September 29, 2012 |
Every Thursday at lunchtime at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, several dozen people turn off their cellphones and take seats in the bright pink chairs of the Billy Wilder Theater. They come to spend half an hour with Diana Winston, a former Buddhist nun and one of the nation's best-known teachers of mindfulness meditation. The lights go down, and Winston takes a seat in an office chair and speaks quietly into a microphone. Occasionally she is accompanied by Michael Perricone playing about 20 Tibetan bells, the haunting, wave-like sounds enhancing her voice, which is so soothing it's as if she were born to the work.
July 21, 2012 |
When it's time to meditate, sit comfortably, focus your attention … and reach for your smartphone? More and more people are doing just that, ifApple's iPhoneApp Store is any indication - a search for "meditation" results in more than 1,000 possible downloads. But isn't the point to unplug? The guidance offered in these apps "allows you just to let go and stop worrying about whether you're doing it right," says Stephan Bodian, a psychotherapist in Tucson and the developer of the Mindfulness Meditation app. "You can just relax and let yourself be led. " Plugging in to a meditation app - having turned off the phone's ringer and other functions, of course - could have a host of benefits.
July 2, 2012 |
Russell Brand, how do you stay so happy-go-lucky? "I meditate often," he told the Ministry of Gossip on Saturday. "It connects you to a source of energy that's more powerful than the material world in which we primarily dwell. It helps you relax and unwind. " That's something clearly needed by the comic and actor, who has been percolating on a publicity tour for “Rock of Ages,” shooting his FX comedy show “Brand X” and navigating a media firestorm linked to his divorce from Katy Perry, whose new documentary “Part of Me” includes personal footage from their marriage. Hardly relaxing stuff.
June 27, 2012 |
At what point does creative freedom collide with moral accountability? Sheila Callaghan's bleakly sardonic “Roadkill Confidential” at Son of Semele Theater poses the question in uniquely unsettling terms. Ethical considerations don't deter megalomaniacal artist-provocateur Trevor Pratt (Melissa Randel) from knowingly constructing her latest work out of furry accident carcasses infected with a strain of tularemia that's lethal to anyone who touches them. Her dangerous project incurs the invasive surveillance of a sinister one-eyed FBI Man (Daniel Getzoff)
March 18, 2012
A Zen-inspired garden marks the entrance of a Mar Vista home designed in the International style and surrounded by stands of bamboo. At the heart of the U-shaped home, which looks out on a lap pool, is a two-story great room with a wet bar, fireplace and clerestory windows. Location: 3571 Grand View Blvd., Los Angeles 90066 Asking price: $2.695 million Year built: 2006 Architect: Ron Godfredsen House size: Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, 4,250 square feet Lot size: 10,804 square feet Features: Floor-to-ceiling glass windows, recessed doors, 40-foot lap pool, guest suite with patio, two fireplaces, skylights, basement, den, media room, office, wine cellar, gym. About the area: Last year, 263 single-family homes sold in the 90066 ZIP Code at a median price of $705,000, according to DataQuick.
March 17, 2012 |
We know filmmaker David Lynch for the dark surrealism of "Eraserhead," "Blue Velvet," "Inland Empire" and "Twin Peaks," as well as for his deep, abiding love of coffee. Lynch is also passionate about transcendental meditation, which he first took up "on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning" in 1973. That passion spawned a book, "Catching the Big Fish," and the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Lynch spoke about what TM means for him and why others should try it too. Catch the longer podcast at latimes.com/davidlynch.
March 14, 2012 |
A yoga meditation program could reduce depression symptoms and boost mental health, a study finds, and that's not all - it may also show benefits at the cellular level. The study, published recently in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry , involved 49 caregivers ranging in age from 45 to 91 who were taking care of family members with dementia. Caregivers are at risk for high stress levels, often with no outlet or relief, which can lead to health problems. The participants were randomly assigned to two programs: Kundalini yoga Kirtan Kriya meditation or passive relaxation with instrumental music.
March 1, 2012 |
Delve more deeply into Bali's cultural side on a 12-day tour that emphasizes drumming, meditation, spiritual ceremonies and more. Tribal Music Tours leads a group of 14 to the Indonesian island on a trip that includes daily guided meditations and daily healing drum circles (drums provided). Guests stay in jungle villas in Ubud where exploration begins by foot to the Monkey Forest and the village. During the trip, participants jam with gamelan masters during a drum workshop, visit drum craftsmen and master healers, take a Balinese dance workshop and experience a men's kecak trance dance by night.
December 4, 2011 |
"The past is a foreign country," novelist L.P. Hartley wrote, "they do things differently there. " And those extra bits of time around the holidays - on a long drive to visit relatives or waiting for the holiday meal to cook - are perfect for exploring how things were done differently in time periods far from our own. Stephen Greenblatt's "The Swerve" (W.W. Norton) is a splendidly told chronicle of a 15th century book hunter's incredible discovery in a German monastery - a moldering copy of the ancient Roman poem "On the Nature of Things" by Lucretius - and how that poem's humanistic message inspired new thoughts and swerves in ideas leading to the Renaissance.
November 22, 2011 |
The brains of experienced meditators appear to be fitter, more disciplined and more "on task" than do the brains of those trying out meditation for the first time. And the differences between the two groups are evident not only during meditation, when brain scans detect a pattern of better control over the wandering mind among experienced meditators, but when the mind is allowed to wander freely. Those insights emerge from a study to be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looked at two groups: highly experienced meditators and meditation novices, and compared the operations of the " Default Mode Network " -- a newly identified cluster of brain regions that go to work when our brains appear to be "offline.