Monday, November 29, 2010

Secular Meditation or Your Meditation

"In my quest for search of some nice blogs and information on meditation I landed on the website of Tom Von Deck namely The Deeper Meditation- Oceanic mind. Here in this article he brings for readers of e-swastya in dept approach on the topic of meditation. In his thoughts meditation is some thing that is your way... each of us has its own way. Read more below in this article".

There are many meditation techniques in the world for many different kinds of people. There are religious and otherwise devotional meditations. There are secular meditations which are non-devotional and tend not to incorporate religious symbolism. When shopping around for a meditation technique or center, people tend to look for techniques with qualities they can relate to.

If you understand the basic "nuts and bolts" anatomy of meditation and mind body disciplines, you can begin to create your own program instead of looking all over the world and the Internet for a technique that meets your specifications.

Basic Elements in a Meditation

There are two basic elements of a meditation technique: Concentration and Mindfulness.

Concentration is focused attention on an object of focus. The object can be anything. A meditation beginner looking for a technique can decide on something either visual, verbal or kinesthetic that is either constant or repetitive. This can be a visualization of a waterfall. It can be a devotional phrase such as "Lord, make me an instrument of they peace" or a secular phrase such as "Peaceful calm". If you prefer a secular meditation technique, you can try the feeling in the nostrils as you breathe through the nose or the toe, ball and heel of each foot as they touch the floor as you walk slowly.

Meditation is the art of falling in love. Therefore, your object should be a "lover" that you are compatible with. If you fall in love with the imagery of a person or an object or any word, then try a visualization or one can use a chant . If natural scenery appeals to you, then visualize a waterfall or a flower. If it invites a state of deep, loving absorption, then there is compatibility.

Some techniques stop right there. In such cases, you hold your mind on your chosen object. When the mind wanders, you keep bringing it back. This is called Concentration Meditation, Samatha Meditation, Tranquility Meditation and many other things.

The other element is mindfulness. Some call it equanimity or Vipassana. These words mean to see things as they really are by being present with moment-to-moment experience in a non-attached manner. This includes thoughts, emotions and sensory stimulation.

If you are performing concentration meditation and wish to incorporate Vipassana, then you are being present with your thoughts as the mind wanders from your object. You can take note that thinking is happening in the present moment with the word "thinking". Don't judge the thinking. You are the sky. The thoughts are the clouds. When you take note without clinging to them or pushing them away, the thoughts lose power over you. Then, you bring your attention back to the object of focus. You can do the same with feelings of anger by taking note with the word "angry".

This is only a very basic formula for meditation, but it works.

Some techniques have built in warm up exercises. Just like the objects of focus, some are secular and some are religious. Hatha Yoga  stimulates feeling in the body and gets the subtle energy circuits flowing with stretches, postures and breathing exercises. In many schools of "studio yoga", the sequence of exercises is designed to prepare the mind and body for meditation. Come Christian contemplatives use the Bible for the initial inspiration for setting the mood for meditation. Qigong practitioners may use gentle movement, self massage, joint limbering exercises and breathing exercises to prepare for a meditative state. Buddhists often practice Lovingkindness by wishing happiness for other beings through visualization, spoken prayer or through kinesthetic means.

How may you prepare yourself for a formal meditation session? Whether you're religious or secular-minded, it is all about compatibility. Experiment a little bit and find out what works.

Anything you do to warm up for meditation can also be used to integrate meditation into your daily routine. Muslims pray 5 times daily. We don't have such institutions in most countries, but it makes a lot of sense. Interweave consciousness raising activities into your day in short intervals. Use your "elevator time" wisely during those brief periods when you have nothing better to do, such as riding in an elevator. If you are a  secular person, you may not want to pray, but you can stop and breathe, watch your mind, offer silent gratitude for everyone in your life, visualize the waterfall, stretch the muscles and soft tissues, etc. All these activities accumulate peace. Our normal habits accumulate stress.

Take advantage of that elevator time and take 1-5 minute serenity breaks each hour, and give it one month to kick in. You won't want to stop doing it. The peace creeps up on you below the level of consciousness, even if you do not notice immediate results.

Meditation is as religious or as secular as the practitioner. In fact, your "religion" is as unique as you are. Experiment a bit, find out what you are compatible with and you will have a solid plan for peace in your life.

Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind - The Deeper Meditation Training Course. You can preview the first half of the book and get free guided meditation mp3s at">www.DeeperMeditation.Net.


Friday, November 26, 2010

White or Dark Meat?

One of the debates that many health conscious families face on the dinner table on Thanks giving is which meat is healthy? Have you been in this debate? What do you think white or dark meat? 

  Well here is some of the compression as Ayurveda sees this issue. I am just trying to use some the principles of Ayurveda in this scenario.

White Meat:

White meat normally consists of the muscles and the breast part of the animal. Here is the meat which if covered with the skin may contain some amount of fats and good amount of protein in them. No skin on white meat means fewer fats.

One rule in Ayurveda links the parts of the body we eat nourishes the same parts in our body. In this was the white meat would be nutritious for all those who have weak muscles. Thus for all those who are weak should prefer white meat compare to dark ones. Polio, muscular dystrophy is some of the conditions that white meat really makes a difference.

Meat Type (3.5 ounce serving)CaloriesTotal Fat (g)Protein (g)
Breast w/ skin194829
Breast w/o skin161430
Wing w/skin2381327
Leg w/ skin2131128
Dark Meat w/ skin2321327
Dark meat w/o skin192828
Skin only4824419

Dark Meat:
The meat that is attached to the bones and the cartilages is known as Dark meat. In modern science this meat is normally regarded as high calorie diet as it has high amount of fats.

Ayurveda thinks this meat very nutritious if eaten in a moderate amount. Here are the muscles that support the bony frame work of the animal. Usually have high amount of minerals like calcium and potassium and lastly Iron. A diet that can really be helpful for all those who have their body in early building phases like infants, young kids and even teenagers. Even for those people who are geriatrics this might be a great source of fats. Understand if eaten in moderation fats like this can be helpful for the bones and cartilages too.{ Read Pros and Cons of Fats }

So here are my views about who to eat what type of meat... what do you think? Can you eat them in moderation instead of just sticking to white meat or dark meat?

Posted by Sudeep

Festival Season and Health :

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food Additives to Avoid

Friends in this blog I have always spoken about the hazards of eating frozen food or even food that is added with multiple traces of preservatives. One may often question what issue I have behind those preservatives. Are they really bad for our health? Is there any scientific data available for the health concern? Lastly what preservatives or additives should we be looking to avoid is one of the most favorite question to ask? Well here in this article I have your answer. Here are 5 additives that one should watch and refrain from using them in your diet.

1] Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil:
One of the commonest additive used in many bakery products, margarine’s, deep fried food and cookies. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil is basically used to increase the shelf life of a product and also texture and look of the product. One of the basic reasons to avoid this product is the well known scientific study that shows increase of cardiac conditions due to regular use of this product.
This product has been in the process of being banned in North America and Europe but unluckily many companies still use them in the third world countries where all the strict rules do not apply.

2] Acesulfame- Potassium {acesulfame-K}
We have read and known about aspartame here in that same group of artificial sweeteners is yet another culprit approved by FDA but is hazardous for health. Acesulfame-Potassium or acesulfame-K is normally used in bakes goods, chewing gum, soft drinks and energy drink. One of the major reasons why this additive has to be avoided is because of its known carcinogenic property in mice when used regularly. Secondly acesulfame-k is known to increase dose dependent insulin in rats but still do not induce hyperglycemia.

3] Sodium Nitrite or Sodium Nitrate:
Well if you are a fan of eating hot dogs, processed meat and bacon then you are in a way consuming Sodium Nitrite or also known as Sodium Nitrate. All the above products do have this additive to increase shelf life of the product and also as a coloring agent.
It is said in the scientific community that this additive is known to cause DNA damage and increase cellular degeneration. It is also well known as carcinogenic substances especially known to cause gastric cancer, colon cancer and esophagus cancer.

I am sure after reading this one may be cautious and choose wisely and carefully different products from the shelf of your grocery department. Good Luck...

Regards from Sudeep

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Breathing Meditation Part 2

In my last post on meditation I had a chance to put some light on simple way of doing meditation. Though many different kind and style of meditations are known I started in last week pose with a simple breathing meditation. I am sure many of you have enjoyed the basics now. We humans are unique we do not stop at a point when we start learning something. We tend to look forward and always ask for more. Once taught a simple style, one tends to look out for a little difficult or something further.  
Here is something for all those who look further....

Lotus pose or Padmasana , Vajrasana or Diamond Pose  
Simple sitting on the chair might also help if you are looking for just de-stress.

A peace full calm place where one may not be disturbed with phone calls. A nice music might be good for the soul. May be a nice Bach may do or just simple string or flute.
If you are just doing for de-stress just one can even do it in any place.

Breathing Meditation

1] Just be in the position that you are comfortable, if in Lotus pose let the spine be erect and the shoulders relaxed.
2] Normally when we breathe in we take in oxygen known as inhalation and then we slowly release the oxygen which may be call as exhalation. Now last week we just concentrated our mind on simple breathing.
3] In today exercise we would be working on something very different. Every inhalation ends at a point for the exhalation process to begin and every exhalation ends at a point to start the inhalation. This is point that breathing converges from either inhalation to exhalation or exhalation to inhalation.
4] Now in this type of meditation we need to focus our attention on this point of exchange. The point where one stops inhaling and starts exhaling or the opposite.
5] Yes I do understand that this point is hard to keep one's focus one and yes it take some time and effort .After all what is easy is always no fun right.

Now try this meditation for 4 to 5 minutes in a day for a peace of mind.

Let me know if you have any more questions? Also it would be nice if you share your thoughts on what you felt about this meditation.

Posted by Sudeep

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Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Things to Avoid For Staying Healthy!!

Health is something that every one of us cherishes to have. Hey that is one of the reasons that you are reading this blog am I right here? Well would it be nice if we knew what types of food and food items that we can stay away to stay healthy. Here is a small article all about different foods and food items to avoid so one can live healthy and for a long time.

1] High fructose Corn Syrup

Well the issues with  High Fructose Corn Syrup is well known this days and yes more and more are getting aware of this. A ingredient that is although getting more and more attention in our kitchen from maple syrup to carbonated drinks. Check this out why this is not good for your health here in this article

2] White Flour
Yes we love our bread and love our naan which are all made up of white flour. But luckily unluckily this white flour does have a very bad effect on our digestion. Yes one gets a boost of sugar suddenly when eating white flour, but soon one ends up getting this craving more often. Lastly one also needs to know that it’s a process of bleaching that is done on the flour to make it white. Yes it means heavy chemicals.... are in your system in a way or so..

3] Salt
Ohh ya how can we forget about this..... Salt Once and even today if used perfectly well can be of great help to use preserve food. But unluckily in today’s world its more to increase our taste and enhance to get us more addicted. Salt in excess in Ayurveda can even lead to infertility, but even in its normal rate one can have health issues like hypertension. Read more about Salty taste here and here are some of the health concern of Salt

4] Fast Food or Junk Food
Fast food is the norm of this century, but has it helped humans. Yes saved a lot of time to prepare food, {Cooking Time: Some Scare facts} but at the cost of what ... Obesity has been the first issue that has been precipitate with this junk food. And with that comes a jargon of diseases and health issues including diabetes. Well it would be nice to avoid to be healthy what do you say?

5] Excess of Everything
And here is my favourite of all which not many would agree to keep on this list of things to avoid. Trends pick in this century very fast...a tweet starts a trend saying that one food is good for health and many simply start following those rules. Food that are healthy are then simply eaten in excess... Do you think it would be right?
Ayurveda specifically speaks of eating everything in moderation. Every food is good in its one way but if eaten in excess can lead to different health issues. One thing that can really lead us to healthy life would be to have in moderation.

What say you? Any Thoughts …..

Posted by Sudeep


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

5 Simple Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

One question that I never received a negative answer from any women when it comes to her health is on the topic of menstrual Cramps. Every woman some time in her life time faces this dreadful condition what every care she does takes. I do not know if this has to do to lifestyle changes that women have gone through past century. But still a life of women is not complete without those dreadful cramps.  
“Dysmenorrhea” is what those cramps are known in medical terminology is a medical condition characterized by severe uterine pain during menstruation.
Here are few home remedies and life style changes that can help reduce Menstrual Cramps.

1] Castor Oil application:
If facing sever bout of cramps Ayurveda suggests the use of Castor oil application on the abdomen around the belly button and the lower abdomen. Few drops of warm Castor oil applied, not massaged in a circular motion over the belly button can show tremendous result in reducing those cramps. A warm hot water bag or towel over top after the application might actually help a lot too...
Alleviated Vatta is said to be controlled with such application.

2] Ginger Tea:
Ginger also known as “Vishwa Bhaisyac” or the “Herb of the World” is a well known herb to reduce pain caused to many reasons. Fresh Ginger grated to a cup of water and then boiled for a while can make a nice tea to have for such cramps. Not just the heat of the ginger but also the warm water helps a lot to get relief from the cramps. Dried Ginger powder can also be used instead of fresh ginger.

3] Vajrasana or Diamond Pose:
Many pose of yoga are not recommended by yogis during menstruation cycle but there are few asana that can actually help solve many issues during those days. {Read more about Yoga and Menstruation Cycle} Vajrasana or sitting in a diamond pose is recommended for those women and girls that do suffer with cramps. I also advise women to start sitting in this pose even before one starts menstruation or just near to the date of cycle to prevent those cramps.{Read how to do Vajrasana here }

4] Avoid Crazy Exercise Routine
One thing that I noticed that many women continue to follow the same lifestyle and exercise pattern that they used to do during normal days. Unluckily most of the tampon companies and sanitary napkins companies to show that they do not need to do. But if you consider health wise it would be advisable that during menstruation cycle if a women reduces on physical activity or avoid tenuous work it might be reduce those cramps from occurring on the first place. Avoid Running Marathon during those days, or reduce your time you spend on physical work out. Engage yourself more on mental work out during those days.

5] Avoid Fat, Junk and Salted Food
Food with no nutritious value, high in salt, high in preservatives and additives such are junk food, chips, burgers and even pop should be advised to be avoided during menstruation cycle. Although not researched but those women who have a healthy diet pattern have shown reduce tendency to have cramps in the first place.
Ayurveda also recommends avoiding food groups like beans, cabbage in excess during those days.

Posted by Sudeep

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Breathing Meditation

Last week we had a look on a type of meditation known astratak” or also known as Candle gaze meditation. In today’s post I would be describing few more techniques for meditation for a lay man whose mind is like a fickle. I say this for lay man as even after few years of practise I feel myself still a lay man in the art of meditation. I have used this technique to work and progress and I hope that this might also help you all.


One of the first and foremost thing that states that we are born is that we start  breathing. It is a small way to show that we are born and also a sign that indicates that we are dead. Breathing a simple process of taking in air and throwing out air though can be so simple has a major role in every aspect of life including finding inner peace. Once we start to breathe in and out we may see that if pay a little concentration we tend to go forget all over issues of the past and the future and just be in now. Yogic knew this fact and thus used this simple breathing to attain peace and find inner peace. Today with the help of simple breathing we would try to be in The Present.

Position: Sit in any comfortable position, a position where you and your body is at rest. One can sit in Lotus position or Padmasana or in regular cross legged pose namely Siddhasana. Now you can even sit on a chair or even in your car for doing this.

Environment: It would be advisable that you switch your cell phones off, keep your phones on hold for a while. Be in a place where you would not be disturbed by  any distraction including your better half. No television, no radio and if you have some music make sure it is a nice melody going one and not some rock.

How to do Breathing Meditation:

Once you are in a comfortable position just start breathing in and out. Watch and observe how the air travels in, feel how it enters the nostril, feel how it goes down the wind pipe.
Fill your lungs completely with air and see how you feel.
Now watch how the air slowly increases the pressure in the lungs and make you let go. See how it comes upwards, touching the windpipe and then from the nostril.
Continue observing each and every breath in this way.
In this process you literally only and only think all about the air and its moment in your body that is what meditation is all about being in the present.

Huge chance are that you might suddenly start thinking if this is good for you or is the right way, or your mind may start to waver around for food, women and stuff. Bring that back to your breathe would be my advice. The more you think about your breathe the better one would get in meditation.


Well similar to all the benefits of meditation that we saw before.{ Click here }

Posted by Sudeep

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