In the Niyamas, or the self-observations, Svadhyaya is self-reflection. Funny, how the Niyama that seems to be an umbrella for the other Niyamas is fourth on the list, but it makes sense when seen in context. The previous three Niyamas – Saucha, Santosha, and Tapas - establish a practice of self respect. Remember: Saucha is the practice of cleanliness or purity; Santosha, the practice of contentment; and Tapas, the practice of discipline. Once one has integrated these three, Svadhyaya can be approached from a genuine place of earnest and acceptance rather than a critical and judgmental place.
Svadhyaya can take many forms. Whether walking through the woods, journaling, or sitting in a quiet moment with a hot drink, taking the time for self contemplation can bring new insights to old issues, or even new ways of thinking about one’s self. Self reflection can help to paint with a broader brush; allowing one to see more of the “big picture,” and how one might fit into what has happened in and around them thus far. Svadhyaya is about coming from a place where there is no right or wrong or good or bad, but where things simply are.
So how can we practice Svadhyaya in our day to day lives? Beginning by practicing the first three Niyamas to cultivate care for the self. Once those are routine, incorporate self reflection in a way that is effective for you; be it yoga, photography, or simply staring off into the distance. After that, once you begin to “see” the integration of your life, allow for those thoughts, feelings, and emotions to exist without labeling them one thing or another.
Take a breath and self reflect. Allow you’re memories to coalesce, and simply take note. By beginning with acceptance, we slowly allow ourselves to listen to the wisdom of the universe.
Join the Counseling Office TOMORROW for a Stress Relief Workshop! With finals quickly approaching, this can be a very stressful time for students. This workshop will teach you how to help reduce the effects of stress and learn techniques that help to achieve a more balanced state. The workshop will take place in Room 215, Tuohy Hall from 11-12pm AND from 2-3pm. Learn how to incorporate breathing and visualization techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. Please take a look at the attached flier for more details. We look forward to seeing you there!
“Meth production, use and resulting addiction have wreaked havoc among individuals, families and communities across our nation,” explained The Partnership at Drugfree.org President and CEO, Steve Pasierb. “The launch of Meth Awareness Week is a prime opportunity to engage all sectors of our society to take action to prevent teens and young adults from ever experimenting with meth. While intervention and treatment are vital components to reduce use, prevention is the most effective and efficient step in eliminating the damage done by this destructive drug.”
To learn more about Meth Awareness Week, visit The Meth Project
With finals quickly approaching, this can be a very stressful time for students. To help reduce the effects of stress and learn techniques that help to achieve a more balanced state, The Counseling Office would like to invite you to participate in a Stress Relief Workshop. The workshop will take place in Room 215, Tuohy Hall on Thursday, December 5 from 11-12pm AND from 2-3pm. Learn how to incorporate breathing and visualization techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. Please take a look at the attached flier for more details. We look forward to seeing you there!
As humans, we are made up of physical and emotional body, in conjunction with a mind and spirit. They function interdependently. Reflexology incorporates all aspects of the human being: mind, body, emotion, and spirit. In a relaxed state, we integrate all aspects of our being.
Definition of reflexology (n)
re·flex·ol·o·gy pronounced [ ree flek sólləjee ]
1.massage therapy: a form of massage in which pressure is applied to parts of the feet and hands in order to promote relaxation and healing elsewhere in the body
2.study of reflexes and behavior: the scientific study of physiological reflexes and their relation to behavior
3.behavioral theory: a theory that explains human behavior as complex chains of conditioned and unconditioned reflexes
Studies researching reflexology in the U.S. and across the world note positive benefits. Studies, funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate reflexology’s promise as an intervention for pain management, enhance relaxation, sleep, and the reduction of psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Perhaps the most beneficial results have been in the area of cancer palliation (Ernst, Posadzki, Lee, 2010).
Reflexologists utilize hand and foot charts as a guide and apply pressure to specific areas. Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears. Reflexology is relaxing and an effective way to alleviate stress. Practitioners use items such as rubber balls, rubber bands, and sticks of wood, and crystals to assist in their work. Reflexology practitioners include, chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists. There are other health care professionals that also use this as a complimentary health treatment to standard medical care.
According to the University of Minnesota’s extensive research in the matter of Reflexology, it has many benefits for an individual that may be willing to try an alternative health modality.
Benefits of Reflexology as per the University of Minnesota:
1.Reflexology has an impact on specific organs (e.g., MRI readings demonstrated an increase in blood flow to kidneys and to the intestines)
2.Reflexology can demonstrate an amelioration of symptoms (e.g., positive changes were noted in kidney functioning with kidney dialysis patients)
3.Reflexoogy creates a relaxation effect (e.g., EEGs measure alpha and theta waves, blood pressure was decreased, and anxiety was lowered)
4.Reflexology aids in pain reduction (27 studies demonstrated a positive outcome for reduction in pain (e.g., peripheral neuropathy of diabetes mellitus, kidney stones, and osteoarthritis)
Always speak with your Primary Care Physician for evaluation/consult prior to starting any kind or type new healthcare regimen.
For more information click here
No set of moral and ethical guidelines would be complete without a remark about discipline, right? Well in Ashtanga Yoga, the Eight Limbs of Yoga, under the Niyamas there is Tapas. Derived from the sanskrit word tap, which means heat, Tapas is deep meditation, but is often interpreted as discipline. Because of this, Tapas can also be seen as spiritual austerity.
Whether someone is a spiritual person, or not, Tapas or discipline is universally relatable. Any course of action, be it work, study, or hobby, that takes a deliberate effort will require the individual to make use of discipline in order to stay on that path to reach their goals. It is this effort that builds heat in the body (and mind), or tap. A common phrase one may use to describe someone who is ambition, dedicated, or disciplined on their path is that they have a “fire in their belly.” Those ancient yogis were quite clever with their word play.
So how can we practice Tapas in our day to day lives? Begin by observing how we approach our responsibilities and goals, taking note of how much effort or thought we put into the things we are doing. By noticing and evaluating the degree to which we are disciplined can help provide clarity on what is important to us, or where we may need to concentrate more of our focus towards. Starting with this inquiry lays the path for us to reach our ambitions. But be weary of too much Tapas, as too much heat is as detrimental as no heat at all. Remember, Ahimsa before all else.
Take a breath and notice what ignites a passion in you. Also, notice where you may need to turn the heat up in your life. Practice being diligent and intentional in your actions, living mindfully.
It is a week before Thanksgiving which implies a few things. They have begun the blitzkrieg of Christmas commercials, the days are getting shorter and colder, and all of those mid-semester assignments are due. That means a lot of studying.
To balance the stress of the day-to-day, try working on some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation. It may seem simple, but when was the last time you felt your diaphragm fully expand, or your shoulders without any tension?
As for studying, I found four things to be most helpful in the process:
1- maintain focus (let the family know, find a quiet space, turn off the cellphone)
2- have some sort of easy-music playing (classical, jazz, ambient sound-scapes, whatever you’re into but is not distracting)
3- have healthy snacks/ tea on standby (carrots and humus, bananas, peppermint tea, etc.)
4- keep a timed schedule (my most effective pattern: on for 25 minutes, off for 5 minutes [after every 3rd 25 minutes take 20 minutes off])
Below is a YouTube video link that is great when played in the background while working, relaxing, or writing a blog post on a Thursday morning (hehe).
video channel credit: steauanumber1, creative commons
On the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society promotes the Great American Smokeout. This day, which this year falls on November 21st, is intended to encourage smokers to focus on their health and make a plan to quit smoking. Tobacco use greatly increases a person’s risk for lung cancer, as well as deteriorates his/her overall health. Because of tobacco’s addictive qualities, quitting smoking can be very difficult, and often results in relapse. However, the American Cancer Society offers valuable tool, resources and support to help an individual quit successfully. These resources can be found here.
A quiz to assess if you are ready to quit can also be found here. Quitting smoking reduces one’s risk for coronary disease, stroke, prevents aging, as well as cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus. With the advantages of ceasing smoking, the American Cancer Society would like to encourage you, a family member, a friend to take tomorrow to participate in the smoke out and utilize the day to focus on bettering your health, one day at a time.