Why Doing Nothing is the Key to Happiness

This is a great post I stumbled across by Mark Hyman MD.

Clear the mind, clear the path to awakening


Christopher Vlaun

Attention and focus are hard to come by. Starbucks built a $13 billion business because we need help paying attention. Psychiatrists increasingly diagnose “adult attention deficit disorder” and prescribe Ritalin for grownups who can’t focus or pay attention. But are coffee and prescription speed the answers to our modern distractions?

Our attention is derailed by email, iPhones, the bing of a new text message, by bad news on television and the stresses of work, relationships and family. It’s easy to be overwhelmed and miss the extraordinary gift of being alive. Our bodies break down under the onslaught – insomnia, anxiety, depression, obesity and all chronic diseases are made worse by this unrelenting stress.

The Buddha was walking down the road shortly after he was enlightened, and a traveler saw his remarkable energy. He asked him if he was an angel, a wizard or magician or some kind of god.

“No,” the Buddha said, “I am awake.”

What matters most in life is the quality of our experience, the ability to be awake to what is real and true in our lives, for the difficult and the happy times, to be awake to each person we touch, to our own experience, to this very moment, to the simple sweet and alive gifts of a smile, a kind deed, the breeze on our skin, the firefly flickering the early summer night.

But that’s harder than it sounds. Our monkey mind gets in the way, and in order to pay attention we need to be quiet, to be practiced at stillness, to know the habits of our mind and be skilled at dancing with them, not be controlled or dominated by them. We need to know how to witness the thoughts and feelings we have without having them overwhelm our lives.

My way into medicine was through Buddhism. I majored in Buddhist studies at Cornell. As a young man in college, I was deeply interested in the mind, in nature of our consciousness, of the ways our thoughts and perceptions control our lives and how we can work with them in a juicy, helpful way that brings more love, kindness, compassion and insight into every moment, rather than darkness, suffering, struggle and pain.

Pain is inevitable. Loss is inevitable. Death, illness, war, disaster have always been and will always be part of the human condition. Yet within it, I wondered as a young man, was there a way to understand suffering in a different light, to break the cycle of suffering. I realized there was a way to be more awake, to see things as they are, to notice life as it is and savor it, to love it, to wake up with gratitude and lightness and celebration for the magic of life. It is always there, and the trick is simply to notice.

But to notice requires a stillness of the mind. This is something not quite so easy to achieve for most of us. Being awake takes practice. Each of us can find our path to being awake. Ancient traditions provide many avenues. Belief in any particular religion or philosophy is not necessary, just a desire to show up and pay attention without judgment or criticism. To notice the ebb and flow of our breath and our thoughts without holding on to them, like waves washing over you on a summer day at the beach.

This is harder than it sounds, because it requires us to be patient with ourselves, to love ourselves, even all the ugly, petty, small thoughts. It requires us to create calm within the chaos through non-judgmental awareness. Most of us have no clue how to do this.

When I was 20 years old, I spent 10 days in silent meditation retreat. Sleeping, meditating, eating. That was it. As the turbulent oceans of my young mind settled each day, I began to feel more awake, more alive and happier than I ever had before. The happiness was not connected to any external event or person, but to the simple joy of being able to notice beauty and brilliance in the people and in the nature that surrounded me.

Over the course of my life I’ve come in and out of practicing stillness, but whenever I return to it, it feels like home. There are thousands of ways to meditate – traditional mindfulness meditation is the simplest and most accessible, but any form can work – yoga, nature, dance, breathing and prayer.

The point of meditation, of doing nothing, is not an end in itself but a way to calm the mind, to see the true nature of things, and reduce the impact of suffering – while increasing love, kindness, wisdom, fearlessness and sympathy. From that stillness, your life becomes more rich, your actions more clear, your words more direct and powerful and your capacity to be fully engaged in life enhanced. It is not a retreat from life, but a way to go fully into it and cultivate your own power and happiness.

The many benefits of meditation have been substantiated by science. Meditation reduces chronic pain, blood pressure, headaches, anxiety and depression. It helps you lose weight, lowers cholesterol, increase sports performance, boost immune function, relieves insomnia, increases serotonin, creativity, optimizes brain waves, helps learning, attention, productivity and memory and more.

But none of those reason are the reasons I meditate, nor why I practice yoga (which for me is meditation in motion). It is to be more awake to life, to myself, to cultivate loving kindness and compassion toward myself, toward others, and to the often challenging human condition in which we find ourselves.

The good news is that all you need is a few minutes, and place to sit and be quiet, and you can do this anywhere. This year, on New Years Day, my friend Elena Brower, a meditation and yoga teacher, came to visit with her family – and our families did yoga and meditation together – an amazing reminder and inspiration to show up to the party of your own precious life.

If you are new to meditation or an experienced meditator, I hope you will check out Elena’s new online audio meditation course, a sweet journey into a creative, consistent meditation practice. In four thoughtful installations, you’ll receive eight different meditations (5+ hours of meditation for you to explore), along with evocative journal pages for your contemplations, and gorgeous imagery for each week to complement and inspire your work.

For more from Dr. Hyman visit:

Dramatic Benefits of Tabada Training

If you have experience one of our beach fitness methods i.e. Aeroga® Beach Bootcamp, you probably have experienced some sort of Tabada circuit within the total experience. I love the benefits and it can be applied to many exercises.

“The rate of increase in V02max is one of the highest ever reported.” – Izumi Tabata, Japan

Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.

Here is an example, a basic Tabata workout can be performed with superset of push-up and air-squat. I suggest exercises like this since they target multiple muscle groups. You alternate the two exercises non-stop for 20-second intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest after each. Repeat for a total of 8 cycles.

In the beginning, You will need to build up your endurance gradually. I strongly suggest you to ease into this workout method slowly, start with bodyweight exercises and basic calisthenics, not with weights.

Meditation to Cure Alzheimer’s?

How has Kirtan Kriya helped those with Alzheimer’s?

“The reason an integrated medical program works is simple: the brain is flesh and blood, just like the rest of the body. Like your heart or any other part of your body, your brain requires the proper nutrition, blood flow, and energy to perform well. Simply put, “What works for the heart, works for the head”-Dr. Khalsa

The Study: Following studies, which found the Kirtan Kriya meditation program to increase cognitive function and cerebral blood flow, a study was conducted to test the integrative meditational medicine on those with Alzheimer’s and memory loss. The study on Kirtan Kriya measured the results of the meditative practice over an 8-week study testing variations in the stress, sleep, mood, and anxiety of 15 subjects with memory loss in the median age range of 62±7 years old and their caregivers.

The Method: In order to test the results of Kirtan Kriya the research team in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, AZ prepared preliminary and post-study testing including neuropsychological tests, photon emission scans, and measures for mood, anxiety, and spirituality. “Major outcomes included measures of perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), sleep (General Sleep Disturbance Scale), mood (Profile of Mood States), memory functioning (Memory Functioning Questionnaire), and blood pressure.”

The Results: The 8-week study produced positive results! Subjects spending 12 minutes a day meditating with Kirtan Kriya were found to have “positive changes in mood, anxiety, and other neuropsychological parameters, and these changes correlated with changes in cerebral blood flow.” See the study.

The study also observed, “an improvement across measures of mental health and cognitive functioning, psychological distress, and telomerase activity in caregivers performing daily Kirtan Kriya compared with the relaxation group.”

Is Integrative Medicine a Good Approach to Alzheimer’s?

According to Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, Integrative Medicine techniques like Kirtan Kriya and other meditation techniques help to cure memory loss that could be related to stress, cognitive decline, or due to mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a specific type of memory loss that is, in fact, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Khalsa creates a vivid picture of integrative medicine by asking us “to imagine two rivers: a river on the left as conventional medicine, including drugs and surgery, and a river on the right as alternative, or complementary, medicine, consisting primarily of treatments people can apply themselves.”

Read More.


“A faithful friend is the medicine of life.” A good friend will always ease your burdens. Fill your life with such friends, offering them your love and support in return. Think of them often; their healing powers are priceless.