When we think of alone time, we often picture ourselves shopping without chasing children, having a quiet pedicure, or simply lying in the bathtub uninterrupted. For some truly quality alone time, you don’t have to go much further than inside your own mind. Meditation is a contemplative state where by you silently remove yourself from the physical and the present to reflect, increase clarity, and find a more serene or deeper state of consciousness.
It’s an ancient practice, often associated with yoga, that’s becoming increasingly popular in our scattered, harried, pressure-cooked society. Business professionals use it to decompress after a tough meeting or even find their center before heading in to the bull pen. Men and women alike use meditation to strengthen their minds, reduce stress, and even attain that “me time” that is so necessary.
It’s something Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love grappled with during the pray portion of her journey at an Indian ashram. But in real life, celebrities are embracing it seemingly with ease for a vast many reasons.
For instance, Richard Gere says a meditation practice helps him to stay grounded amongst the excess of Hollywood life. Eva Mendes credits meditation for helping her mine her best creativity, according to Well and Good. And Gisele Bundchen, who delivered her second child at home this month, has called meditation the source for her post-baby weight loss.
“A regular meditation practice creates mindfulness. Being mindful helps keep us from feeling distracted and impatient with life when things don’t go our way,” said Jill Lawson, our resident yogi expert. “When we are fully aware of our feelings through the practice of meditation, we can move toward being more proactive, instead of reactive. Taking action versus being frustrated is the first step in living a joyful life.”
We found 20 famous men and women who have dedicated themselves to the art and practice of meditation. If this group can make Power Bracelets, veganism, and the Master Cleanse a storming success, maybe they can serve as models to make us all a bit more mindful out here in the real world. (more…)
Ran Zilca is a life coach, the Chief Scientist of bLife Inc, and the CEO and founder of Signal Patterns. For more on Ran’s coaching services visit www.rideofyourlife.com/category/coach/.
Last year I went on a coast-to-coast solo motorcycle trip. A project I call “Ride Of Your Life” – a journey to inner peace. I embarked on this 6,000 mile ride only a year after obtaining my motorcycle license and along the way interviewed scholars and scientists like Deepak Chopra, James Pennebaker, Sonja Lyubomirsky and Byron Katie. I also spoke with dozens of people I met on the road at gas stations, parking lots, restaurants, rest areas, and inns. When they heard that I was carrying out my longtime dream of riding coast to coast, people responded by opening up and sharing their own dreams, aspirations, and regrets. A nameless biker, who lives 4000 miles away, is a great confidante.
Here’s what I found.
People dream about things that are within their reach. No one I met wanted to be famous, go to the moon, or climb Mt. Everest. It’s not that peoples’ dreams are trivial or uninspiring. In fact, it was amazing to hear what diverse futures people dream for themselves: becoming a teacher, writing a short book, getting back in touch with a relative, seeing Japan or New York, opening a car shop, or speaking a second language. These are all things that a lot of people get up every morning and do, yet they can seem unattainable to those who dream about them. To get back in touch with her sister, Sally only needed to pick up the phone and call, but the fear of the response at the other end of the line kept her from doing it. To see Japan, Steve only needed to buy an airline ticket, but he was not sure that he could handle the long flight. My own experience was the same. A lot of people ride motorcycles, yet at first, it seemed unattainable to get a bike and learn how to ride it.
Some common names we think of when it comes to yoga include Ashtanga, Bikram, or Vinyassa, but Raja yoga is not one that quickly comes to mind, unless you’re Deepak Chopak or a devotee of this ancient spiritual practice.
So exactly what is Raja yoga? Here is a basic overview of this transforming and meditative style of yoga.
Raja yoga, or sometimes referred to as Raj yoga, literally translates to the “royal way to union,” with union representing the melding of the mind, body and spirit.
Just released to iTunes, Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra, featuring yoga teacher Tara Stiles, is the newest app from Signal Patterns. Deepak Chopra, bestselling author of more than 45 books, is recognized as a leader in self-help and alternative medicine. Tara Stiles is one of New York City’s leading yoga trainers and personally trains Dr. Chopra. The combination of these two experts started when they met at an event where he was speaking and she was leading a yoga class. After becoming friends and practicing yoga together, they collaborated on this new iPhone app to bring you a tool to help “cultivate a vibrantly healthy body, a clear and focused mind, and root you firmly into your own uniqueness.”
Like Stress Free, another of Chopra’s and Signal Patterns’ iPhone apps, Dr. Chopra is featured in several videos in the Understand Yoga section of the Authentic Yoga app. Deepak briefly mentions other types of yoga in explaining that this app focuses on Raja yoga. (more…)
Fans of Deepak Chopra will be excited to hear about his new “Stress Free” iPhone App, brought to you by Signal Patters (the creator of the Live Happy app). In “Stress Free,” traditional Vedic principles are combined with evidence-based psychology research to create a program that guides users through practices that reduce stress. Dr. Chopra has contributed videos, meditations, and narration throughout the app.
If your stress comes from a time crunch or desire for control, some of the narrations may be a practice in stress management in themselves. Although, Dr. Chopra has a soothing voice, I am able to read more quickly than he speaks. Perhaps, I am just not used to my iPhone talking to me. On the other hand, when in the right mindset, the guided meditations can be very helpful. (more…)