February, 2012
Posted on February 29th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Nutrition, Studies, News, and Trends

The End of Illness?

Alyssa Giacobbe, Guest Blogger

In his new book, The End of Illness, California oncologist Dr. David Agus argues for an immediate shift in the way we view healthcare. Americans are losing the war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other major illnesses, he writes, and standard Western treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and pharmaceuticals are both misdirected and way too late. Instead, we should be aiming to prevent disease from occurring in the first place. “We have become a country that treats disease but does not prevent it,” he recently told The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. “Cancer is not from without. It’s from within… [Mine] is a whole different way of thinking about health.”

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Posted on February 28th, 2012 by in Ask the Expert, Meditation

Sitting in Stillness: Mantras, Metta, and Meditation

In this edition of Ask the Expert, meditation teacher and senior Kripalu faculty member Bhavani Lorraine Nelson answers questions from readers like you.

My mind races when I sit. Can mantras help?

The reason I cover five or six different techniques in my Introduction to Meditation program is because not every type of meditation is effective for everyone. Some people thrive on simply sitting with the breath; for others, the breath is very ephemeral, so the mind has free rein to wander. Some concentration practices can be more engaging for the mind and help it to quiet down. Mantra is one of those—it can be helpful for people who find it difficult to sit simply with the breath.

Recent scientific research on mantra practice shows that it is very soothing to the nervous system because of the repetition. Setting an intention when repeating a mantra adds to the power of the practice. There are different mantras for different goals; practitioners can create a “family” of mantras to use at specific times and for specific purposes. It’s important, though, to have a primary mantra, just as you have a primary yoga practice. To find one, you might start with Thomas Ashley-Farrand’s book Healing Mantras. Choose a mantra that you’re drawn to and can imagine wanting to repeat often.

Is it “cheating” to visualize pretty patterns and concentrate on those, to stop “thinking”?

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