not only are we like lotus flowers growing from the mud towards the light, but this journey also represents the many past lives we must incarnate in order to experience the full spectrum of human experience. Thus, through the many expressions of life come the various forms of approaching the light; from tantra to prana, shakti to shiva, the two dualities must exist in balance and full blossom in order to transcend. The female principle of Shakti, and raw power must join with the male principle of Shiva, and ‘resting in its own nature’ in a divine embrace before they can disappear. You might say we must pass through the many lessons of both genders before we can step outside of the seemingly endless cycle of Samsara. The divine union can also be seen as the fullest expression of creativity… As we know, it is this and only this that leads to the miracle of the conception of life, and it can be viewed like a bridge between the two polarities; an integration of raw energies. It is through this transcendence of dualities, much like the transcendence of the elements and matter in the previous syllable, that we find divine love and true self. The act of blossoming requires compassion, the liberation of the heart to pierce through the illusion of perception and the cycle of dualities; man and woman, night and day, life and death. For only then will all disappear and reunite with the Whole. HUM If OM is ascent to universality and a statement to say ‘come and get me!’, then HUM is the journey back down. One cannot be without the other; if OM is like the sun, then HUM is like the soil, a deeper experience and a completion of the cycle. ‘In the OM we open ourselves, in the HUM we give ourselves. OM is the door to knowledge, HUM is the door to the realization of this knowledge in life. HUM is a sacrificial sound.’ It’s like the traveling of energies through the various chakras, though, in this instance, the energy travels to the heavens and back down again through the various channels in the body like lightning does when reconnecting with and being reabsorbed back into the earth. The yoga of inner fire in the seed syllable HUM can be represented by the symbol of the flame and transfiguration. But according to Tibetan Mysticism it is not the root chakra where the final part of the mantra vibrates and eventually tails off, but the heart, the centre of giving and love, where the first expressions of the Bodhisattva resound. HUM can also be likened to the Christian ‘Amen’, or other declarations of affirmation and has much more to do with Dakinis and the mandala of the knowledge-holding deities… All too lengthy a subject to go in to here. Needless to say HUM is the finishing line, that which vibrates out our intention to the universe before calling it back in for another round.
|Posted on 18 October, 2017 at 7:10||comments (0)|
3rd Eye Meditation
Imagine what your life would have been like if you had kept your eyelids shut for your entire lifetime. Your eyes would have worked perfectly and yet your sense of vision would have gone to waste. Similarly, not using your 3rd eye is keeping you in the dark in relation to enjoying the wonders and wisdom of your sense of mystic sight.
Every one of us had our third eye fully open when we were babies. We were effortlessly able to witness the glory of the universe from its subatomic nature to its multi-galactic infiniteness. Through conditioning by our parents, teachers, and peers, we started a process of covering our 3rd eye with layer after layer of illusion. As an example, let’s imagine that at one month of age we were laying in our crib looking at the paisley patterned dance of energy that life is. Our mommy stuck a stuffed doll in front of our face and said, “Look at the piggy, look at the piggy.” We then started the process of recognizing that particular shape and associating it with the label “pig”. We also might have been introduced to the concepts of color, texture, size, and other things. “Baby, look at how pink and fuzzy the nice little piggy doll is.” And this began our habit of replacing direct perception of reality with a perceiving, labeling, reacting physically, emotionally, and mentally process. And we went further and further away from an unfiltered pure experience of living life as it takes place. As we aged, we also added a thought analyzing method of judging, comparing, and commenting on every thing our senses brought our attention to, and we got less and less in touch with Now.
The result of this process is similar to putting shutters on a window. No light comes through and those within can only imagine what is on the other side of the shutters. Unfortunately, this really leaves us in the dark about what is real and what life is really about. Just as you can’t adequately describe an orange to anyone who has never seen the color orange, or has not tasted one, you cannot understand what a 3rd eye vision is like from reading about it, or hearing it described by someone who has them. You will have to experience it first hand. So, the experience of divine perception, astral sight, aura awareness, mystic vision, or whatever other esoteric label you put on it, will remain only a theory until a way is found to actually open the 3rd eye.
Every time you sit in meditation and do the third eye technique, you remove one of the shutters covering your inner window of wisdom. It is often compared to peeling away layers of skin from an onion. This continues until there is nothing left. And in this No-thing, there is everything. And we return to the pure direct perception of the glory and wonders of the universe we beheld as a baby. But now, we have the understanding that only comes with maturity.
The 3rd Eye Meditation Technique
To begin, place yourself in the place and position that you have found to be most advantageous to meditation. Relax your mind, body, and emotions. Command your mind to cease its chatter, your emotions to stay in a serene mode, and your body to not disturb your meditation in any way. Focus your attention to the sound and feeling of your breath coming in and going out. Return to your breath awareness if you witness that you have lost your focus. At no time during your meditation should you chastise yourself about anything. So, for example, if you lose your attention and then realize this, just accept it without commenting. Return your attention to your breath and then continue with your meditation.
Close your eyes. Place your attention on the area between your eyebrows. After a short time, a point of light will present itself in the center of your inner field of vision. Keep your focus there. For some people, it will be beneficial to raise your eyeballs as if you were looking up at about a 25-degree angle. For others, just directing their attention upwards will be easier and less distracting. After some experimentation, go with one of the ways exclusively. In the beginning of 3rd eye practice, it may help to place your thumb at the outer edge of one eye and your middle finger on the outer edge of the other, while placing your index finger at the mid-point between your eyebrows. This gives you a point of focus to place your attention. It also allows you to prevent your eyelids from fluttering. This commonly occurs, and can be distracting until you get used to the sensations that accompany this technique.
Let the light come to you. Be available to be filled. The more you continue practicing this meditation, the more layers of the veil of illusion will peel away and Reality will reveal itself to you. As you perceive the Truth, your understanding of the delusional concept that you are apart from the rest of the universe will lose its grip on you, and the knowledge that you are a part of all and everything will become undeniably apparent. Your chattering mind will eventually dissolve in the unspeakable transcendent light of love that is now and forever within and without you.
Once you stop being locked into viewing reality from just one perspective, you will start to be free from habitual reactivity. 3rd eye experiences put you in that position. You will recognize that nothing more than a show has been playing out before you in what you considered “real life”. And, just like when you are at the theater, you may be interested to some degree with seeing how the plot turns out, but knowing that it is all just a story, you won’t take it any more seriously than a show. The constant anxiety and fear that is attached to a singular ego centered view of life will end and be replaced with the bliss of effortlessly merging and identifying with all of creation.
Once a chick has pecked its way out of its shell, it knows that there is a lot more to life than was within its dark confines. Mother Nature, Grace, then gives the chick strong wings that let it fly to the heavens. The 3rd eye meditation technique has the potential to be the beak you use to break out of your shell, as well as the wings to transport you to the infinite, eternal, universal divine reality that is your birthright.
|Posted on 18 October, 2017 at 6:25||comments (0)|
11 Ways To Change Your Definition Of Life And Attract Positive Energy
Stress results from a wrong definition of life. For most people life stands for ‘Living in Fear Everyday’.
Insecurities and fears lead you to ignore the positives leading to a loss of self-belief. The way out of this negative spiral is to change the definition of life to ‘Living in Freedom Everyday’. By making the right choices, you attract positive people and opportunities. Given our busy schedules, it might not always be possible to pursue any single form of wellness. But you can make small changes from various forms. Motivational speaker and life coach Santosh Joshi gives some easily do-able tips.
1. Get In touch with your inner self
Master this simple meditation technique. You can do this while travelling in a bus, train or flight, or even at work. And you only need 15 minutes.
- Sit in a comfortable chair.
- Take a few deep breaths. Focus on the breath going in and out.
- Imagine that your whole body, every pore and cell is breathing. (This helps draw cosmic energy.)
2. Imbibe the power of music
Sound vibrations stir our inner being. Play spiritual music, hymns and chants as and when you can. Listen to such music while working out or jogging; your mind wouldn’t wander then.
3. Be around nature
Invest in making your living zone a green area by planting trees. Try and sign up for nature walks once in a while. Else, try and walk barefoot every day for 15 minutes at your nearest park. It’s a simple way to connect with nature. The earth element has the capacity to take away negativity.
4. Have Vibrant Colours around
Colour therapy is getting popular by the day. Colours emit vibrations that affect our psyche. Eg: Yellow gives confidence, Red signifies security, Orange signifies emotional balance and blue improves communication and intuition. Explore its benefits in daily life. Change your drapes, bed sheets, pillow covers etc with primary colours or any colour that makes you happy. Light coloured candles. Wear more vibrant hues. Choose outfits depending on the way you want to project yourself.
5. Embrace The Love of a Child
Children have a natural energy that is so vibrant that it is a blessing for most adults to experience it. Speak or share experiences daily with a child in your family and you will be well on your way to seeing life in a very different way.
6. Indulge in some laughter therapy
No need to join a laughter club, just try and have a good laugh at least 10 minutes a day. It opens up blocked energy patterns, releases feel-good hormones and is even good for certain aches and pains. So rent your favourite DVDs or comedy shows and laugh out loud.
7. Energize your house
Light a candle or diya every morning and evening. Fire has capacity to burn negative energies. Fill your house with fragrance and aromas that relax the mind. Try and have a water body. Also have open windows; the flow of air takes away negative energy.
8. Inner child therapy
Each person has an inner child within him/her. Do things you used to as a child — be it clay modelling, doodling, drawing with colour pencils/crayons or even jumping into a puddle. They help you get rid of inhibitions and help you explore new areas of life.
9. Press the right points
Based on acupressure, stimulating pressure points reduces stress. During stress, immediately press points around your eyes, your ear lobes and the point between your nose and lips. These points have a direct connection to nerve endings that control feelings of unease. Also keep pressing your palms to get immediate relief.
10. Healthy Lifestyle
The point about good sleep, healthy diet and exercise cannot be emphasised enough. If you can’t stick to a routine, at least adopt a few good practices. Like having a ‘fruit day’ occasionaly to cleanse the body. Or drinking enough water to flush out toxins. Another tip is to count your steps while walking, it improves concentration. Finally, have gratitude; Gratitude fills us with positive energy.
11. Clear Clutter
Clear your home, work station and even your car. Most importantly, clear your mind. Clutter creates blocks in the flow of energy within you. When these blocks remain for long, it spreads all over your body and mind leaving you in a forever irritable and snappy mood.
|Posted on 14 October, 2017 at 7:20||comments (0)|
10 Power Mantras To Build Self-Confidence
Maybe you can relate: you’re cruising along in life doing the best you can, working on making things happen. And BAM, you’re stung by a negative comment, a judgmental friend or a rude stranger. Welcome to the hater zone!
Haters seem to spring up when we try to do a great job. A critic of your parenting skills, your relationship status (or lack thereof), how you dress, where you live or your weight. At the end of all the haters’ catcalls is an invitation to low self-esteem and self-loathing-ville.
Haters can affect us in two ways. They may creep out and attack us for things we're doing or sharing. Or the idea of them can prevent us from moving forward and expressing our true selves. Both are detrimental to our spirit.
Many of my life coaching clients express their fear of moving forward because of what haters might say or do. If they publish the book, or leave the job in corporate, what will those around them think?
Ask yourself if you're actually allowing what people could say to stop you from following your own heart. Recognize that haters can’t get to us when we feel confident and self-assured. The best way to avoid feeling victimized by the string of negativity is to improve your relationship with yourself.
Here are powerful reminders from my book, Find Your Happy, that can help you gain confidence and feel secure.
10 Mantras To Build Self-Confidence
1. Confidence comes through action.
2. The only approval you need is your own.
3. The fastest way to improve self-confidence is to do the exact thing you fear.
4. Accept everything you are — and aren’t. That is true happiness.
5. At the end of the day, what matters most is how you see yourself.
6. What others say is a reflection of them, not you.
7. You are good enough.
8. It isn't who you are that holds you back; it's who you think you aren't.
9. No one can make you feel unworthy without your permission.
10. There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be your true self. You matter.
|Posted on 9 October, 2017 at 8:05||comments (0)|
6 Reasons to do Yoga
That Have Nothing to do with Losing Weight
After the passing of yoga guru BKS Iyengar we look at the legacy he leaves behind. Iyengar helped bring yoga to the West and inspired an international community of yogis. Iyengar knew that yoga was for everyone – that no physical or mental limitation could hold you back. He created his own unique practice that is very diverse in the type of sequences that are done, even from day to day. Depending on why you are practicing or why you want to practice yoga, there is a style that is right for you and your body. Regardless if you swear by Bikram or are a Hatha flow junkie, there are some benefits that every form of practice brings us — and they have nothing to do with losing weight.
Helps you Live in the Present
Yoga helps us focus on the present and become more aware of our body and its place in the world around us. As we go through the sequence position by position we move through time moment to moment, drawing our attention to the task at hand. To be able to complete an asana correctly we need to focus on our breath and the form of our body. If the mind wanders, we fall out of form and need to begin again.
Relieves Stress and Promotes Sleep
Yoga employs many relaxation techniques, which with regular practice can make you calmer over time. A study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed insomniacs fell asleep 15 minutes faster and slept an hour longer each night after two months of doing a 45-minute series of yoga poses daily before bed. Researchers speculate that regular yoga practice helped people relax, making it easier to turn-off at night. Daily training aids in focusing the mind on stillness and will teach you how to consciously quiet your mind whenever you feel overwhelmed.
Regular exercise and healthy relaxation practices have been shown to benefit immunity, increasing our resistance against seasonal illness and harmful invaders. Yoga specifically has been shown to support the immune system, even after one session. One study showed that yoga practice helped to increase the expression of specific genes related to immune function. It’s also a great exercise for supporting immunity during the winter, as it can be done at home in your pajamas!
Improves Circulation and Breathing
The way we breathe can affect our overall health and well-being, but it isn’t something many of us even think about. Yogic asanas and breathing exercises facilitate blood flow to every single part of the body. The heart pumps oxygenated blood to every cell and simultaneously brings de-oxygenated blood back to the heart for oxygenation.
Improves Flexibility and Prevents Injuries
Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Over time however, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making difficult poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.
Gives you Inner Peace
Yogis are encouraged to meet their body where it is on any particular day. We are unable to force our bodies to move without the risk of injuring ourselves, therefore we have to relinquish all control. In the yoga studio the only competition we find is with ourselves. It is these meditative aspects of yoga that help many reach a deeper, more spiritual and liberating place in their lives.
There are many practices of yoga and there are many reasons to practice. September is National Yoga Month. Visit here to find free classes and events in your area.
|Posted on 9 October, 2017 at 7:55||comments (0)|
The chakras are portal or structures which help to channel and integrate subtle energy into the physical body. The body has 7 primary chakras but over 2,000 secondary ones which help to direct and hold the integrity of our 3 main elements – mind, body and spirit. Since the flow of this triad is always shifting, directed by our intent and consciousness, so too must the chakra system recalibrate and find new points of balance which each shift. In other words, just as our thinking, communication, perspectives and intentions change, so do the requirements of our chakra systems.
The chakra system deals mainly with subtle energy and so for the most part this energy is able to move through subtle shifts of tension within the physical body. With enough subtle tension however, the flow of energy will slow and even stop. The result is that the body, mind and emotions will begin receiving less and less information. Information will result in less understanding and less understanding will lead to less ability. Usually this does not happen in a dramatic way, it may take years, the same way that plumbing can take years to clog up and eventually block the flow of water.
Depending on which chakras are blocked or limited, the physical and mental consciousness will exhibit various manifestations… Blockages in the solar plexus for instance can result in a lack of will or strong intent to take action. This will be experienced in the body as a lessening of the bio-chemicals that create the sensation or emotion of will and purpose. Emotionally and mentally this will be experienced in corresponding mind states such as apathy or boredom. Blockages in the crown chakra will result in a disconnection from the Higher Self, as well as a difficulty connecting to the bigger picture in ones life. Just as with the solar plexus chakra, specific bio-chemicals will correspond to this particular blockage.
The link between the energy of the chakra and the bio-chemistry of the body is simply about information. There is nothing mysterious about it at all. Our whole being exists and survives because of information. There is information between the heart and the brain, information between organs and enzymes, hormones and blood, oxygen and lungs, as well as information from the outside world such as people, books, trees, the sun, the moon, gravity and electricity. Information is influence and expression, through connecting with this information a communication happens. This is the same communication that occurs between the energy of the chakras and the physical body.
The foundation ‘foot in the door’ principles to any type of chakra balancing should begin with simply spending time at the chakra location. Forget about what is written in books, references or even here for that matter. Nothing will compare to actual ‘sit down’ time with your own chakras. Its like spending time with a loved one, kids, friends and so on – we can go out and seek advanced knowledge and professional advice, but sometimes what is really needed is simply to spend time with them. It’s the same deal with the chakras. An amazing amount of communication will open up when we just listen and observe – and in this listening a great deal of balancing and integration will just happen. The results will be seen in the way the physical body feels, the mind thinks, the emotions move and the spirit flows through us.
Chakra Balancing and Healing- Guided Meditation
|Posted on 8 October, 2017 at 5:15||comments (0)|
CRYSTALS HELP BRING PEACE, HARMONY AND BALANCE TO YOUR LIFE WITH THE POWER OF THE CRYSTAL.
For centuries many cultures have explored the power of crystals. their vibrations and energies are thought to help focus, transform, centre and grounding. It's believed they can help bring peace, harmony and balance one's environment, aid spiritual growth and self-transformation and that their healing properties can be used to treat a variety of ailments.
CHOOSING YOUR CRYSTAL :
The key thing to remember is, don't choose your crystal, let it choose you! Ideally, aim for a variety of shapes and sizes. As your needs may change down the track, so may your collection.
Chakra Colours and Crystals:
RED: Represents the first chakra (Base chakra), dealing with physical and survival issues. Possible stones are garnet, ruby, red jasper, black hematite and obsidian..
ORANGE: Second chakra (Sacral chakra), dealing with emotional issues. Possible stones are carnelian, fire opal, orange jasper.
YELLOW: Third chakra (Solar plexus), dealing with mental and illness issues. Possible stones are citrine, topaz, amber, sunstone.
GREEN: Fourth chakra (Heart chakra), dealing with love and spiritual issues. Possible stones are malachite, emerald, green calcite, dioptaise, jade, rose quartz, kunzite, pink marble, pink calcite.
BLUE: Fifth chakra (Throat chakra), dealing with communication. Possible stones are turquoise, amazonite, kyanite, aquamarine, gem silica, blue lapis, sodalite, blue sapphire, azurite.
INDIGO or VIOLET: Sixth chakra (Brow/Third-eye chakra), dealing with intuition. Possible stones are lapis, sodalite, amethyst, sugulite, lepediolyte, azurite.
VIOLET or CLEAR: Seventh chakra (Crown chakra), dealing with higher spiritual understanding. Possible stones are amethyst, clear quartz, diamond, opaque white stones like quartzite or white agate.
|Posted on 7 October, 2017 at 8:35||comments (0)|
A One-Minute Meditation To Silence Your Mind & Calm Your Energy
The world as we know is in dire need of a higher vibration in its collective consciousness. During a recent morning meditation session, the intuitive loving voice within me reminded me of the true power we all have in seemingly powerless situations. Therefore, I would like to inspire YOU to start raising your own energy and vibration through a regular meditation practice.
If you’re part of the MindBodyGreen community, it’s likely that you’re no stranger to meditation. Maybe you have your own dedicated practice, dabble from time-to-time or are familiar with meditation but have never tried it. Regardless of where you are on your meditation journey, you can ignite an amazing practice today. Here’s what you need to know to do just that.
Anyone can meditate, you’ve just gotta want it. Like any practice, you have to want to do it in order to achieve results. It can be hard to start a meditation practice because it seems so foreign from what we’re taught to do.
But I have good news: Meditating is much simpler than we make it out to be. Beginning a meditation practice requires only your slight willingness. Your desire to experience something new is all you need to get on a new path.
Let’s set the intention to begin your practice now. Affirm this statement out loud to yourself: I am open to meditation and I welcome a new practice into my life. This simple statement will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need to continue reading this article and begin your own practice! It’s very important to accept that anyone can meditate as long as they want to.
You can begin now. You have a minute to spare, right? One minute a day spent in stillness can change your life. Commit to change by devoting just one minute a day and try the following Kundalini meditation practice to silence your mind and calm your energy.
The One-Minute Breath
Breathe in for 5 seconds
Hold your breath for 5 seconds
Release for 5 seconds
Hold for 5 seconds
Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day. Try it now.
You can also meditate with others, this isn’t just a solo art! Connecting with the positive and peaceful energy of others is extremely powerful. Plus, the perfect opportunity is coming up! On Aug. 8, join the Global Meditation for Peace with Deepak Chopra, India Arie and me. We’ve teamed up with Guinness World Records to host the largest meditation gathering to date. This live event is free and you can attend from anywhere in the world.
If you’re feeling powerless given the circumstances of our times this is your chance to harness your true power. When people gather to raise their collective energetic vibrations, they can create a ripple effect worldwide.
|Posted on 7 October, 2017 at 8:20||comments (0)|
9 Ways That Eating Processed Food Made the World Sick and Fat
I have long stated that if you want to be optimally healthy, you should spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods. Unfortunately, most Americans currently do the opposite, and their health suffers as a result.
With most foods, the closer they are to nature, the better. It's possible to have some processed foods that are still healthy; for instance, frozen green beans have been "processed" as has butter, grass-fed ground beef, or freshly prepared almond butter.
In most cases, however, the term "processed food" refers to those that are chemically processed and made from heavily refined ingredients and artificial additives. Such processed foods are the bane of Western civilizations' diets.
Processed Foods Are To Blame...
It's not a stretch to blame processed foods for the rising rates of chronic disease and weight gain around the developed world. Why? Let me count the ways…
1. Processed Foods Are High in Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup
This isn't only a matter of "empty calories" causing you to gain weight without getting proper nutrition. Excess sugar consumption is linked to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Refined fructose, typically in some form of corn syrup, is now found in virtually every processed food you can think of, and fructose actually "programs" your body to consume more calories and store fat.
Fructose is primarily metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it. Since all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do.
And just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat – it gets stored in your fat cells, which can lead to mitochondrial malfunction, obesity, and obesity-related diseases, especially if you are insulin or leptin resistant.
The more fructose or HFCS a food contains, and the more total fructose you consume, the worse it is for your health. As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.
For most people, it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you're virtually guaranteed to consume "hidden" sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food.
It's important to realize that added sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is not confined to junky snack foods or sweets; it's also common in savory processed foods.
For example, most of Prego's spaghetti sauces have one common feature and that is sugar — it's the second largest ingredient, right after tomatoes. A half-cup of Prego Traditional contains the equivalent of more than two teaspoons of sugar!
2. Processed Foods Are Designed to Make You Overeat
Your body is designed to naturally regulate how much you eat and the energy you burn. But food manufacturers have figured out how to over-ride these intrinsic regulators, designing processed foods that are engineered to by "hyper-rewarding."
According to the "food reward hypothesis of obesity," processed foods stimulate such a strong reward response in our brains that it becomes very easy to overeat. One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as "sensory-specific satiety."
Investigative reporter Michael Moss describes this as "the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm your brain."2 The greatest successes, whether beverages or foods, owe their "craveability" to complex formulas that pique your taste buds just enough, without overwhelming them, thereby overriding your brain's inclination to say "enough."
In all, potato chips are among the most addictive junk foods on the market, containing all three bliss-inducing ingredients: sugar (from the potato), salt, and fat.
3. Processed Foods Contain Artificial Ingredients
Processed foods may contain dozens of artificial chemicals that are in no way real "food." These include:
Artificial flavors (the term artificial flavor on a label may include 10 or more chemicals)
Texturants (chemicals that add a texture to food)
Food manufacturers typically claim that artificial food additives are safe, but research says otherwise. Preservatives, for example, have been linked to health problems such as cancer, allergic reactions, and more.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives that affect the neurological system of your brain, alter behavior, and have the potential to cause cancer. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you.
Or take artificial colors. Nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions -- and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself.3 Artificial flavors aren't much better.
The artificial flavoring called diacetyl, which is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn, has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer's disease. Genetically engineered flavor enhancers can also be listed under the artificial flavor (or natural flavor) label.
4. You Can Become Addicted to Processed Foods
Addicted to junk food? Yes, this is a real phenomenon that's backed up by science. Processing modifies or removes important components of food, like fiber, water, and nutrients, changing the way they are digested and assimilated in your body.
Unlike whole foods, which contain a mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber, and water to help you feel satisfied, processed foods stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, making you feel good even though the food lacks nutrients and fiber. This artificial dopamine stimulation can lead to excessive food cravings and, ultimately, food addiction.
Last year, Oreo cookies were found to be just as addictive as cocaine or morphine, with Oreos activating more neurons in the pleasure centers of rat brains than exposure to illicit drugs did. Potato chips, however, are among the most addictive junk foods on the market, containing three bliss-inducing ingredients: sugar (from the potato), salt, and fat. According to Moss:4
"The coating of salt, the fat content that rewards the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar that exists not as an additive but in the starch of the potato itself — all of this combines to make it the perfect addictive food."
5. Processed Foods Are Typically High in Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar in your body. This increases your insulin and leptin levels, and contributes to insulin resistance, which is the primary underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain. As Business Insider reported:5
"One of the main problems is that refined, 'simple' carbohydrates are quickly broken down in the digestive tract, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. This can lead to carb cravings a few hours later when blood sugar levels go down again. This phenomenon is also called the 'blood sugar roller coaster' – which many people who have been on a high-carb diet can relate to. Not surprisingly, eating a lot of refined carbohydrates is associated with negative health effects and many chronic diseases.
Do NOT be fooled by labels like 'whole grains' that are often plastered on processed food packages, including breakfast cereals. These are usually whole grains that have been pulverized into very fine flour and are just as harmful as their refined counterparts."
6. Most Processed Foods Are Low in Nutrients
Processed foods often have the real nutrition processed right out, then sometimes added back in in the form of synthetic vitamins and minerals. These synthetics do not fool your body, however, and will not provide the whole, synergistic nutrition that eating whole food will.
Further, there's no way that a lab can "add back in" all of the thousands of phytochemicals and trace nutrients found in whole foods. Science hasn't even begun to uncover all of them. The best way to ensure your body gets the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more that nature has to offer is to eat whole, unprocessed foods.
7. Processed Foods Are Typically Low in Fiber
Public health guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise Americans to eat between 20 and 30 grams of fiber a day, but most adults don't even eat half that much. This isn't surprising, since fiber refers to the indigestible portion of plant foods, and in the largely refined standard American diet, healthful fibers are often processed right out. Unless you regularly eat whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you may be missing out on the healthiest forms of fiber available.
8. It Requires Less Energy and Time to Digest Processed Foods
"Vanishing calorie density" is a term used to describe processed foods that melt in your mouth, which has the effect of making your brain think it doesn't contain any calories. End result — you keep eating. Cheetos is one such example.
Not only can you eat these processed foods faster (think of the difference between chewing a potato chip or a piece of broccoli), but it also takes less energy to digest them. In one study, it took volunteers twice as many calories to digest an unprocessed meal compared to a processed one.6 Those who regularly eat processed food may reduce the amount of calories they burn throughout the day because of this.
9. Processed Foods Are Often High in Trans Fats and Processed Vegetable Oils
Synthetic trans fats are common in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, such as crackers, chips, most store-bought baked goods, and any fried foods, just to name a few examples. Synthetic trans fats are known to promote inflammation, which is a hallmark of most chronic and/or serious diseases.
Most also contain high amounts of omega-6 fats in the form of processed vegetable oils. These polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) tend to stimulate inflammatory processes in your body, and they are very chemically unstable and prone to oxidation. Consuming these oxidized fats in excess has been linked to all sorts of health problems, such as atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Cancer-Causing Acrylamide Is Another Major Processed Food Risk
If you're looking for motivation to stop eating processed foods, remember that this is about more than eating empty calories or even too much sugar. Processed foods contain many substances that are contrary to health, and acrylamide is one of them. Acrylamide can form in many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C), but carbohydrate-rich foods are the most vulnerable to this heat-induced byproduct. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and "browned" surface. Hence, it can be found in high amounts in many processed foods, especially:
Potatoes: chips, French fries, and other roasted or fried potato foods
Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals, and various processed snacks
Animal studies have shown that exposure to acrylamide increases the risk of several types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers acrylamide a "probable human carcinogen." Potato chips in particular are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 20087 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.
The Secret to Better Health: Eat Real Food
The solution to improving your health and losing weight is often as simple as swapping processed foods for real food.Business Insider reported:8"When we replace real, traditional foods like butter, meat and vegetables with crappy, processed junk foods, we get fat and sick. Real food is the key to good health, processed food is not. Period."
People have thrived on vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits, and other whole foods for centuries, while processed foods were only recently invented. Many of the top executives and scientists at leading processed food companies actually avoid their own foods for a variety of health reasons!
Ditching processed foods requires that you plan your meals in advance, but if you take it step-by-step as described in my nutrition plan, it's quite possible, and manageable, to painlessly remove processed foods from your diet. You can try scouting out your local farmer's markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales.
You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, making sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you're short on time in the evenings (and you can use leftovers for lunches the next day).
|Posted on 24 September, 2017 at 7:30||comments (0)|
How to Protect Yourself Against Cancer With Food
The rise in cancer in the West has paralleled the rise in factory farming and the use of processed foods containing vegetable oils and additives.
Orthodox methods for treating cancer (radiation and chemotherapy) do not prolong life. The best approach to cancer is prevention.
Traditional diets, containing animal and plant foods farmed by nontoxic methods, are rich in factors that protect against cancer. Many of these protective factors are in the animal fats.
Vegetarianism does not protect against cancer. In fact, vegetarians are particularly prone to cancers of the nervous system and reproductive organs.
Nutrients in Whole Foods that Protect Against Cancer
Vitamin A: Strengthens the immune system. Essential for mineral metabolism and endocrine function. Helps detoxify. True vitamin A is found only in animal foods such as cod liver oil; fish and shellfish; and liver, butter and egg yolks from pasture-fed animals. Traditional diets contained ten times more vitamin A than the typical modern American diet.
Vitamin C: An important antioxidant that prevents damage by free radicals. Found in many fruits and vegetables but also in certain organ meats valued by primitive peoples.
Vitamin B6: Deficiencies are associated with cancer. Contributes to the function of over 100 enzymes. Most available from animal foods.
Vitamin B12: Deficiencies are associated with cancer. Found only in animal foods.
Vitamin B17: Protects against cancer. Found in a variety of organically grown grains, legumes, nuts and berries.
Vitamin D: Required for mineral absorption. Strongly protective against breast and colon cancer. Found only in animal foods such as cod liver oil, lard, shellfish and butterfat, organ meats and egg yolks from grass-fed animals. Traditional diets contained ten times more vitamin D than the typical modern American diet.
Vitamin E: Works as an antioxidant at the cellular level. Found in unprocessed oils as well as in animal fats like butter and egg yolks.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Strongly protective against breast cancer. Found in the butterfat and meat fat of grass-fed ruminant animals.
Minerals: The body needs generous amounts of a wide variety of minerals to protect itself against cancer. Minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium are vital components of enzymes that help the body fight carcinogens. Minerals are more easily absorbed from animal foods.
Lactic Acid and Friendly Bacteria: Contribute to the health of the digestive tract. Found in old fashioned lacto-fermented foods.
Saturated Fats: Strengthen the immune system. Needed for proper use of the essential fatty acids. The lungs cannot function without saturated fats. Found mostly in animal foods.
Long-Chain Fatty Acids: Arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) help fight cancer on the cellular level. They are found mostly in animal foods such as butter, organ meats, cod liver oil and seafood.
Co-enzyme Q10: Highly protective against cancer. Found only in animal foods.
Compounds in Processed Foods that Can Cause Cancer
Trans Fatty Acids: Imitation fats in shortenings, margarines and most commercial baked goods and snack foods. Strongly associated with cancer of the lungs and reproductive organs.
Rancid fats: Industrial processing creates rancidity (free radicals) in commercial vegetable oils.
Omega-6 fatty acids: Although needed in small amounts, an excess can contribute to cancer. Dangerously high levels of omega-6 fatty acids are due to the overuse of vegetable oils in modern diets.
MSG: Associated with brain cancer. Found in almost all processed foods, even when “MSG” does not appear on the label. Flavorings, spice mixes and hydrolyzed protein contain MSG.
Aspartame: Imitation sweetener in diet foods and beverages. Associated with brain cancer.
Pesticides: Associated with many types of cancer. Found in most commercial vegetable oils, fruit juices, vegetables and fruits.
Hormones: Found in animals raised in confinement on soy and grains. Plant-based hormones are plentiful in soy foods.
Artificial Flavorings and Colors: Associated with various types of cancers, especially when consumed in large amounts in a diet of junk food.
Refined Carbohydrates: Sugar, high fructose corn syrup and white flour are devoid of nutrients. The body uses up nutrients from other foods to process refined carbohydrates. Tumor growth is associated with sugar consumption.