Tuesday, March 30, 2010

World's largest simultaneous massage - Australia now holds the record!

Boy, do I wish I had been in Daylesford, Victoria this morning. My sore legs could have benefitted from a rub down after last night's jogging efforts!

Earlier today Daylesford, undoubtedly Australia’s spa capital, broke the Guinness World Record for the largest ever simultaneous massage. Check out the image above, don't you wish you were one of the 263 lucky people blissing out on one of those purple mats this morning while being massaged by a local massage therapist?

The previous record was set in Wshington DC in 2009, which involved a measly 167 people. Pah! Daylesford's efforts included a massive 526 people, all up.

If all this has put you in the mood for a massage, but you're not quite sure what type you need, pop over here for a breakdown of massage styles and how they can help different problems.

Curious about what's on offer in Dayelsford? Here's our review of Hepburn Springs, one of the many, many spa accommodations available there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

simple meditation for newbies

I don’t think I’m alone in saying this, but I really struggle with meditation. What makes it worse is that every time I try to learn the skill, I get distracted, discouraged and give up. I’ve made feeble attempts a couple of times this year; I’ve read the first few pages of the book Hurry Up and Meditate a few times, each time putting it back in my handbag thinking to myself, I’ll delve into it when I have more time / am feeling more settled / see a cute piglet flitting past my window.

I’ve taken matters into my own hands, sat down at the beach, made myself comfortable and started to still my mind, only to be distracted by a real-life Bondi Rescue happening right in front of my eyes. It’s very hard to stay focussed with a TV crew and two bedraggled girls in bikinis not 10 metres away. (Fortunately, they weren’t injured, just attractive and caught off-guard by the power of the waves – perfect TV fodder!)

So I’ve been on the lookout for meditation tips and guidelines to help me get into the habit of a regular practise. I figure I need to start simple and with no expectations (very important, according to the article on mindfulness meditation we have coming up in issue 127, due out April 21) then build up as I gain confidence and experience.

Coming across this meditation by Ed & Deb Shapiro, then, was just the thing I needed. If you’re just starting out on the path, like myself, you might like it too. Let me know if you try it and how your journey is progressing.

"Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Eyes are closed, breathe normally. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale...exhale...count one; inhale...exhale...two; inhale...exhale...three. Count to five, then start at one again. Just five breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple."

Update: I found these meditative phrases, also by Ed & Deb Shapiro, that might also be useful, if counting isn't your thing.
* "Soft belly, open heart" with each in- and out-breath
* "Breathing in, I calm the body and mind; breathing out, I smile."
* "I am easeful and peaceful, I am love."

I also really appreciated this perspective: "If your purpose is to try to achieve a quiet mind, then the trying itself will create tension and failure. Instead, you are just with whatever is happening in the moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. No judgment, no right or wrong. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that is required. It is more of an undoing than a doing." [Emphasis mine.]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Studio Oat

At the risk of causing a stampede as you all rush to order this series of gorgeous prints, thus creating a shortage before I've had a chance to buy it myself, I'd like to introduce you to Studio Oat.

I saw these illustrations - obviously created by a whimsical soul with oodles of talent - on Sunday at the markets and fell in love. Instantly.

The description that accompanies this series is equally as moving. "The Buddha Collection is about realising that through the ages there were a handful of those who truly know the heart of heaven. They are the link between heaven and earth. Living by their true virtue, they have proven that within every being there is a true nature. When realizing that the true nature is free of attachments, one can find true happiness – true peace. To have this awakening in this life, one will redirect one’s journey not only working for this physical life but focus on the permanent state of the spirit. Life then becomes a find balance between this world and the world beyond life and death."

I also have a soft spot for this image, it makes my heart sing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Linky Goodness

Need a diversion? Check out the sites that have been lifting our spirits this week.

The World Needs all Kinds of Minds
Temple Grandin suffers from autism and in her talk at the 2010 TED (Technology, Entertinment, Design) conference raises the point that this diagnosis should not be regarded as a negative, but as something to be embraced. “She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.”

This nearly 20-minute video is a life-changer and well worth your time/download usage. Make yourself a cuppa and prepare to have your ideas challenged.

Top 20 salads
I love bringing my lunch to work with me but I find it a challenge to keep things interesting as well as quick and easy. I went through a phase of making sandwiches in the morning before work, but I may have overdone it a little because the thought of a sandwich has been incredibly unappealing for many months now, so I’ve been looking for salads that I can put together in the office kitchen without too much fuss. My favourite at the moment is cannellini beans, basil, feta and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic/olive oil dressing. It tastes like summer and is incredibly filling. I was worried that I was going to get sick of this salad, too, and started looking around for other ideas when voila! I stumbled on this wonderful site.

20 incredibly nutritious and easy to prepare salads that can be made at home before work or in the office kitchen. I love the chickpea, rocket and parmesan salad – my go to favourite for summer BBQs – and altered it slightly for today’s lunch by replacing parmesan with tuna, and I have to say I enjoyed it just as much. The lemon brings out the nutty flavour of the chickpeas and gives the rocket extra pow!

You’ll definitely find something you love here.

The Cove
I’m so pleased that The Cove won an Oscar for Best Documentary feature. I finally got around to watching it over the weekend and was incredibly impressed with the crew’s ingenuity and dedication. It’s not a film for the weepy though, as the dolphin slaughter in the final 15 minutes is breathtaking in its barbarism. Ric O’Barry, the man behind the movement to put a stop to this annual cull in Taiji – for “pest control” reasons (rubbish!!) – as well as the cruelty of whale and dolphin shows, has said that he hopes the attention the film will now garner will help spread the message in Japan, where many remain oblivious to dolphin hunting.

If you can bear it, I recommend watching The Cove. It is a riveting and eye-opening doco. If the plight of the dolphins moves you, go here and sign the petition.

Or go here for more information.

For Australian readers, you may also want to copy and paste the petition and send it to Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, who has discussed taking Japan to the International Court of Justice if it does not agree to cease whaling in the Southern Ocean by November. Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au
You can also contact Environment Minister Peter Garret who has spoken out at the International Whaling Commission previously. You can email him via a form on this page.

This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
This video clip has already had over 5 million views in the past week? Why? Because it’s bright, ingenious, uplifting and irrepressibly joyful. Come join the fun! http://bit.ly/aLcNkv