HealthSkills

Every one of us has a tendency to get stressed or anxious; it is a part of human nature. A little bit of stress can actually be a great thing, but as humans we are usually inclined to over-indulge our emotions, even the nasty ones. However, appeasing one’s nerves can prove to be an arduous task. What I have found with my recent exploration of yoga, which I’m enrolled in at school as a gym credit, is that the “ocean breath” that yogis use when meditating and going through the motions of many of their moves is actually quite relaxing.

For example, I have struggled with being able to sleep on a normal schedule for a long time. I will stay up too late listening to music or watching television and those lyrics and story arcs plague my subconscious as I try to fall asleep. Recently, though, I started using Ujjahi breath – the formal term for “ocean breath”- to help focus myself and tire my mind late at night.

Ujjahi breath has been a staple in many forms of meditation and even in yogic positions of movement to help focus oneself on the task at hand. The reason it is nicknamed “ocean breath” is because the sound made when performing it resembles the sound of the crashing ocean waves. When practicing Ujjahi breath, inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose, and as the air passageway narrows and air moves the glottis, a rushing sound is created. There is no specific amount of time you are supposed to breathe for – leave that up to how much your diaphragm can take in and let out. However, try to make sure that your inhalations and exhalations are as equal in length as possible.

Ujjahi breath enables practitioners to maintain a set bodily rhythm, take in enough oxygen, as well as build up energy, and stay self-aware and grounded in yogic practices and in everyday life. So, if you feel as though you are struggling with keeping your cool, try this breath and hopefully begin to understand your body’s natural rhythms and needs.

Image: Unsplash

CultureEducation

What do books, bullying prevention, breast cancer, AIDs, and domestic violence awareness all seem to have in common? They all find philanthropic awareness geared toward their causes in the month of October.

Most months support whole lists of causes, from Mental Wellness Month in January to Yoga Month in September. However, October has proven to be one of the most exciting months for advocacy. The causes listed above are just a few items out of a list of twenty or so organizations, and there are plenty of ways in which people can get involved.

With National Book Month, one can participate by encouraging all-things-literary like reading to a child or donating books to one of these ten places, so that those in less fortunate circumstances can still receive the opportunity to read and learn. Literature opens the mind up to all new possibilities in education and creativity, which is why there is a month dedicated to promoting it.

There are also multiple chances throughout the month to get involved in supporting organizations monetarily. Participation in walks for breast cancer and AIDs research has declined in recent years and your participation in such activities could help eradicate such diseases from our world. Nevertheless, if donating is not an option for you, just aiding the cause by spreading awareness can go a long way. Wearing pink for breast cancer or orange for bullying prevention, and posting news about advocacy groups online can foster a sense of charity and generosity which each advocacy group can benefit from.

One related issue I got to experience this month was the slam poetry production headlined by G. Yamazawa, which touched heavily on domestic abuse. Seeing as how October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, my university decided to showcase the issue for students to learn about and understand the issue being presented.

I saw this as important because as a part of the current youth and future leading generations of America, it is vital that we take opportunities to give back and help out. We need to seize these chances to better the future and create favorable circumstances for younger generations. Each month has tons of awareness organizations and advocacy groups laying claim to them for special attention in the media, so there is no excuse for a lack of activities to get involved in. So when you see links or posts that ask for support for causes that interest you, get involved and carpe juvenis!

Image: The Pattern Library

CultureExploreTravel

 TRAVEL SERIES

Traveling comes in all forms. Whether you are taking a one-week road trip or flying across an ocean to reach your destination, visiting new places is an integral part of learning about yourself and others. Seeing how different people live, work, and experience life helps break down the barriers between us and reveals that perhaps we are not all as different as we might have thought.

This travel series will cover a wide range of topics about how to travel, where to travel to, etc. Tune in next week for traveling on a budget. Let’s get going!

STAYING SAFE

 1. Be aware of your surroundings. This does not mean you should be paranoid, but rather be aware of who is around you and be conscientious of anything that seems unusual or strange.

 2. Watch your pockets. The smallest details will make the biggest difference. For instance, it is always a good idea to keep valuables such as your wallet, keys, phone, and identification (passport, drivers license) in a hard-to-reach pocket. This is to prevent pick-pocketing or accidentally allowing a precious item to drop from your bag without realizing it.

 3. Tell someone where you are going. It is always a good idea to inform a close friend or family member of your travel plans. If something unexpected happens it is essential that somebody knows where you are and has a way to reach you in the case of an emergency. If you are traveling alone this is a crucial part of your planning, and is beneficial for you and also the people who care about you. If you are traveling with other people, this is still a good idea and highly recommended.

 4.  Keep extra cash hidden on you. It is always a smart idea to keep about twenty dollars of whichever currency you need on you at all times for those “just in case” moments. Tuck the bill(s) into a small pocket of your jacket or bag. Perhaps you get lost in a city and it becomes dark out – if you feel unsafe or have no idea how to get back to where you are staying, having that spare cash will likely enable you to grab a taxi and get home safely.

 5. Decide on a meeting spot. If you are traveling with others, consider choosing a central meeting spot where you can go if someone loses the group or visits somewhere on their own. A good meeting point is one that is well-known by locals so you can ask for directions and is also typically busy during both the day and night in case a member of the group is waiting by him or herself.

 6. Have information. This step will take you about 10-15 minutes, but it is well worth the hassle. Go through your itinerary and write down or type in all phone numbers of hotels and friends you are staying with, addresses of your accommodations, and emergency numbers of whoever city you are traveling to. Having this information might help you enjoy yourself because you can concentrate on having fun rather than trying to remember where you need to go at the end of the day! Also consider writing down all flight, train, or car reservation information ahead of time and print any tickets you will need. Store these in a safe and secure spot in your luggage.

In order to travel as stress-free as possible, it is essential that you plan. Like most situations, planning is the key to success. Spending 30 minutes going over these safety tips and collecting important information will save you hours of stress, confusion, and anxiety during your adventure!

Check out Travel Series Part II: Traveling on a Budget and Travel Series Part III: Choosing the Destination!