Finding Zen at work? We’ve got the dips.

Who needs meditation? But after your client or boss has requested another revision (the 23rd to be exact), you decide to give this whole meditation thing a go. Does it really help?

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Meditation creates mindfulness – the state of being fully aware of the present, allowing you to calmly assess your thoughts and emotions after. While the pros practice mindfulness anywhere, it’s best for those just starting out to have lesser distractions, so find a quiet and comfortable place away from the hustle and bustle to meditate.

In the words of Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk who resides at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal: “You don’t learn the basics of navigation in the thick of a storm”.

Here are some 5-minute techniques you can use to meditate at work, to help you get through that hectic day. 

Meditation of Breathing
Sit down comfortably while maintaining a balanced posture with your back straight (hands on your lap is fine – it’s not necessary to do the Buddha pose). Focus on breathing in calmly and naturally, and imagine the air flowing from your abdomen and slowly filling up to your chest, before breathing it out. You don’t have to alter the pace of your breathing. Simply be aware of the rhythm, and have your attention on the process of your breath.

If you find yourself distracted halfway through, don’t worry! Once you notice it, turn your attention back to your breathing. Instead of attempting to block external thoughts, allow it to pass you by as if it were the wind.

Visualisation Meditation
This type of meditation involves visualising something in your mind that makes you feel relaxed. Close your eyes and picture a nice waterfall, or a large spacious cornfield with birds chirping away in the distance. Recall a place from your childhood or a moment in time in that you’ve felt truly at peace. Be present in that scene and focus solely on admiring the beauty that you see. 

This technique helps your mind achieve stability, peacefulness and improves your concentration. 

Mindfulness of the Body
You can open your eyes for this one. Instead of focusing on your breathing, turn your attention to the various parts of your body, one at a time. Start by focusing on the sensations present in your feet. Be fully in your feet. They are the only things in your body that exist right now. Move a toe, and notice how sensitive it is, and appreciate its existence wholly. You will experience sensations that usually pass you by on a daily basis.

After a minute or so, move up to your calves, then your thighs, then your stomach. Same thing – only they exist now. Then move up your fingers, arms, mouth, nose, jaw, forehead and so on. Remember, you’re not limited to any body part. Be entirely present with your butt if you wish to.

Observation Without Grasping
This exercise doesn’t require you to be in a sitting position – in fact, you can attempt this form of meditation anywhere and anytime. The concept is to observe anything in your surroundings without imposing a “name” on it. For instance, if you see a tree in front of you, don’t think of it as a tree. Look at it as it is – its coarse texture, tall structure, bright coloured greens protruding at its ends.

Smell fragrances and odours as they are, taste a taste as it tastes. You could be doing anything; the action doesn’t matter. This form of meditation focuses on experiencing what you deem as ordinary things without your predisposed knowledge of what it is. Then, you realise, how wonderfully amazing everything is in itself, free of any judgement.

In a busy world where everything passes us by in a snap, it’s important to take some time and have a little pause. It helps us gain a deeper understanding of how we view the world – we learn to appreciate the finer things, and probably are less quick to judge another’s actions. Just five minutes a day.  Thank us later. 

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Coffee – a booster for focus and inspiration. Some of the most creative minds in the history of humanity dabbled with this liquid amphetamine to push their imagination to the edge of insanity. When coffee and artistry come into play, expect more than just creating art on a white milk foam canvas. Here, we unearth the most unorthodox art using coffee, its essence and its entity.
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I Can’t Believe It’s Not – Gelatine!

By

Clarissa Kong

One does not simply go to a campfire without marshmallows. And just in case you don't sit well with gelatine, here a great D-I-Y for the gelatine-averse.

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Gelatine sheets or Gelatine powder is mainly made up of collagen found in animal’s skin and bones such as pigs, beef and fish. It acts as a gelling agent and is often used in desserts such as panna cotta, custards and jellies.

Because of the components in gelatine, they are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. But fear not, here’s one alternative that can produce the same tasty desserts with similar effects!

Agar is the most common vegan alternative for gelatine and it is used frequently in Asian desserts such as ‘kuehs’ (traditional Southeast Asian cakes) and fruit jellies.  They are extracted from a particular seaweed and comes in either flakes, powder or dried sheets like gelatine.

Besides the same use as gelatine, agar agar aids in digestion and are commonly used in fitness diets as it contains high content of fibre.

Talk about eating without having to feel guilty! Here is our fluffy strawberry marshmallow recipe using agar powder:

Ingredients

12.5g agar powder

90ml strawberry puree

150g sugar

90g water

150g glucose

 

Powder Mix

500g corn starch, 500g icing sugar

 

Instructions

  1. Bring strawberry puree to a boil and dissolve agar powder. Once agar powder has been incorporated properly into the mixture, place the liquid in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk attachment for this recipe.
  2. Boil glucose, water and sugar together until it reaches 116 degree Celsius. 
  3. Pour sugar syrup in a steady stream into the strawberry puree, with mixer running on low speed. Once all the sugar syrup has been fully incorporated, whisk on high until mixture has cooled down to room temperature or turn very sticky. This process usually takes about 10 -15 minutes.
  4. Prepare the the powder mix. In a flat tray, oil spray the surface and line with parchment paper. Sieve icing sugar and corn flour together onto the tray and make sure they are evenly mixed together.
  5. Transfer marshmallow mix into a piping bag with desired piping tip. We use a basic round tip for our testing. Pipe marshmallow into long ‘logs’ onto the powder mix tray. Make sure that the marshmallow logs are covered evenly with powder mix, including the top. Leave marshmallow to set overnight.
  6. Brush off the excess powder on the marshmallow and cut them into small pieces. Using a sieve, sift out any excess mix from the marshmallows before storing in an airtight container.

 

We hope you’re all ready to test out this chewy goodness!

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