The biggest threat to any type of relationship is
When you don’t like something then express it. Most importantly do it without trying to hurt someone because they hurt you. Instead, try helping them feel what you feel, expressed by both your words and actions.
When people understand
they usually do not judge.
The better you know yourself,
the better you can know others.
Spending time with a person is how you get to know them.
In the same way you must build a trusting relationship with yourself. You need to spend time getting to know more about you. You can never get to know yourself if you are surrounded by lots of noise, friends, and family, or if you are always preoccupied with things to do.
Being around others is vital.
We learn from their experiences and perspectives. It is just as important spending time alone, in peaceful surroundings. Peaceful surroundings doesn’t mean absolute silence. It means the absence of interruption and other distractions.
If you’re always listening to others,
you’ll just become the sum of
everyone else’s ideas.
Your deepest reflections cannot be heard unless you make time for them to be heard. Without really listening to yourself, you won’t have anything to keep you grounded. You’ll fall into all types of emotional traps. Most important you’ll find it difficult to resist the negative influences of others.
Of all the judgments we pass in life,
none is more important than
the judgment we pass on ourselves.
You may also want to use this opportunity to consider your life goals in all aspects: physical, mental and spiritual. You need to sit with your emotions and spend the time to distinguish them and label them. In the questioning process, ask yourself what your values are.
Core values will be things like compassion, honesty, love, kindness, loyalty, etc. Clarifying your core values will give you an exact picture of who you are.
- Find out what makes your heart sing.
- Find out what keeps you excited.
It is important your actions are supported by your core values and fundamentals. If not, you will find yourself in self sabotage. The ability to reach your highest potential is severely limited when you are busy self sabotaging!
Find out what inspires you. These are the things that define you.
Being with nature is also a good idea. You tend to connect better to your inner being, when you are more relaxed. The answers that you seek, while in a state of mental relaxation, surface more easily. You become clearer and clearer, in the intents that you sent out to the Universe(God). Because this intent is in perfect alignment with the real you, you do not experience any conflict or sabotage.
Time alone to
meditate and reflect
is productive time.
You cannot expect to function well physically everyday, if you are out of balance in other aspects such as mentally and spiritually. Very importantly, consider putting aside “me” time on a regular basis. I choose to spend “me” time meditating, reading books or simply just be with myself.
You must guard your personal quiet time and really make use of it.
This is your alone time with the Universe (God).
This is inviolable sacred time.
- This is when you connect with your soul.
- This is when you learn how to be at peace with the storms of life.
- This is where you’ll find comfort and guidance.
This is what defines you.
This is when you know the importance of love.
The term “Journey of Self-discovery” refers to a series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends or peer pressure.
Self-discovery is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection,
The willingness to learn more about their fundamental
nature and purpose.
If the only emotion concepts you recognize are “I feel good” and “I feel bad” you’re not going to be very emotionally healthy. But, if you’re able to distinguish the more specific “I feel alone” from merely “I feel bad” you’re able to deal with the problem.
Examining your life under a microscope can be uncomfortable and gruesome.
You will be grateful for starting the process of self discovery, because rewards unfold when you know more about yourself. Understand how you make improvements to your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Uncovering answers will help peel off layer-by-layer the negative thoughts that have imprinted in your mind. These negative thoughts and beliefs are your obstacles to inner growth.
You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health.
Words Seed Your Concepts
Concepts Drive Your Predictions
Predictions Regulate Your Body
Your Body Determines How You Feel.
The greater your vocabulary
the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs.
People who exhibit higher emotional expression
- Go to the doctor less frequently
- Use medication less frequently
- Spend fewer days hospitalized for illness
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This insight is directly connected to your relationship with others. Most importantly it’s also connected to our relationship with the Universe (God). What we believe about the Universe (God) and it’s expectations for us is vital to what we believe about ourselves.
Self discovery is not an a one day or a one week affair.
It can take a lifetime of building a relationship with yourself. Note that your inner self is not going to stay constant either. You are evolving all the time. Based on your self discovery at any point in time, you make conscious decisions for changes. Additionally, as you mature, you gain insights that make up the new you.
Self-discovery is about being mindful of who you really are, instead of what culture says you should be.
It is important to ask yourself what you want out of life and work towards it. Aligning with your soul’s’ purpose brings about fulfilment. Without a purpose and direction, you are going to feel like a ship which is going nowhere. I can assure you that if you don’t go through this process of evaluation on what your purpose is, you are going to experience regret while on your deathbed.
You need to confront your emotional issues and weaknesses
because they reveal the separation from the real you.
The real you is authentic, loving and nurturing. The process of self discovery is not just about unearthing nasty stuff about yourself. It is about honoring your strengths and abilities. As you become more aware of what you are good at, you lessen the list on weaknesses.
Learn to forgive yourself.
Negative beliefs tend to invade every aspect of your life. If you have feelings of low self worth, then you are likely to carry them in the relationships you have at home, in the office, with your friends, relatives and loved ones.
You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. When your outer self is aligned with your inner being, you will feel happy and free!
I’m sick, very sick. Sick enough that after twenty years my team of doctors still have little idea what’s wrong with me. I am unable to work and unable to properly function at home. This is a challenging scenario for me. But, there are benefits here. There’s purpose in experiencing life in these ways. I am convinced of this because of a learned awareness of spirituality.
I grew up seeing spirits, astral traveling, feeling other people’s emotions, and hearing their thoughts. These experiences were so normal for me that I had to be taught how to “properly” interact with others. I learned that very few people could do the things I could, and that there were things I shouldn’t say to others. I had to curb my comments, very often just sharing knowing smiles.
These days it seems fewer people take responsibility for their life.
It seems less and less people master their emotions.
They don’t run their lives, they allow life to run them. Their problems are blamed on everyone and everything. Most never take responsibility for their own life. More importantly, they never take responsibility for how they feel.
Does life happen to you, or does life happen for you?
Think very carefully before you answer. The answer you give will shape your life.
Do you believe everything happens for a reason? I believe that life is hard. That we all are going to go through things that are hard and challenging. But, what if every painful experience in your life was actually sent to benefit you?
- To make you stronger.
- To make you wiser.
- To make you better.
What if the challenge you are facing was sent to make you grow? What if the difficult person was actually sent to teach you things?
- A reminder of how not to treat people
What if the loss you experienced was sent to make you appreciate the way we feel.
Everything in your life is your life!
Every human being decides how they are going to live their life.
It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
We all decide what meaning we give to each and every moment in our lives. We do not decide what shows, but we do decide how we show it. We do not decide the circumstances that arrive each day, but, we absolutely decide how we are going to react to each circumstance.
There is no such thing as actual reality, there’s only our perception of reality.
Think about any event in your own life.
Your version of it, is only your opinion of it and will be completely different to many other people.
Two people could attend the same event, see the same things, speak to the same people, and leave with absolutely opposite thoughts about that event. How could this be it was the same event? That is because it’s an interpretation. The meaning both people gave the event is different. That meaning is based on the life of conditioning and personal experiences. A life of absorbing other’s opinions and therefore making our own.
The point is:
- We decide that meaning.
- We decide our perspective.
- We decide our reality.
- We decide OUR TRUTH!
The experiences I’ve had, force the point for me. I don’t ‘believe’ there’s more out there. I KNOW! I’ve had contact with various attuned and enlightened people who guided me through things.
They explained the subtle realms:
- How energy in life flows
- Why we are here on earth
- The various and multiple layers of existence
- The true nature of the soul and how we are connected
- That there is no one formal religion that is right for everyone.
I’ve seen and experienced things that many people so readily disregard. People say ‘spirits aren’t real’ because they can’t know anything else. But, I know they are there, not just because I’ve seen them. I know they are there because the universe gave me teachers. Mentors that have been there with me. Coaching me through life’s interactions.
The universe guided me by:
- Explaining that I should try things and see what happens
- In learning to protect myself
- To help them when they needed it
- Most importantly, teaching me how to identify who they are and what they want.
There’s a great degree of science behind spirituality. Much more than you could think possible. That science, the understanding of connections and interactions between things, being able to control and shape them means I don’t have a choice. I don’t ‘believe’ anymore, I know!
Bob Marley said…
“Some people dance in the rain,
others just get wet.”
This is true for everything in life. Some people hate life. Some people just get by. But, some people live life to the fullest. Those people appreciate the little things, which in turn, make a huge difference in their lives. Don’t worry about what other people do!
What do you do?
- Do you appreciate all the good in your life?
- Do you look for the good every day?
- Do you wake up expecting great things?
- Do you believe every tough moment in your life is it to make you stronger and in some way improve your life?
Every meaning, you give to everything in your life, makes your life!
I know that my sickness is a part of my spiritual journey. It serves a purpose by improving me and those who interact with me. Every life and death, no matter how beautiful or tragic is a wonderful experience for the soul.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself or try to blame others for your misfortune. This is your doing and it’s an amazing thing that you’ve chosen for yourself.
There is no fault!
You need this experience in your life to evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You’ve got people around you who also chose to be there and experience a different reality to the situation with you. They’re also benefiting from you, learning and evolving as a result of your situation.
Choose empowering meanings, because the better your meanings, the better your life. The stronger your meanings, the stronger your life.
Between stimulus and response,
there is a space where we choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
It’s our decisions, not our conditions,
that control life and fulfill destiny.
CITB focuses on chronic illness. I have personally experienced and live with the chronic illness of substance abuse. This is a guest post by Caleb Anderson of RecoveryHope.org. RecoveryHope.org was started by Caleb and Molly Anderson after Caleb received treatment for opiate addiction. Molly has made it her mission to learn how to help Caleb fight his battles and support him in his recovery. Together they now help others by providing research and resources about the many challenges of overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.
We welcome Caleb and Molly to the CITB family and know you will enjoy their insights. Please visit their website RecoveryHope.org and have a safe and happy Halloween!
Fun is not just for kids, and in fact, Halloween is the perfect time to make believe, dress up, and have a great time. But, how do you throw a substance-free party when you’re in recovery from addiction? One of the best ways to make sure everyone has an amazing time is to pick a theme and run with it. Sure, themes are a little cheesy, but that’s what Halloween is all about! Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. They’re all packed with activities that make it easy to keep the focus on the fun and away from alcohol.
With movie themes, the possibilities are endless. A great way to set the scene is to use a projector to show the movie on a blank wall. For a scary classic, show Psycho but without sound and keep a scary soundtrack playing in the background (complete with the Psycho screech of course). Movie night can also be more fun than scary with favorites like Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus, or Harry Potter. Ask friends to come dressed as their favorite character, and serve alcohol-free versions of some beloved drinks from the movie you choose, like this Food Network recipe for butterbeer from Harry Potter.
When you turn your home into a house of horrors, the fun is all about the spooks. Check out Holiday for detailed how-tos and scenarios for making your home haunted. You can stick with a single theme like zombies, mad scientist, or a witch’s house, or set up a different scene in each room of your house for a surprise around every corner. Tie in themed food and drinks that are as spooky as the decor. There is no need for alcohol with all kinds of creepy punch recipes you can make that fit perfectly with the haunted theme.
Bonfire and Ghost Stories
Bring the fun outside by setting up a fire pit in your yard, building a bonfire and having everyone tell spooky stories around the fire. Serve s’mores and something warm to drink, like hot spiced cider, and offer blankets so everyone can get cozy. To make the stories come to life and feel even more real, set the scene by turning your yard into a graveyard, complete with tombstones and ghosts floating from trees.
Give your guests a case to solve with a mystery party. Try a modern take on a classic like this Nancy Drew party idea from Country Living, or do something a little more current like CSI. Whichever theme you go with, come up with a crime to solve, with clues, mysterious invitations, and a crime scene. Ask everyone to dress the part, and set up a “crime lab” with drinks served in test tubes
This theme gives your guests an excuse to dress up in swanky attire, but with a twist. Pick a time period or theme, such as Victorian opulence or the roaring twenties. This makes dressing up, even more, fun (and challenging!), and don’t forget to give masks for guests for an added air of mystery. For decor, go for Hollywood decadence but with an eerie touch, like these ideas from The Huffington Post.
Another upscale option is to plan an elegant dinner party styled in black and white. Set a beautifully creepy table with black and white linens, candlesticks, and a smattering of spiders. Ask guests to dress in only black and white. You can find endless ideas for spooky black and white decorations – from spiderweb, white lab coats, and skeletons to bats, ravens, and spiders.
Whether you go with something scary, fancy, whimsical, or somewhere in between, try finding a theme that you and your friends will get into. Simply have fun with it. When you do that, the fun is all about the theme and the activities instead of being about drinking. With a little careful planning and a lot of imagination, you can absolutely throw an amazing substance-free Halloween party.
Feature Image photo credit: Pixabay
People Are Reflections Of Each Other.
We are all human in the sense that we can feel the same things. Our perception, however, differs from person to person. One person in the same situation as five other people will each take away their own experience/truth. What also should be noted is that each person has an impact on the other people in the situation. A different impact will be had by each person., It is up to the person being impacted to keep or discard the impressions left on them by others.
Be Aware Of Your Own Intentions
It is important to be aware of your own intentions versus the intentions of others. There are different ways a person indicates their own feelings and thoughts through body language, verbal language and a general personification of their emotions. It is a person’s emotions which influence their thoughts and thoughts that influence emotions.
By Opening Ourselves Up To Others We Grow
It is a lonely world to isolate yourself from others. It stifles individual growth when we shut ourselves off in the dark. By opening ourselves up to others we grow as well as promote growth within others. We also help each put a stop to the loneliness which naturally plagues a person who is closed off from others.
Make The Most Of Social Interaction
It is important to take the opportunities we have to influence other people. It is also important to note the impact we allow them to have on us. A person should make the most of social interaction and use it to their benefit and the benefits others should they be open to it. We may not be able to control other people but we can do our part to bring them peace of mind and allow them to help us in doing the same. Even at the grocery store, a smile may spark a new beginning to a passerby who was having an incredibly hard day. Allow the same smile from a stranger to inspire goodness within yourself and you will see that others are truly here to help you in any way you allow.
People Are Attracted To Commonalities
People are attracted to commonalities. It is important to be aware of what commonalities have drawn you and another person together. Allow the growth of relationships that are mutually beneficial. End relationships that cause you frustration, stress, or pain. You can grow from any interaction you allow if you reflect upon it in a positive light.
Mindfulness teaches us that the same idea can apply to our minds as well. If we’re in some kind of emotional funk, or if the solution to a problem eludes us, we can learn how to unplug our mind—even for just a minute—and watch how many issues have disappeared when we plug back in…
5 Steps to Unplug Your Mind
- Stop. The first step to unplugging your mind is to stop everything you’re doing. This begins by stopping your body, and giving yourself permission to do nothing for at least a minute or so. You might try saying to yourself, “Just for this one minute, I don’t have to accomplish or change anything.”
- Let the mind wind down. Now imagine that each of your five senses is like a door that lets information into your mind. Close each of these doors and offer yourself the gift of quiet. Your mind takes in so many sights, sounds, etc., all day long. For just a minute or so, let it rest. Close your eyes, turn off anything you were listening to, stop distracting yourself in any way. Then, see if you can quiet your thoughts by telling your mind, “You can rest now. Nowhere to go, and nothing to do.”
- Come home. Now that you’ve stopped and quieted your senses, come home to yourself in the present moment. Pay attention to your breathing and the sensations in your body without trying to do or change anything. Say to yourself, “The present moment is my true home, and I have arrived.”
- Practice self-compassion. See if you can direct love and compassion toward yourself in this moment. Having let go of all busyness, try saying to yourself, “May you be well. May you be safe. May you be loved.”
- This is it. Finally, you recognize that everything you need to be happy is already present in this moment. You are alive, and the gift of life in infinitely precious. You can feel that your mind is completely at rest. Now you can return to whatever you were doing, and see how different it feels after having unplugged for just a little while.
Read The Full Story Here:
A Meditation to Recharge Your Mind – Mindful
Health Benefits Within
From lowering blood pressure to increasing pain tolerance, the following health benefits can all be discovered within the body.
- Blood pressure. A consistent yoga practice decreases blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation of the body.
- Pulse rate. A slower pulse rate indicates that your heart is strong enough to pump more blood with fewer beats. Regularly practicing yoga provides a lower pulse rate.
- Circulation. Yoga improves blood circulation. By transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, yoga practice provides healthier organs, skin, and brain.
- Respiratory. Like the circulatory system, a lower respiratory rate indicates that the lungs are working more efficiently. Yoga decreases the respiratory rate through a combination of controlled breathing exercises and better fitness.
- Cardiovascular endurance. A combination of lower heart rate and improved oxygenation to the body (both benefits of yoga) results in higher cardiovascular endurance.
- Organs. Yoga practice massages internal organs, thus improving the ability of the body to prevent disease. Additionally, an experienced yoga practitioner becomes better attuned to her body to know at first sign if something isn’t functioning properly, thereby allowing for quicker response to head off disease.
- Gastrointestinal. Gastrointestinal functions have been shown to improve in both men and women who practice yoga.
- Immunity. Yoga practice has frequently been correlated with a stronger immune system.
- Pain. Pain tolerance is much higher among those who practice yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, are lessened or eliminated through yoga (see below for more on back pain).
- Metabolism. Having a balanced metabolism results in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Consistent yoga practice helps find the balance and creates a more efficient metabolism.
Health Benefits Without
Just as many health benefits occur within the body, there are many benefits that can actually be experienced from without the body. From better sleep to more energy and strength, this list provides several benefits found on the outside of the body.
- Aging. Yoga stimulates the detoxification process within the body. Detoxification has been shown to delay aging, among many other health benefits.
- Posture. The very nature of yoga teaches the practitioner how to hold and control one’s body in a more healthful position. Through consistent practice, your posture will improve so that you look more confident and healthy.
- Strength. One of the premises of yoga is that you are using the weight of your own body for overall strength. Find out more about how yoga works as an excellent method of strength training in this article.
- Energy. Regular yoga practice provides consistent energy. In fact, most yogis state that when you perform your yoga correctly, you will feel energized after your yoga session rather than tired.
- Weight. The benefits of a better metabolism along with the exercise of yoga work to keep your weight in check. Additionally, the stretching of muscles longwise helps to reduce the amount of cellulite that can build around muscles.
- Sleep. Because of the many benefits to both body and mind that a yoga routine can provide, many find that their sleep is much better. Read here for more on sleep and yoga, as well as some positions for helping induce sleep.
- Balance. An integral part of the yoga practice is balance and control over your body. With a consistent practice, you will find that your overall balance will improve outside the yoga class.
- Integrated function of the body. Yoga is derived from Sanskrit and means “to join together and direct one’s attention.” This is exactly what happens to your body after you start practicing yoga. Yogis find that their body works together much better, resulting in more graceful and efficient body movements.
- Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
- Core strength. With a strong body core, you receive better posture and overall body strength. A strong core helps heal and reduce injuries. This is why a lot of athletes do yoga as cross training (boxers, MMA fighters, etc). Read how this swimmer uses yoga to strengthen her core and improve her swimming.
- Sexuality. Yoga can improve your sexuality through better control, more relaxation, and more self-confidence. Read more about the yoga and sexuality connection here.
Emotional Health Benefits
Due to the strong mind-body connection of yoga, there are many emotional benefits to be gained from a consistent yoga practice. Find out how yoga can help improve emotional health with this list.
- Mood. Overall well-being improves with yoga practice. The combination of creating a strong mind-body connection, creating a healthy body, and focusing inward can all lead to improvement in your mood.
- Stress Reduction. The concentration required during yoga practice tends to focus your attention on the matter at hand, thereby reducing the emphasis you may have been putting on the stress in your life.
- Anxiety. One benefit to the controlled breathing used in yoga is a reduction in anxiety. Learn more about how you can use yoga breathing to reduce your anxiety.
- Depression. Some believe the negative feelings that you may be repressing are brought to the surface during some types of yoga exercise. When this happens, the negative energy is no longer stuck within you, but released through exercise. Regularly releasing this negativity leads to a reduction of depression in many people.
- Self-acceptance. Focusing inward and realizing through your yoga practice that perfection is not the goal, self-acceptance begins to take over.
- Self-control. The controlled movements of yoga teach you how to translate that self-control to all aspects of your life.
- Mind-body connection. Few other exercises offer the same mind-body connection that yoga does. As you match your controlled breathing with the movements of your body, you retrain your mind to find that place of calm and peace that long-time yogis know.
- Positive outlook on life. Continued practice of yoga results in a balance of many hormones and nervous system, which brings about a more stable, positive approach to life.
- Hostility. Most yogis report a huge reduction in the amount of hostility they feel as well as a sense of control when anger flares. This calm effect is likely from the relaxation and meditation that is incorporated in their yoga practice that leads to an overall calming of the nervous system. Less hostility means lower blood pressure and stress and a healthier approach to life.
- Concentration. Researchers have shown that as little as eight weeks of yoga practice can result in better concentration and more motivation.
- Memory. Improved blood circulation to the brain as well as the reduction in stress and improved focus results in a better memory.
- Attention. The attention required in yoga to maintain the structured breathing in conjunction with yoga poses sharpens the ability to keep a sharp focus on tasks.
- Social skills. In yoga, you learn the interconnectedness of all of life. Your yoga practice soon evolves from a personal journey to one connecting to to the community at large where your social skills improve along with your yoga practice.
- Calmness. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.
Several aspects of body chemistry such as glucose levels and red blood cells are affected by yoga. Learn how you can improve your body chemistry through yoga.
- Cholesterol. Yoga practice lowers cholesterol through increased blood circulation and burning fat. Yoga practice is a great tool to fight against harmful cholesterol levels.
- Lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system boosts your immunity and reduces toxins in your body. The only way to get your lymphatic system flowing well is by movement. The specific movements involved in yoga are particularly well-suited for promoting a strong lymphatic system.
- Glucose. There is evidence to suggest that yoga may lower blood glucose levels.
- Sodium. As does any good exercise program, yoga reduces the sodium levels in your body. In today’s world of processed and fast foods that are full of sodium, lessening these levels is a great idea.
- Endocrine functions. Practicing yoga helps to regulate and control hormone secretion. An improved endocrine system keeps hormones in balance and promotes better overall physical and emotional health.
- Triglycerides. Triglycerides are the chemical form of fat in the blood, and elevated levels can indicate a risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. A recent study shows that yoga can lead to “significantly lower” levels of triglycerides. Read more about the results of that study here.
- Red blood cells. Yoga has been shown to increase the level of red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood, and too few can result in anemia and low energy.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost immunity, helps produce collagen, and is a powerful antioxidant; and a yoga regimen can increase the vitamin C in your body.
Exercise Health Benefits
As a form of exercise, yoga offers benefits that are sometimes not easily found among other exercise regimens. Check out these reasons to include yoga in your or your patient’s health program.
- Low risk of injury. Due to the low impact of yoga and the controlled aspect of the motions, there is a very low risk of injury during yoga practice compared to other forms of exercise.
- Parasympathetic Nervous System. In many forms of exercise, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, providing you with that fight-or-flight sensation. Yoga does the opposite and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system lowers blood pressure and slows the pace of your breathing, which allows relaxation and healing.
- Muscle tone. Consistently practicing yoga leads to better muscle tone.
- Subcortex. Subcortical regions of brain are associated with well-being, and yoga is thought to dominate the subcortex rather than the cortex (where most exercise dominates).
- Reduced oxygen consumption. Yoga consumes less oxygen than traditional exercise routines, thereby allowing the body to work more efficiently.
- Breathing. With yoga, breathing is more natural and controlled during exercise. This type of breathing provides more oxygen-rich air for your body and also provides more energy with less fatigue.
- Balanced workout of opposing muscle groups. As with all of yoga, balance is key. If a muscle group is worked in one direction, it will also be worked in the opposite direction to maintain balance. This balance results in a better overall workout for the body.
- Non-competitive. The introspective and self-building nature of yoga removes any need of competition in the exercise regimen. With the lack of competition, the yogi is free to work slowly to avoid any undue injury as well as promote a more balanced and stress-free workout.
- Joint range of motion. A study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicated that joint range of motion was improved by participants who practiced yoga.
- Eye-hand coordination. Without practice, eye-hand coordination diminishes. Yoga maintains and improves eye-hand coordination.
- Dexterity. The strong mind-body connection and flexibility gained from yoga leads to grace and skill.
- Reaction time. Research done in India shows that reaction time can be improved with specific yoga breathing exercises in conjunction with an already established yoga practice. The improvement was attributed to the faster rate of processing and improved concentration gained from yoga.
- Endurance. Working the entire body, yoga improves endurance and is frequently used by endurance athletes as a supplement to their sport-specific training.
- Depth perception. Becoming aware of your body and how it moves, as one does in yoga practice, leads to increased depth perception.
Doctors and nurses love yoga because studies indicate that it can help prevent the following diseases.
- Heart disease. Yoga reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, keeps off weight, and improves cardiovascular health, all of which lead to reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Osteoporosis. It is well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, yoga’s ability to lower levels of cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
- Alzheimer’s. A new study indicates that yoga can help elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels. Low GABA levels are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Meditation like that practiced in yoga has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- Type II diabetes. In addition to the glucose reducing capabilities of yoga, it is also an excellent source of physical exercise and stress reduction that, along with the potential for yoga to encourage insulin productionin the pancreas, can serve as an excellent preventative for type II diabetes.
Medical professionals have learned that the following diseases or disorders can all be helped by maintaining a yoga practice.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome who practiced yoga showed greater improvement than those who wore a splint or received no treatment at all. Researchers saw improved grip strength and reduction of pain in the study participants.
- Asthma. There is some evidence to show that reducing symptoms of asthma and even reduction in asthma medication are the result of regular yoga.
- Arthritis. The slow, deliberate movement of yoga poses coupled with the gentle pressure exerted on the joints provides an excellent exercise to relieve arthritis symptoms. Also, the stress relief associated with yoga loosens muscles that tighten joints.
- Multiple sclerosis. According to this article, “yoga is now recognized as an excellent means of MS management.” Additionally, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding a clinical trial of yoga for treating multiple sclerosis.
- Cancer. Those fighting or recovering from cancer frequently take advantage of the benefits that yoga provides. Cancer patients who practice yoga gain strength, raise red blood cells, experience less nausea during chemotherapy, and have a better overall well-being.
- Muscular dystrophy. Using yoga in the early stages of muscular dystrophy can help return some physical functions. The practice of Pranayam yoga helped one teen regain many of his abilities lost to muscular dystrophy. Learn more in this article.
- Migraines. Regular yoga practice has been shown to reduce the number of migraines in chronic migraine sufferers. This post describes how yoga can reduce migraines.
- Scoliosis. Yoga can straighten the curvature of the spine associated with scoliosis. Find out how this yogi cured her scoliosis and continues to help others as well.
- Chronic bronchitis. Exercise that does not elevate respiration, yet increase oxygen levels in the body is ideal for treating chronic bronchitis. Luckily, yoga can do this, as well as aerate the lungs and provide energy.
- Epilepsy. Focusing on stress reduction, breathing, and restoring overall balance in the body are the focus of how yoga can help prevent epileptic seizures.
- Sciatica. The intense pain associated with sciatica can be alleviated with specific yoga poses. Here are 10 great ones to help relieve pain.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Studies of people with OCD have shown that practicing yoga has lead to a reduction in symptoms–resulting in less medication or medication no longer needed.
- Constipation. Due to the practice of yoga and overall better posture, the digestive and elimination systems work more efficiently. If the practitioner also has a healthy diet, any constipation will be eliminated through yoga.
- Allergies. Using a neti pot to clear the sinuses is an ancient form of yoga to help reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms. Certain types of breathing can also help clear the nasal passages.
- Menopause. Yoga practice can help control some of the side effects of menopause.
- Back pain. Yoga reduces spinal compression and helps overall body alignment to reduce back pain. Find a yoga pose to help lessen back pain here.
Religion is one of the two taboo subjects that many of us have been told, often at a young age, not to discuss if we wish to avoid offending anyone (the other is politics), yet sooner or later it often comes up in discussions. Many people feel a need to belong to some form of religion. I am not going to say that it is right or wrong to be part of any religion — indeed, that varies among individuals. Some people seem to be quite happy in their religion, and receive a great deal of comfort from their beliefs. Others seem to have no need for religion at all. Still others join a religion because they perceive it will bring some sort of benefit to them, be it financial, physical, or spiritual.
The main reason that religion is a “hot potato” subject is because some people feel it is their right, or their duty, to impose their religious beliefs on others. They believe that their beliefs are the correct ones, and that those who don’t believe as they do are wrong, or even evil. It’s actually not too dissimilar from the way a member of one political party might see it as their right or duty to convince others that their party is right, and the other party is evil. Those who don’t share those views generally don’t appreciate being told they are wrong!
At the heart of it, most traditional religion is based in part on fear. On a spiritual level, the fear is that you will not measure up to the expectations of deity, or some “higher power”. On a more pragmatic level, the fear is often that if you can’t force others to adopt your beliefs, they might impose their beliefs on you. Wars have been fought because of the underlying fear that we have to kill them before they kill us. It’s only in relatively recent times that a majority of people have started to understand that it’s possible for people of varying beliefs to coexist peacefully, and unfortunately there are still many people that don’t seem to understand this.
People who’ve had near-death experiences (NDE’s) have stated that if they asked about religion during their NDE, they were told that the best religion is the one that brings you closest to God. Of course, a person that felt no need for religion probably wouldn’t ask that question in the first place. But there are no reports of anyone having a NDE and being told that they should belong to a specific religion or denomination!
If you don’t belong to any religion now, my advice to you would be to think long and hard, and do some research on the Internet, before you join. Very often, when people are trying to get you to join their religion, they will seem to love you to death and truly care about you, perhaps even more than anyone else in your life has ever cared for you. The problem is that such “love” is almost always both time-limited and conditional. Once you have joined their religion, they will move on to some other hot prospect that they are trying to get to join, and suddenly you’ll no longer feel like the center of their attention. But worse yet, their love may well be conditional on you believing the things they teach you (no matter how absurd, ridiculous, or even hateful), and behaving the way they want you to. If you should start to question any of their teachings, you become a “problem” to them, and you will find yourself talked to the way a disapproving parent might talk to a stepchild — or maybe even invited to leave.
If you are already involved in a religion, and you feel that you receive comfort and joy from it, and it encourages you to love others and help them when you can, then maybe the only real reason to consider leaving them is if they try to get you to do things that would hurt others. That could be anything from attempting to impose your beliefs on other people, to hating them because they are not part of your group, or don’t meet up with some standard of morality that your religion attempts to uphold. Those are the very things that have been responsible for starting bloody conflicts in past and recent times. Also, please be aware that some religions are all about power and money — specifically, how much of those they can take from their followers for the benefit of the leaders. If the leaders of the religion are constantly telling people to give money to their organization, while they are living the high life (with nice houses, fancy cars, luxurious vacations, and even air-conditioned doghouses for their pets), then they are using deception to steal from their followers. In a few high profile cases they have gotten in trouble and even spent time in prison for this, but that’s the exception rather than the rule — more often than not, the leaders get away with it and are never brought to justice.
However, even if that’s not the case, it might be a good idea to reflect upon why you belong to that religion from time to time. Think about what caused you to join in the first place. Were your parents members, and they forced you to attend, and it just became habit? Did you join because someone convinced you that you might go to some bad place when you die if you didn’t? Or did you perhaps join because you thought you had found a group of people that truly cared about you? Think about the reasons you joined, and then ask yourself, “If I had known then what I know now, would I still have joined?” And also, “Did I have any expectations of what would happen that have not yet been fulfilled?” In short, does your religion truly bring you closer to God, or your “higher power”, or the Universe, or whatever you consider to be the highest and most loving force in all of creation?
If not, perhaps it’s time to find a spiritual path that more completely resonates with you. People on the “wrong” path (which is to say, in the “wrong” religion) often feel quite unhappy and unfulfilled, and often live in fear that somehow they’ll be subjected to some form of eternal punishment (though they may be quite unwilling to admit such thoughts, even to themselves). They may not enjoy participating in their religion’s rituals, or attending the designated place of worship. They may find prayer or meditation boring, or even infuriating, because they don’t ever see any results (but the religion will say it’s their fault). While these things can happen even to people who haven’t strayed from their path, those who are on the “wrong” path often come to a point where they just can’t continue in their present religion. If they then find the right path for them, they often feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders, and that all the fear and dread that they experienced previously fades away.
For some people, the “right” path for this lifetime may be to not be part of any organized religion. That doesn’t mean that they cannot engage in some form of spiritual practice, such as meditation or prayer. It only means that they do not feel any need to attend, or receive any benefit from attending, formal meetings or going to a designated place of worship. Everyone is different, and what one person may see as an absolute requirement to be true to their beliefs, another person may see as irrelevant or even nonsense. If you try to convert such a person to your beliefs, you’ll just anger them and frustrate yourself — or worse yet, you’ll convince them to join and then regret doing so, because they will be constantly annoying you whenever the religion doesn’t meet their expectations (after all, you got them into this, so you should be the one to hear their complaints!). Even the religions that encourage proselytizing (that is, attempting to induce someone to convert to one’s faith, according to Merriam-Webster) usually recognize that there are people who just cannot be converted, even if they portray such people in an unfavorable light.
I personally think we’d all get along a lot better if we could all “live and let live” when it comes to our religious beliefs. That doesn’t mean we have to condone hate, or abuse, or attempts to control others, but when those things are not an issue, it’s probably best to let people find their own path. Of course, if someone starts asking questions about your faith or beliefs, then perhaps that means that they are destined to share your path for at least part of their journey through this lifetime, and in that case you can certainly answer their questions and share your beliefs. But if it makes you uncomfortable to talk about what you believe, that may be another indication that you’re not on the right path, or that you’re not being true to yourself and what you really believe. Taking time to reflect on what you believe and why you believe it encourages spiritual growth, and shouldn’t be avoided.