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Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditation - Insight Meditation (Vipassana)

Mental clarity and health are only two of the benefits of meditation. Most people refer to meditation as mental clearing.

One of India’s ancient meditation techniques is Vipassana which means “to see things as they really are.” It was taught for almost 2500 years ago and was believed to be a universal cure for most illnesses. Here, we learn to purify our minds, free ourselves from suffering and it makes us experience peace and harmony in our life. One who practices Vipassana takes a ten day residential course under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Students follow a very strict training while inside the residence. For ten days, they are not allowed to have contact with the outside world, practice any religion or other disciplines, they must observe silence at all cost, and they are not allowed to talk with their fellow students. They follow a schedule of ten hours of meditation and could only discuss matters with the teacher if necessary.

The following are the steps in Vipassana:
  • Abstinence – students are to abstain from the five moral precepts which include abstention from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and the use of toxicants.
  • Anapana Meditation – this is practiced for three and a half days wherein they practice focusing on their breath.
  • Purifying the Mind – the practice will not be complete until this step is done. It is practiced for six and a half days wherein one penetrates one’s physical and mental structure with clarity and insight. With these steps, Vipassana helps the students purify their mind through self observation.
  • On the last day of the course, students are allowed to speak and live an extroverted life. It closes with the practice of metta bhavana, a technique which shares the purity developed with others.
  • Yoga for the Knees – Keep Your Knees Flexible and Strong

    Located at the middle part of the human legs, the knees are used for support and locomotion. It is composed of the bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Having no bone to bone stability and an unstable joint, the knees are sensitive and vulnerable to alignment. Knee injuries caused by strenuous activities such as sports are Arthritis or Osteoarthritis which is the most common form of arthritis; Bursitis, Strain or Sprain and Tendinitis which is the most common knee injury having swollen and injured tendons. In order to avoid these injuries, remember to warm up and cool down, have a good stretch and a good form during physical activity. One risk factor is being overweight or Obesity. As for athletes, a knee injury would cause them to stop playing because joint mobility is important in every sport. It will take about three weeks to six months of recovery before the knees can work properly again.

    Treatments for knee injury will depend on how severe the injury is. Some injury may require only pain relievers, physical therapy or exercise programs while severe injuries may require knee surgery. Yoga is one way of treating knee injury. The following are some treatments for knee injuries:

  • Asanas – helps in restoring the flexibility of the joint and will strengthen the muscles
  • Yoga Poses – if done with conscious good alignment of the leg bones and joint, it will help make the knees stronger and less receptive to injury

  • Take note that pushing yourself to pain is not the best way to recover. Yoga is practiced only during recovery and not when the injury is still new. It is practiced only to guide you in recovery and in improving the health of your knees. Doctor’s advice is still preferable before practicing Yoga.

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