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Meditation & Relaxation

Meditation

Meditation has great restorative powers and helps you to work at your most efficient level by keeping your mind clear throughout the day, meditation can also help you sleep better at night.

Sit in a comfortable position, scan your body and let go of any tension you may be holding in your face, neck, shoulders, upper body, hips, legs and feet. Close your eyes and breathe in an easy simple rhythm. Do not try to shut out sounds and other sensations happening around you, just let them be there and focus on your breathe drawing your attention away from the distractions. Be aware of the coolness of the air at the tip of your nose as you breathe in and the warmth of the air as you breathe out. Thoughts will inevitably arise to distract you, you can not force the mind to be empty, but do not let yourself react to these disturbances. Continue to focus on your breathe just observe and release the distractions as they happen. If you find it hard to focus on your breathe you can use a simple mantra “So Ham” it means I am that in the universal life force. Silently say “So” as you breathe in and “Ham” as you breathe out. Or you can try another simple mantra like “Om”

Eventually as you practise meditation more frequently you will learn to sit quietly but alert, observing the stillness and feeling of space. You will let yourself be in the present moment, with no thought of future or past. Becoming good at meditation takes practice, but the benefits are definitely worth your efforts.

Relaxation

Lying down is the best position for relaxation. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and that you are warm, use a blanket if necessary. Start with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart, arms away from your body and backs of hands on the floor. The centre of your head should be on the floor if this is not comfortable then use a pillow under your head.

Stretch out through your arms to your fingertips, then relax the arms and shoulders, unless you have a back problem stretch out your legs. Flex your toes towards you and then let go. Close your eyes, relax your jaw so the teeth part slightly. Smile a little to relax your face, swallow and let your neck relax.

Become aware of your breathe entering and leaving your body with the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen. Enjoy the quiet and calm. When you are ready become aware of your surroundings, slowly wiggle your fingers and toes and take one or two deep breaths. Turn on to your right side in fetal position for a few more breaths with your eyes closed before you slowly make your way to a seated position. Open your eyes.



Effective Tips for Planning Small Team Meetings

 
 
How many times have you heard; “Small meetings are just as much work as large meetings”! Effective use of meeting time sets a positive, productive tone for interaction among participants. An effective meeting leader will keep participants on track ensuring everyone is invested in the topic of the meeting and in the follow-up. 
 
Planning an effective meeting is all about the preparation, leadership, group participation, time management and a concise understanding of what the meeting is to accomplish. And, lets not forget that feedback is an effective way to measure your responsiveness both during and after the meeting.
 
Listed below are some great ideas to help you with planning smaller, meaningful and productive meetings.
 
1. Select a venue style, location and ambiance that suits both your program and guest profile well. It will encourage comfortable discussion in a non-intimidating environment.
 
2.  Get “outside” when you can! When appropriate, ensure you have access to outdoor space for breaks and team building ideas.
 
3.  Ensure you set realistic budgets when researching properties as venues enjoy being able to provide the best value for available spend.
 
4.  Location, Location, Location! Do you want to be close to the office? Do you want privacy? What are the travel times and costs involved?
 
5.  Are you flexible with dates? Small meetings don’t always have to be short term, but if you are flexible, venues may provide better pricing and premium space.
 
6.  Set a realistic agenda allowing time for more group discussion and problem solving.
 
7.  Ensure the facility Sales Manager understands your needs; can they suggest ways to help improve the meeting, can they provide estimates on pricing, can they give you valuable suggestions on helping you achieve the overall level of success you are looking for.
 
Remember small meetings make it possible to give participants more personal attention, use this to your advantage in communicating your agenda. In fact circulate your agenda in advance to allow participants to prepare.  This will also explain the goal of your meeting to help achieve more during your meeting with effective time use in prioritizing goals.
 
As a meeting leader you should summarize assigned action items with target completion dates that are measurable, (things that get measured get done) and if every item in the agenda was covered. Holding small team meetings helps focus on your goals accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Small meeting structures are relatively simple but they require an effective disciplined strategy to ensure your strategic planning efforts create the most effective team planning with goals and objectives


Unique Wedding Ceremonies

Today, anything goes with regards to wedding ceremonies. Whether your writing your own vows or celebrating with a traditional ceremony, exchanging your vows will be one of the more memorable moments of your wedding day.

Your ceremony should be unforgettable, after all you are about to embark on your life together as a couple…but where do you begin?

Traditional 
Typically a religious ceremony based on the faith of the bride and groom.

Non-Denominational 
Does not adhere to any specific religion, but it is a spiritual ceremony.

Interfaith 
Blends two or more faiths with reading or rituals from each religion.

Intercultural 
Blends the cultures of both bride and groom such as a Filipino veil ceremony with a Chinese red string ritual.

Pop Culture Theme 
Create a ceremony based on your favourite movie, book, TV show, wear costumes and write your vows to reflect your theme.

Buddhist/Christian 
Traditional Buddhist ceremony, exchanging Buddhist vows.

Civil or non-religious 
Non-religious ceremony can be very warm and heartfelt, focusing on the love you share for one another.

Renewal of vows 
Mark a special Anniversary in your marriage by tying the knot again.

Once you have selected the type of ceremony you desire the next step to cover is the list of traditions and rituals. “Something Old , Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue”. In modern China, the bride wears three wedding gowns. The first is usually red in colour as this colour signifies luck in China, the second gown is typically white and fluffy closely resembling a traditional western gown and the third is the brides choice and is often an elegant ball gown. In India brides and their female friends decorate their hands and feet with traditional designs called Menhdi made from the plant dye Henna. The Mendhi designs are so elaborate and specialized taking many hours to complete and dry.  Jumping the Broom, most often found in African American weddings, the tradition stems from the days of slavery when marriage wasn’t legal between enslaved men and women, so they would jump over a broom together to signify their union. Mazeltof! – the breaking of the glass by the groom, meaning “Good-Luck” the broken glass is a reminder that joy should always be tempered. Peruvian cake pull replaces the tossed bouquet in Peru. Ribbons are tucked into layers of the wedding cake and one ribbon has a fake engagement ring attached to it. Each lady holds a ribbon and pulls it out of the cake together, the ring signifies the next one in line for marriage.

There are many traditions from around the world and many ritual ideas for your wedding ceremony;

Sand Wedding Ceremony – You both pour sand into a vase from your separate vases, and the joined vase can not be separated and poured again, so shall your union make you inseparable.

Handfasting Ceremony – Pagan – Wiccan ritual in origin, and is also where “Tying the Knot” Comes From.”Handfasting” comes from the tradition of the bride and groom crossing arms and joining hands — basically, creating the infinity symbol (a figure-eight) with the hands.

Candle Ceremony – Two small candles symbolize you both entering into marriage as individuals and will not lose your identities, but rather create and strengthen your union together.

Dove Ceremony – Doves choose one partner for life. Releasing of two doves symbolizes love, peace, purity, faithfulness and prosperity.

Stone Ceremony – Wedding guests hold a stone during your ceremony and make a wish for you. You collect the stones and display these “lovely wishes” in your home.

Rose Ceremony – A Single Rose means “I Love You” For your first gift as Husband and wife you exchange the rose you hold.

Few Ceremony and reception venues compare with the casual elegance and timeless style of the Old Mill Toronto to help you realize your dream wedding. On site 16th century candlelit chapel and out door wedding garden add to the array of personal choices. We also provide the items you will need to have your Rose Ceremony, Candle Ceremony and Sand Ceremony on site. 

Remember it’s your wedding, your way! Make every effort to keep your special day memorable and unique by planning your wedding to reflect who you are and don’t limit yourself with regards to tradition and convention. You’ve already made your biggest decision: Choosing whom to marry! – now have fun planning your wedding with your personality.



Keeping Your Skin Protected is Imperative

 

Let’s be straight – there really isn’t a safe way to tan. When the skin feels direct sun exposure, it screams HELP!

In scientific terms, this means ultraviolet light is penetrating the epidermis causing the skin to react by producing melanin, aka your suntan. In your mind, a tan may give you that young, healthy glow but over time it causes just the opposite: A change in skin texture, wrinkling, age spots or worse the big C.

The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Basically, UVA rays can age us and UVB can burn us. Over exposure to either can damage the skin. There’s also a third type of ray, UVC – these are the shortest and strongest but thankfully they’re absorbed by the ozone layer and don’t typically reach the earth.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skins thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defences are down, you’re at risk for skin cancer.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location and time of day, with 10 am to 4 pm being the peak hours. Sunburned skin doesn’t just feel awful, it can cause permanent damage over time. This is why keeping your skin protected is imperative.

What about self-tanning lotions?
Self-tanning lotions are a safe alternative to the sun. They contain dihydroxyacetone, which interacts with proteins in the skin to produce an orange/tan color that doesn’t wash off. When you can see colour, the self-tanners have a SPF of 4. This is not enough protection so additional sunscreens should be used.

Are tanning booths a safer way to tan?
In spite of claims that tanning booths offer “safe” tanning, artificial radiation carries all the risks of natural sunlight. Tanning booths emit UVA radiation, which poses both short and long-term risks to the skin, including cataracts (eye damage), sunburns, skin cancer and premature aging. In addition, there can be damage to the body’s immune system and reactions to certain fragrances, lotions, moisturizers and medication.

COOLA Products will be available soon at The Spa at the Old Mill – Stay Tuned!



Health Benefits of Yoga

 Developed in India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for over 5000 years.  Practicing yoga postures is a great way to get yourself in shape both for your body, mind and spirit. Did you know that your yoga practice can also help you manage many health conditions and diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes and headaches. Yoga creates a sense of well being and calm, and stimulates your immune system which reduces stress and tension.

Not only are you improving muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, but you are also boosting your self esteem and improving your concentration and creativity. You may find yourself happier, less stressed and feeling a greater sense of balance.

There are many different styles of yoga and even though they are based on the same fundamental poses, each style of yoga has a different focus.

Hatha – Slow paced, gentle and focuses on breathing and meditation. Great for beginners who want to learn the basics of yoga.

Ashtanga – Considered a power yoga, with fast paced and intense lunges and push-ups. Great for fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina and improve ones spiritual self.

Vinyasa – Similar to Hatha with basic poses and synchronized breath movements. Emphasizing the 12 poses of the Sun Salutations with each pose being matched to breathe. Good for both new and advanced yogis seeking to strengthen their bodies.

Iyengar – Focuses on body alignment using different props like straps, blocks, blankets to strengthen the body. Standing poses are often held for longer periods of time. Great for those that want to learn  the proper alignment in each pose and those with balance issues.

Hot Yoga – Practised in a room heated between 95 – 100 degrees. Great for loosening tight muscles and sweating out toxins. Helps speed up recovery from injuries and enhances your flexibility. Great for beginners and advanced yogis and those with physical injuries.

Of course there are many other types of yoga from Kundalini to restorative yoga, but it’s important for you to connect with which type of yoga is right for you. Understanding the different teaching methods and practices will help you choose the right yoga experience for you and will make your practice more rewarding and fulfilling

Beyond the health and fitness benefits, yoga improves your mental health. Reducing stress, improving relaxation, and leaving you with a sense of peace. Yoga is designed to strengthen your body, but it is a meditative exersise that creates a healthy balanced body and peaceful state of mind.

The holistic effects of yoga is attained when you become not only physically stronger and more flexible but also mentally stronger and more flexible. If the practice of yoga helps you to find peace, heal your body and create a better sense of wellbeing, it’s only logical that you will become more accepting of your spiritual nature. It is this realization that will give your practice more meaning, but also embodies your thoughts, actions and purpose, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

There is no age discrimination in yoga. Yoga has been proven to reduce pain levels among seniors with arthritis and teaches kids to be active, relive stress and to think positively. The benefits of yoga are endless.

The Girls Great Escape at the Old Mill Toronto is coming back, mark your calendars for November 8th, 2014.   See the itinerary from our last Girls Great Escape here, the Yoga dance class was a treat!



Powerful Tips For Effective Presentations

Designing the right story (agenda) for your presentation is the critical key to ensuring the right message is delivered. Visually engaging presentations will help to inspire your audience, but first you must have your story. What is the one big idea that you want your audience to resonate with most? Create your headline to motivate your audience to listen, just like twitter it should be (140 characters) and make it memorable. You want to make sure your audience no matter how small or large, comes away with your main focus. 

Master your stage presence and make it look effortless. Walk the space you will be presenting on and get a clear idea of where you will stand. Start by asking your audience questions that will get them engaged and thinking about the topic’s relevance right away. Be passionate and it will come across in your presentation and most of all believe in yourself and you will be one step closer to delivering a great presentation worthy of a standing ovation. By taking your audience on a journey from start to finish and being your authentic self, (throw away the script) memorize your main points and ideas, and work on flowing between them naturally. Tell a story don’t just deliver data and remembering it’s all about the audience and what they want to hear you will ensure your presentation runs smoothly. Which reminds me of a point, get to know your audience, the presentation isn’t about you, you need to know your audience in order to deliver the story they want to hear and making sure they learn what they want to know.

Encourage the use of videos; pre, during and post presentations are always a great way to capture the attention of your audience, by keeping them engaged visually. Once you have your story you can also use powerpoint, keynote or other software to create engagement. Remember if your slide presentation can stand alone and people can just read them and not have attend your presentation, then you have too much information. Using humour, when and where appropriate allows you and your audience the chance to re-focus on the information being disbursed.

Finally practise to ensure the agenda runs smoothly, especially if you are using (AV) to avoid possible issues that will detract from the overall meeting experience. Finish your presentation by briefly framing your key points and your headline that you began taking your audience on a journey with.

The Old Mill Toronto is the ideal choice for those looking for a unique property with an elegant, historical ambiance, allowing you to devote your full concentration on your agenda and achieving the results you are targeting. Your success is our passion and priority.