Deepavali – Festival of Lights

Today we celebrate the festival of lights, “deepavali,” an extraordinary festival in the Indian calendar that marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Deepavali celebrates the symbolism of the eternal conflict between good and bad and the victory of the good.

In yogic terms, this can be understood as a renewal of our inherent potentials for clarity in thought, word, and action. The flame signifies the dominance of the qualities of sattva (neutrality) over the chaotic fluctuations of rajas (hyperactivity) and tamas (stagnation), both inside and outside.  The outer celebration of light is therefore an extension of each of our inward journeys towards greater spiritual balance and harmony.

Celebrate Deepavali today by lighting a candle, observing the conflict of good and bad within yourself, and allowing a neutral space to surface and abide within you…


Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | Leave a comment

Food Day- Focusing on a healthier lifestyle

484603274_42895e0691_qWhat is Food Day?  Food Day is a national event designed to help bring awareness to healthier eating habits, focusing on more nutritious, unprocessed foods as well as better food policies.  With the obesity rate on the rise, there has been an increase in individuals suffering from diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.  Due to people living busier lives, food has become more manufactured and packaged for convenience.  Such foods can include numerous additives, chemicals and ingredients that can affect an individual’s well- being.  The purpose of Food Day is to teach people how to incorporate and choose healthier foods in their diets, such as more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and leans meats, and take initiative of their own well- being.  October 24th was established as Food Day so everyone can come together with the common goal of eating a healthier diet, becoming more physically active, as well as focus on improving food policies so nutritious food can be more affordable.  There is also focus on working with farmers to provide more federal and government assistance so produce can be more organically produced without pesticides and chemicals.

With the proper knowledge and guidance, individual’s can begin the journey of developing a healthier lifestyle.  If you would like to learn more about Food Day and how to start the process of eating clean and healthy, please click here.  Each day is an opportunity to focus on your health and well- being so why not start today!

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Meditation | Wherever You Go, There You Are

As in my previous post, I’ll be suggesting something to aid in growing a meditation practice. In this post, I’m going to review the book, “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I was fortunate enough to receive this book as a gift from a dear friend. I’ve cherished it for this reason, but also because the book is enjoyable, insightful, and useful. I want to emphasize how useful this book is. Kabat-Zinn is a master of mindfulness, and he did a phenomenal job in framing mindfulness meditation in an approachable way. He made it accessible to those who may be starting from the ground floor.

First of all, the book is a breeze to read; the language is easy going and fluid. There are no chapter numbers, so there is no pressure of progress or stalling; only page numbers to help remind you where you may have left off. Each chapter is brief as well, with the exception of maybe a few, and each chapter ends with a quote or two that puts the contents into a proverbial perspective.

In “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” Kabat-Zinn uses imagery and metaphor to help stir an understanding of various approaches to meditating. He discusses how during a seated meditation, visualizing yourself as a mountain helps to grow a sense of grounding and stability, while during a laying meditation, visualizing a lake helps to create the sense of softness and tranquility.

Kabat-Zinn keeps “Wherever You Go, There You Are” from becoming overly complicating. His focus is on the essentials of meditation, because there is so much to explore there on its own. His points stay within the grasp of the reader, and because of this, I would say this book is a lifelong companion for meditators of all levels.

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Long Island Living


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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast CANCER rIBBONOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast cancer can affect women and men, although there is a higher rate among women.  Breast cancer is more treatable when detected early so it is important to do monthly breast exams, checking from collar-bone, to breast, and extending it into the arm pit to breastbone.  If there is a history of breast cancer in your family please speak to your health care provider about scheduling a Mammogram.  It is recommended that you get a Mammogram every year beginning at age 40, especially if it runs in your family.

Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread within the body. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biologic therapy, or radiation. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
Surgery: An operation where doctors surgically removes cancer tissue.
Chemotherapy: Uses special medicines and/or drugs to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given directly into your veins, or may be a combination.
Hormonal therapy: Some cancers need certain hormones to grow. Hormonal treatment is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones needed to grow.
Biological therapy: This treatment works with your body’s immune system to help fight cancer or to control side effects from other cancer treatments. Side effects are how your body reacts to drugs or other treatments. Biological therapy is different from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy attacks cancer cells directly.
Radiation: The use of high-energy rays are used to kill the cancer cells. The rays are aimed at the part of the body where the cancer is found.

Health care providers from different specialty areas may work in conjunction to treat someone with breast cancer. Surgeons perform operations. Medical oncologists treat cancers with medicines. Radiation oncologists treat cancers with radiation.

Alternative Therapy Modalities for Treatment of Breast Cancer

Mind-Body Methods: Healing methods based on the belief that the mind affects the body’s response to cancer. These methods have been known to help reduce the side effects felt during cancer treatment. Tapping into the mind-body connection is reported as improving a person’s overall wellness which includes the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual states. The mind can work for or against you, depending on your focus.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture a traditional Chinese medicine approach and healing systems, are used for cancer treatment.

Nutritional Methods: Special diets and/or supplements may be used in the treatment of people with cancer. Cancer patients are sometimes prescribed Coenzyme Q10 and other Antioxidants.

Pharmacologic and Biologic Treatments
The use of clinical trials, experimental prescription drugs, vaccines, hormones, natural products (also called botanicals), and other biologic treatments are used in the treatment of people with cancer. Herbal extracts and other herbs are sometimes introduced into a treatment regimen.


For more information click here.

Article by: Ketsia Glemaud, Edited by: Lilly Shmulevich

Photo by: TipTimes Courtesy of: Flickr Creative Commons

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A Must-Have Health App

For many people on a budget, the gym membership is the first to go. Luckily, St. Joseph’s students and staff members have access to the Danzi Athletic Center’s equipment, track, and free exercise classes. But many of us don’t live near campus or our schedules don’t permit us the time to make it to the group classes.

Well, here’s an important announcement about a free way to get healthy. Walking. That’s right everyone, we do it every day, its free, and it doesn’t require any equipment.

Next time you take a stroll, check out the Map My Walk App. Just download the app and click “start workout.” Begin walking, and when you’re done, click “pause workout” and then “finish.” The app will show a map of how far you walked, and you can save the route if you liked it. It will also tell you how much time has elapsed and how many calories you’ve burned. Map My Walk acts as an immediate reinforcement; it turns a simple walk into an official, visual map of a “workout” that the user can see, store, and be proud of.

So grab your smartphone, get outside, start the app, and get walking. Enjoy the fall weather, take a few minutes to appreciate your neighborhood, and let your stress melt. When you’re done, check the app. You just may be surprised to see how far you can walk in the time you have available to you.

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Movember Is Coming


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National Depression Screening Day

1790592784_5a460fd1ff_mThe week of October 5-11th brings to light Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).  In 1990, U.S Congress declared the first week of October MIAW to highlight mental illnesses and how it impacts people who are affected by it.  Millions of people each year are affected by mental illness in some way, whether it is through someone we know and/ or if we personally suffer from it.  The goal of MIAW is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses and increase awareness, support, and resources so that adequate guidance and assistance can be provided.  More information regarding MIAW, in addition to available resources and tools, can be found here.

Thursday, October 9 is also National Depression Day.  If you are interested in take a free, online assessment, please click here.  It is an anonymous screening, and will provide you with information regarding depression and where to get help if needed.  Everyone experiences stress and challenges in their lives; thus, it is important to seek and ask for help when things get overwhelming.  

If you are in need of immediate assistance and need to talk to someone, LifeNet is a free, mental health crisis information and referral hotline that offers support to all New Yorkers. LifeNet referral specialists are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For emergencies, always dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.   You can call for yourself or for a friend 1-800-LIFENET.


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Meditation | Stop, Breathe & Think

If you’re unfamiliar, meditation may seem daunting, especially with some of the preconceived notions out there. One might have the idea that in order to meditate you have to sit on a snow capped mountain in some far off land over looking a valley of impeccable beauty while dressed in the orange and yellow robes of a monk. This is hardly the case!

All you need to do to meditate is Stop, Breathe & Think – sounds simply enough, right? But that’s all there is to it. And if you find you need a little assistance, there’s an app for that (there are actually an incredible number of apps for it). After plenty of review, my recommendation is for the app, Stop, Breathe & Think.

I’ve been using Stop, Breathe & Think for a few months on and off with my own meditation practice. The idea for the app originally came from a program for school children, the intention being to integrate meditation to help with focus and mindfulness. From there, the program blossomed into an app that the kids could use on their smartphones during the day. The app incorporates several layers of interactivity: it asks you to tune in and evaluate how you’re feeling before suggesting a meditation based on your physical and mental state at the time. After that, it offers a list of options relative to how you describe your mood. The meditations options vary from guided seated to walking meditations, each with a range of duration and intentions. As you complete meditations, you are offered stickers that mark milestones in your meditation practice.

Stop, Breathe & Think is a fun and pleasant app to use if you are new to meditation or a practitioner of some time. The app was first released for iOS devices only, but has since been made available for Android based devices. There is also a web based app accessible by any web browser. Just sign-up, sign-in and all your progress in your practice is there for you to see and revel in.

Also, if you’re curiosity ventures further, The Counseling & Wellness Center of St. Joseph’s College offers a meditation class during Common Hour on Mondays in the Danzi Center.

Happy meditating!

Categories: Relaxation Space, Resource Center, Yoga & Meditation | 1 Comment

Slow Down

   Yah hey, keep it moving. From sunrise to sunset we are quite the busy creatures. Very busy. And as we turn closer to December, the days will begin well before sunrise and finish long after sunset. Our days are full of productivity, incessant action, quick transactions, and movement, movement, movement. Yet it seems after some grueling days of hard work, when it is time to rest and recover, we cannot find satisfaction or relaxation. Sometimes all that busyness does not manifest as accomplishment. So where are we fudging up?

The concept of slow tends to have negative vibes (especially in life on Long Island). On the roads, in line at Starbucks, finishing an exam, responding to a question… it seems instantaneous is just not fast enough. With increased technology and greater demands for achievement, we push the limits of our physical space, energy and time. The 7 seconds it takes for a slow webpage to load feels like an eternity. Someone making a right-hand turn at 12mph instead of (face-warping from the G-force) 35mph might as well never drive again. Yet at our fast pace and constant productivity, we have not yet solved the great mysteries of the universe, established world peace, fix a tumultuous economy, and prevented the outbreak of killer viruses. More is required with stricter deadlines. It is exhausting.  There has been a collective agreement from the top universities in the world as followed: even though there are a great many individuals with high test scores and a behemoth-sized resumes, there is a deep lack of creative spark. Divergent thinking, fresh perspectives, and new concepts are few and far between amongst these individuals. They have moved too fast with too much. There is not enough room to have developed a keen expression of their creativity.

And so we must rediscover the ability to slow down. As y’all bust the spines of backed-binders and text books, or pick up that extra weekend shift, or decide to buy a 20,000 calorie cup of coffee to get through the afternoon,… consider allowing yourself the time and space to slowww dowwwn and take a few breaths. Perhaps take a 10 minute break every half-hour of studying; do not check the phone or watch television, but simply to sit, make yourself a cup of tea, and be free-minded. As you slow down and do less of the busyness, you may just find what you do is worth a whole lot more.

I think these two were trying to say something like that anyway:

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