Browsing all articles tagged with yoga

National Cancer Institute Guidelines for Exercise

In June 2010 a panel of thirteen researchers who are cancer experts came up with guidelines for exercise for cancer patients and survivors.  The panel was formed to develop guidelines on exercise that were safe and effective. This is because there are currently over twelve million cancer survivors in the United States in need of advice!



Exercise is currently recommended for patients with breast, prostate, colon, gynecologic, and hematologic cancers, which pretty much covers all cancers.



The group was formed because the benefits of exercise were well documented for a number of cancers. In nearly all types of cancer, exercise was found to help with issues such as fatigue and physical functioning.  These are factors that can directly influence the quality of your life. The guidelines wren also formed because it was discovered that patients on chemo or radiation could actually accomplish a lot more than anyone ever thought.



This panel also found that exercise was absolutely essential for a person’s self esteem. This is especially true with individuals who have had surgery that alters their appearance. Activity can improve the person’s body image.  This is because changes in body composition are so typical with these types of cancers.  Gastrointestinal, head and neck cancers can cause severe body wasting and exercise can help survivors of this type of wasting get their sense of self back and just feel more confident.



breast cancer can cause weight gain. In these cases the exercise can be useful for losing the pounds (sometimes caused by the drugs that are prescribed.)  Breast cancer patients often need to build more body mass and lose some fat.



The idea that people undergoing chemo and radiation should be exercising rather than resting full time in bed is relatively new. At the NCI, which of course is a huge government operation, they are busy trying to figure out how physical activity can be integrated into cancer treatment and into the daily lives of survivors. Plans are also in the works for training professionals so that they can provide cancer-specific recovery. It is also being suggested that more exercise studios should be in hospitals and that mass workout sessions be part of oncology units. Investigations are also being made into the effectiveness of yoga and other gentler forms of exercise on cancer recovery.



There is no harm in making attempts to be fitter, whether that means taking a walk several times a week or going out to a gym to get some real training from a fitness professional. The idea is that once you do get our body in motion, you will start getting better; a fact that is being now well recognized by medical communities all over the world including the National Cancer Institute.



Meditation Bells

Author Jennifer    Category Fitness     Tags , , , , , ,

Meditation bells are an indispensable element of the Zen Buddhist practice of Zazen, or meditation conducted from a seated position. The bell is traditionally rung three times to signal the beginning of the meditation session, a practice known as shijosho.  The session concludes with the bell ringing once, called hozensho. The practice of bell-ringing will also occurs during walking meditation, or kinhin.


The most widely used form of meditation bell is the singing bowl, also known as a Tibetan or Himalayan bowl. Originating in Hindu meditation practice and brought to Tibet around the 8th century AD by the tantric Buddhist scholar Padmasambhava, this standing bell vibrates when struck and is believed to facilitate contemplative responses in the listener, who may feel a correspondent tremor from one of body’s charkas, or wheels of energy in the midsection, leading to an advanced process of meditation. The body’s response encourages a balancing alignment of right and left-brain activity, creating the ideal conditions for a universal experience.


Although still used in all branches of Buddhist meditation, today the singing bowl has expanded to a variety of disciplines around the world, including yoga, new age therapies, holistic relaxation, hypnosis and healthcare and musical entertainment.

Modern singing bowls are manufactured mainly in India, Nepal and Bhutan and are usually made from copper. They are often decorated with detail related to pervasive meditation themes like mantras, mandalas and other Buddhist images. A padded mallet is used to produce a clear and simple bell tone. The rim of the bowl can also be rubbed with a playing mallet.


Antique singing bowls, however, provide a window on the history of Hindu and Buddhist meditation, as well as lost techniques of classical metallurgy. The 12-metal alloy in the bowls was the same as that used to construct Hindu temple icons circa 8th century BC, and the sound produced is deep and multiphonic, producing frequencies often assimilating between two and all seven notes of the Western scale. This mix of blended sound frequencies produces unique and entrancing effect which, along with the craftsmanship lost to time and industrialization, makes the antique bowl a coveted item both within and outside meditation circles.


A third type of singing bowl in use is the more modern crystal bowl, which is not actually made from crystals but from silicon glass. The bell tone produced, known as a “pure sine” tone creatres a sharper and more bracing tone for the listener. They are sold widely in separate forms corresponding to the notes of the western scale.


Athough not technically meditation bells, singing bowls have branched out into the music industry. This music is widely available online and most often used by holistic healers, psychic workers and yoga instructors to balance the energy in their workspaces.