Free Zen Takes Toronto

In a city divided by politics and culture, Torontonians are unified by their commitment to being busy and staying stressed.  The trouble is, many have no idea that they’re committed to this lifestyle and that they may, in fact, be addicted to stress.

Tuja wellness decided to do a little social experiment by trying to bring 30 seconds of relaxation to a city known more for going than for letting go. As a yoga and meditation teacher, I planted myself in the financial district with a sign that said “Free Zen.”  The producers for tuja wellness assured me that it could do no harm. In the worst-case scenario, I’d embarrass myself and have to nurse a few emotional wounds after a day of aggressive rejection.  But, I was reminded, in the best-case scenario, people would remember that it’s the simple things – a deep breath or an unexpected detour – that can release stress and open up an opportunity to change your whole perspective on the day.

So, did I find the best or the worst case scenario on the busy streets of Canada’s biggest city?  Luckily, we videotaped the whole thing so we could share the results with everyone.

Courtney Sunday writes the Everyday Mindfulness column for tuja wellness and teaches yoga and meditation in Toronto. 

The Five Health Benefits of Meditation

It is 2014, and life is busier than ever. We work hard, we play hard. More than ever, we need to get on board with meditation and sit hard (maybe without the hard part, but we were on a roll there).

TDFW13shootLondonWEBREZ300

There are as many types of meditations as there are styles of yoga pants. You will ultimately find your perfect fit, but as you try on various styles for size, you are gaining the benefits right away. Here are some of those benefits that you are adding to your life:

1)            Meditation will make you more socially connected. Much different from social media connected, the solitary activity of meditation can increase positivity to other individuals and the world at large. It can even make you feel less lonely!

2)            It improves your ability to be creative. Creative people know that writer’s (or painter’s, or dancer’s) block is a very real thing. As a substitute for banging your head against a wall, try mediating. It sure is less painful.

3)            It gives your own 50 shades of gray. Meditation has been shown to increase the gray matter in the brain, in areas relating to memory and thought. The brain volume also increases in the area that regulates  emotions. Why, what did you think this was about?

4)            It can relieve pain. The Journal of Neuroscience has discovered that meditation can relieve pain by activating multiple brain layers. The study involved voluntarily receiving uncomfortable hot flashes to the leg. Be grateful for the people who help out in the name of science!

5)            It makes you see the glass half full. Besides the well-known benefits of decreasing anxiety and stress, meditation can help you to see the bright side of life and can increase positive emotions.

Bring more mindfulness into your life this year with tuja wellness. This Canadian wellness website will offer an absolutely free 30-day meditation challenge starting in February. Meditations will range from 5 to 20 minutes (let’s be honest, you spend more time than that each day on internet browsing) and it couldn’t be easier. Sign up here!