Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.
The harvest will bring either flowers or weeds.
image from sumitshotyoga.com
There is an abundance of meditation awareness in today’s society. Many of us do it regularly, some occasionally, and some feel overwhelmed by the prospect and think ‘I just can’t do it’!
Some of the earliest written records of meditation come from the traditions of Hindu Vedantism, Taoist China and Buddhist India around 1500 BC. It is an ancient form of attaining relaxation and bliss and now we have styles to make it even easier to implement into your busy lifestyle.
The beautiful truth is that there are multiple ways in which you can enter a state of meditation and contemplation, a deeply relaxed state of body and mind, and achieve a state of happiness, calmness and deep inner connection.
Try one or all of these styles and enjoy the long lasting benefits meditation will bring to your state of mind and wellbeing:
A simple, effective and perfect way to begin your meditation journey.
Use this technique to begin your day or numerous times throughout the day to boost your energy, happiness and sense of calm.
Sit or stand comfortably, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, breathing out long slow breaths. SMILE with your whole face and eyes. Smiling triggers endorphin’s and serotonin, which are natural painkillers and antidepressants.
Continue focusing on your slow breathing and gently smiling.
Notice the subtle or strong sensations that smiling shifts within you.
Approach this meditation joyfully
Duration 1 to 5 minutes.
Nature contemplation / Nature silence walk
Meditation doesn’t always have to be in a sitting position, humming a mantra.
In fact walking in silence, and appreciating nature is a powerful way to meditate and raise your sensory awareness.
Go for a walk ideally in nature and quiet – engage all your senses – breathe deeply to centre your energy, see all the different colours, patterns, textures of nature, smell the fragrances, hear the sounds of birds chirping, water streaming, feel the wind blowing on your skin, feel the peacefulness, feel your body stretching and strengthening. Observe your thoughts as they flow and you continue to walk in silent meditation.
Stop at a place of beauty, find a point of focus and feel your energy expand towards it. Expand in appreciation, in gratitude. Expand and feel your connection to all nature and life around you.
This meditation style will invigorate your senses, renew your energy levels and deepen your awareness of the inter-connectedness of everything in life.
Body zoning is a meditation style to give your mind something to focus on and to involve your body directly for healing.
Sit comfortably, take 8 deep relaxing breaths, move your full awareness to focus on your hands, imagine breathing into your hands, you will begin to feel a tingling, warm sensation as you concentrate on your hands. Continue breathing and gently focusing your mind on your hands for 1-2 minutes.
Move your hands into a prayer position over your heart. Feel the energy passing between your hands where they touch. Feel the warmth spreading into your heart. Breathe deeply into your heart, feel your heart expanding and the warmth/tingling increasing.
Enjoy this soothing beautiful space of love.
Now send this healing, warm energy to a part of your body that feels tired, sore, or ill, by either placing your hands there or your mind awareness on this part of your body and continue breathing.
This meditation deepens your connection with your body so you are in-tune with where it needs healing and opens your heart to receive and give love.
Duration 5-20 minutes.
Next time you come home completely exhausted and drained from your day, try this cleansing shower meditation. Stepping under the shower stream, take a few relaxing breaths, slowly move your head under the water jets from left to right a few times to stimulate your nervous system and nerve endings. Then stand directly under the water flow and close your eyes while you imagine the water not only cleansing down along your physical body, but also imagine the water is flowing inside through your crown chakra on top of your head and flowing down inside through your energy centre’s, cleansing and washing away any energies you have absorbed throughout the day, allowing them to wash down the drain, leaving your energy, mind and body cleansed and refreshed.
Chakra’s are energy centre’s aligned down the spine which correlate to different organs and body functions.
Creative doodling / colouring
Doodling is a creative form of meditating. This is particularly useful for people who are analytical, mathematical, highly stressed and can provide them with a different type of expression and whole mindfulness. By completely immersing yourself into creative doodling – whether that be colouring, drawing, painting, sculpting- you are engaging the creative part of your brain.
Do it purely for joy and mindless relaxation. It will balance out your brain activity, decrease stress and actually make you much more efficient with your problem solving.
Written by Joanna Atanasow
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember!”
Rosmarinus Officinalis, predominately known as Rosemary, is one of the world’s most popular and common herbs that is grown in suburban gardens and is used in many kitchens. Rosemary is best known for adding immense fragrance and flavour to dishes such as, roasted potatoes and slow cooked lamb. What many people are unaware of is the benefits that these delicious twigs provide to our entire body. Rosemary for many centuries has been used to relieve headaches and to ease muscular pain and tension.
ASPAR products contain rosemary extract as a key active ingredient due to its potency and effectiveness. The essential oil from the rosemary is extracted and formulated into an oil blend that is used in the Rosemary & Clove Thermal Balm and in the Olive Leaf Replenishing Hair Masque. The Rosemary & Clove Thermal Balm is ideal to apply to affected tight, stressed muscles to help relieve tension and discomfort. This product is designed to ease and sooth the tight areas whilst clearing the mind. The Olive Leaf Replenishing Hair Masque also contains Rosemary extract. This powerful extract has the ability to strengthen the hair and nourish the scalp.
To find out more about these Rosemary infused ASPAR products go to www.aspar.com.au.
Winter is a time when our wellness can be challenged. Let’s face it, it is the hardest month to get outdoors and stay active and it is the season that the fireplace and the cozy cuppa is calling you. We have put together our top winter wellness strategies to help you brave the cold and create your own winter sanctuary. Here are some thought provokers to inspire your own winter wellness strategies.
* Drink filtered room temperature or lukewarm water. 70% of our immune system lives in the gut. By drinking filtered water you can keep all the good bacteria and beauty bugs happy in your belly as they don’t like the chlorine in our water.
- * Incorporate a facial and body oil to your night-time routine to compensate for the extra dryness our skin experiences.
* Eat foods that are in season. Cooked, warming foods are going to be a great place to start. Add in lots of ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom to deliver a warm, wintery flavour to your favourite dishes. Time to get that slow cooker out!
Remember our self-regulation is at its highest in the morning which means that your motivation and enthusiasm will naturally be at its highest in the morning. Use this added boost in winter when you find it hard to get up and get active. Harness the morning magic!
Stay warm and be well.
Sweet Potato, Eggplant, Cauliflower and Lemongrass Curry + Lime Coriander Cauliflower Rice (Serves 3)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste or curry powder to taste
4 spring onions, sliced – more to garnish
2 teaspoons turmeric, freshly grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1-inch freshly grated ginger
1-2 stalks lemongrass, bottom third, tough outer layer removed and smashed with back of knife to release flavour
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 Japanese eggplant, cubed
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
1 cup coconut milk
½-1 cup low sodium veggie broth – more for desired consistency
2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
Fresh coriander and basil
A squeeze of lime – optional
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry paste or powder and stir until fragrant, for about 1 minute. Add spring onions, turmeric, cinnamon and toss to coat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes.
- Add the ginger, lemongrass, sweet potato, eggplant and cauliflower and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the tomato paste and coconut milk and add water as needed. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, for 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped kale and mix through. Allow kale to wilt and soften a little, check seasoning, and add freshly chopped coriander, basil, more spring onions and a squeeze of lime if desired. Remove lemongrass before serving.
Lime & Coriander Cauliflower Rice
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1⁄4 cup light coconut milk
A handful fresh coriander, chopped, (1/4 more to garnish)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash curry madras powder
A dash cinnamon
½ cup spring onions, thinly sliced
A handful toasted almond flakes
- Place the cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the grating attachment and pulse until it resembles the size of ‘rice grains’. (You could also grate the cauliflower with a box grater)
- Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large skillet over a medium-high heat.
- Add the rice cauliflower and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except the spring onions and almonds. Continue to cook for 10 minutes on a very low heat or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Toss through with extra coriander, spring onions, almond flakes.
- Check seasoning, add another squeeze of lime and serve with lemongrass curry.
Broccoli, Leek and Ginger Detox Soup + Garlic Chickpeas
Ingredients for soup:
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 large leek, sliced and rinsed well
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
6 cups broccoli
6 cups low sodium veggie stock
2-4 tablespoons miso, mixed in some warm water
2-3 cups kale, shredded
½ cup parsley, chopped
Half the garlic chickpeas, from recipe below
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup light coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional garlic chickpeas, for garnish
Ingredients for chickpeas:
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed well and dried on paper towel
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ – 1 lemon Juice
Salt and pepper
Handful chopped parsley
- Prepare the chickpeas. Drain and rinse them, then dry them on paper towel.
- Heat oil on medium to high in a heavy pot and add chickpeas and garlic, stirring so the garlic doesn’t stick.
- Season with salt, pepper and ¼ teaspoon chili flakes.
- Cook, stirring often, until the chickpeas are coloured and some are crunchy – add a little more oil if you need to. Cook for about 15 minutes.
- Finish with lemon juice and a handful of chopped garlic and season with a little more salt and pepper. Divide in half. Reserve half for remainder of recipe. Refrigerate the other half to top a salad or eat as a snack.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot and sauté leeks, garlic and ginger for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped broccoli and season, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes
- Add veggie stock and miso. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, covering and cooking for about 10 minutes.
- Add shredded kale and simmer until it wilts, a few minutes.
- Add half the parsley and half the garlic sautéed chickpeas and lemon juice.
- Puree in a blender, in batches, until smooth. Return to pot.
- Check seasoning, and serve with garlic chickpeas on top and some fresh chopped parsley.