Hypnagogic Hallucinations and the Magical Half Awake, Half Asleep State

shutterstock_111334439The doorbell rings. You are surprised to see the entire Simpson family before you asking you to sign a petition against the use of nuclear power. In the middle of Homer Simpson’s speech on the dangers of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant the doorbell rings – louder and louder… You jolt awake and run to the door. The mailman has a package delivery for you.

Real life noise like doorbells and telephones ringing sometimes intrude on our sleep during hypnagogia – the state of transition between a wakeful and sleep state. Most of us have had the experience of drifting off to sleep when outside noise commingles with dream elements, often creating a strange dream-like experience. Our dream-like experiences in this state are called hypnagogic hallucinations.  We are more likely to remember hypnagogic hallucinations than events in other brain states, including dreaming in the REM state, but we all struggle to remember our dream elements. The hypnagogic state is similar to the deep meditation state. By learning how to meditate deeply and create a solid daily practice, you will be able to more easily access both states.

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Situational Leadership – Develop Competent, Committed Employees

situational leadershipCorporate leaders should take a few lessons from Jerry Seinfeld. The world’s highest paid comedian still goes to nightclubs several times a week to study his audience. By getting to know different audiences, he is able to adapt his routine to suit each situation. Best-selling management authors Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey understood the secret to success of Seinfeld. Through their popular theory called situational leadership, they advise managers that there is no best style of leadership. The most effective leaders, they conclude, adapt their style to fit the situation and group. When developing your leadership style, take a lesson from the adaptive style of Seinfeld, Blanchard and Hersey.

The type of situational leadership style to adopt depends on the leadership requirements (leadership style) to meet the needs of a group (group style). Situational leadership considers four leadership styles and four group styles.

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How to Improve Time Management and Create a More Productive Day

time managementTime management or get rich quick tip? Write a best-selling book on how to manage a 4-hour work week, get rich, and have all the time in the world to do whatever you want. It does seem as though Tim Ferriss, the author of the best seller on time management The 4-Hour Work Week, has a lot of free time to tweet. Tim Ferriss’ 486,000 Twitter and one million blog followers are a testament to how important time management is in our lives.

The problem with Tim’s time management tips is that one becomes stressed out just reading them. His attempt to learn 10 languages, become a world tango champion, and gain or lose 30 pounds in super human spans of time are stressful to read about, even for an A personality.  Read between the lines, and his blogs are full of words like ‘superhuman,’ ‘workaholics,’ and ‘16-hour workdays.’ Then, there are the assistants experiencing major burnouts and people popping stay awake drugs. A mindful approach to time management brings peace not stress to daily life. [Read more…]

Reiki Attunement – How to Choose the Best Reiki Initiation Program

reiki attunementReiki is a way to use the energy in your hands to balance and revitalize the life force energy within us. When our life force energy is high, we are less likely to get sick. Many people who have been ill have benefited from physical, mental and emotional healing from this hands-on energy treatment. Through Reiki attunements, you can learn how to tap into the life force energy and revitalize and heal yourself and others. For many, the attunement or initiation process starts in 1st Degree Reiki Practitioners Healing Training. For others, it is the formal initiation into healing others performed at the Reiki master level. This article discusses the role of attunement in Levels 1, 2 and Masters Reiki training. [Read more…]

Kundalini Awakening – Restoring and Balancing Your Life Energy

Kundalini awakeningAre you seeking nirvana? Millions of people go on spiritual quests each year – to India, meditation retreats, and yoga studios – in search of nirvana. If you are looking for nirvana in far off or esoteric places, you are likely still searching. Nirvana, also known as Kundalini awakening, is a practice you can do at home.  Kundalini is not a metaphorical place but a proven practice of mantras, breathing and yoga used to balance body and mind. Finding Balance and Bliss is a 10-minute meditation for some and a 10-day retreat for others. Once you learn Kundalini, you can practice in a few minutes a day.

The Kundalini Awakening

Until the 1970s, Kundalini was a private practice passed down by masters to their students. Yogi Bhajan made this ancient Hindu spiritual practice public when he began to teach it in the West.  Today, a Kundalini class can be found in most cities in North America.  Many people sample a slice of Kundalini rather than going through the formal process of a Kundalini awakening.  You have likely already been exposed to Kundalini practices in a yoga, meditation or mantra class.

A Kundalini awakening is a restorative process and a source of mind-body balance you can draw on throughout your life. It is among the most powerful meditations that heal. KundaIini seeks to balance the opposing forces inherent in all life: the Shiva and Shakti.  Kundalini energy lies dormant at the base of the spine as a serpent coiled three and a half times.  Considered to be the female Shakti energy of creation by Hindus, it is activated by the awakening of the chakras.

The seven chakras run from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Activating the chakras involves yoga poses, breathing and mantras.

The Chakras

That Kundalini awakening is based on the seven chakras.  The seven chakras are the tailbone, pelvis area, naval area, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow — and the top of the head.  Shakti represents is the lower chakras. Shiva represent is the higher chakras.  Each chakra vibrates at a different frequency.

The root chakra (red) is at the base of the spine.  This is the base of Kundalini – the serpent’s spiral tail.  It is associated with the earth and being grounded.  When it is balanced, we feel physically safe in the physical realm and our basic needs are met.

The sacral chakra (orange) lies between the pubis and navel.  When it is in balance, we are connected with others, self-awareness, and sexuality.

The solar plexus chakra (yellow) rests above the navel.   It is associated with fire and connecting with our internal energy source, self-identity and self-confidence.

The heart chakra (green) is seated in the heart.  Once the heart is opened, we are non-judgmental, accepting and experience the unity of life.

The throat chakra (blue) is a communication center where we both receive and transmit truth.  When balanced, our consciousness is clear and we are at peace.

The third eye (purple) sits between the eyebrows and the forehead.  Through our third eye, we are connected to inner and universal knowledge.

The crown chakra (white) is at the top of the head.  It is a pathway to universal consciousness and understanding.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini awakening starts at the base, root chakra.  The focus then moves up the seven chakras.  A Kundalini is often portrayed as a sleeping serpent with a coil at its base.  A mantra (below) is used to activate the heat that moves the energy up the nadis, or energy channels. As the energy rises and purifies the channels, the mind opens up.  First, through breathing, mantras and yoga poses, the lower chakras begin to open up.  Next, the energy moves from the lower chakras to the naval chakra, which opens the passage to the heart chakra.  From the heart chakra, the energy moves to the throat chakra.  The mind is then opened as the energy moves to the forehead and through to the top of the head.

It is easy to let your mind wander during yoga practice and replay events of the day. This is counter-productive. If your mind and breath are not synchronized with your body, yoga becomes a physical workout rather than a mind-body workout. If you use yoga as a physical workout, it is a good time to explore, what is yoga as meditation? Start by practicing the basic mantras such as OM before moving into the Kundalini mantras.

Kundalini Mantras

Mantras are one of the most powerful ways of awakening the serpent.  Sounds resonate at a different frequency with each chakra. Starting with the base chakra, sounds create the heat that drives the energy through the chakras.

The chant is the catalyst used to alter your states of consciousness.  Sounds are used to raise energy and mediate the awareness between mind and body.  As the sounds become deeper, they will begin to resonate with the sounds of your own body.  Listen intently for your own body sounds. The focus is on centering by listening to the sounds to balance mind and body.

Kundalini Pranayama

Pranayama is the magic elixir of Kundalini awakening – the mantras and breathing. Energy rises up through the chakras through the Nadis, or energy channels.  These channels must be purified to allow the energy to flow.  Pranayama, mantras using special sounds and letters, is a core technique for purifying the Nadis.

Prana, or breath, is the flow through the Ida and Pingala corresponding with the left and right nostrils, respectively.  The ultimate goal is to allow prana to flow through sushumna.  The two purification processes of the maxis are called samanu and nirmanu. Nirmanu refers to physical cleansing. Samanu is the use of mantras and breathing to purify the nadis.

Samanu Purification Process

  1. Sit in padamasana, also called Lotus pose.  Repeat ‘Yam’ – It represents the air element and is the color of smoke.  Inhale through the left nostril while repeating Yam 16 times.  Hold the breath while repeating Yam 64 times.  Then, exhale through the right nostril slowly repeating Yam 32 times.
  2. Meditating on the navel, repeat the breathing sequence on the opposite side – inhale right nostril, say Yam  16 times; retain breath repeating Yam 64 times; exhale left nostril repeating Yam 32 times.
  3. Meditate on the tip of the nose.  Inhale left nostril repeating ‘Tham’ 16 times. Retain breath repeating Tham 64 times. Imagine all the nadis opening and prana running through them. Exhale slowly through the left nostril repeating ‘Lam’ 32 times.

Kundalini Pranayama

Kundalini pranayama is the most commonly used pranayama. You may have done it in a yoga or meditation class.  Meditate on the root chakra.  Block the right nostril with your thumb.  Inhale through the left nostril while saying ‘Aum’ three times.  Close the left nostril and retain the breath for 12 counts.  Feel the energy move down the spine to the root chakra, awakening the Kundalini serpent.  Inhale through the right nostril for six Aums.

Practice different Pranayama breathing techniques and discover the ones that work for you.

Kundalini awakening is a powerful restoration and balancing practice. It is even used to treat psychiatric disorders, including symptoms of autism. In the treatment of mental disorders, it should be used in consultation with a doctor.

If you are not already in a meditation practice, consider an introductory course to meditation such as Meditation for Self-Healing for basic lessons in breathing, relaxation techniques, postures and the chakras. Meditation: Straightforward and Unencumbered will fit into your busy life. Learn how to meditate to the sounds in your life such as waterfalls and crickets, as well as the noise. Numerous guided and time meditations will get your started on your mindfulness journey.

Super Brain Yoga to Revitalize Your Mind

Super Brain YogaHow much of your brain do you use? Most people overestimate the answer to this question. Neuroscientists claim that we use only 10% of our brains. Yet unlike our heart, most of us do not exercise our brain organ. When doctors tell us we need a cardiovascular workout at least three times a week to keep our hearts healthy, we increase our running or walking exercise. What do you do to increase your brain capacity? Today, it is easy to find yoga for energy and peace of mind but fewer people practice yoga for improving brain functioning.

Yoga for a total mind-body transformation is not complete unless it includes a workout for the brain. Super brain yoga is a proven way to increase your brain capacity. Super brain yoga adherents claim that placing the hands on the ear lobes while doing squats can make you smarter.  The Hindus call the practice Thoppukaranam – ‘Thorpi,’ which means with the hands + ‘Karnam,’ which means ears. In Hindu tradition, Thoppukaranam is performed facing Lord Ganesha – the god of wisdom, knowledge and intellect.

Indian children learn Thoppukaranam early, especially if they are naughty in school. Brain yoga is said to be used as a form of discipline in Indian schools but it may be more accurate to describe it as a form of reformation. The crisscrossing of the arms in front of the chest while grabbing the ear lobes with the hands is a sign of punishment, Thoppukaranam. Teachers have traditionally sent misbehaving children to a corner to give them time to quiet their minds and reflect upon their deeds. The practice of Thoppukaranam also reduces the anxiety that may be behind the mischievous behavior while quieting the mind and improving concentration.

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Guided Meditation for Life Transformation

guided meditationFor first time meditators or those trying a new form of meditation, guided meditation is highly recommended. The benefits of many forms of meditation have been clinically proven, including Buddhist, Transcendental and Zen. To achieve these benefits, ancient techniques must be closely followed.  Guided meditation is the best way to learn a meditation practice.

Guided meditations are available for any objective you want to achieve – calming the mind, relaxation, healing, positive thinking, opening to love, self-awareness, expressing gratitude, and on and on. Transformations can also be facilitated through guided meditations – anger to emotional release, stress to peace of mind, procrastination to action.

The best way to learn how to meditate deeply and create a solid daily practice is through an experienced guide. You will benefit the most from meditation if you create a systematic approach to daily practice based on sound fundamentals.

A monk or other experienced guide can walk you through the meaning and essence of meditation. Some guides even offer to help you call on angels or spirit guides during your meditation. Others offer to take you on journeys – lucid dreams, astral travel, and to the akashic records – a super storehouse of all knowledge in the universe.

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Life Coach Salary – How Much Can You Expect to Make?

lifecoachsalaryBecoming a guru is a hot career prospect. Most people opt for the label, “life coach.” Secretly, some life coaches might harbor a desire to be the Michael Porter of the business world, the Eckhart Tolle of the spiritual world or the Tony Robbins of success and wealth. If you are looking to kick start your coaching program, estimating potential income is an important first step.

In your role as life coach, your salary could vary greatly from $20,000 to $100,000. According to Indeed.com, the average life coach salary is $60,000. But then there are the Brian Tracy’s, Tolle’s and Robbins’ who make millions of dollars a year. Robbins and Tracy sell millions of dollars in advice, books and audio each year sharing their strategies for achieving “personal success.” Fewer than one percent of life coaches bring in seven digits. [Read more…]

Skateboard Art – Inspiration for Artists and Collectors

skateboard artSkateboards are not only prized for their smooth rides, the heights they soar, and the velocity they move at. Another important key selling feature of a skateboard is skateboard art.  The bounce and flex of the board will influence how you do in spins and flips. Creative art techniques provide inspiration for awesome skateboard art.

Skateboards are very closely associated with the skateboarders that support them.  Often, the artwork has a stronger brand identity than the sponsor’s name. Different from other brands where the brand’s logo represents the athlete, skateboard art has a stronger brand identity, and is often strongly associated with the artist. That is why skateboard art by artists who are also skateboard pros is popular. [Read more…]

Level 2 Stock Quotes – Improve Your Trading Performance

level 2 stock quotesA key trading tool of professional traders is Level 2 stock quotes – pricing information that is becoming easier for all traders to access. Stock quotes are provided in two formats – Level 1 and Level 2.  Nonprofessional traders use level 1 stock prices. Level 1 stock prices are based on the price of the last trade made.  The price and volume of shares traded is provided. Professional traders use Level 2 quotes.  Level 2 quotes show the buying and selling activity of all players in real time. Reading Level 2 stock prices is also called Tape Reading. The secret to trading like hedge fund managers and other pros is to learn how to read the tape, a technique day trading veterans use to profit from the stock market every day! [Read more…]