1. Happiness and Better Health

    September 5, 2013

    Happiness Leads to Better Health

    Lately, physicians, researchers, and even economists have embarked on a journey to unveil the secrets of achieving better health. What could be deciphered from the secrets of nature is that happiness leads to better health. Well, modern research just validates what was established ages ago by sages.

    What exactly is happiness?

     

    Happiness as a concept is fairly subjective and dynamic. It often revolves around various vague aspects and so there are innumerable definitions of happiness. What has been derived from myriad definitions is that happiness is a felling of elation that protects you from stress and ill-thoughts, instilling the spirit with joy and jubilation.

    Many scholars categorize happiness as a sense of inner peace, comfort, an positive attitude that paves way for a healthier, more balanced and a long lasting life. If you are a religious person than, according to saints and spiritual teachers, happiness is a feeling of gratitude towards God for showering his blessings on our poor souls.

    Hundreds of writers, poets, and intellectuals have used their pen to describe what happiness means to them – I personally like this one:

    “Under the deep blue sea

    It’s always better my darling

    Down the wetter lines

    Take me further O my Lord – So I can either find you or happiness!”

    Does happiness really affect our health?

     

    Amusingly so, most of really happy and cheerful people comes across as exceptionally healthy for their age. Once in a blue moon we get news of our distant relative (Uncle Cheerful – almost every one of us have one) suffering from cardiac arrest.

    Statistics show that happiness is correlated with better health for individuals, communities, and even countries. So what could be the secret? Is it inner peace and comfort? Is it a positive attitude to the outside world? Is it positive thinking? Happy people certainly have less negative thoughts that cause negative emotions. It is well known from medical studies that these negative emotions ruin our psychological and physical health. As per medical researchers, happiness is the surest way to stimulate the release of anti-stress hormones and improve your immune system.

    Research studies by the Harvard’s School of Public Health in Boston and University College in London correlate happiness with longevity and show that optimistic and happy people live longer and healthier years.

    Secrets of happiness

     

    What does it take to be happy in your life? Not much, just follow these golden rules and let happiness come to you.
    1. Find Positive in everything around you
    Positive Psychology teaches us to focus on positive aspects of our life. Every moment we have a choice of focusing on positives or on negatives… this choice is yours. Positive thinking and positive attitude to others is a key to happiness.

     

    2. Eat the diet of happiness

     

    Scientist and dietitians recommend one key ingredient for your diet: Essential fatty acids or EFAs. These acids are the building blocks for your brain and deficiency causes anxiety, depression, and even dementia. EFA supplements and a diet rich in Olive oil, fish, and seasonal fruits and vegetables is essential to keep you in a positive mood.

     

    3. Sleep to heaven

     

    Sleep sets the tone and mood for the following day. Sleep is shown to be the most important factor for your mental health. Statistics prove that those who sleep well can find their joy even in the garden of hell. The insomnia or inability to sleep causes devastating impact in the life of people.

     

    4. Live and Let live

     

    The ultimate mantra to instill loads of bliss and joy within yourself and others is through adherence with the policy of ‘live and let live.’  It is a contagious policy and profits one and all for an entire life.

     

    Can we measure happiness?

     

    Assessment of happiness is subjective and depends on what you consider a happiness scale.  There is no particular criterion other than the glow on your face.

    The indicators of happiness are life satisfaction, health, community engagement. Person need some basic wealth to be happy, yet high income doesn’t really increase the level of happiness.

    The level of happiness could be measured based on surveys. In 1972, Bhutan introduced a Gross National Happiness (GNH) scale, a parameter which is closely monitored by government and considered very important to the development of their economy.

     

    Author Bio: Mike Chapman a happiness expert & fitness consultant with 5+ years of experience working in clinics and gyms and dealing with health, pain and injuries. He is delivering talks on happiness and writing articles telling people how happiness can benefit their lives and the environment.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian – http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/7824209576

     


  2. Self-Awareness through Kundalini Yoga

    June 6, 2013

    self-awareness through yoga

    by Rebecca Junck

     

    “Kundalini Yoga consists of active and passive asana-based kriyas, pranayama, and meditations which target the whole body system (nervous system, glands, mental faculties, chakras) to develop awareness, consciousness and spiritual strength.” —Yogi Bhajan

     

    What is Kundalini Yoga

     

    An ancient form of yoga, Kundalini is one of the more spiritual yoga practices. It’s also known as the yoga of awareness, as it focuses on increasing self-awareness and delivering an experience of your highest consciousness. Its emphasis on breathing, meditation, mudras and chanting takes it beyond the physical performance of the poses.

    Kundalini energy is one of the pillars of yoga and is included in one of the earliest yoga scriptures circa 2nd century BCE. It’s been practiced in India since then and has only recently gained popularity in the west.  In 1969 Yogi Bhajan immigrated to America and founded 3HO (the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) in Los Angeles to begin teaching Kundalini yoga to a new broader audience. Today it’s practiced worldwide and has attracted such celebrity followers as Russell Brand, Reese Witherspoon and Miranda Kerr.

    Difference from Other Forms of Yoga

     

    Kundalini is more relaxed that most other types of yoga such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga. Although all yoga is spiritual, Kundalini really focuses on your self-awareness and consciousness. If you’re looking for an up-tempo experience, stick with Bikram or Vinyasa. If you’re looking for a slower pace, chanting and spiritual teachings, try Kundalini.

    A typical Kundalini yoga session includes specific sets of postures (asana) that target a specified part of your body, with a focus on meditation, breathing exercises (pranayama) and chanting (mantra).

    Often grouped together with Hatha yoga, there are some noteworthy differences between the two when it comes to the poses:

    Hatha combines a number of poses that are aimed at stretching and strengthening your muscles and stimulating your internal organs. The postures incorporate sitting, standing and lying down poses, such as cobra, bow, locust and cat.

    Kundalini has far fewer poses than Hatha and they are all sitting poses, including the lotus, the rock and the hero.

    What to Expect in Your First Class

     

    A class begins with a short chant Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (“I call on the divine teacher within”) in order to tune the channel of your mind. It’s a way to bring the whole class together and connect with the tradition of Kundalini yoga.

    Next there will be a warm up that improves flexibility and stretches the spine. The main section of the class is called a kriya – a pre-determined sequence of exercises that focuses on a specific area of the body (arms, legs, and torso) in order to strengthen and help them release toxins. The class ends with a meditation followed by the blessing song “May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You”.

    The Benefits of Kundalini Yoga

     

    All physical activity has benefits for your body including increased vitality, weight loss/control and increased muscle strength. Kundalini includes these as well as:

    • Helping to better the functioning of your cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, digestive and glandular systems.
    • Heightening your 5 senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste – and increasing their sensitivity.
    • Helping to increase your sense of confidence and well-being that comes as you make your journey of self-discovery of your inner self and relaxed mental state.
    • Increasing your control of yourself, overcoming anger and resentment more easily to find inner calm.
    • Strengthening your immune system that will keep you healthy and well.

    Because it has such positive effects on both your mental and physical states, Kundalini has increased in popularity in recent years. Perhaps it’s a sign of how busy life and society has become that we seek out opportunities to promote positive thinking and center ourselves. Or perhaps we’ve only just discovered it.

    Whichever type of yoga that you choose, it’s important to remember that your goal is to improve your overall wellness, health and life. In fitness classes and sports it’s easy to compare your progress with those around you, quietly judging yourself. In yoga, you get to be selfish. Remember that your classmates aren’t paying attention to whether you nailed the last posture or how deep you go into the poses – they’re too busy concentrating on themselves.

     

    Author Bio: Rebecca is a digital yogi trying to find balance in today’s hectic world. She writes about nutrition, exercise, and holistic and healthy living at Healthy Living Online.

    Image Credit: yogamama.co.uk