Angela Wilson, a senior Kripalu faculty member and Project Leader for the Institute for Extraordinary Living's Frontline Providers program, answers questions about the health benefits of meditation, the best time to meditate, and more. One of the biggest health benefits of meditation is increasing the relaxation response, or activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the branch of the nervous system that allows us to "rest and digest." There's a whole host of good things associated with the relaxation response, including boosting the immune system, improving sleep, even increasing cognitive function -- when I meditate more, my thinking is clearer. It's helpful to understand your intention for wanting to offer them meditation --i s it for them because they're really interested, or is it for you because you want them to be interested? From the Ayurvedic perspective, the most fruitful time of day to meditate or do any spiritual practice is the vata time of day, when the ether and air elements are most dominant. From the Buddhist perspective, it isn't so much the time of day that matters as much as making the time, incorporating meditation into your daily routine, even if it's just for five minutes each day. Also, although there's something powerful about sitting meditation, there are other ways to bring meditative moments into your day -- for example, use the time when you're walking to your car after work or sitting at a stoplight to check in with yourself and mindfully observe what's happening around you.
Meditation and the First Human Family Imagine our joy one day - the twins were about ten years old - when the spirit of worship made its first contact with the mind of the female twin and shortly thereafter with the male. Community Christmas CarolingDecember 21st, 7:30pmHornby Hall Join the Hornby Community in a favorite holiday tradition and celebrate the season through song. This is a family event and everyone is welcome as we make merry and raise our voices together. Hornby's various societies and co-operatives play a major part in the Island's well being and economy.
This workshop continues HICEEC's series of workshops for Hornby Island's small and home-based business operators. Come release, relax & rejuvinate in the hands of two experienced teachers, beachside on beautiful Hornby Island. Om, the sound and the symbol that brings peace to many and contains the principle of unity. We will combine traditional liturgy, creativity, and study to create a unique connection among the deep meaning of these special days, our people's traditions, and our contemporary commitment to a Judaism which embodies the universal as well as the particular. Every summer the Cardboard House Bakery features music every Wednesday and Sunday nights at 6:30pm.
This workshop is for anyone interested in rhythm and drumming, from the novice to the more experienced. Note that the performance is on the 21st, not the 22nd as was listed in the community calendar.
Please come early to enjoy the opening of the art show from Diane Smith and Coral Barclay at 7pm. From his home city of Benares, an ancient spiritual centre of traditional music and Hindu culture, Pandit Deobrat Mishra is bringing classical North Indian ragas and folk music to Hornby Island, gifting the audience with a fabulous performance and a spiritual experience. They carry a powerful energy that has been passed down over milleneums as seeds of divine knowledge.
Your freewill love offerings and donations are used to support the Silent Unity Ministry in New Zealand. Unity has a variety of DVD’s from a number of renowned Spiritual teachers and other DVD’s with an inspiring message. Take a voyage through your mind and remove inner hindrances by spending some time in silent practice. As you begin the silence of your retreat, you might be asking yourself what you are leaving behind and what you are beginning.
Sanjay has spent 3 months meditating at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, with half of this time in complete silence.
Each morning on this silent yoga retreat will begin with meditation, chanting, pranayama and  Ashtanga yoga (based at your physical yoga level). Before lunch on Saturday we take some time to learn about Self-Inquiry meditation and then work through this amazing meditation practice. Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic series, linking breath with postures and movement (sun salutations) to create a challenging, flowing yoga practice. The practice room has a heated floor, and stunning bay windows which overlook the large mountain ash forest of the Yarra Valley National Park. Connecting inwards isn’t always easy with all the distractions of our busy city lives.
Over the weekend we will develop a friendship with ourselves and with all other beings through a series of meditations designed to open the heart and develop loving kindness. Ami Hasson is coming to join us on the Saturday of this silent yoga retreat for a special Crystal Sound Healing!
Using a full set of Crystal singing bowls and energy chimes, which are tuned to the tones of our Chakra energy system, Tibetan Bowls, Gong, voice toning and harmonics, Ami creates a deeply transformational journey. The frequencies that are being absorbed by the body transform the entire molecular structure of our being, promoting a good flow of prana by opening the energy channels, clearing the human body and energy field. Ami Hasson is a Melbourne-based sound therapist, musician, and music producer, originally from Israel, and working professionally in Australia since 2007. A few weeks back, I decided that it was finally time to get away from this escapist world and return to ‘myself’ via a silent 10-Day meditation course (the usual amount of time for a decent course). Out of the 4 Goenka meditation centers located in Thailand, the one I secured a place on was at Dhamma Kamala in Prachinburi, the original Goenka retreat in the country. So, in the early evening of Day 0, I thought that this meditation would be a walk-over ‘piece of cake’ absolutely no problem to survive. After a pathetic first nights sleep (my mind must have been wondering where the heck I was) I was awoken at 4am by the bell. That first day, I am positively sure that every one of us foreigners there were truly suffering, I mean our legs must have been killing all of us. As you can see from the above, you are expected to complete a minimum of 7 hours sat-on-yer-bum meditation a day.
Now, after 4 days of this, my legs were totally falling apart and I my recurring groin injury suddenly surfaced again to add even more to the pain. On the evening of the 4th with my groin injury really kicking in (first time in months I had felt it) Goenka informed us that from now on we were expected, for 4 separate hours day, to sit completely still for the entire hour!
As is usual, again, on meditation retreats, days 5,6 and 7 flowed along all right; and I was beginning to feel at least a little at home. Getting into the 8th day, and instead of going to sleep at night thinking ‘Buddha Buddha’ it had suddenly changed to ‘Burger Burger’ – I was seriously beginning to count down the hours before my return to civilization! Could we say then, Stephen, that your mind was not seeking refuge in the Triple Gems 100% of the time you stayed there? While it is unhealthy to eat junky foods, it is also necessary to eat basic proper meals regularly in order for the mind to concentrate on other important things.
For more readership on a permanent future basis i copied some comments above from the Forums. Oh yes…one more good reason for not eating too much on a med course is due to drowsiness. I wouldn’t worry too much about not having a meal in the evening, your mind and body very soon gets used to going without.
With my program, we had a light snack of a carton of soy milk and banana when we first woke up for the morning session at 5 a.m.
Also, you may have 2 real meals but they didn’t stop you from going for seconds or anything if you really need the food. I went to a 10 days silent retreat in Chaya, near Suratthanni and I loved it, helped me stop smoking as well… Suang Mok (the monastery) is a fantastic place to practice it, they gave me all instruction you need as well.
Later on while staying on Samui on holidays I learned that the same people organises 5 day retreats as well.
On the resort I stayed (Kamalaya Koh Samui) they give some instruction as well so I could keep up my practice.
Meditation is hard in the beginning but for every step one takes on the path there are benefits. I really interesting to join this, if possibale i want to join in the period of 3rd, – 5th. Studies have shown that daily meditation over the course of eight weeks can reduce the "fight or flight" response that's controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.
When you meditate, you balance the nervous system so that the "fight or flight" response is activated less frequently. I have a hard time slowing down, but when I'm swimming, running, or cross-country skiing, I feel as though I'm in a meditative state. I have a friend whose meditation is biking in a mindful way, being aware of body and breath.
We knew that something closely akin to human mind was approaching culmination; and when, about a year later, they finally resolved, as a result of meditative thought and purposeful decision, to flee from home and journey north, then did the spirit of wisdom begin to function on Urantia and in these two now recognized human minds. Join the Kouskous duo, Gary Cohen and Amber Woods, as they gently guide you through the drumming patterns that make Middle Eastern Rhythms so rich, unique, and spicy.
Hornby artisits Elizabeth Macdonald and Cindy Anderson will be giving a workshop simplifying the whole idea of mosaics.
Free of distractions you will be able to find clarity and perceive your inner beauty more easily. You are leaving behind the many noises that come from the world you live in, and you are beginning an inner journey so that you can see your deepest truth. When something comes up in the conversation that is really significant, you listen more attentively. It is created by people leaving behind the noises caused by work, computers, tablets, mobile phones, newspapers, TV, radio, cooking, shopping, cars and any other type of activity that keeps them concerned about other things.
Following breakfast there will be free time to enjoy the native Mountain Ash Eucalypt forest, walk and listen to the native birds.

On Sunday we have the wonderful Ami Hasson coming to lead us through a beautiful Crystal Sound Healing Journey, realigning and grounding after a weekend of inner cleansing.
After a second break, the afternoon program includes a restorative yoga practice, to limber and refresh the body, and a second meditation practice to go further into the mind.
You will be required to remain in silence from the time you awake on Saturday morning until the final session on Sunday afternoon. This increases strength, flexibility and focus while clearing the body of toxins, leaving you feeling calm and centred. Slow movements combined with deep stretching for the hamstrings, hips, spine, chest and shoulders nourishing the body and bringing greater ease and comfort for our seated Meditation practice. Following a day and half of silent reflection, this sound healing will wash away all our negativities and mental afflictions and allow our inner beauty to shine through.
He has contributed as a session musician to a diverse number of professional International and Melbourne-based musical projects. It was to be my first in 3 years but one of many which I have struggled through during all my time in Thailand. In case you haven’t the foggiest to who S.N Goenka is, then let me advise you that he is one of the most internationally renowned Vipassana meditation masters and teachers in modern times.
So, on the first day, the 30th July, I made my way to the well-known Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in Bangkok and took one of the center’s passenger vans to the place which was to be my silent dwelling for the next week and a half.
I am certain that the other 20 or so foreigners (and about 80 Thais) thought more or less the same.
Half of us foreign guys did however, still turn up every day – but as for the every single one of the ‘new student’ Thai guys though, they spent the next 7 days getting a lie in.
It was at around this time when I seriously wondered whether I would be able to survive the 10 days. That is, to not move whatsoever, not even our hands – this is where I thought this course was ‘madness’! It was around this time though, that I became to get a bit pished-off with the amount noise in our residence. And so, even though the last couple of days went by with me more or less tired of the regime, I was feeling fresh in the head and my meditation was going well. I would certainly recommended the course but I wouldn’t be too certain of advising the place to someone who had never done any kind of proper meditation before. That’s to say, if you wanna find out what it’s all about, then it is much better to find out all by yourself! However, do you happen to know of any temple that would offer more than 2 meals daily and do offer atleast 3 days course. I feel that it is better for us to starve our mind from unhealthy thoughts than to starve our body from food. It really goes like: our body usually needs 2 proper meals and one light meal a day to work properly. After eating a decent sized meal the last thing you wanna do is meditate as you will feel like falling asleep!
Great food, instructions in English by a former Western monk, great people to sit and meditate with.
Can anyone recommend a good place to retreat (unfortunately I arrive in Bangkok on Dec 1 so will miss out on being able to go to Wat Suan Mokkh). However having done 6 of those retreats and most of them in the same place Dhamma Kamala I would like to correct some errors.. I know for sure theres one 5 day vipassana retreat on Koh Samui,that starts around 21 or 22 but can’t find it. Though any amount of meditation is beneficial, a little bit of time each day is much more beneficial than a lot of time twice a week, say. Presenter Chris McPhedron, who grew up on Hornby, has worked in the accounting field since 2004 and received his CA designation in 2007.
Their team teaching provides a relaxed atmosphere with easy to follow, step-by-step, multi-level instruction. This retreat is being held at stunning Amarant Retreat in the the Yarra Valley, just outside Melbourne. By attending this retreat Sanjay wishes to awaken that space of clarity and pureness within your heart, and allow your true nature to shine. However if you have questions about what is going on inside your body or mind, it is ok to ask Sanjay for advice privately, away from the other retreatants. Slowly we find ourselves letting go of negative patterns and thoughts within our minds and embracing the spiritual practice of compassion.
The sounds created in the session reduce the brain activity to theta waves which are similar to dream state of mind, and in some cases even astral journeys may occur. While chatting with a good buddy of mine in Bangkok, he advised the same one which he had attended a couple of years ago in Prachinburi Province not too far from the capital.
Goenka, a Burmese-Indian in origin, is also famed for running one of the strictest meditation courses the world over.
Arriving at the center 2 hours later, I was well-chuffed to see that my room had a nice semi-comfortable bed instead of a mat on a stone floor which is the norm at meditation retreats at temples. On that first day alone, we were literally forced to sit out an unprecedented 8 hours worth of meditation.
The second day was the real test and we were again literally forced to sit in meditation for up to 9 hours!
The only person you are allowed to talk to on Goenka’s courses is the supervisor in charge and only if you have a health problem or forgot your toothpaste etc.. That is because, most of the Thai blokes were real young and were not on the course due their own wise decision, they had been sent there by their parents! Our rooms were in a wooded landing where you can literally hear everything that goes on in the room next-door. Every thing very much changed on Day 10 when Noble Silence was ended and everyone was allowed to speak again. And for sure, I would only suggest the course to those who feel absolute certain that they are up to it!
If you have one month, perhaps a not-so-intensive retreat in one of the forest monastery is more suitable. It gets much easier when you go back again as you are not spending all your time wondering what comes next, you learn how to balance your mind, and go, and the results are wonderful! It doesn’t seem to smart to just pick a meditation center to go to for 10 days without knowing too much about what you should be looking for and about the center itself beforehand, right? Chris has provided accounting, taxation and other advisory services to many small to medium sized businesses as well as not-for-profit and governmental organizations.
Learn how to make the basic sounds and to combine them into universal patterns as well as the more commonly used Middle Eastern Rhythms. Silent Unity offers personal prayer support to all who contact us by phone, letter, or e-mail. It includes the release of counter-productive thoughts as well as holding in mind, statements of spiritual truth. If you were in a noisy environment or were busy doing other things, you would not pay attention to what the inner Self is showing you.
The entire physical body is slowing down allowing a deep relaxed state of being where healing is taking place.
He has produced a successful number of sound therapy Workshops, seminars, and concerts throughout Melbourne, Gippsland, Geelong, and Daylesford (2011-2013).
After deciding that was the place for me, I thought it wise to tell minimal folk of my ‘spiritual’ intention as I just didn’t wanted to be bombarded with the usual questions along the lines of ‘Why the heck are you going on a meditation retreat?!’ So, if you are one of those I told a ‘white lie’ too about my location a week or so, then my apologies, but here follows is the truth!
As you can imagine, that kinda workload is just a bit too much for some folk, and by midday of the following day, I guessed that 20% of the meditators had done a runner and fled! So, if someone slightly slams the door, then that noise reverberates throughout the corridor. This offered a pleasing opportunity to get to know the other meditators you had been physically close to but hadn’t even looked in the eye for the past 10 days. Also of having daydreams about those jam sandwiches in the afternoon, and relishing the ovaltine that came with it.
One missunderstanding is that just because some old students at the front of the room sit for very long times without moving; everyone is expected to do the same, this is not correct and one must remember these are meditators with many years of this behind them. Meditation provides a buffer against stress and that has a ripple effect that you experience throughout the day. For kids, you can create a bedtime ritual that includes taking a few conscious breaths together. One benefit of meditating at the same time every day is that the body starts to acclimate to that time, and a kind of behavior conditioning happens. The workshop includes call and response, unison drumming, group soloing, and great grooves. So when the inner Self brings something into your awareness, you begin to talk with the inner Self about it. By keeping silence you are giving yourself a gift and you are giving the same gift to all the other retreatants.
But, as is usual at most such retreats in Thailand the twice daily meals were to be nothing but pure vegan.
Every evening us foreigners were separated from the Thais in that we had to had to watch Goenka’s discourse for the day and perhaps instructions on the meditation for the following day. Altogether, the women way out-numbered the men, about 4 to 1 and, in general, they adhered to the schedule much more obediently than us men.

This led to my only complaint about the course, as at some times in the day you were expected to do meditation in your room if you didn’t go to the main hall (see above schedule under ‘not compulsory’). As you can imagine however, it did feel a bit freaky finally speaking after that extensive amount of time in silence.
Of course there are drop outs but in all the courses I have sat there have never been more than a few persons leaving prematurely, maybe 1 -2 %, not the 30% you are talking about. There's a different challenge that comes with stillness and beginning to watch the activity of the brain.
Students often find that when they practice at the same time every day, they can go deeper more quickly. I use the word ‘forced’ cause anyone who couldn’t last was kindly asked to leave and go home. We were soon to learn, however, that this kind of absolute tolerance and determination was all part of Goenka’s technique ie… if you can’t survive the first couple of days then the teachings aren’t gonna do ya much good.
That said however, a higher percentage of women did drop out of the course before it ended. Depriving it from its basic needs reminds me of Lord Buddha in his quest to gain enlightenment nearly starve himself to death until Sujata came to his rescue with food.
If you get problems with your back or legs you can request extra pillows and back support in most places. As has always been said though, the first 2-3 days of a meditation course are always the hardest. His daily video was one of the highlights of the day, second only – of course – to meal times. If you want an idea on how tough this course really is, I counted a total of around almost 30% of the ‘new student’ females who did not last the ten days. At least one of the young whipper-snapper young Thais spent all their time in their rooms, instead of supposedly meditating, banging away, slamming their doors and running in and out every 5 minutes. Anytime you sit with the intention and willingness to be mindful, transformation will naturally happen. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. The teacher in charge was sat on a podium at the front of the room and did little else but turn on Goenka recordings on how to meditate etc….. I brought it up with the supervisor and it was then that he admitted that a lot of these guys were only on the course because of their mums. He regained his health by practicing the right way until he reached his enlightenment in nirvana. I have even volunteered on courses and you get so much from helping others, developing compassion and learning how to apply the technique in daily life! Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one's spiritual life with one's fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. She was a decidedly elderly woman and I found out later that she held the honourable title of ThanYing, the highest possible title for a commoner, and to acquire such a title like that you gotta be well-liked by the person who bestows it, the one and only Queen of Thailand.
I believe that fasting once or twice a month is good for the body but not to the extent of near starvation for days. PS You get fruit in the evenings on your first course and if someone is sick, pregnant, elderly or for medical reasons they get dinner. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious. Well, she was well respected by former students who were attending the course (they made up about a third of the meditators) and they always bowed to her three times.
Meditation can lead to a quiet mind or a sense of selflessness or unity with the whole, but you can't go into it grasping for that. You want to first bring stability to the mind, perhaps by focusing on one thing, such as the breath, and then eventually expand the field of awareness to encompass bodily sensations and thoughts. One of the great troubles with modern life is that man thinks he is too busy to find time for spiritual meditation and religious devotion.
I think all the time!" Through practice, you start to observe the way your thoughts move and change, and develop a more subtle awareness of your experience.
This summer he made frequent trips to the top of the hill to the northwest of Nazareth for prayer and meditation.
Sometimes she thought the lad was beside himself, and then she would steady her fears, remembering that he was, after all, a child of promise and in some manner different from other youths. And the rigorous experience of supporting his family was a sure safeguard against his having overmuch time for idle meditation or the indulgence of mystic tendencies. And always was Jesus ready to postpone the contemplation of his future work for the world and the universe that he might share in the childish joy and youthful gladness of these youngsters, who never tired of listening to Jesus relate the experiences of his various trips to Jerusalem.
He was not an ascetic, and he came forever to destroy all such notions regarding the approach to God.
His reasons for seeking this retirement were entirely different from those which had actuated Moses and Elijah, and even John the Baptist. Jesus was then wholly self-conscious concerning his relation to the universe of his making and also to the universe of universes, supervised by the Paradise Father, his Father in heaven.
He now fully recalled the bestowal charge and its instructions administered by his elder brother, Immanuel, ere he entered upon his Urantia incarnation. He now clearly and fully comprehended all these far-flung relationships, and he desired to be away for a season of quiet meditation so that he could think out the plans and decide upon the procedures for the prosecution of his public labors in behalf of this world and for all other worlds in his local universe. The results of this momentous season of meditation demonstrated conclusively that the divine mind has triumphantly and spiritually dominated the human intellect. Should he go in quest of food as any ordinary man would, or should he merely exercise his normal creative powers and produce suitable bodily nourishment ready at hand? Donning his evening wraps, he sat out on the lake shore thinking, thinking until the dawn of the next day.
In the long hours of that night of meditation Jesus came clearly to comprehend that he never would be able to make his followers see him in any other light than as the long-expected Messiah.
At last he recognized that there was no way to launch his message of the kingdom except as the fulfillment of John's prediction and as the one for whom the Jews were looking. After all, though he was not the Davidic type of Messiah, he was truly the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of the more spiritually minded of the olden seers.
He decided to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will. I refer to that which he so consistently practices, and which he has so faithfully taught you, the isolation of worshipful meditation.
In this habit of Jesus' going off so frequently by himself to commune with the Father in heaven is to be found the technique, not only of gathering strength and wisdom for the ordinary conflicts of living, but also of appropriating the energy for the solution of the higher problems of a moral and spiritual nature. The relaxation of worship, or spiritual communion as practiced by the Master, relieves tension, removes conflicts, and mightily augments the total resources of the personality. And all this philosophy, plus the gospel of the kingdom, constitutes the new religion as I understand it.
How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship.
At least, that is the way the philosopher views it.When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one's fellows as a mature personality. These practices are difficult and time-consuming at first, but when they become habitual, they are at once restful and timesaving.
The more complex society becomes, and the more the lures of civilization multiply, the more urgent will become the necessity for God-knowing individuals to form such protective habitual practices designed to conserve and augment their spiritual energies. From such vantage points of high living, man is able to transcend the material irritations of the lower levels of thinking a€” worry, jealousy, envy, revenge, and the pride of immature personality. These high-climbing souls deliver themselves from a multitude of the crosscurrent conflicts of the trifles of living, thus becoming free to attain consciousness of the higher currents of spirit concept and celestial communication.
But the life purpose must be jealously guarded from the temptation to seek for easy and transient attainment; likewise must it be so fostered as to become immune to the disastrous threats of fanaticism. Preach the gospel without fear or favor; remember always that God is no respecter of persons. Serve your fellow men even as I have served you; forgive your fellow mortals even as I have forgiven you. This living faith of Jesus was more than an intellectual reflection, and it was not a mystic meditation.
When the spirit came upon those assembled in the upper chamber, they were simply sitting there, having just been engaged in silent prayer. It was not necessary for the apostles to go apart to a lonely place for years of solitary meditation in order to receive the spirit. For all time, Pentecost disassociates the idea of spiritual experience from the notion of especially favorable environments.

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