Yoga Enthusiasts Take Over Times Square

Organized by the Times Square Alliance, the annual yoga event “Mind over Madness,” took place yesterday in Times Square on Broadway and 48th Street in Manhattan — historically called ‘the crossroads of the world’ — to celebrate the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year.

Sponsored by Lucy Activewear, the first 1,000 attendees received a free yoga mat and gift bag, and the event offered three classes with local New York yoga instructors, as well as special guest speakers, including Nicole Nichols from Yoga Studies; Patrick Lynch from Bikram Yoga NYC; and Douglass Stewart from YogaWorks.

“We’re trying to create a little ocean or perhaps just a little lake or just a drop of serenity in the midst of all this madness,” Tim Tompkins of The Times Square Alliance said in a report by The Telegraph. “It’s an attempt, on the longest day of the year, when the sun is shining brightest, to tap into that energy and have it help carry us through the rest of the year.”

Watch the video below to see the amazing event in action!

 

World Peace in Washington

In July, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama will confer the Kalachakra for World Peace ritual in Washington, D.C., at the Verizon Center — all to inspire harmonious relationships and abiding peace in the hearts of people throughout the world. “

The initiation to the Kalachakra is one of the most important [practices for world peace] … because it takes everything into account: the body and the human mind, and the whole external aspect — cosmic and astrological,” the Dalai Lama said. “We firmly believe in its power to reduce conflict, and we believe it is capable of creating … peace of spirit and therefore peace in the world.”

While the Kalachakra Tantra teachings date back more than 2,500 years ago to the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, this will be the 31st time the Dalai Lama has given the empowerments since initiating the Kalachakra gatherings in 1954.

The 11-day event launches July 6, 2011 — the 76th birthday of the Dalai Lama — and he along with monks and senior lamas will conduct rituals to prepare and consecrate the venue during the first seven days. These include chanting of prayers and the creation of the colorful Kalachakra sand mandala.

Additionally, there will be three days of teachings by the Dalai Lama where he will present the foundations of Buddhist thought from July 9 – 11. On July 16, the final day, the Kalachakra for World Peace 2011 will close with a ceremony offering prayers for the long life of the Dalai Lama and a long-life blessing will be given to all in attendance.

For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit www.kalachakra2011.com

Move Over Groupon – SpiritSavings.com is Here!

SpiritSavings.com is a recently launched social coupon platform featuring coaching, metaphysics and healing services, as well as a variety of other personal development and spirituality based offers — and its FREE to subscribers!

“SpiritSavings fulfills a great need in this industry by connecting customers and merchants with a wide variety of related goods and services,” said creator Amy Scott Grant.

Examples of offers found at the site include life coaching; spiritual healing; energy work; metaphysical books and supplies; personal development courses and seminars; audio programs; meditation audios; and new age resources.

Unlike most daily deal sites, SpiritSavings.com is not divided by geographic location – it connects worldwide subscribers with participating spiritual vendors and life coaches all across the globe, offering them the opportunity to test and discover new providers that fit their interests, according to the creators.

The platform leverages the power of social media, e-mail and group buying power, giving merchants the opportunity to connect with their target audience in a comfortable, low-risk environment.

Unlike Groupon, SpiritSavings does not charge any up-front “initiation” fees to participating merchants, and the service is completely free of charge for subscribers, the company said. Additionally, in keeping with the site’s spiritual theme, each day’s deal listing also includes an inspiring quote of the day.

If you are looking for a deal, or want to offer your product or service to a targeted audience, check them out!

Actor Derek Luke Puts “Spirit First” in Life

Derek Luke recently joined the cast of “Hawthorne” on TNT, starring Jada Pinkett Smith (who plays Christina Hawthorne). His character is a doctor from Chicago going through a divorce, and the new love interest of Hawthorne’s daughter.

When interviewed by “Shadow and Act,” a blog on Indiewire.com, Luke discussed his personal views on spirituality, explaining: “It allows me to have peace no matter what kind of storm is happening … I believe when you find a plan and purpose that God has for your life, there’s not anything man can do to you …”

He also explained in the interview that his character on the show, Miles, is going through a divorce and facing “tough decisions,” after his move from Chicago to Richmond, Va.

“It’s a right career move but he’s finding out if it’s correct for his family. He’s presented with some escape routes and he has to decide whether or not those escape routes are appropriate to whom he is as a person,” he said in the article. “That’s what I love about having spirit first … when you put spirit first, you have a reason for why you do heart.”

Physical & Spiritual Fitness – Football Style

Forced to retire from professional football after a shoulder injury in 2003, former Redskins player Eddie Mason decided he wanted to help young kids learn about faith, work ethic and character. With the help of fellow teammate, James Thrash, he opened a sports camp, The Washington Post reported.

“We both had some Redskins recognition and figured we’d draw in a crowd of kids,” Mason said in the article. “We had maybe 10 kids. We were shocked. But hey, God says, ‘If you’re faithful in a few things, I’ll make you ruler over many.’ So that was the test, to see if we’d be faithful with those few kids.”

Fast forward eight years later, and Mason is the owner and operator of MASE Training Sports Performance & Fitness Center in Sterling, Va. (www.masetraining.com), which stands for “Muscle and Spiritual Empowerment, the report stated.

Today, the 7,500-square-foot facility serves a variety of clients including grade school, junior high and high school students, as well as college football players, current and former Washington Redskins players and even stay-at-home moms, according to The Washington Post.

“He’s teaching positive life lessons,” Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston said in article. “Just like out here, you’re tired, you want to quit. Well, sometimes in life, you want to quit, but small things like fighting through this will help you become a tougher person. The things he’s doing are right.”

In addition to focus on the physical aspects of training, such as strength and flexibility, Mason also focuses on the mind – with Desire, Character, Determination, Faith, Pride, Will, Focus, Respect, Discipline and Passion printed across the front windows of his center, according to the report. And each of the front doors say, “Get your mind right.”

“To be in elite physical condition, the first step is working from the inside out,” Mason said to The Washington Post. “As Marty Schottenheimer used to say: ‘You don’t win with the best athletes. You win with good people.’ I’m trying to mold healthy and good people.”

Meditation for Hot Flashes?

It’s not the most glamorous topic, but women going through menopause understand – hot flashes are not any fun!

However, thanks to a new study, there may be an all-natural, side-effect free answer – mindfulness meditation.

Research from The University of Massachusetts showed mindfulness training reduced distress associated with hot flashes, and also improved physical, psychosocial and sexual functioning, according to a report by HealthDay.

“The finding are important because hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause symptoms in the past, has been associated with health risks,” said study author James Camody, an associate professor of medicine in the division for preventive and behavioral medicine in the HealthDay report.

In fact, hormone replacement therapy has been linked with increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and stroke, and many women are looking for alternative treatments, according to Camody.

Mindfulness training appears to allow women to be “less reactive” to menopausal symptoms – which is certainly a place to start!

The researchers wanted to see if they could affect women’s “resilience in response to these symptoms,” and the study divided 110 women between the age of 47 and 69 into two groups – one that was trained in the meditation and the other that was “waitlisted” to learn the technique, according to HealthDay.

Those participating filled out questionnaires to see how much they were bothered by hot flashes on a 4-point scale – from “not at all” to “extremely bothered,” and kept diaries noting the number and intensity of the hot flashes and night sweats. According to the report, the women had an average of five or more moderate to severe hot flashes or night sweats each day.

However, after taking classes once a week for eight weeks, along with a full day of training in mindfulness meditation, the training group of women had an average decrease of 15 percent in terms of how much the symptoms bothered them – compared to only 7 percent of the control group. The training group also reported better sleep, less anxiety and less perceived stress.

“The thing that surprised us the most was the effect on sleep,” said Camody in the HealthDay report. In fact, the mindfulness training was found to be as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing insomnia!

We all know practicing mindfulness and meditation help in so many different areas of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Now we can add menopause symptoms to the list!

To read about what to include and what NOT to include in your meditation room or space, read our FREE article “Meditation by Design.”

Still struggling with meditation or finding the right practice for you? Read our FREE article “The Right Meditation for You.”