iPhone “Pause” app is designed around your brainwaves and Tai Chi to help you relax

Your phone may be a constant source of distraction, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Amid endless notifications and bombardment of visual stimuli, it may be hard to conceive your smartphone as a place of peaceful refuge. However, ustwo (the creators of the massively popular Monument Valley game) set out to turn that conception on its head.

Introducing Pause, ustwo has created an app that aims to help you relax to a calmer state of mind. Pause brings “focused attention” to your iPhone’s screen, and is grounded in cognitive psychology and physiology resulting in a patent-pending technique to activate the restoration process and relaxation response.

Pairing up with PauseAble, the app is inspired by Tai Chi with slow and continuous movements. Essentially, it’s Tai Chi for your thumb, using a mix of sound and stimulation to keep your attention away from distracting and stressful thoughts.

Learn more about the app at its website here, and purchase it for $2 USD on the App Store.

Pixar’s Indian American short film ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ 

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Audrey Magazine: (Ethel Navales) 

Pixar has released exciting news about their newest short film, “Sanjay’s Super Team.”

The short’s director, Sanjay Patel, admits that much of his own life and experiences shaped the story. Specifically, his childhood battle between his American upbringing and his Indian roots. Sanjay felt conflicted between the side of him that watched cartoons and read comics versus the side of him that performed pujaa daily Hindu meditation and prayer ritual.

My parents’ whole world revolved around their gods, the Hindu deities,” Patel told the Los Angeles Times. “Our worlds were diametrically apart. I just wanted my name to be Travis, not Sanjay.”

This also seems to be the case with young Sanjay, the animated protagonist in the 7-minute Pixar short. When Sanjay is pulled away from watching cartoons to meditate and pray, he is both bored and reluctant. As such, he begins to daydream and imagines the Hindu deities as a team of superheroes. Needless to say, he becomes entranced in his daydream. With a newfound interest in the Hindu deities, he becomes one step closer to understanding his religious immigrant parents.

If I could, I would go back to the 1980s and give my younger self this short,” Patel said the Los Angeles Times. “I want to normalize and bring a young brown boy’s story to the pop culture zeitgeist. To have a broad audience like Pixar’s see this … it is a big deal. I’m so excited about that.

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Intrigued? You should be. Director Sanjay Patel has quite an impressive amount of achievements under his belt an animator on A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles. This short will be released with the upcoming Pixar film The Good Dinosaur on November 25th. But if that’s just too far away, you can catch “Sanjay’s Super Team” early at June’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France.

How a trip to India helped Steve Jobs revolutionize Apple

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Next Shark:

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said in the past that he was jealous of Steve Jobs’ “good taste.” Jobs has always been known for his eye for design and, whether you want to give him credit for it or not, helping to create some of the most revolutionary and user-friendly products in the world.

How did Jobs acquire such an eye? According to him, it was through Zen meditation, which he encountered at 19 during an extended trip to India after dropping out of college. In an interview with Walter Isaacson for his biography, Jobs said:

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”

Zen has been around for thousands of years and those who practice it have to commit to courageousness, resoluteness, austerity and rigorous simplicity. Jobs’ commitment to simplicity transferred over into the products he helped create at Apple.

But Zen didn’t just help inform Jobs’ classy, simple aesthetic, it also helped him understand his customers better — numerous studies have shown that meditation increases empathy. Isaacson writes in his book:

“Instead of relying on market research, [Jobs] honed his version of empathy — an intimate intuition about the desires of his customers.”

Here’s how Zen meditation changed Steve Jobs’ life and sparked a design revolution

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RocketNews 24/Business Insider:

When Steve Jobs showed up at the San Francisco airport at the age of 19, his parents didn’t recognize him.

Jobs, a Reed College dropout, had just spent a few months in India.

He had gone to meet the region’s contemplative traditions — Hinduism, Buddhism — and the Indian sun had darkened his skin a few shades.

The trip changed him in less obvious ways, too.

Although you couldn’t predict it then, his travels would end up changing the business world.

Back in the Bay Area, Jobs continued to cultivate his meditation practice. He was in the right place at the right time; 1970s San Francisco was where Zen Buddhism first began to flourish on American soil. He met Shunryu Suzuki, author of the groundbreaking “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind,” and sought the teaching of one of Suzuki’s students, Kobun Otogawa.

Jobs met with Otogawa almost every day, Walter Isaacson reported in his biography of Jobs. Every few months, they’d go on a meditation retreat together.

Zen Buddhism, and the practice of meditation it encouraged, were shaping Jobs’ understanding of his own mental processes.

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” Jobs told Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”

Jobs felt such resonance with Zen that he considered moving to Japan to deepen his practice. But Otogawa told him he had work to do in California.

Evidently, Otogawa was a pretty insightful guy.

When you look back at Jobs’ career, it’s easy to spot the influence of Zen. For 1300 years, Zen has instilled in its practitioners a commitment to courage, resoluteness, and austerity — as well as rigorous simplicity.

Or, to put it into Apple argot, insane simplicity.

Zen is everywhere in the company’s design.

Take, for instance, the evolution of the signature mouse:

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It’s the industrial design equivalent of the ensoor hand-drawn circle, the most fundamental form of Zen visual art.

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But Zen didn’t just inform the aesthetic that Jobs had an intense commitment to, it shaped the way he understood his customers. He famously said that his task wasn’t to give people what they said they wanted; it was to give them what they didn’t know they needed.

Instead of relying on market research, [Jobs] honed his version of empathy — an intimate intuition about the desires of his customers,” Isaacson said.

What’s the quickest way to train your empathy muscles? As centuries of practitioners and an increasingly tall stack of studies suggest, it’s meditation.

When you take that into account, it’s easy to see that for Jobs, growing his business and cultivating his awareness weren’t opposing endeavors.

When he died, the New York Times ran a stirring quote about what he did for society: “You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”

We can thank that time in India and on the meditation cushion for that beautiful, rigorous simplicity — one that sparked a design revolution.

Can modern acupuncture really turn back the clock?

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 Audrey Magazine:

Having grown up with a physician father, antibiotics, not acupuncture, was more our family’s treatment of choice. But as people increasingly look to the East for health and lifestyle choices — from yoga to Buddhism to Ayurveda — I’ll admit to a growing curiosity about acupuncture, something friends and family swear by to alleviate all manner of problems.

So I paid a visit to Dr. John J. Kim, a licensed acupuncturist and former head of the California Acupuncture Board. His clinic, Re Nu Mi Wellness Center in Redondo Beach, Calif., is a spa-like office redolent of fragrant herbs and relaxing music. In addition to acupuncture, the Center offers cupping, Qigong and meditation classes, and herbal medicine specially created on-site.

A consultation with Kim involves analyses both scientific and holistic. A special weight analysis machine, brought over specially from Korea, reveals not just weight and BMI but fat percentages in various parts of the body, muscle mass, and intra- and extracellular water composition. A tongue and pulse analysis reveals the state of your Qi, the body’s fundamental energy, and which of the five key organs are in need of help. From there, Kim takes it one step further —he asks about your relationships. Because for Kim, he’s not just there to alleviate physical pain or to turn back the clock a dozen years, as he does in his cutting-edge Advanced Regeneration Therapy Facial Sculpting — he’s there to give you a “mind lift,” and thereby a “life lift.” Like the Center’s mission statement says, “The goal of our treatments is to enhance each person’s physical and emotional well-being in order to improve and maintain harmony with our inner and outer world.”

As much a therapist as an Eastern medicine practitioner, Kim believes that emotional healing is part and parcel to any physical treatment, whether you’re looking for weight loss, help with insomnia, a facelift or stress management. Yes, his holistic facelift works by stimulating lymphatic drainage and manipulating trapezoidal muscles to lift and create a more pleasing facial symmetry. (He’s even working on incorporating a platelet-rich plasma gel into the procedure to boost results.) But for Kim, the key is: “Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Am I beautiful?’ How can you present yourself as beautiful to others if you don’t even know it?” Indeed, we could all use a bit more of that type of healing.

 

 

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For more information on Re Nu Mi Wellness Center, go to renumi.com.

Beating the Blues: Wintertime Yoga

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 Audrey Magazine:

’Tis the season to celebrate! To party! To be joyful! So why are you so down? Don’t let the worst of the winter months get the best of you. You are responsible for your own happiness, so take charge, relax, let go. Even if you’ve never done yoga before, try these four easy ways to beat the winter blues.

 


 

1. Meditation

Find a clean, quiet corner. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed, spine tall. Roll the shoulders back. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Try to clear the mind by focusing just on your inhales and exhales. Imagine the inhales are a golden, pure light. The exhales are pushing all internal impurities out of your system. Imagine that golden light circulating throughout the entire body. Let the mind and body fully relax. One breath at a time, let your mind be at ease.

You may want to use a mantra to stay focused. Here are five you can repeat; use any or all: “Let go,” “I am light,” “I am peace,” “I am free,” “I choose happiness.”

Your meditation can be just as quick as one or two minutes, or as long as 30 minutes or more. Let yourself smile if you feel the corners of your mouth lift up. Let yourself feel safe, warm, filled with light, at peace.

 

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2. Laughter Yoga

Based on studies that have shown that fake laughter may have the same physio- logical and psychological benefits as real laughter, laughter yoga was developed by an Indian physician in the ’90s. Start by grabbing a partner. It can be your friend, your significant other or — my favorite — a child! A child’s pure heart and naturally open mind makes him or her the perfect partner to get the laughter going. Start by making eye contact with your partner and simultaneously shouting out, “HA, HA, HA, HA, HO, HO, HO, HO” — in other words, fake laugh. Make it so fake that it sounds ridiculous! Soon you’ll “fake it till you make it,” as real laughter eventually kicks in.

 

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3. Yoga Pose: Relax

Child’s Pose is a great way to breathe in a receptive position. Get on your knees and spread them out shoulder width apart, big toes touching behind you. Sit your hips on the heels and fold over. The ribcage should fit perfectly between the thighs. Drop the forehead down to the ground. Stretch the arms by your sides, palms up. Relax the shoul- ders and neck. Breathe in through the nose, out through the nose. Repeat this mantra throughout the pose: “I am safe.” Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.

 

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4. Yoga Pose: Choose Happy

For the Puppy Dog Pose, get on all fours, palms and knees to the ground. Shoulders are above the wrists, hips above the knees. Walk the hands forward as you lower the chest down to the floor and curl the toes under. Exhale and move the buttocks halfway back toward the heels. Engage the entire arm from the fingertips to the triceps, while relaxing the shoulders and neck. Keep a slight curve in the lower back. Lengthen the entire body, feeling the stretch in your spine. Feel the shift in your mood as this pose helps you open the heart and chest. Repeat this mantra: “Choose happiness with every passing thought.” Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.

Sunina Young (sunina.com) is a yoga + SLT pilates instructor in New York City.

 

Story by Sunina Young
Photos by Andy Hur, andyhur.com