Watch this inspiring lesson. David Steindl-Ras, a monk and interfaith scholar, gave a talk on TED.com titled: Want to be happy? Be grateful.
A very sweet, moving, meditative short from Matan Rochlitz and Ivo Gormley that challenges runners in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to divulge their innermost feelings and emotions.
The openness and trust of complete strangers the runners have is at times endearing, at times beautiful. It is interesting how the runners don’t take long to drop their guards and reveal their deepest anxieties and greatest thoughts. A lovely 12 minutes.
Are you a man feeling stressed out, overstretched or listless, sluggish, low in energy or uninterested in the physical side of your life? There are readily available plant medicines that may support and bring your body back into a balanced state.
Uses – Damiana is prescribed as a stimulant and general tonic to improve wellness – increase energy; boost and maintain mental and physical stamina. It is native to Mexico where it has a rich reputation as an aphrodisiac and a relaxant. Traditionally it was also used to aid digestion, and relieve gastrointestinal disorders.
Damiana is available as tealeaves, liquid extract, liqueur or capsules. Damiana seems to affect blood glucose levels so diabetics should consult a qualified practitioner before use.
Uses – Korean (Panax) Ginseng is used for improving overall health, provide the body with stamina and help it cope with stress and illness, and strengthen the immune system. Also known as Asian ginseng, it is popular for a proposed ability to give mental clarity, energy and endurance. Ginseng has been used as a medicine for over two thousand years
Although it is a root, it is also available as capsules and liquid extract. Limit use to no longer than 3 months and stick to the dosage advised or prescribed. Before use, check that it does not interfere with any medications you are on.
Best taken in the morning to negate any problems sleeping or agitation. Reduce intake of any other stimulants such as caffeine while taking it.
The age of the ginseng roots important and the older ones fetch a handsome price. The amount found in products labeled as containing Panax ginseng can vary greatly so be aware that some are not always what they claim and may contain very little or none at all.
Uses – Saw Palmetto is used to treat certain urinary or prostate ailments. It has been found to relieve inflammation, pain during urination and reduce the need to wake up and pass urine at night. It can also reduce prostatic swelling and improve urine flow. Saw Palmetto may work as an immune tonic and increase resistance to illness. Herbalists often combine it with Willow herb for the treatment of prostate disorders.
The berries and leaves are used medicinally and are available as tea, liquid extract or capsules. Take with meals to minimize stomach upset.
Uses – The remedy Swedish bitters is a powerful combination of herbs used as a tonic for digestive health, cleansing the bowels and promoting regularity and efficiency as well as increasing energy levels.
The original blend of herbs is credited to Swedish physician Dr Samst who lived to the ripe old age of 104. There are various herb combinations in the market today but essentially the blend should include several bitter herbs – hence the name.
Best taken as a liquid extract. Use as prescribed or directed on the bottle.
Uses – Fresh peppermint has high antioxidant strength, which may make it useful in preventing disease and promoting health. It is rich in many antioxidant vitamins – A, C and E and beta-carotene. Mint leaves also contain many important B-complex vitamins and are an excellent source of vitamin-K and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium.
It is effective treatment for certain painful, irritable digestive problems. Peppermint contains menthol, a natural painkiller, and several counter-irritant/muscle relaxant properties. As a regular tea, it produces a refreshing cooling sensation to the body, making it a great post meal drink.
Peppermint is available as fresh or dried herb. Fresh mint is available to buy all year round is rich in flavour and nutrients.
Whenever you purchase herbs and plant medicines, try to buy organically grown since this will ensure you that they are free from pesticide residues and have not been irradiated.
When considering the use of herbal remedies consultation with a trained practitioner is advisable.
While we have selected the above brands for illustration, this is without prejudice.
Ideal Health Laksetee
Constipation is defined as going 3 days without release. This blend of natural herbs (Senna, Fennel, Chamomile) does what it is meant to do. The tea is slightly bitter tasting so add a little honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to improve that.
We found this tea most effective if covered and steeped in boiled water, for an hour or two before drinking. Then sip slowly for some hours. If you do so, have only one cup a day. Best taken in the evening. Do not use for more than 2 days.
Study on a large number of welsh men published recently by Professor Elwood at the School of Public Health, University of Cardiff, Wales, shows staying alive and healthy in middle age is down to good behaviour!
- Regular exercise
- Not smoking
- Alcohol consumption within guideline
- Maintaining a low BMI (body mass index)
- Eating a predominantly plant-based diet
For men who practiced 4 or five of these behaviours compared to those who didn’t the following were recorded:
Cardiovascular disease risk – 67% reduction
Diabetes incidence – 73%
Dementia occurrence – 65%
All causes of mortality – 32% reduction.
For more on this listen to the analysis by David Kerr, Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and past president of ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) here – http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/813845?nlid=39084_1842&src=wnl_edit_medp_wir&uac=116946CJ&spon=17
Please note you may need to register first.
Find out about Professor Elwood here – http://medicine.cf.ac.uk/person/prof-peter-elwood/research/
Moustache growth – day 15
Mark Segal works for the London Ambulance Service. His daily routine involves coming into contact with a variety of health issues. Working in the health sector, he sees the importance of highlighting less publicised and less funded health charities.
1. Tell us a little bit about Movember? http://uk.movember.com. Movember is an organisation set up to have an everlasting impact on men’s health. Its aim is to raise funds for health programmes, raise awareness of health issues and encourage action through fun and creative ways. Each year men all over the world are encouraged to grow moustaches for a month and get their communities to support them through donations. The latter is used to fund innovative research, which improves the quality and treatment of men’s mental and physical health.
2. Why and how are you involved? What kind of things people can do to participate? Last year while at hospital I came across the Movember campaign and so decided this year that it is an interesting way to raise funds and highlight men’s health issues, both physical and mental.
Simply growing a moustache seems to be a fun and self -deprecating male kind of way to promote life-changing research. I am using social networking sites and posting photos of my moustache as it grows. As it does it attracts donations and as I thank donors, so donations increase. This engagement helps to continuously raise funds and keep the campaign in the public domain – for a month. To donate you just go to the charity website, type in my name and pledge. On the Movember website there’s a list of events and activities that men can take part in also.
3. You are at the frontline of medical assistance, what has your job taught you about how lifestyle choices can enhance health and wellbeing? The worst thing I have seen is the result of neglect (could be weight, alcohol, smoking, drugs, food, hygiene) both mentally and physically. The people that are most affected are those who disconnect from life in general, for example the elderly or lonely. Mental neglect becomes physical neglect. So moderation and keeping connected is key. Nobody sets out in life to be isolated.
4. Working in the medical field, what recommendations can you make in everyday life? Just cut down on excess. Even if you cut down from full fat to half fat butter, go for a walk if you cannot go for a run – it’s the small things that accumulate into helping the bigger picture.
5. A good night’s sleep always dramatically improves my sense of wellbeing, what is yours? Doing something that stimulates me whether it is a walk on Hampstead Heath, seeing a good movie or just laughing, improves my wellbeing.
6. What 5 things (remedies, therapies etc.) are essential to your first aid kit? After a hardworking shift, a cup of tea, two paracetamols and a shower really help! A sit on the couch in what I like to call my ‘geriatric time’ also works, as well as good food.
7. If you had to select one thing you live life by – what would that be? Love.
Food lover, health enthusiast and owner of Food Babe Blog, Vani Hari, recently investigated tea ingredients and found out some horrors lurking in commonly available teas including herbal ones. See the results of her investigation here – http://foodbabe.com/2013/08/21/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/
According to her research many of today’s tea brands are operating under the guise of providing health benefits and promoting clean living, but are actually laden with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavours and GMOs.
Most teas are usually not washed before being packaged so if they were sprayed with pesticides, then that ends up inside you.
Teas can contain artificial flavouring, natural flavours, and hidden GMOs.
“Silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose-leaf teas and are meant to showcase the tea leaves, are made of plastic.
Many paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins – considered a potential carcinogen.
The list of culprit brands is extensive, and includes Celestial Seasonings (in certain products), Tetley (in certain products), Twinings (in certain products) and Yogi (in certain products). Check out her chart of offending companies.
Buy organic or non-GMO certified brands.
Buy loose tea and use stainless steel or glass tea strainer.
1. Dress your home with beautiful autumn flowers and wild at heart’s opulent mix of autumnal bloody red dahlias, velvety black Bacarra roses, hot pink cheerio roses and red hypericum berries. For every order made for this special edition bouquet before Monday 11th November, wild at heart will guarantee a 20% donation to London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats home.
2. Take the cue from Scandinavians and always create ‘cosy’ with mellow and inviting mood lighting at home.
3. Chapped hands and feet have a good friend in Vaseline. And it is cheerfully cheap!
4. Kiehl’s rare earth deep pore daily cleanser is great on skin. The Amazonian Clay really does gently exfoliate and removes toxins leaving the face brighter.
5. Two drops of this under the tongue gives the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D. Really handy for very short and cloudy days ahead.
6. This strong herb has broad antibiotic and immune stimulating activity, and can act as a mucous membrane tonic. It is also specific for congestive and inflammatory states of mucous membranes –2 ml (2 dropperfuls) daily of the tincture three times can help resolve infections. It acts best three days into a cold.
7. So many popular varieties available to us. Chilli’s main constituent Capsaicin has a peculiar effect on our body – creating heat, making our hearts beat faster and, releasing endorphins, bringing about a real sense of both pain and pleasure.
8. When dressing for the cold, groomed and painted nails will add glamour and colour.
1. Seasonal vegetables offer fresh and tasty nourishment. Autumn’s harvest includes carrots, onions and cabbage, curly kale and swede, romanesco, cherry vine tomatoes, mushrooms.
2. As well as being really good for your health in so many ways, scientific studies show that taking Zinc tablets can prevent and shorten colds and flus. Take them (at least 15mg a day) when you start to feel symptoms or are in the midst by sufferers!
3. Check out the Mind Body Soul Experience taking place from 25-27th October at Olympia Central, London, for the latest and best in complementary health, natural science, spiritual awareness and personal development. Workshops and shows by the likes of OM Yoga are scheduled as well as the mysterious and wonderful.
The central feature of the show is the Experience Zone where you can try out a variety of fun activities including Zumba, Tai Chi, Bollywood Dance, Hula Hooping, Belly Dancing and even Salsa.
4. Boneset herb tea – when taken early enough can be an amazing flu and fever remedy. Add a dash of lemon juice and bit of honey for taste. Drink 2-3 times daily.
5. From Chinese wisdom and medicine come the mighty red Tiger Balm whose unique combination of herbal active ingredients (including clove, menthol, cajaput) are proven to be effective relief for stuffy noses, aches and pains. And this little bottle lasts and lasts…
6. Be one of the few to catch the latest cinematic releases before they go on general release.This year’s BFI London Film Festival (9-20 October) promises a great showcase of new movies. For a full line up treats in store visit – http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff.
Ex Financier David Green stumbled upon a unique meditation technique through the practice of the ancient indian Kriya Yoga – whilst working as a stressed-out financier in the city of London, UK. His business and spiritual life changed and he was able to sell his business and retire in 2006 at the age of 42. He has recently published a book titled The Invisible Hand, which chronicles his life and journey to spiritual awakening. He advocates a different approach to attaining success.
1. Tell us a little about your book. The Invisible Hand: Business, Success & Spirituality is about my journey as a stressed out entrepreneur who has an out-of-the-blue spiritual experience which changed my life overnight. It took me to Egypt and Tibet and I met a 91 year old guru from India who taught me how to meditate. I incorporated meditation into my hectic career and my success grew. I began to see that that there is no separation between the material and spiritual worlds and also became aware of the amazing grace that has come to me through the help of others. I also write about some hidden practical teachings about yoga, meditation and health that I have been shown while being mentored by two spiritual masters from India over the last 15 years.
Typical readers of the book may have read The Secret, An Autobiography of a Yogi, Eat, Pray Love, The Monk who sold his ferrari, The Alchemist, Proof of Heaven and be into self-help, spiritual and business books.
2. Why did you write it? I have been inspired by the spiritual leader of Kriya Yoga Institute Paramahamsa Prajnanananda who has cajoled me to write my story. I think the book shows that if spirituality arrived on the doorstep of a non searching, cynical businessman like me unannounced, then it could also happen to you!
3. Your book focuses on life/business and spiritual success through meditation, and promotes natural ways to improve wellbeing – in what circumstance would you advise someone to choose orthodox medicine instead? Diet and lifestyle choices are personal for all. I believe we can help ourselves avoid the need for antibiotics etc. I follow a healthy lifestyle, have meditated for 18 years even when working 6 day weeks and choose organic where possible as something tells me chemicals on my food cannot be good for me. I definitely believe that this improves my health and is good for my mind which hopefully acts as a deterrent to illness. I have used homeopathy for over 25 years and it works well for me but may not suit others. So if our immune system is naturally strong then there is less need for any medicine at all.
4. What can you tell us about meditation/breath that are not commonly known? Anyone trying to be successful in life is at a huge disadvantage if they don’t meditate. Meditation brings concentration, more efficiency and tunes us into our true nature which is to be loving and successful. So how to calm the mind and become master of our mind rather than be a slave to our mind?
The secret to a calm mind is a calm breath. The second secret is to ignore
the thoughts good or bad when meditating. Let them flow. Negatives will
pass. Watch the gentle flow of breath instead. It is easier to calm the
breath than the mind through an authentic meditation technique such as Kriya
Yoga. There are 50 types of breath operating in the body. 49 for the
material world and one which takes us to the truth. Subtle breaths become
more active through meditation so that we tune into the correct breath for
the correct activity which gives more success. Some yogis believe that we
are preallocated a number of breaths for our life so we should take care of
our breath. After all breath is the nectar of life.
5. As a practitioner of Kriya Yoga can you explain the meditation technique? Kriya Yoga encompasses all 108 authentic yogas mentioned in the scriptures. It is the yoga of integration bound together by breath awareness. It is the complete yoga which integrates the three main paths of yoga together: Bhakti, Karma and Jnani. In layman terms these are the yoga of action; the yoga of love and devotion; the yoga of wisdom. But don’t be put off! It has been designed for people who have little time. Kriya Yoga can be practised at home even when waking up; learnt over a weekend and stiff bodied yogis are welcome as the simple asanas can even be practised lying down or in a chair. By investing just 1% of our day (less than 15 minutes) to meditation the other 99% is more successful.
6. A good night’s sleep always dramatically improves my sense of wellbeing, what is yours? Meditation without a doubt! I do enjoy sleep too, but rarely more than 6 hours.
7. What 5 things (remedies, therapies etc.) are essential to your first aid kit?
Chinese and Japanese vegetarian food.
My Ainsworths homeopathic kit
Sunrise and sunset
8. If you had to select one thing you live life by – what would that be? Unconditional love..am still practising!