Archives for April 2017

My Introduction to Yoga Meditation

Many people have difficulty falling asleep at night. Thinking and worrying about numerous topics (work, money, sick relatives, noisy neighbors, etc.) keep them tossing and turning long after they have turned off the lights. A few years ago, I was in this very situation. I had just started a new job that required me to learn a wide variety of new techniques and procedures. The job expectations and responsibilities were more than I anticipated and I regularly found myself still “working” long after I had left the office.

Bedtime was rough, work swam through my mind, harassing me at a time when I was trying to settle down.  In addition, I faced the burden of having to get up earlier than ever before to get to work.  This kept me worrying about my alarm not waking me up.  Glancing at the clock throughout the night was torture, 30 minutes would pass and I didn’t feel any closer to falling asleep!

Not getting much sleep made it tough to focus at work and caffeinated beverages became my best friend. Coffee in the morning and at break, soda at lunch and sometimes another coffee in the late afternoon became my norm. While these drinks helped at work, they destroyed me at home. I would have a caffeine “crash” in the early evening and end up taking a nap on my couch.  The nap made me feel better but it came at a cost, I wouldn’t be tired at bedtime. Thus, the restless night cycle continued!

Tired of being tired and having to rely on caffeine and sugar to keep me going, I wanted a change. I decided to limit my coffee and soda to help my body to rest naturally and not because of a “crash”. I also decided to try a lot of the sleep “tricks” out there. I drank warm tea before bed, read a book, or tried to clear my mind completely.  None of these completely fixed my sleeplessness and brought new challenges to my night.  The warm drink gave me added trips to the bathroom, books gave me new topics to race around my mind and trying to blank my mind, well I found that impossible, thinking about that “nothing” means that I was thinking about something and not nothing in the first place.  See how dizzying my mind was!

Although my sleeplessness improved a bit as I got the hang of work, I would still have days or weeks where it was difficult to sleep. I began to consider medicinal sleeping pills. Citing a few potential side effects, a friend politely recommended yoga instead. He talked about the many benefits yoga can have.  I agreed to give yoga a try.

Yoga was challenging for me but I did start to feel more flexible while playing basketball and less back pain after a few sessions, so I kept at it.  During my fifth yoga class, the instructor gave a lesson on meditation and introduced Gauranga breathing. The process was fairly easy, take a breath in and while exhaling, slowly say Gauranga (Goooooooo-Raaaaaaaa-Annnnnnnnn-Gaaaaaaaa). After doing this a few times, I felt great, completely cooled down and relaxed.

So, impressed by its effects after class, I decided to try Gauranga breathing at night before sleep.  It had the same effects, my body was more relaxed, my mind became free of all the clutter that was keeping me up at night and I was able to fall asleep quickly!

Amazed, I went back to my yoga instructor and asked why was Gauranga breathing different than the other meditation I had tried earlier?  Her answer was the Gauranga is one of the Holy Names of the Supreme Person and by saying it, my mind was focusing on Supreme Person and therefore, I was experiencing true peace.  She elaborated that we are all part and parcel of Supreme Person and loving remembrance of the Supreme Person is the path to actual happiness.  And that an easy way to remember Supreme Person is by hearing and saying His Holy Names as they have a transcendental and purifying affect.  I agreed with her that I had never felt so at peace as I did while doing Gauranga breathing, it was as if all my worries had just disappeared.

I continue to do this amazing breathing exercise before bed and use it to de-stress when the troubles of the world become overwhelming.  Gauranga breathing just takes a few minutes but can have long lasting effects and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Doggie Destinations – Travelling with Your Canine Companions

 

Your dog is more than just your best friend – they’re a part of your family, and you wouldn’t leave a family member behind on your dream holiday now would you? Here’s what you need to know about travelling with your dog and finding accommodation that leaves tails wagging all round!

If you’re based in the US, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Woofstock, a spectacular annual event held every May in Toronto, Canada which draws over 300,000 visitors from around the globe. Entrance is free and there’s plenty of entertainment for every member from of the family, from fun contests and talent shows, kids entertainment, beach volleyball and lots and lots and lots of doggie shopping! BringFido is a fantastic resource for finding dog friendly accommodation in the area.

The UK is also increasingly open to travelling with your dog, with as much as 90% of locals taking their dogs with them on their annual holiday. WeAcceptPets.co.uk is a great listing to find pet friendly accommodation in the areas you’re keen on – so making a list of areas the human members of your family would like to see and checking this against available accommodation for the furry members is a great start to planning a family break.

Yorkshire Dales

For large or energetic dogs, Swinton Park is a massive 2,000 acre estate in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales to delight doggies and enthusiastic ramblers alike – you’ll even get a complementary dog chew on arrival! And if a full on hiking holiday sounds like just the thing, check out the Paws on Tour hiking trips scheduled each August on the North York Moors by Rambler’s Holidays, which includes clambering through dales and gorges as beach rambles. Partipants can join for three, four or seven nights and get the benefit of an experienced tour leader.

The Dingos liked Australia so much, they stayed!

If dogs knew about geography, they’d probably recommend Australia as their dream doggie destination – back yards don’t come much bigger than the Outback after all! And if you’re looking for the absolute cream of the crop – check out the some of the winners of the Five Paws Award! These destinations based all over Australia all offer that extra something special for your canine companion – from miles of unspoilt countryside to explore together to comfortable doggie accommodation in onsite kennels or with you in your room.

Byron Bay is always a popular holiday destination in Australia, and dog-friendly cosy studio also offers free Wi-Fi, a must if you’re like me and leaving your casino games at home would hurt almost as much as leaving Fluffy. They also have a beautiful walking track around the local lake, perfect for stretching canine and human legs alike after a relaxed day at the beach.

A word on… Transpawtation.

While our natural tendency is to want to make sure our friend gets a good meal before hitting the road, this is actually a pretty bad idea – many dogs are actually susceptible to motion sickness, and your good intentions may make the trip an unpleasant one for your pooch. Do make sure that your dog gets a decent walk and some energetic playtime before confining them to a cramped space for several hours. This will help to burn off excess energy, give them ample time to ‘do their business’ before you leave and lead to a calmer dog in general for the journey. Find some more great tips here about picking up a forklift for larger dogs.

Wherever you head off to, make sure you do your research ahead of time and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a holiday that leaves the whole family simply panting for more!