Book Select: Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound

Modern science and ancient wisdom traditions agree that the universe is a symphony of vibrational frequencies. In this beautiful, comprehensive, and unique work, Dr. Frawley elaborates the essential truths about cosmic sound, and how we can employ important mantras for healing, transformation and inner awakening.

You can order a copy at Amazon

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Medical Study: Meditation and The Heart

Relationships between heart coherence and EEG alpha band activities

In this study, relationships were assessed between the proposed heart coherence as a meditation index and EEG alpha band activities. The parietal peak alpha power is increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation but no such significant relationship was observed at baseline. Average lagged alpha coherence are increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation but reverse relationship was observed at baseline. Relative alpha power also increased with increasing heart coherence during both meditation and baseline while the regression coefficient still higher as similar in the other alpha variables during meditation than baseline.

There is a previous meditation-related study examining correlations between conventional HRV indices (LF, HF, LF/HF) and EEG variables (Takahashi et al., 2005); however, respiration rate in the study was fixed at predetermined rate that could give a sense of restraint to the participants. It would be more natural that the participant decides their respiration rate by themselves according to their own tempo for their successful meditative state.

There was a study exploring the correlation between average cardiac index changes and average EEG index changes during meditation (Kubota et al., 2001; Hamada et al., 2006) but there are few cases considering dynamic correlation changes between cardiac and EEG indices at within baseline and within meditation. One such exception was a study in which the correlation between heart rate and BOLD signals in the ACC region was higher in the meditative state than in a neutral state (Lutz et al., 2009).

In this study, the relationship between cardiac and EEG indices were explored at baseline and during meditation for 12 participants. The results show that our proposed cardiac index, heart coherence, has a significant positive correlation with every EEG alpha index (peak power, relative power, and average coherence) during meditation, but not during baseline.

At the same time, heart coherence had a stronger coupling, greater regression coefficient, with all EEG alpha variables during mediation than during baseline testing (Figure (Figure3).3). The regression coefficient, slope of the regression equation between heart coherence and EEG alpha variables, means to what extent of EEG alpha activities changes when heart coherence increase by 1. If we only observed average changes in various variables, the dynamic correlations between heart coherence and alpha peak power, for instance, would not have been detected. Many participants did not show positive heart coherence changes when the average changes were statistically assessed (Figure (Figure1).1). It means that coherent behavior of the heart rhythm was not so reliable for many of the participants. It means that many of the participants could not sustain heart coherent meditation for the entire duration of their meditation. However, it would be more natural that there were fluctuations in meditation quality within their entire meditation duration. Furthermore, all the participants only completed a basic course, and none were advanced meditator. Although heart coherence was not reliable in the most of the participants, there was strong coupling between heart coherence and EEG alpha variables within meditative state compared to the baseline. This could suggest that there are many moments in which heart coherence directly influence EEG alpha activities during meditation. In addition, alpha peak power did not also change significantly from baseline to during meditation in the analysis of group-based data. Regardless, the highest regression coefficient (Figure (Figure3)3) during meditation compared to baseline, was between heart coherence and alpha peak power, indicates that there may be many moments when heart coherence is strongly coupled with alpha peak power during meditation, even though the relationship may not be detected during an entire meditation duration (Figure (Figure2C2C).

An indication of meditation quality would be expected from the strength of the relationship, regression coefficient (Figure (Figure3),3), between heart coherence and EEG variables. Heart coherence may not only be a cardiac index but also an index of meditation if heart coherence is strongly correlated with EEG alpha variables especially in meditation. However, there is also an evidence that heart coherence usually increases in the early phase of meditation, accompanying slow and deep breathing, and shows quite different patterns in the deep phase of meditation in which the heart coherence cannot represent such a meditative state any more (McCraty et al., 2009).

Although heart coherence cannot cover all stages or types of meditation, we anticipate that a heart coherence index will become a simple tool for quick assessment of Autogenic meditative states, which is easily achievable during people’s daily lives, considering the fact that heart coherence can be implemented more easily than EEG index, based on the use of contemporary technologies.

In addition, all parameters observed in this study were indices reflecting a degree of ordering or self-organization; heart coherence, EEG alpha activities and the synchronizing relationship between heart coherence and EEG variables. Strengthening the degree of ordering by enhancing heart coherence, promoting EEG alpha activations and improving the relationship between heart and EEG variables would help in recovery of the homeostatic processes within our body. Interestingly, there were some researches showing harmonic frequency architecture in EEG study. Eleven Hertz alpha peak was clearly observed in vibrotactile discrimination task while harmonic peak at 22 Hz also emerged in a recent animal study (Haegens et al., 2011) and simultaneous appearance of 6 Hz frontal midline theta and 12 Hz alpha activity during retention period of a demanding working memory task in a human study (Jensen et al., 2002). Regarding the dynamic correlations between heart coherence and EEG alpha activities argued in this paper, we could assume that there could be a harmonic oscillation architecture in human body, connecting brain oscillating 10 Hz alpha frequency and heart oscillating 0.1 Hz respiration frequency (cardio-respiratory resonant frequency varies from person to person, the frequencies are generally around 0.1 Hz).

We still do not know how the heart coherence are coupled EEG alpha activity more actively in the meditation compared to the baseline. Further study will help to define this degree of ordering more clearly and a causality of the interactions between heart and brain more thoroughly and will eventually determine how we can achieve such a state more easily using physiological knowledge and biofeedback technologies.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

If your really interested I recommend reading the full study here at NCBI 

Indica Selects: Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is an indica strain that has gained notoriety in the U.S. and beyond for its heavy tranquilizing effects. Sweet hashish flavors with subtle notes of chocolate and coffee come through on the exhale, delighting the palate as powerful relaxation takes over. From head to toe, muscles ease with heaviness as dreamy euphoria blankets the mind, crushing stress while coercing happy moods. Bubba Kush exhibits a distinctive, bulky bud structure with hues that range from forest green to pale purple.

Bubba’s stocky plant stature and bulky bud structure suggest Afghani descent, but its genetic origins aren’t certain. The breeder whom this strain was named after states that Bubba Kush emerged just after 1996, when an OG Kush hybrid pollinated an unknown indica strain obtained in New Orleans. The mother plant was supposedly Northern Lights, but the genetically ambiguous indica was simply called “Bubba.” Bubba Kush has flourished from its California roots ever since.

 

7 Beautiful Waterfalls of Pittsburgh

Several waterfalls in the area promise unparalleled beauty, the opportunity to hike or to picnic, and plenty of photographic moments. Here are seven beautiful hidden waterfalls in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area:

Pittsburgh has plenty of hidden gems, including natural waterfalls. What is your favorite waterfall in Pittsburgh? Or, are there any beautiful hidden waterfalls in Pittsburgh that should be included on the list?

Source – OnlyInYourState

God as a Black Woman

 

“The Creation of Adam” is one of the most famous works of art ever created — and one of the most copied, remixed and parodied. But a Chicago artist’s reimagining of Michelangelo’s masterpiece has ruffled some feathers.

Harmonia Rosales’ new work, “The Creation of God,” riffs on Michelangelo’s portrayal of God’s creation of Earth’s first human, Adam. But her version depicts the deity not as a white-haired white man, but as a black woman, reaching out to touch another, younger black woman.

The painting has garnered more than 7,000 likes since it was posted on Instagram three weeks ago. But as website Blavity reports, certain people on Twitter aren’t happy about it.

Modal Trigger
The original: Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” painted circa 1508-1512.Wikipedia

Those critics have decried Rosales’ artwork as a “disgrace,” “disgusting” and “cultural appropriation.”

The uproar over this particular interpretation of “The Creation of God” is odd: Literally thousands of versions of the painting exist, from sincere homages to jokey parodies. “The Simpsons” has spoofed the iconic image at least five times, while “Arrested Development” used the work of art as a hilarious set piece, with its “Adam” clad in cutoff denim shorts. You can even buy a sticker or throw pillow depicting the scene as re-created by 1990s cult cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead.

Plus, “The Creation of God” is part of a long and very serious tradition of artists reinterpreting or remixing classic works of art in order to make a cultural, social or political statement. Andy Warhol combined religious and commercial iconography in his 60 versions of Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Contemporary artist Sherrie Levine questions the idea of authorship by copying artists like photographer Walker Evans and Marcel Duchamp (who himself gave the “Mona Lisa” a mustache in the name of the Dada movement). Painter Kehinde Wiley has reimagined several aggrandizing European portraits — such as one of Napoleon on a horse — by replacing their white protagonists with urban black youths.

So what makes Rosales’ black Goddess so offensive to these detractors? Easy: racism.

Some critics argue that it’s a desecration of an artistic masterpiece — but you’d think such art lovers would have stepped into a museum at some point in their lives and spotted at least one reinterpretation of a classic, from Dali’s mystical “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” to Lichtenstein’s pop version of Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles.”

Hell, even the Vatican — where “The Creation of Adam” adorns the Sistine Chapel — has various examples of this. Do these same people take to Twitter every time they walk into a bar that displays that tacky version of “The Last Supper” with Jim Morrison?

The other big argument is that the painting depicts a religious subject. Yet, since the Garden of Eden was likely somewhere in the Middle East, and Michelangelo’s Adam is an alabaster-skinned European dude, it seems ridiculous to champion his work as the definitive depiction of this Bible story.

Rosales didn’t create her painting as a joke or gag, but as a serious work of art, which — even if you don’t like the result — does show a certain reverence for the material. But it seems like a bunch of people would rather see God depicted as Beavis than as a black woman.

Mayan Ear Flares

Ear flares have been part of human expression and body modification throughout time and across cultures. The flare’s physical purpose was to stretch the skin of the earlobe into an elongated circular shape; depending on each culture’s standards, this modification could meet physical standards of beauty, represent traits of character, or reflect a combination of the two. The material used to make the ear flare also played a large role in the owner’s social prestige. In the Mayan world, an ear flare derived from jade, a mineral more precious than gold to the Mayan people, was a display of wealth and power by the elite of the society. Due to the slow nature of ear stretching, it also was a sign of patience and discipline; children would have their ears pierced at ages four through seven beginning with small flares, and would gain progressively wider ear flares as they went through their life milestones. The ear flare was also seen as a physical extension of the human ear, and a way to further the connection to other subject’s speech and song, acting as a mediator (Hutson, 125). Besides the use of an ear flare to display these traits, there was a much deeper religious meaning associated with jade and the design of the ear flare as a spiritual conductor.

The initial design of the ear flare stems from the nocturnal flower of Ceiba pentandra, the Ceiba tree, believed by the Mayans to be the tree of life (consejo.bz). The flare was not just the rounded piece of jade itself. Typically, a disc would be inserted into the hollowed middle; this held a cylindrical bead with a smaller, rounded bead on its end. Often times, there would be pieces having stranded beads or thread protruding from the front. A bead in the back, acting as a counterweight, was used to keep the intricate and heavy design in the earlobe. As shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2, the flower design was implemented by the round disc of the flare acting as the calyx (outermost collection of sepals), and the bead on the end of the cylindrical bead acting as the pistil (the collective parts from the ovary to the stigma of the flower).

Figure 1

Figure 2

Even more essential to the meaning of the ear flare was its crafting from jade. A mineral harder than steel, a hole would have been demandingly drilled in a jade ear flare using a hollow bird bone filled with a wet abrasive (ambergriscaye.com). The main source of jade came from the Motagua Valley of Guatemala, making it prized and rare to obtain (britishmuseum.org). The Mayans loved resplendent shades of green (Helferich, 2011), as it represented the color of life; it was the same color as the corn plant, the sacred crop of which they believed themselves to be made of, formed by the mixture of corn flour and the blood of the gods (pbs.org). A quote used by Karl Taube explains, “Jade is the stone with life that gives life, because it is identified with the sun, water, blood, sacrifice, sustenance.” It was also revered for its beauty and ancient tradition, and as a living material, could connect the living to the dead (Taube, 47). Furthermore, kings were seen as intermediates between the gods and their people (religionfacts.com). Quoting the late expert on Mayan epigraphy and iconography Linda Schele, and Mayan archaeologist David Freidel, in his book Stone of Kings: in Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya, author Gerard Helferich explains, “’These kingly jewels assert[ed] the inherent superiority of their wearer within the community of human beings, transforming a person of merely noble rank into a being who can test and control the divine forces of the world.” (Helferich, Chapter three). Mayans had an animistic view of the world, believing that every object, living or inanimate, possessed a spirit. Jade had the qualities of an eternal spirit which was very strong, as it was rare, did not burn, and was very hard (jacksonfreepress.com). It makes sense that a Mayan king, seen as a god in the eyes of his people, would want to harness these particular qualities.

Jade was also physically representative of the soft wind which brought rain, and the rejuvenating breath soul (Taube, 23). When cold, jade will condense vapor on its surface (i.e., a person’s breath), and when it becomes hot from the sun, the condensation will evaporate and appear as vapor (jacksonfreepress.com). Consequently, this symbolized that jade had the power to retain the soul (breath spirit) of an individual, and the power to release it. Ear flares were the decorative item most connected to this breath and wind symbolism (Taube, 32). The projecting jade bar and bead from this disc of the ear flare was a physical representation of moist breath. This is an important concept, as ear flares were thought to be sources and channels for the passing of the breath spirit, and the aforementioned jade bar and bead symbolized the serpent itself (Taube, 23). The Mayan death phrase och b’ih, meaning “enters the road,” directly refers to the ear flare as a passage way. In iconography, the “och” syllable is represented by a rattlesnake’s tail, and immediately after an ear flare represents the syllable “b’ih.” These both phonetically and literally represent the serpent passing through the road provided by the ear flare (Taube, 39, 40). In Mayan art, when gods are shown coming from the mouth of a serpent passing through an ear flare, it means they are being conjured (Belli, 95). This continues to Late Classic iconography, where serpents are still used to depict the symbol of breath, and can even be found in the Dresden Codex (Taube, 34).

Ear flares were not always worn on the ear or depicted as being in the ear in art. Some of them were very large; for example, the flare I studied weighed 19.22 grams without the additional bar, bead, and counterweight. This may have possibly been too heavy for the delicate, stretched skin of an earlobe. Some ear flares were made specifically for burial and ritual practices, still in representation of breath and wind, and there is no physically possible way they could have been worn. A great of example of this is the Pomona flare of Figure 3, from the small site of Pomona in coastal Belize. It is an incredible piece from the late Preclassic measuring seven inches across, with a hollow hole of three inches in diameter. Additionally, large ear flares could have been added to belts and used as beads for stranded neckwear (onetribe.nu).

Figure 3

Read the full article at Onetribe.Nu

Mount Bromo Volcano in Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Surabaya. through the perspective of Letseggo 
Not far from the slopes of mount bromo, Waterfall Madakaripura is nearby mount bromo. Its very fitting to complement to you from a tour of the trip to bromo, Surabaya. Madakaripura waterfall can e reached in 45 minutes, mount bromo. When they reached the entrance, visitors have to walk about 20 minutes to reach the waterfall complex. When you are here, please use an anti- skid slippers or shoes for climb your way to cheap wet slippery falls. On either side of entrance waterfall, visitors are spoiled by green cliffs clear river is very cheap.
Located some 4 hour from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, Mount Bromo is part of the Bromo Tennger Semery National Park that covers a massive area of 800 square kilometers  Whit it may be small when measured against others volcanoes in Indonesia, the magnificent Mount Bromo will not disappoint with its spectacular views and dramatic landscape. At 2392 meters tall, Mt Bromo is not among the tallest of Indonesia’s mountain but its stunning beauty lies in its incredible setting. From a vantage point on Mount Penanjakan (2770 meters above sea level) 2.5 hours from Malang.
Visitors from around the world come to see the sunrise over Mt Brom. From this spot the vista is magnificent. All you will hear is the click of cameras as visitors snap their camera’s hoping to capture the incredible scene of Mt Bromo in the foreground with Mt Semaru Smoking in the distance and the sun shining brightly, quickly rising in the sky.
The Eerie landscape has spurned countless legends and myths. Mt Bromo has particular significance for the Tengger people who believe that this was the site where a brave prince sacrificed his life for his family. The people here appease the Gods once a yeas during the annual Kasada festival where offering of vegetables, chicken and money are thrown into the crater of the volcano.
Tips when you want to go to the Mount Bromo
The temperature at Mt Bromo ranges from 3 to 20 degrees Celsius but the temperature may be several degrees below zero during the dry season. It you can’t stand cold weather, you should bring a jacket, gloves and a head cover or cap. After the sun rises, the weather becomes hot pretty fast. never forget to bring a camera so you can capture the natural beauty.
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