Thursday, July 28, 2016

How To Get A Killer Workout When You Only Have A Park Bench

 I'm sure you already know that I'm big on being able to take your training anywhere, regardless of your access to equipment. In my latest article for "Whole Life Challenge" I teach you a bunch of exercises, beginner and advanced, that you can perform using only a park bench. Oh yeah, I include a workout you can do as well. Take a look here (if you click this link you can read about it).

- Tim 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What You Staring At? Trataka Mediation

 I'm a big fan of mediation. Actually, I think it should be a part of everyones daily routine. I don't care if you're mediating for 10 mins or 45, a little is better than nothing. Why? Because mediation has a shit load of benefits, such as ... 

- Improved stress response
- Better sleep
- Improved focus
- Reduced anxiety 
- Improved mood 
- Reduced severity of depression 
- Improved cognitive ability
- Positive effects on blood pressure 

 ... and much, much more 

 The key to mediation, is finding a style that suits your needs and works well with your personality. 

 There are countless forms of meditation, a lot of which have been around for thousands of years. They're not all going to work well for you as an individual, you're going to have to try a few and see what works for you. 

 That's what I have been doing for years now, and most recently I have been working with a form called Trataka.  

What Is Trataka 

 Trataka mediation is one of the oldest forms of mediation, and it involves staring at a small object for a prolonged period of time. The most popular objects are a candle flame or small dot. The goal is to keep your gaze on the object, without blinking or moving your eyes. The practice is said to help cleanse/activate your third eye while enhancing psychic abilities ... but I don't buy into that shit. Too mystic for my taste. 

What I enjoy about Trataka, is that it gives me an object to focus my attention on. By focusing on the object, my mind feels "quieter". When a thought runs through my head, I let it pass by and return my attention to the physical object I'm staring at. It's much like mindful mediation, only I have a physical object to place my attention on. The effect is quite calming. 

How I Meditate With Trataka 

 The way I set up my Trataka mediation is easy ... 

- I perform it whenever I want during the day, I have no set time but you could if you like. 

- I mediate for anywhere from 5 - 15 mins depending on the day 

- I use a dot over the candle flame, it's just my preference 

- The dot is placed 3-4 feet in front of my eyes, large enough that I don't have trouble seeing it but not too big 

- I either kneel down to meditate or stand up, I use a dot drawn on paper that I adjust to the right height

- During the mediation I don't use a specific breathing pattern, but I do try to keep my breath from my belly and regular 

- I pay attention to my posture 

- My gaze is fixed completely on the dot, no blinking, no moving my eyes, just one straight line to the dot

- When a thought runs through my head, and I notice I'm paying attention to the thought, I catch myself and bring my attention back to my breath and the dot 

- At some point your vision may begin to "tunnel" and the edges of your sight may blur ... that's normal. When your eyes don't move for a period of time, they stop processing everything in their peripherals because no "new" information is coming in. This is the best part, it's a neat experience. 

- If you must blink, do it and continue on 

- Continue on like this for however long you desire. When you decide to stop, close your eyes and rest for a bit. Open your eyes and allow your vision to return to normal. 

 I find the whole practice of Trataka rather "grounding" and it leaves me feeling calm. It's one method that, right now, works well for me as an individual and I enjoy it. It may or may not be what you like, it may not even work well for you, but it's worth a try. If you're looking for a new method of mediation you can do it right now by opening the picture above, enjoy! 

- Tim