Sep 192017
 

The 12 Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors

 

The benefits of Tai Chi for seniors are incredible. If you are looking for a low-impact, relaxing form of exercise that only requires about 20 minutes a day and rewards your efforts, Tai Chi is for you.  Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art in the sense that it focuses on mental and spiritual aspects integrated into movement.  This meditative form of exercise consists of a series of 19 movements and one pose. You may have seen groups of people demonstrating its slow-moving circular forms in public parks.

 

 

Many seniors and senior care facilities have been enjoying this style of workout and conditioning for more than 20 years.  Here are 12 benefits of Tai Chi for seniors:

  1. Relieves physical affects of stress
  2. Promotes deep breathing
  3. Reduces bone loss in menopausal women
  4. Improves lower body and leg strength
  5. Helps with arthritis pain
  6. Reduces blood pressure
  7. Requires mind and body integration through mental imagery
  8. Accumulates energy by releasing endorphins rather than depleting it
  9. Enhances mental capacity and concentration
  10. Improves balance and stability by strengthening ankles and knees
  11. Promotes faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks
  12. Improves conditions of Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s

Many senior care facilities and community centers are offering Tai Chi classes (some free of charge) not only because of the extensive health benefits but also because it does not require any equipment or furniture.  Many seniors find it an easy activity and a peaceful environment in which to meet other seniors with common interests.

To learn first hand the benefits of Tai Chi for seniors and find a Tai Chi class in your area, simply input Tai Chi and your city into any search engine.  If you add the word “free” to your search you are likely to find a community center or other informal group that meets in a nearby park.  Your local library may have demonstration DVDs you can use if you cannot find an instructor or class that is convenient for you.

Sep 112015
 

Drumming is as fundamental a form of human expression as speaking, and likely emerged long before humans even developed the capability of using the lips, tongue and vocal organs as instruments of communication.

The first sound we ever heard while still in our mother’s womb, was the beating of her heart, and the rhythm of her breath. No matter our race, gender, age, religion or belief system, this common experience exists for all human beings.

When newcomers are first introduced to drumming, they often say “oh, I don’t have any rhythm,” in an attempt to excuse themselves for their imagined inadequacy.

The truth is: We All have Rhythm!

Rhythm is our natural inheritance. It exists in our bodies, our hearts, our breath. It exists in the vibration of atoms, the cycles of the seasons, the ticking of clocks, the orbit of the earth. There is no part of creation that is without rhythm!

Fat Congas

Fat Congas

 

Lalo Gatos

Lalo Gatos

Drumming is a practice that spans the globe and has a presence in every culture. It has been used for centuries in rituals, ceremonies, communication, rites of passage, music and dance, celebration, healing, community building, and cultural events.

Drum therapy is an ancient approach that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. From the shamans of Mongolia to the Minianka healers of West Africa, therapeutic rhythm techniques have been used for thousands of years to create and maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Current research is now verifying the therapeutic effects of ancient rhythm techniques. Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self.

Other studies have demonstrated the calming, focusing, and healing effects of drumming on Alzheimer’s patients, autistic children, emotionally disturbed teens, recovering addicts, trauma patients, and prison and homeless populations. Study results demonstrate that drumming is a valuable treatment for stress, fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, arthritis, mental illness, migraines, cancer,multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, paralysis, emotional disorders, and a wide range of physical disabilities.    Eddie D Katz

djembe-drumming

Reduces Tension, Anxiety, and Stress

Drumming induces deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress. Stress, according to current medical research, contributes to nearly all disease and is a primary cause of such life-threatening illnesses as heart attacks, strokes, and immune system breakdowns. A recent study found that a program of group drumming helped reduce stress and employee turnover in the long-term care industry and might help other high-stress occupations as well.1

Increases Brain White Matter & Executive Cognitive Function

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease found that two months of drumming intervention in Huntington’s patients (considered an irreversible, lethal neurodegenerative disease) resulted in “improvements in executive function and changes in white matter microstructure, notably in the genu of the corpus callosum that connects prefrontal cortices of both hemispheres.”[ix]The study authors concluded that the pilot study provided novel preliminary evidence that drumming (or related targeted behavioral stimulation) may result in “cognitive enhancement and improvements in callosal white matter microstructure.”

Control Chronic Pain

Chronic pain has a progressively draining effect on the quality of life. Researchers suggest that drumming serves as a distraction from pain and grief. Moreover, drumming promotes the production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, the bodies own morphine-like painkillers, and can thereby help in the control of pain.2

Socio-Emotional Disorders

A powerful 2001 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that low-income children who enrolled in a 12-week group drumming intervention saw multiple domains of social-emotional behavior improve significantly, from anxiety to attention, from oppositional to post-traumatic disorders.

Boosts the Immune System

A recent medical research study indicates that drumming circles boost the immune system. Led by renowned cancer expert Barry Bittman, MD, the study demonstrates that group drumming actually increases cancer-killing cells, which help the body combat cancer as well as other viruses, including AIDS. According to Dr. Bittman, “Group drumming tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity, and enables healing to begin.”3

Accesses the Entire Brain

The reason rhythm is such a powerful tool is that it permeates the entire brain. Vision for example is in one part of the brain, speech another, but drumming accesses the whole brain. The sound of drumming generates dynamic neuronal connections in all parts of the brain even where there is significant damage or impairment such as in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). According to Michael Thaut, director of Colorado State University’s Center for Biomedical Research in Music, “Rhythmic cues can help retrain the brain after a stroke or other neurological impairment, as with Parkinson’s patients…” The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become.

Releasing Emotions

Drumming can be used to express emotions whether you want to release alone or in psychotherapy. We can drum a multitude of emotions such as happiness, fear, sadness and anger. Friedman states “happiness is usually played as a series of rapid, syncopated beats. Fear might be expressed as staccato tappings. Sadness usually evokes slow, ponderous beats while anger becomes hard, loud and energetic.”

Friedman discusses the concept of “Alchemical Drumming” to release unhealthy emotions whether it is anger, frustration or guilt into the drum. Through simply tapping a drum, negative emotions can be transformed into healthy ones.

There is nothing like drumming to bring one into a sense of personal power. It builds self-confidence and esteem. In one exercise we did, we drummed a repetitious beat for over a half an hour to put us in touch with the warrior archetype. This beat conjured up a sense of determination, power and perseverance helping to push through “whiny” thoughts like my hands are sore, my back aches or this is taking too long.

Clave Stick Patterns

Self-confidence will build when you start discipline playing rhythms to a steady beat. Learn the Clave(stick) patterns for they are the skeleton rhythm pattern ( 3-2 and 2-3) for most Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Clave comes from a blend of cultures, African and Spanish originating in Cuba. This will give you confidence to musically  communicate with other musicians. Rock and Roll have elements of 3-2 Clave introduced by Bo Diddly, The Dixie Cups and Buddy Holly and continues into modern music.

Sources:

lalogatos@msn.com/get to know clave/lessons

http://www.alternativedepressiontherapy.com/drumming-therapy.html

http://healing.about.com/od/drums/a/drumtherapy.htm

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/6-ways-drumming-heals-body-mind-and-soul

http://www.transformationalarts.com/inspirational-articles/co-founder-vitality-articles/healing-rhythms-of-the-drum

– See more at: http://www.the-open-mind.com/how-drumming-heals-the-body-mind-and-soul/#sthash.zE4Vh49P.dpuf

Sep 282011
 

7 Ways to Prevent Hemorrhoids

Published: 9/28/2011                             

By Dr. Andrew Weil

8th. Addition by Eddie Katz

If you have experienced hemorrhoids, you aren’t alone – according to the National Institutes of Health, about 50 percent of the United States population above the age of 50 has had hemorrhoids. The good news is you can help prevent hemorrhoids with some simple steps:

1.Increase your intake of fiber

. It helps relieve constipation and consequent straining at stool. Start by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, or take psyllium seed husks, in any of the forms available in drugstores and health food stores. Another healthy option is freshly ground flaxseed.2.Avoid dietary irritants

including strong spices such as red pepper and mustard, and drinks such as coffee, decaffeinated coffee and alcohol, all of which can inflame the lower GI tract.3.Drink lots of water,

more than you think you need, to help maintain a soft stool consistency.4.Get regular exercise

to promote optimal bowel function and digestive health.5.Avoid prolonged sitting

, which is linked to hemorrhoids.6.Manage your stress.

Consider learning and practicing a relaxation technique. Unhealthy stress can lead to gastrointestinal issues by disturbing the balance of the nervous system, which controls bowel function.7.Consider natural remedies

 Triphala, a combination of three bowel-tonifying herbs from the ayurvedic tradition, can help support bowel health. You might also try taking one teaspoon of liquid aloe vera after meals.If you do have hemorrhoids, try applying aloe vera gel to the anal area frequently; use compresses of witch hazel (which acts as an astringent) to clean the anal area after bowel movements, and apply a warm compress for 10 minutes at a time several times a day to promote blood flow and healing.

8.No Cost Natural Remedy. Kegel Technique….. Butt Squeeze 

 Get into the habit after a bowel movement to squeeze your anus to where you feel your rectum sucking upward. You can aid your squeezing by pulling each buttock apart. Gravity and age seem to extend the rectum to where hemorrhoids can appear. This works great!

Kegel Exercises for Men are used to strengthen the PC
or pubococcygeus muscle, just as they are for women. The muscle is similar in both men and women, stretching from the pubic bone to the tail bone and forming a hammock-like floor that supports the organs of the pelvis and contributes to the function of the sphincter muscles.

The exercise is recommended for treating prostate pain and swelling that result from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate gland. It is used as a first step for treating urinary incontinence. It may be beneficial for reducing pre-mature ejaculation, and other sexual benefits have been reported. Overall, the exercise is good for you.
To begin, you must first be able to find your PC muscle. You can do this during urination. Once your flow begins, try to stop it completely. The muscle that you feel tightening is the PC muscle.
Once you have become accustomed to tightening the muscle, Kegel exercises for men can be done anytime, anywhere. They require no special equipment, although several aids are available, including “Peristal” and the “Prostate Massager”.

In order to improve strength of the muscle, you use a “squeeze, hold, release” pattern. You squeeze the muscle, hold for several seconds, and release. Gradually, you would like to be able to build up to a hold of 10 seconds, repeating the “squeeze, hold, and release” ten times.

When you perform the exercise correctly, you should be able to feel or see the testicles lift. This takes time for some men. But, if you practice the routine regularly, you should notice an improvement in 4-6 weeks.
There are many things that you can do to support the health of the prostate and reduce your risk of urinary incontinence, including the use of herbs and nutritionally supportive supplements. The risk of problems increases with age. One out of every 10 people over the age of 65 has some problems, although women are most often affected.

Since kegel exercises for men help reduce your risk of problems and reduce pain in the prostate, as well an effective therapy for hemorrhoids why not give them a try? Back to top

 

May 282010
 

Exercise May Buffer Effects of Stress

Vigorous Exercise May Put the Brakes on Stress-Related Cellular Aging, Study Finds
By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News

May 28, 2010 — Short bursts of vigorous exercise — the kind that makes you really break a sweat and increases your heart rate — may help buffer the devastating effects that stress can have on cellular aging, a new study finds.

Brief bouts of vigorous physical activity reduced one of the key signs of cellular aging: telomere shortening. Telomeres are tiny strips of genetic material that look like tails on the ends of our cells. Telomere shortening is a known indicator of aging in cells. The study appears in the May 26 online issue of PLoS ONE.

In the study, 63 healthy older women were divided into an inactive group and an active group, based on their exercise levels over a three-day period. Many of the women were highly stressed caregivers for spouses or parents with dementia. The women in the inactive group who reported high stress levels had shorter telomeres; the active women in the high-stress group did not have shorter telomeres.

Put another way: the women who engaged in brief vigorous physical activity — at least 40 minutes over the three-day study period — and were stressed had longer telomeres than their inactive, stressed-out counterparts. The authors conclude that 13 minutes or more of vigorous exercise daily appears to be the critical amount correlated with longer telomeres.

 

“Physical activity is so good for you and stress is bad for you, but the new study shows the stress-buffering effects of physical activity in those who are chronically stressed,” says study author Eli Puterman, PhD, a health psychologist at the University of California at San Francisco.

“People know stress is bad for the heart and makes you look tired and haggard and makes us more vulnerable to infections,” Puterman says. “And there is so much accumulating evidence that links stress to health, so to show that there is something we can do when we are stressed that can delay or buffer the impact is exciting.”

As far as a stress-busting exercise prescription goes, Puterman says that the CDC recommendation of 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity, plus weight-bearing exercise every week for adults, will suffice.

“That is a great prescription in my mind,” he says.

May 242010
 

 For thousands of years the practice of yoga has enhanced lives.

Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Within Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism yoga is the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Maharaj Charan Singh Ji

Hatha Yoga

Ha and tha, the sun and moon, refer to the two opposite currents that regulate all processes in our body. There is nothing mysterious about it because anything in our universe exists because of a positive and negative charge. Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Kriya Yoga are specifically dealing with the intention of gaining control over the flow of these life-currents.
Hatha Yoga is known for the asanas or postures. It is thought that by perfecting the body, creating a healthy physical condition, and raising Kundalini (dormant energy) upwards along the spine, the body becomes better prepared for yogic awakening. The first effects felt are usually improved health and strengthened nervous system. Some Hatha Yogis may even demonstrate control over internal organs, blood flow, and breathing. The ability of some Yogis to even stop the breathing and heart beat completely for a period of time has been demonstrated under laboratory settings.

Traditional Hatha Yoga consists of:
1. Asanas (postures);
2. Shat Karmas (six cleansing techniques, also known as Shat Kriyas);
3. Pranayama (control of breathing with retention);
4. Bandhas (locks) and Mudras (seals) for the regulation of Prana (life-force) and Kundalini; and
5. Samadhi (Union with God, realization of the Self, ecstasy, nirvana).

There are many good books available on this subject and one is wise to have a copy handy that also includes pictures of the various asanas and mudras.

Further Reading: Health Benefits of a regular Hatha Yoga practice


 

Raja Yoga / Radja Yoga

Raja Yoga means royal and is sometimes called the crown of Hatha Yoga. Raja adds concentration after body and mind are cleaned and trained to stay calm and attentive. The improvement in our power of concentration, as a result of Raja Yoga, moves all of our attention towards the source of our Being in order to become that Being. Raja Yoga is a complete system, also refered to as Ashtanga Yoga because of the eight (ashta) limbs (anga) the system rests on.

The Eight Limbs (Ashta-anga) are:
1. Restraints (yamas: harmlessness, truthfulness, non-stealing, control of senses)
2. Disciplines (niyamas: cleanliness, purification of body, mind and nervous system, study of metaphysical principles, contemplation on God)
3. Postures (asanas)
4. Control of breathing and life-currents (pranayama)
5. Turning the attention within (pratyahara)
6. Concentration (dharana)
7. Meditation (dhyana: prolonged periods of perfect concentration and contemplation)
8. Holy Trance (Samadhi)


Bhakti Yoga (Union through Devotion and Love)

Bhakti Yoga is the Yoga of selfless love, compassion, humility, purity and the desire and serious intention to merge with God. It is nothing else than to follow the ‘First Commandment’: “to love God with all your heart, mind and soul.”

The following persons are known as outstanding examples of Bhakti Yogis:
·  Daya Mata (1914-2010)
·  Shree Maa
·  Anandamayi Ma (1896 – 1982)
·  Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997)
·  Ma Yoga Shakti
·  Mata Amritanandamayi (Ammachi)

Bhakti Yoga Meditation – a complete guide for understanding the philosophy and practice of bhakti for practitioners at any level. Following the teachings of Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj, we offer online meditation instructions, mp3 downloads of meditation kirtan, lectures and other helpful accessories, tips and suggestions for you to progress in your bhakti meditation.


Jnana Yoga (The Yoga of Knowledge)

Jnana Yoga is practical Philosophy/Metaphysics. It is both theory and practice. Jnana Yoga uses the intellect as a tool to understand that our true Self is behind and beyond our mind. It is a Quest for the Self by direct inquiry into “who we are.” It is, however, a mistake to think that the Source could be found with the intellect alone.

For the purpose of Self-discovery, Jnana Yoga probes the nature of the Self through the question: Who am I? Through persistent probing, fixing our attention on the source of our Being, we regain our real Self. We remember who we are. The inquiry, as the result of practising Jnana Yoga, leads us towards clear Awareness by removing our attention from that which we are not. Along with Bhakti Yoga (Devotion), Jnana is listed among the best approaches for becoming aware of the eternal Self (God).

Shankara and Ramana Maharshi are the classic authorities concerning Jnana Yoga. Like Hatha and Raja Yogis, Jnana Yogis also acknowledge the relationship between breathing and thinking. They found that breathing slows automatically through concentration on the “I-AM.”

For more in-depth information, please see extended article: Jnana Yoga


Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga refers to actions designed to rid the body and mind of obstructions. Kriya Yoga is a complete system including mantras, meditation, and other techniques towards controlling the life-force and bringing calmness and control over body and mind. The goal is to unite with pure Awareness (God). Since pure Awareness is our original condition, it is also referred to as Self-awareness.

The following organizations are known to be genuine sources for the original techniques:
·  Ananda Church of Self-Realization
·  Center for Spiritual Awareness (CSA)
·  Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)
·  Babaji’s Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas
·  Temple of Kriya Yoga

For more in-depth information, please see our extended article: Kriya Yoga


Karma Yoga (Self-less work for our fellow neighbour)

Karma is the total sum of all our actions (mental and physical), in this life and before. Karma Yoga is the yoga of Service or self-transcending Action, whereby the yogi directs all actions towards God. By serving God and humanity (without selfishness, egoism, and attachment) the heart becomes pure, the ego fades and, over time, or even over many lifetimes, one becomes increasingly in tune and unified with God. Enlightenment (Samadhi, nirvana, union with God) is naturally realized through Karma yoga.


Surat Shabd  Yoga:

The practice of joining the soul (surat) with the Word (shabd) and merging (yoga) with it; once the soul merges into the Shabd, it is carried by the Shabd to its source, the Lord.

This form of yoga connects the soul to the universal consciousness through the use of meditation and inner sound (Shabd Dhun) ‘The music of the word’; the Shabd, the Audible Life Stream, The Word; Spiritual Sound; Sound Current. The creative power, the source of all creation, which manifests as sound and light in the spiritual regions. As the soul manifests in the body as consciousnesses, The Word of God manifests itself as inner spiritual Sound. It is the Word or Logos of the Bible; Kalma, Isme-i-Azam, Bang-i-Asmani, or Kalma-i-Ilahi of the Quran. It is the Nad of the Vedas; Nam, Ram Nam, Gurbani, Bani, and Dhun of the Adi Granth. It is called the Tao by the Chinese; Vadan and Saut-i-Surmad by the Sufis. The Zoroastrians call it Sharaosha, and it is known by many other names.

The secret of hearing the Shabd within oneself can be imparted only by a (Sat Guru) True Master. Maharaj Charan Singh Ji

True Master (Sat Guru) (light giver) is the chief instrument of the Supreme Ruler to contact this world of humanity… The ‘Word’ made flesh.

There are many Masters in each life time. (Living Master)  (The Word made Flesh)

 

A Book that changed my life by answering all my spiritual questions…. THE PATH OF THE MASTERS by Julian Johnson

Truest Religion…. How you focus on your 24 hour day.

Truest Prayer….. Asking for strength to go through your daily day.

The True Master….. informing you to love the lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.

 

Please see the list of Yoga Organizations for excellent sources of various Yoga disciplines.

A full 42 minute yoga class with Sarah Holmes:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcC8hZPwj6w

And a little comic relief:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EGTETc5oFU&feature=related

 

 

 

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May 242010
 

willpower brain                       WILLPOWER

willpower dogwillpower strong

Synonyms :          continence, restraint, self-command, self-containment, self-control, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-possession,  will, energetic determination.

 

Give us all you have and we will give you all we possess!willpower muscle

“The fear of the unknown is the beginning of wisdom”

Love is not only the beginning of wisdom; it is wisdom of the highest order.

Concentrated Attention is the key that unlocks all stores of wisdom, of truth and of spirituality.

 Will Power

Think of Will Power like religion, any religion, this is the inner experience of the individual.

To get to that experience, you must leave the outer world, in thought at least, and go within yourself.  Willpower is another word for meditation.

How does one go inside?

By detaching from the outer or sense world and withdrawing your attention upon something inside your mind.

This appears simple enough, and is the method of acquiring all willpower training and religious experiences—leaving the outer world and entering the inner world of consciousness.

Concentrating the attention upon something inside of one self is the way to all willpower development and spiritual experiences.

Methods differ—so will the experiences differ.

 DEVELOPING WILLPOWERwillpower dog

The mind is a slave of the senses and sensual pleasures.  Concentrate your attention, to keep the mind steady in between your eyes and brain and not let it come down.

The purpose is attaching yourself to your inner sound (a gift of your mind).

This sound keeps your mind detached from your senses and where willpower develops.

Now the mind is dominating the soul, and the mind itself is dominated by the senses (sight, feeling, touch, taste, hearing and sensual pleasures).

With the practice of concentrative attention we have to reverse the whole process, so that the soul dominates the mind, and the mind dominates the senses.

That is the purpose of developing willpower.  Walk On.   ThankYouForGivingMeThisChanceToSayThankYou…………

willpower muscle