Meditation—Tips to Triumph Over the Mind
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 06:51 | Written by Kendall E Schoemann
While meditation may look impossibly simple, it is actually an intricate and complex journey of the mind. Just as diet and exercise help keep the body healthy, meditation is a technique to care for the mind. Mediation's popularity stems from its flexibility, convenience, and health benefits. It can be done just about anywhere, anytime, alone or in a group, and improves the body and mind. Practicing meditation can reduce stress symptoms such as muscle tension, chronic pain and high blood pressure. It can also increase blood flow to major muscles and improve concentration.
Although meditation improves many parts of the body, it helps to understand the endless thoughts of the impossibly complicated mind. Most of us are always thinking in the past or future…if we'll land that internship we applied for, if we passed the last physics test, if we remembered to put the milk back in the fridge. Meditation highlights the importance of being with your body and thoughts in the present moment.
If you're engaged in a position and are aware of your thoughts, this is considered meditation. There are four different meditative poses: lying, sitting, standing, and walking. To reap the benefits of meditation, you can't just sleep and chalk it up as a lying pose or walk on a treadmill and consider it meditation. Meditation is less about the pose and more about your thoughts. So if you're walking and you focus on your breath and your body, you are clearing your cluttered thoughts and truly being alone with yourself.
As you become more experienced, you can add some subtle instrumental music or light candles. When your mind begins to wander to a concern, problem, or person in your life, note where your mind wandered and return back to your focus. After your session, you can refer back and figure out why your mind thought of it. Although it's often difficult to be alone with one's thoughts, only then will you develop a greater understanding of your world, your patience, and your humor.
Mediation has no rule book, but these beginner tip recaps will help you to start exploring your inner mind.
1. Pick a quiet space. While meditation can be practiced anywhere, it is more difficult to concentrate if there are loud distractions.
2. Choose a comfortable pose. A popular sitting pose consists of folded legs on a cushion and resting palms on the mid thighs.
3. Let go of distractions. Focus your attention on your breathing and be aware of yourself in the present moment. When your mind begins to wander, note what you're thinking about and return back to your breath.
For more information on meditating, please check out the following:
How to Boost Energy Levels
Friday, 21 May 2010 21:26 | Written by Kendall E Schoemann
For Finals and Beyond!
Check out a condensed version of Kendall’s article in the “How To” section of the upcoming May issue of Cliq!
Traveling to Europe in the 21st Century
Friday, 21 May 2010 21:12 | Written by Rachel Shapiro
Big Changes, Small World
This was it, the moment we had all been waiting for. We were finally arriving in Barcelona. After a nine-hour bus ride from Madrid, it was ten o’clock at night when we pulled up to the centuries old University of Barcelona. There, eagerly awaiting their American students, were our Spanish families. They all held large signs with our names on it. As my roommate and I stepped off the bus, we found our Señora Marta standing right in front of us sign-less. “Aww, Raquel y Heather,” she said without a doubt in her mind. How did she know it was us? She shrugged her shoulders and smiled. Then in a Spanish accent she said, “Facebook!”
Motivation Tips for the Fitness Minded
Monday, 01 March 2010 03:43 | Written by Kristen Fogle
Getting Out (Even If You Can’t Get It Up)--
My relationship with exercise tends to put more stress on me than any other relationship in my life. But before I explore that, I should make it clear: Yes you, and all of us, have some (twisted as it may be) relationship with exercise. Mine is particularly stressful because though I know this relationship is good for me, I’m just not quite willing to put the time and effort in that exercise deserves. And exercise has been there for me through the years…I remember when I came back from traveling and needed to get rid of approximately eight pounds worth of pies I’d eaten in Auckland. Exercise was there then. When I needed to de-stress after hours of cramming for freshman year G.E. requirement classes I could give a hoot about. Exercise was there too. When I was just generally feeling like a “fat man,” a term of endearment my boyfriend calls my 120 pound frame, well… exercise held me in its loving embrace.
1. Moment of TruthSometimes I find that I only feel like I want to work out maybe 15 minutes total during the day. So, I made a pact with myself. I will only go to the gym when I FEEL like it…but I MUST go when I do. So when this sense of desire comes on, drop what you’re doing and full speed sprint to the 24 Hour. This may be hard during work, but think about it, even if you hold down a full time job or are taking a full load, that’s only about 40 hours a week. There’s got to be one minute somewhere in there that you’re not at a place of work, worship, or whatever that you can get off your rump and work out. So when that moment comes on by, go bye with it. Pick up your Nikes and head for the door.
2. Change it UpFitness funks happen. A lot of times we don’t know why, but that’s the same with relationships. Sometimes you’ve just lost that lovin’ feeling, and baby, it‘s time to switch it up. You’d trade in a boring nightly dinner for a picnic in the park with the guy or gal of your choosing if you wanted to spice things up relationship wise. So do your relationship with exercise a favor and follow suit. If you’ve been doing kickboxing once a week for the past year, find something new. Try a Pilates class instead. Been glued to the bike? Take the dog out and rollerblade already. There’s only one way to find out if your lack of want to work out is caused by your routine and that’s to ditch it. But don’t worry, because unlike in real relationships, your yoga mat is just as willing to take you back if you should stray.
3. The Gym-Buddy Principle- Version 2.0Everyone has heard of the gym buddy system. But there are a few different takes on this age old strategy that might work well for some. For starters, it’s not really beneficial to gym-go with your best friend…if she’s just like you, (and duh, she’s your best friend, so she is), when you don’t want to go to the gym, she’s probably very likely to want to indulge your dreams of Ben and Jerry as well. But, if you have a TRUE gym buddy, not just a friend, the chances are you’ll feel obligated to go.
So try this-get fixed up. Have a friend partner you up with another friend. You’ll feel compelled not to make your friend look bad and actually go. Sometimes local gyms will have bulletin boards advertising the same kind of deal. Or, do this online. Findgymbuddies.com is a site I just discovered where you can search for compatible gym partners in your area. True, bringing someone else into a dysfunctional relationship is not always the best strategy, but for gym-ish woes, I think you’ve found a loop hole.
4. Get on someone else’s schedule.No matter how hard I try, sometimes I just can’t do what I need to do with all the free time I have. So, going along the lines of the last tip, I rely on someone else. But, instead of having that person go to the gym and provide squat support, I simply “report” to them, before or after gym-ing.
The trick is this…to keep myself in check, I started having a friend pick me up on their way home from work. I simply bike over to the gym, do a simple workout, and then, to keep me accountable, I have a friend, who gets off at five religiously, simply come snag me on the way. It’s not just a “promise to be there” thing, it’s also a type of reward. Many times we get coffee, yogurt, or a quick bite on the way back. I look forward to this and so it keeps me coming back. (The trade off is I have to walk my friend’s yappy mutt on Saturdays when she goes to class.)
5. Listen to your heart…No, seriously.I’ve learned that aside from the freak cold or (literally) gut-wrenching stomach flu, my body will never let me down so as long as I don’t give it an excuse to. So I make sure I get plenty of sleep. I drink a lot of liquids (most of which are not pale ales). Me and my body are going to be together a while and I take care of it so it can acquire the motivation to exercise and live long. It’s imperative that if you’re serious about getting motivated you give your body realistic situations to properly acquire motivation in; if you’re on a constant binge eating session you’re never going to be able to run the mile-a-day you’re so hoping will become a part of your reality. Adjust your diet until you feel active enough to take on the day…and all your workout commitments as well.
6. Just…don’t.Excuses are the thing that deter us from doing 99% of things in life. I don’t have time. I don’t have money. I don’t like the gym. I don’t like the outdoors. If you’re truly willing to do something to feel better, get stronger, become more fit, you can overcome any of these things. Tailor something to fit your lifestyle and forgo unreasonable expectations. Start small. Go when you have a moment. Utilize buddies, good music, and public transport. Eat well…Si se puede. Yes we can.
Final Thoughts…Motivation, like that lingering good feeling after a really great date, is in fact contagious. So once you’ve clung to it for dear life in the fitness realm, don’t forget to extend it to the other parts of your life as well. And the good thing about exercise are all those nifty endorphins, which essentially empower you with what I like to call “go-get ‘em!” cells, which give you the energy and drive you need to do big things…or maybe just that Asian American Studies paper you’ve been putting off. Exercise isn’t always my most favorite of companions…but by God if he doesn’t always make my ass look good.
Golf’s Major Disappointment
Monday, 01 March 2010 03:42 | Written by Josh Hoffman
Meet my new best friend: Tiger Woods.
I have read his text messages, heard his voicemails and see him on TV more than I see my family in real life. (I still live with my mother.)
But you do not have to be Woods’ best friend to know about his single-car accident during the wee hours of the night following Thanksgiving, which derived from his 10-plus extramarital affairs, which in turn has led to the latest of all: Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite hiatus from professional golf, the sport that paved the way for him to become the billion-dollar athlete he is today.
Before his decision to take a leave of absence, I could not care less about this story. Heck, people get in single-car accidents and have affairs all the time – big deal. But then Woods announced his sabbatical from professional golf, and suddenly I care more about this story than I do about getting a much-needed haircut.
I have never been one to judge public figures as people because, just like you and I, they are not perfect. Do I agree with some of their decisions? Of course not, but I understand their imperfections. Instead, I judge public figures on why they are in the limelight. I judge Woods as the greatest golfer on planet Earth, not the questionable citizen who wrongfully thought he was invincible from practically having a mistress in all 50 states and seven continents. I judge him on what he does with a golf club, not what he does with his you-know-what.
Now Woods will not be playing on the PGA Tour anytime soon and quite frankly, I am not OK with that.
I am not OK with the fact that that Woods, amid his “transgressions” and “infidelity,” never took the time to realize how he became the world’s first billion-dollar athlete, how he had his own type of Gatorade – you know, the most recognized drink in all of sports – and how he worked his way into the “Greatest Athlete of All-Time” conversation. But most importantly, Woods never took the time to realize the crater-like impact he has on the game of golf.
Other great players in other professional sports have come and gone, and the transition away from those players has been rather seamless. For instance, the NBA continues to thrive even after Michael Jordan’s two retirements. But without Woods, professional golf merely returns to the group of irrelevant sports, which include Canadian football, bog snorkeling and toe wrestling. (Yes, bog snorkeling and toe wrestling are actual sports.)
Woods was once the picture-perfect athlete: a ferocious competitor who settled for nothing less than perfection, an advocate for philanthropy via the Tiger Woods Foundation and a family man whose relationships with his parents, especially the one he had with his father, are well-documented. He dominated golf so much that, when he was not on the course, the PGA Tour’s TV ratings fell 50 percent.
During his hiatus professional golf will surely suffer, but at least the drop-off is mutual, because Tiger Woods is half the man he used to be.