Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Practice Body Mindfulness Meditation

Body mindfulness is one of the forty Buddhist meditations. It is a meditation designed both for investigation of the body and its nature, as well as being a basis for concentration building. This meditation is excellent for people who have an anatomical, medical or health interest in the body––familiarity with the body helps in building concentration.

On the other hand, it's often hardest for people who are the most sensitive towards the body, either in regards to its appearance, or because they are uneasy with the body's biological processes. In spite of this dislike, it's recommended that such persons try this style of meditation because they're likely to get the greatest rewards from it. Of course, starting gently and building up experience will help ease newcomers into it. Here's how to start the meditation and develop it further.

Method 1 of 3: Preparation

1.Select a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. Choose an appropriate time when you feel able to meditate, free from distractions. Select a posture comfortable for you––for this meditation, all postures are suitable. (The How to do mindful meditation page describes the four main postures in a little more detail to help you choose one that is practical for you.) Ensure your head and torso are positioned to allow for ease of breathing and awareness. Having a stiff posture will cause discomfort and a too-soft posture will encourage sleepiness.

2.Relax any tension. Spend a few moments developing awareness of what you are doing, such as sitting, breathing and relaxing. Spending a few minutes this way allows the mind to build more focus and awareness as it examines the body for tension. Allowing the body to relax also lets your mind become calm and quietened.

  • Give yourself a few minutes for this to occur and let go of distractions, agendas and other subjects of thought.

To Improve Your Short Game You Have to Be Able to Make Putts

Almost anyone can learn to drive a golf ball with a little practice. Being long off of the tee is not what gets the average golfer in trouble. It is not what gets the pros in trouble either. To really improve your score you have to improve your short game and this means being able to putt.

Here are few tips to lower your score by improving your putting.

1. Putting is all about feel. When you feel good about your grip you will have control over your putter. What you want is to lightly place your hands on the club so it is easy for you to swing the clubhead squarely toward the target. The index finger on your left hand overlaps the little finger of your right hand. Many golfers prefer the index finger to overlap more than one finger.

2. Keep your thumbs straight down the front of the shaft. Do not grip to low. Grip as close to the top of your putter as is comfortable. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Slightly bend your knees and elbows. Keep your eyes on the ball and stand close to it with your arms close to your body.

3. You want a relaxed swing moving your arms and hands together through the ball. Stroke the ball with the middle of the putter. Keep your eyes on the ball and do not lift your head to look until you have totally completed your swing.

4. For longer putts you will have a longer swing. A shorter swing for short putts. This is all that changes and is based on how far you have to putt. The mechanics of putting stay the same no matter how far your putt is.

5. When it comes to reading a green you can see the layout of the green from 100 yards and in as you approach it.

10 tips ... that will improve your golf game

Five local professionals and PGA-certified instructors tell you how to become a better player

Not every player gets to practice before every round with his teacher hovering behind him, watching his swing, checking for malfunctions, making sure everything is working just right. Just those on the PGA Tour.

And not every player has the luxury of going for a lesson or visiting an instructor on a periodic basis, usually because the cost can be prohibitive.

So, how do you become a better player? What is it that you need to know to improve your game and lower your scores, which is the desire of every player who has ever teed a ball, hoisted a club and tried like heck to make the ball go high, straight and, yes, especially long?

Well, short of having a certified PGA teaching professional on your payroll, or taking one to the golf course every time you play, the Post-Gazette has asked five local professionals and PGA-certified instructors to provide a list of the top 10 tips a player should know and work on to become a better player.

Consider it the PG's version of Harvey Penick's "Little Red Book," a compilation of teachings, lessons and musings designed to help players understand the work, preparation and execution that is required to lower scores and make golf a more enjoyable game. Or just less frustrating.

The participating professionals are John Aber, head professional at Allegheny Country Club; Eric Johnson, director of instruction at Oakmont Country Club; Kevin Shields, teaching professional at Rolling Hills CC; Sean Parees, teaching professional at Quicksilver GC and Robert Morris University Island Sports Center; and Jim Cichra, director of instruction at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center.

The tips are designed for players of all skill level, but primarily are geared toward the average player. And, with the average score in this country over 100, there are plenty of players in search of lessons to improve their game. 

How to Repair Ball Marks

Why It's Important to Repair Your Ball Marks on the Green.

Ball marks - also called pitch marks - are the bane of smooth-putting and healthy greens on golf courses all over the world. They're the little depressions, or craters, sometimes made when a golf ball descends from the sky and impacts the putting surface.

Repairing those little depressions is very important. Equally important is doing it the right way. Because while many golfers fail to repair ball marks - and shame on you if you are one of them - there are also many well-meaning golfers who do "repair" the pitch marks, only to do so incorrectly.

A ball mark can cause the grass in the depression to die, leaving not just a scar but also a pit in the putting surface that can knock well-struck putts offline. Repairing a ball mark restores a smooth surface and helps keep the grass healthy. But "repairing" a ball mark incorrectly can actually cause more damage than not attempting to repair it at all, according to a study done at Kansas State University.

The KSU researchers, whose conclusions were reported on, found that incorrectly "repaired" ball marks take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.

So golfers, lets all start fixing our ball marks, and doing it the right way. And if you have a moment - if there isn't another group of golfers behind you waiting for you to clear the green - fix one or two other ball marks, too, if you find more of them on the green.

Repairing ball marks isn't just important for the health of the greens, and for smooth-rolling putts. It isn't just a matter of golf etiquette. It is our obligation to help take care of the golf courses we play. And repairing ball marks is a big part of that obligation to the game.

Golf Increases Life Expectancy

It sounds too good to be true, but playing a round of golf can add years to your life. Why?

Think about it: A round of golf takes about 5 hours to play. The whole time the golfer is outside, he is walking, taking in the sun and burning calories. In fact, 18 holes of golf burns 306 calories per hour (is you carry your own clubs –- 292/hour if you use a pull-cart for your bag and 238/hour if you ride in a golf cart). Could all this add up to a longer, healthier life?

The Swedish Golf Federation has more than 600,000 members (membership is required for playing almost everywhere in Sweden, so the list contains almost all of Sweden’s golfers). Here’s the great thing (if you are a statistician): Sweden also maintains a record of all the deaths that have taken place in Sweden for decades. Researchers were able to link the two databases to learn about the impact of golf on mortality. They compared the golfers and non-golfers and found that golfers were 40% less likely to have died than non-golfers of the same age.

Not only is golfing, in general, good for your life expectancy, but the more someone golfs, the greater his increase in health. When golfers handicaps were put into the equation, golfers with the lowest handicaps (indicating a better golfer who, in theory, plays more) had greater reductions in their risk of death.

Why Golf Improves Life Expectancy and Longevity

It could be that the increase in exercise for golfers explains the effect that researchers saw. Unfortunately, the analysis could not compare the exercise levels of the non-golfers. We don’t know for sure that the increased exercise explains the benefit. There could be other explanations like:
  • People with certain illnesses and certain health conditions cannot golf, therefore golfers only include healthy people.
  • People who golf are wealthier on average than people who don’t golf.

Everything You Need to Know About Zen Meditation

The art of Zen meditation is a simple one. You don't need any prior experience. The meditation is the experience. You don't need to have read any books about it. The wisdom you receive from a Zen practice is original. It comes from the quiet space in your soul.

You don't even need to know what Zen means. It's not mystical or rare or even necessarily spiritual. It's the simplest and most natural thing in the world.

Zen meditation is not a religious thing. Atheists practice and benefit from it in the same way Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims do.

Zen meditation has nothing to do with where you live or where you're from. You can be anywhere in the world and benefit from it. Peace of mind is not geographically specific.

I believe even animals practice Zen. I have seen cats, monkeys, lizards, dogs, and many other animals behaving as though they were meditating. Not just staring intently at food bowls, but genuinely looking like they were actively seeking the quiet spaces within themselves.

I urge you to give it a try. Sit comfortably in a chair. Gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to the breath moving effortlessly in and out of your body. Feel how it ebbs and flows, like water lapping at the shore of the ocean.

If other thoughts come into your mind, simply acknowledge them and bring your attention back to your breath and how your body feels. Pain, pleasure, comfort, discomfort; just feel them. Experience these sensations without judgement about whether the sensations are good or bad.

Zen allows you to be aware of how your actions affect the world around you. This allows you to be more productive. A cluttered mind is like a cluttered desk. Makes it hard to be fully productive. Meditation clears clutter from your mind. 

Meditation Techniques for Concentration

Meditation is mainly done for the purpose of relaxation of mind and for gaining good concentration as well. Your level of concentration is sure to be improved if meditation is done on a regular basis.

In the beginning you may feel distracted. But it is very necessary that you have a good focus so that you improve. There are many meditation techniques for concentration that can be implemented.

Focusing on a particular object is very essential to develop concentration. This has to be done for a certain time. Depending on this the techniques for concentration can be mainly divided into 3 types. They are Zazen, which is mainly breathing concentration, Vipassana, which is also known as concentrate to sensations and Tratak, which is also known as concentrate to candle flame.


This is a very renowned Buddhist practice of developing concentration and an effective meditation technique.

This technique of meditation is known to be the best for beginners. This helps in focusing on breathing while you count.

The seating posture for this purpose should be such that your spine is erect when you do this form of meditation.


This technique of meditation is also the best for beginners. The physical sensations of body are focus when you do this.

It is known to have enlightened many people when compared to any other technique of meditation. It helps in keeping your mind very cool and you can also control your mind in a very easily.


This is known to be a wonderful technique of meditation that helps in providing you with the desired results. It helps you to keeping your mind focused and also greatly assists in enhancing memory as well.

In this technique, candle flame is focused and concentrated. It helps you to come out of distractive thoughts. 

Golf tip: Pitching and chipping

The golf tip applies to both pitch- and chip shots. Pitching shots are typically from 10-70 metres from the green, where the ball stays in the air for longer, while chipping shots are the more delicate shots played from just off the green.

Different instructors use different figures for the weight distribution during chipping and pitching, but as a general golf tip, try to keep your weight 60-70 percent on the left leg (for right-handers) and 30-40 percent on the right throughout the shot. Position the ball slightly forward of centre and, importantly, since these chipping and pitching shots are not full swings, you need to limit your backswing and follow through accordingly.

Avoid the golf tip #1: Chipping or pitching with too much weight on the right

The reason this golf tip came about in the first place was to ensure that the golfer keeps his or her weight on the left foot at impact. Many amateurs, especially high handicappers, try to lean back and scoop the ball up into the air.

The perception on this golf tip is that to chip or pitch the ball up quickly, the weight should be on the back foot so that you can get under the ball and lift it. Then the ground tends to get in the way before the ball does!

The problem with setting up with the weight favouring the right and allowing the weight to be too much on the right side in the backswing is that, at impact, your low point will be on the back foot – behind the ball. This golf tip leads to either hitting your chipping and pitching shots fat, or topping it!

Avoid the golf tip #2: Chipping or pitching with too much weight on the left

If you overdo it by putting too much weight on the left side, you’ll end up having your head in front of the ball and your right side too high.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meditation and Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress

How you react to stress determines how it will affect you. Too much stress can be bad for your heart. Learn how to manage your stress with deep breathing and meditation exercises.

Stress can be hard to avoid, but don’t worry if you can’t avoid stress completely—you don’t have to.stress is a normal physical and psychological to both positive and negative situations. Stress itself isn’t necessarily unhealthy—but your reaction to it can be.

How Does Stress Affect Your Heart?

When stress becomes constant and chronic, it can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage the artery walls, the American Heart Association (AHA) reports. Stress that’s left unchecked may contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
In particular, research has shown that those with “Type A” traits—such as often feeling rushed, irritated, impatient, or angry—have an increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Emotions like anger and hostility cause your body to release stress hormones into your blood. This causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, which makes your heart work harder.

Managing Your Stress Levels

Although the exact link between heart disease and stress is unclear, it’s smart to take steps now to get your stress levels under control. It may be tempting to ask your doctor for medicine to manage stress, but lifestyle changes such as stress management techniques are a much better long-term strategy to lower your stress level.

One of the best ways to help you relax and manage stress is through deep breathing exercises, including meditation. It takes a little practice to make a habit of breathing exercises, but anyone can learn them. You can use them at home or in the office—or anywhere that you need some relief. Try these exercises, recommended by the AHA and Mayo Clinic, to help reduce stress:

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Anatomy of a Zen Habit

This post, The Anatomy of a Zen Habit will explain why we have made Zen Habits, (the website) part of our lives and the whys and hows of habit breaking and making.

Through his website and books, Leo Babauta has shown us that a regular person can do extraordinary things. As a husband and father of 6, Babauta quit smoking, lost weight, ran a marathon, adopted a vegetarian diet, turned his blog into a business, tripled his income and quit his job, and through all of that taught us how to do it too.
Zen Habits has more than 210,000 subscribers and even more readers. There is no doubt that Leo worked hard, especially at first to grow his blog. He worked a full time job, while writing morning, noon and night and then some. Even so, there is more to the success of Zen Habits than luck and hard work.

Top 5 Reasons (in my opinion) for Leo Babauta’s Success

1. Leo is relatable.
2. He writes good stuff.
3. He keeps learning and sharing his secrets.
4. The information he provides is helpful & honest.
5. He’s a good guy.

In order to really break down the anatomy of a Zen habit, I went straight to the source. Leo was kind enough to answer a few questions to help break down the importance of Zen, habits and procrastination.

What does Zen even mean?
Leo: It means different things to every person. For me it is simply a way to learn to be present, to live in the moment. That’s a very simple thing, but it turns out it changes everything.

Why are we so attracted to developing better habits?
Leo: There is an optimist in most of us, who despite evidence of failed attempts throughout our lives, believes we can become better. This optimist wants us to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly become. 

Tips For Successful Meditation That Can Make You Happier

Meditation actually can make physical changes to your brain wiring and increase function. Using meditation as part of your daily routine will help to reorganize your thinking
A routine involving meditation may be one of the most effective ways to keep your life in balance. Meditation is a proven way of lowering stress, reducing anxiety, relieving depression, and increasing health. Meditation has been shown to improve cognitive functioning, heart health, defense mechanisms functioning, and digestion.

As a matter of fact, meditation can be quite simple should you follow a few tried and true strategies for successful meditation. Each time you meditate you will learn something new about yourself.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

You will need to wear something that is not binding and won’t be distracting. Loose fitting clothes that will permit your body to move and breathe freely are preferred. Loose fitting organic cotton works perfectly.

Find Quiet

Meditation brings energy into us. So it’s necessary thing for meditation to get it done in pin drop silence. Just turn of the all gadgets even your mobile too. Turn off radio, TV, Laptop etc.They might interrupt you during meditation.

Sit Comfortably

In comparison with what many believe meditation isn’t about sitting in an uncomfortable position for some time. Sit comfortably but try the recommended positions, like the lotus, since they are designed to minimize body ache and optimize what you can do to breathe correctly.

Loosen Up

Its little weird to relax, you can scrunch up your hands for your ears and then slowly allow them to fall down. Sometime it helps to help you stress less magically. You are able to relax your body by loosen your cheeks, mouth, arms and shoulders.

Focus on Your Breathing

The important thing to any meditation practice is concentrating on the breath. Controlled breathing stabilizes blood pressure level and increases oxygen flow, thereby increasing alertness. Stay silent and concentrate. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How To Fight Depression With Meditation?

Depression is a mental state in which you experience intense feeling of grief, desolation, helplessness and low sense of worth. However sharp and empathetic you are, the situation takes a toll on you, step by step. It makes you suffer from acute anger and hopelessness, and eventually pushes you towards several stress-related disorders. Though, there are several ways such as psychotherapy, medications etc. to deal with depression, studies have found that meditation is the most effective way to heal this. Read further to know more about meditation for depression and its benefits.

What Is Meditation For Depression?

Meditation which is aimed to treat depression is known as ‘Depression Meditation’. It is a practice of focusing on breath which eventually leads to relaxation of the body and mind. This meditation can be easily understood with the help of following set of steps:
  • Sit in a straight yet comfortable posture.
  • Then, focus on your breathing by counting the number of inhales and exhales silently. It’s a gentle process and not a forceful one.
  • You can increase your focus gradually and carry on as long as you feel comfortable. The relaxation attained can elevate your mood and provide great relief.
Usually, Depression Meditation can be practiced in one of the two following ways:
  • General Meditation Techniques
  • Specific Meditation Techniques
Here is a brief detail of these two types of meditation techniques:

1. General Mediation Techniques:

It starts with entering in a meditative state before your mood declines severely. Depression can cause frequent mood swings depending on its severity. For meditating, you need to wait until your mood lifts just enough to engage in normal activities and you become responsive both physically and mentally.
Focusing is the prime idea of such meditation practices. You should find a silent place with least distraction factors. Drawing curtains, putting ‘DND’ on the door, wearing earplugs or listening to a soothing music can prove to be effective.