Author: David Anthony Pittaway (page 1 of 23)

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors

No, this is not a post about feet! It’s a post about yoga, specifically yoga for senior citizens.

I, David, did not write the post. Someone named Harry Cline did. Harry contacted me and asked if I would post it to my site, and I said yes. If you would like to contact Harry, here is his email address: [email protected]

Here is what Harry produced (.docx attached):

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors

It is easy to dismiss yoga and meditation as just another health craze, but the body of research surrounding both practices has only increased over the past few decades. Science is now more convinced than ever of their potential for physical and mental health, and it has also never been easier to start practicing them at home. This is great news for seniors, who are under a lot of pressure to create healthy routines that sustain and nourish their mind and bodies.

How Yoga and Meditation Work

Yoga in the original Hindu sense is a series of movements designed to prepare the body for meditation. Nowadays, we use the term yoga to define a series of different practices that combine precise body movements with breathing techniques. Some are geared toward meditation and spirituality, while others are similar to a conventional workout.

Similarly, the origin of meditation is ancient and religious, but it is now becoming a practical tool for relaxation and stress relief. While there are many forms of meditation, the most common involve deep breathing combined with visualization or body-scanning techniques.

So, why are these practices beneficial? And what do these benefits mean for seniors? The answer is made up of a combination of elements:

  • Movement – Yoga involves a series of postures that work on flexibility, balance, and full-body strength. Flexibility and balance tend to deteriorate naturally with age, while muscle loss (known as sarcopenia) is strongly linked to lack of exercise. The health benefits are also more complex and wide-reaching; exercises like yoga can boost gut microbiome, leading to improved gut health and a healthier digestive system.
  • Breathing – Both yoga and meditation involve controlled deep breathing. Deep breathing has several health benefits, the most well-known being its potential for stress relief. This is a large part of what makes yoga a mental health practice as well as a physical one, and what makes it so ideal for seniors struggling with mental self-care.
  • Spirituality – Yoga and meditation started out as spiritual and religious practices and, for many, they still are. According to the Conversation, spirituality can be an invaluable tool in dealing with the challenges of growing older. Engaging with the spiritual part of yoga and meditation, not just the practical parts, can greatly boost the benefits.

How To Get Started

Yoga and meditation are easy for seniors to start at home. It is a good idea to start by clearing out a dedicated space in your house, as this can help with motivation. If you don’t have a lot of room, you can move around some furniture or even put some clutter into storage — this in itself can be great for your stress levels. Just be sure to budget for the added monthly expense.

Then, just go online. There are thousands of free yoga videos available, with the gentle style of Yoga with Adriene being a worldwide smash hit. You can also pick up a yoga mat on Amazon for $11.99 (before shipping). For meditation, you need only search the words “guided meditation” to open up a whole world of mindfulness. You can also download a free meditation app. Headspace is a great beginner option, with a 30-day free program that gently introduces you to all the core concepts. After that, monthly subscriptions are $5.74 to $14.95.

Yoga and meditation came come a long way. From their humble beginnings in India several thousands of years ago to their current status as wellness cure-alls, their influence has been long-standing and complex. Nowadays, we are lucky to live in an age where we have science-backed proof of their effectiveness as well as free, easy ways to bring them into our lives. Seniors should start taking advantage of this opportunity and reaping the rewards.

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors (Attachment, .docx of this article)

Podcast: Das and Clara on Shamanism, initiations, conscious living, meditation, and more

In this episode of The Perspective Project Podcast, Das and Clara answer my questions about their respective backgrounds (Das was born in Scotland and moved to Dubai at a young age, while Clara was born in South Africa and lived in Spain as a young woman) and about how they found themselves on their different Shamanistic paths in South Africa.

We cover a lot of thematic territory: initiations (what counts as an initiation), conscious and unconscious lifestyles, lineages, the questioning of everything, questions surrounding whether we self-direct in living consciously or are we tapping into something external to ourselves, personal epiphanies, the bolstering psychic abilities, ways of increasing our connection to all that is, connecting with heart, transformative experiences, starting with meditation and cultivating a practice… and more!

Warning: there is a cell phone buzz near the hour mark that comes back a few more times to haunt the recording. Cell phones are herewith banished from the recording area! 

Check out the work Das does at Instagram HERE and HERE

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Podcast length: 1 hr 15 minutes 

Podcast size: 53.4mb

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps top right of page): Download

Article: A philosophical situation: democratic capitalism, the ecological crisis, and the issue of choice

Published in Acta Academica:

http://journals.ufs.ac.za/index.php/aa/article/view/3695

Abstract

Democracy is an open system, while capitalism is a gated one. Yet the dominant global political economy is democratic capitalism. The presence of a gated capitalist core within democracy results in the political prioritisation of capitalist business as usual, thereby resisting substantive changes to the political economy because economic growth is a prerequisite of capitalism. Responses to some of the challenges facing humankind – challenges such as the ecological crisis, which has arisen in part from unrestrained economic growth – cannot occur if economic growth dictates the democratic political agenda. Acknowledging this open- closed problem means acknowledging democratic capitalism’s incapacity to deal with some of humanity’s current challenges, such as the ecological crisis. A pressing question arises: what does one do? Arguably, if ecological decline is to be slowed or averted, choices must be made that result in ways of thinking and ways of living notably different from those systematised under democratic capitalism. The need for choices incommensurable with democratic capitalism is a sign that a philosophical situation has arisen, because, as explained by Alain Badiou, part of the role of philosophy is to confront incommensurability. In positioning democratic capitalism (and its implications for ecology) against incommensurable alternatives, a full philosophical situation arises. Permaculture is an example of an arena offering such alternatives, and an outline of an implementation of permaculture principles is provided in order to illustrate what a potential remedial candidate entails.

Podcast: Mike Raimondo from Green Renaissance (Short Inspirational Films)

Thanks to Mike for a great conversation about the passion project that is Green Renaissance.

“We are a passionate collective of four creatives, on a journey to share positive stories. We make films that excite us – we call these our passion projects. Everywhere we look, we see a world filled with inspiration. Sometimes it’s capturing a conversation with someone who appreciates the true beauty in the world. Other times it’s meeting interesting people who are inspired by nature. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. With your help, we will be sharing at least one new film each week”.

Check out the amazing short films at greenrenaissance.co.za

Support Green Renaissance at Patreon.com  

Podcast length: 1 hr 10 minutes

Podcast size: 51.4 mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps top right of page): Download

Podcast: Dan Cornick (Away With The Fairies and Amatola Trails, Hogsback)

Dan Cornick and I met up in Hogsback and had a conversation about his backpackers, aptly named Away With The Fairies, as well as his Amatola Trails business, the beauty of the mountains, and an interesting fairy experience he had at the backpackers…

Visit the backpackers site at Away With The Fairies

Visit the Amatola Trails site at Amatola Trails

Podcast length: 1 hour 3 minutes

Podcast size: 46mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

Podcast: Angie and Rod – Learning Clan

Angie Curtis and Rod Tritton are the brains behind the Learning Clan event. They kindly agreed to have a short conversation with me at the 2018 gathering.

Learn more about Learning Clan here: Learning Clan

Podcast length: 43 minutes

Podcast size: 37.9mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here(opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

Podcast: Bert Olivier on all things Philosophy

Bert kindly agreed to have another recorded conversation with me in order to elaborate on several topics that arose in our first podcast, which can be found HERE.  We also explored a variety of new topics not covered at all in the first discussion. The quality of the first recording is terrible, so I am relieved for the chance to have another go at recording Bert – the quality of this recording is incomparably better than in the first attempt.

Bert’s Thoughtleader page: Bert at Thoughtleader

Bert’s articles at Researchgate: Bert at ResearchGate

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Podcast length: 2 hours

Podcast size: 107 mb

Download podcast here(opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

Article: “To learn healing knowledge”: Philosophy, psychedelic studies and transformation

Published in the South African Journal of Philosophy:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02580136.2018.1532186

Note that I have a few full e-copies to share as part of the publisher’s terms and conditions. Use the contact tab in the header menu to request a full copy directly from me.

Abstract:

“Philosophical learning” may be summarised in Sobiecki’s fitting catchphrase “to learn healing knowledge”. This catchphrase is taken from an article on the use of psychoactive plants among southern African diviners. In the spirit of this link, I aim to challenge contemporary negative attitudes to the topic of psychedelics, and argue that there are good reasons for philosophers to pay attention to the role that the psychedelic experience can play in promoting philosophical perception. I argue first that the results of some contemporary studies affirm the benefits of psychedelic use in an “orchestrated guided experience”. Secondly, I argue that the aims of such “orchestrated guided experiences” are consonant with the nature of philosophical learning. Philosophy, understood as a learning practice, has a strong historical precedent and ties to contemporary indigenous cultural practices. Here I cite research into the use of psychedelics and the Eleusinian Mysteries at the origin of Western philosophy. Numerous cultures, ancient and contemporary, venerate psychoactive substances as agents of learning, healing, and transformation. Thus, contemporary mainstream philosophy may have opportunities to learn, or relearn, from southern African indigenous cultural practices. Considering the positive light in which the topic of psychedelics will be painted, I will conclude by suggesting that psychedelics have the potential to play an important role in fostering the deeply transformative “philosophical learning” that is the condition for positive social change. This makes the topic of psychedelics worthy of philosophical reflection.

Podcast / Talk / Lecture: Gil Germain, Thinking About Technology

This isn’t a traditional podcast (is there such a thing?), i.e. it’s not a conversation or interview.

It’s a talk / lecture by Prof. Gil Germain, recorded at Nelson Mandela University.

The focus of the talk is on some concepts and issues Gil covers in his book, Thinking about Technology: How the Technological Mind Misreads Reality.

No intro, no outro. Just the talk. It’s a pleasure!

Here’s one of my favourite quotes from the talk:

“As a human being, how do you maintain your humanity in a world that, in many ways, is robbing you of it? Baudrillard, at one point, half flippantly half seriously, says you have to shun anything that wants to care for you. All these enabling technologies, all these algorithms… They’re all well and good; it’s not as if they don’t do the job – that’s not the point. The point is they’re doing it for you. There are experts telling you what to do, what to say, what to eat. It takes, I think, a monumental effort of will to sort of push it back a little, to give yourself room to do your own thing, even if it results in you not making optimal choices. At least there’s some semblance of autonomy.”

Support this podcast: Patreon.com

Talk length: 45 minutes (If you only have half an hour to listen, I suggest starting at 15:10 into the recording).

File size: 36.4 MB

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

 

Podcast: Sean Martin on Blockchain

Sean kindly shared his extensive knowledge of blockchain with me. Very informative for newbies to the topic of blockchain (like me), as well as to blockchain and technology enthusiasts, and business-minded people in general. Considering the inevitability that blockchain will eventually be integrated into so many aspects of our technologically-mediated lives, this episode is a ‘must-listen’.

Visit Sean’s business website at www.arktree.io

Podcast length: 1 hr 14 minutes

Podcast size: 63.3 mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps top right of page):: Download

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