Are you getting a full body workout?

Deep squat – Start with your feet a shoulder width apart, put your hands on your shoulder to keep your back straight and keep your head up. Lower your bum ALL the way to the floor under control and then stand up. By going all the way down you will activate all the muscles in your legs and get that amazing all over look.

Lunges – Step forward, landing the heel first, and lower until the knee is at 90 degrees and directly above your toes. The back knee should continue until it nearly touches the ground. Drive up with the front leg to the starting position. This is great for tightening up the legs

Diamond push-ups – Place your palms on the ground and touch thumbs and forefingers together to create a diamond. Perform the pressups by slowly lowering the chest to your hands and push back up. Put your knees on the ground if you struggle to do 10-12 reps. This will get your triceps working hard and tighten them up in no time.

Bench dip – You’ll need a chair or a bench about knee height. Place hands on the bench directly under the shoulders. Legs are straight out away from the bench so they are behind you, lower your body slowly until your bum nearly touches the ground and push back up. Work hard through the burn and you’ll see the success at the other side.

To really achieve a shapely bum, you need to strip excess fat away:

The Tabata method – As an alternative to counting reps you can follow a timed method, which is one of the most effective methods for fat loss. You work at high intensity for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat for 4 minutes (8 cycles). This is a great way to burn calories and it really works.

There’s no substitute for hard work and to get the amazing results of high intensity training, you need to work hard. The good news is these workouts are much shorter; a 20 – 30 minute high intensity workout will burn the same amount of calories as a 1-hour cardio session. With an increased metabolism for up to 36 hours, overall you will burn much more calories.

Spend 5 – 10 minutes, three times per week, working on your core muscles and feel the benefits.

Exercise 1 – The plank
Adopt a pose similar to a press up but keep your forearms on the ground and shoulder width apart beneath your chest. Keep your body straight and your feet together and balance on your toes. Pull the belly button up to your spine to feel the full effect. Just hold still in this position. Aim to hold for 20 to 60 seconds and lower slowly. Repeat three to five times.

Exercise 2 – Plank superman
From the normal plank, lift your left foot off the ground slowly. Then slowly extend your right arm in front of you. You should now be balancing on your left forearm and right foot. Again hold and squeeze in the abdominal area. Aim to hold for 10 – 30 seconds and repeat two to three times on each side.

Exercise 3 – Half sit
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at 90 degree. You then squeeze your abs and slowly raise your shoulders and body keeping your back straight. Come about half way up so you maintain tension in the abs and then slowly lower but don’t let your shoulders touch the ground. Aim to complete 10 – 20 repetitions and repeat three to five sets.

Exercise 4 – V-sits
Lie flat on the ground and raise your feet off the ground about 6 inches. Slowly raise your legs and sit up with your torso, bringing your hands to touch your toes. You then slowly lower to the start position, keeping your back and legs straight. Aim to complete 5 – 15 repetitions and repeat two to three sets.

Why you get stressed

Some stress is necessary to help you meet life’s challenges.

Your brain is wired in such a way that until you feel some sort of pressure, you are slow to take action to achieve a desired goal. Research from UC Berkeley in the US found that the onset of stress entices the brain to grow new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent.

When stress becomes prolonged, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop these important new cells.Intermittent stressful events increase your performance by keeping the brain more alert. The best performers at work use strategies to lower their stress levels and ensure their stress is not prolonged.

Here are a few ways you can employ strategies to deal with stress brought about by people you encounter at work.

Say No.Research from the University of California shows that the more difficulty you have with saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress. ‘No’ is a powerful weapon in the battle against stress.

Don’t be afraid to wield it. Avoid phrases like, ‘I don’t think I can’ or ‘I’m not certain’. Saying no gives you the time and opportunity to fulfil your existing objectives.

‘What if’ might never be. What others do at work is pretty much out of your control, unless of course, you’re their boss. Endlessly questioning what would have happened if things had gone your way simply raises your stress levels. Spend less time worrying about what could have been if person X hadn’t been involved, and more time on what you can do to achieve the best outcome for the organisation and yourself.

Know when to disconnect.When you’re constantly tracking someone at work, you expose yourself to a barrage of stressors. Turn your focus away from them and concentrate on what you need to do. If you’re seriously worried about the negative repercussions of their actions on your work, talk to a manager.

Be mindful, be positive. Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation that can help you control your own thoughts and behaviour. People who practice mindfulness are more focused and perform better. Being mindful means reflecting on your actions and not jumping from one thing to the next without thinking it through.

Positivity is power. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that – thoughts, not facts. Focus on the positive. When your work colleague gets right, make sure you recognise it. A simple ‘thank you’ could do your relationship the world of good.

Stress is serious

A heavy workload and tight deadlines aren’t the only causes of stress…

Office politics, competitiveness, back-biting and difficult co-workers can all contribute. It’s a serious problem because workplace stress can result in a whole range of health issues, such as increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. And, of course, stress also takes its toll on the performance of the business.

Stressed-out employees simply aren’t as productive as those that are chilled-out.

And solution? That’s to ask for help

What can you do if you think you’re suffering from stress? Quite a lot. In the first instance, experts agree that’s it’s vital to ask for help – whether that’s extra resources, more time or whatever you need to get the job completed to the standard expected.

Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not good at your job. On the contrary, it says that you are proactively reacting to the demands of the job to find a solution that works. It shows you use initiative instead of covering up problems. As a result, company targets are met and employees are protected from stress related illness.

Be awakened

Don’t be lazy. We have been lazy and ignorant for millions of years, and we are now lucky to hear the bell of Buddha.

Meditate all day and night while lying, sitting, standing and walking. Always be awakened and mindful. That is the message from Zen Master Vien Hoc. But how can the lazy body be conquered? It is a hard work, and only you can do it to save yourself. You should observe your body carefully. Eat healthy, eat little. Work and exercise everyday.

Always remember that the law of impermanence is drifting us swiftly all day and night, and we have very little time in this life to practice Buddha Dharma to reach the shore. So don’t be lazy.

That doesn’t mean that you have to punish your body. The body is a raft, a vehicle; you have to take good care of it for a really hard trip.

Observe all your bodily movement; that’s a part of meditation. In a certain way, this kind of meditation might have originated some forms of martial arts. Also, you can have your own style Tai Chi Chuan for fun while meditating.

Try this: breath in and out gently, move your right hand very slowly in any way you want while you observe and feel all the bodily movements. Then, with both hands. Then, with eyes open, stand up and move gently while you observe and feel all the bodily movements. It is so much fun for the children to practice their own style Tai Chi Chuan while meditating.

Ask them to try it around five minutes a day. The practitioner would some time see that the mind and body become one.

Like an Echo

Live yourself a simple life.

Only the morality is your duty. If you want to say the good words, just insistingly tell others one saying: When you see there is no self and others, the dust stops blowing; Day and night, up and down, there is no form to settle; Like a reflection, like an echo, there is no trace to point out.

All things are playing in your mind. But when you look around and you can not see the mind. You can not say there is no mind, because the consciousness arises and vanishes. You can not say there is something called mind, because there is no trace of it. Thoughts come and go just like illusions.

Now try this: Keep silent for a day, or even one hour, and feel the environment around. You would feel that all the sounds you hear are not the normal sounds anymore; you feel that they are all echoes in your mind.

The Mind of Emptiness

Life is too short. If you attain the mind of emptiness and formlessness, you will be free from the world of coming and going.

You can feel the frailness of your body now, even when you are healthy and strong. Try this: breathe in and out, gently and naturally; feel the breathing in and out; feel your whole body breathing; feel your whole body becoming one with the breath. Then you will see that your breath is so fragile and your body is so vulnerable.

The more you experience the bliss from meditation, the more you feel sorrowful for the plight of humankind.
Recalling the Buddha’s words saying that we have born and died countless times, you will feel grateful to countless parents, and will see all people around as your dear parents in past lives. Then you will feel your whole body deeply resonate with the Zen vow to save all sentient beings. How can we save others if we are not free yet?

Zen master Vien Chieu said that learners must attain the mind of emptiness and formlessness. Indeed, you will see that the mind essence is empty and formless. So all things in the world appear and disappear in the mind just like the clouds formed and dissolved in the sky, just like the images emerged and vanished in a mirror.

So all the forms you see, all the sounds your hear, all the odors you smell, all the flavors you taste, all the senses you feel, all the thoughts you have are changing swiftly. So nothing has a self. So all things come and go, governed by the principle of dependent arising. Realizing the mind essence will free you from the world of coming and going.

The Present

The present is not the past; the past is not the present.

That means past thoughts vanished and the present thought is not the previous thought. That means every act in past lives and now has its own merit. That means the good deed now is not the bad act done before. That means the breath now is not the breath earlier, and the breath felt previously was not the breath sensed presently.

Live with the present. Every act has its own merit, so you should not worry about the past. Just sit with eyes half open, feel your breath now, feel your body breathing now, feel your thought now arising and vanishing. Can you see this interval: while the previous thought vanished and the next thought does not arise yet?

Try to gently stare that interval for all times in a day, or in two days, even when you are lying, sitting, standing and walking. Later, you can use this stare to cut off all wandering thoughts.


Just look at your body, your feelings, your thoughts; they were changing swiftly since the day you were born.

So you have had millions of bodies; millions of feelings, millions of thoughts – which one is your true body, true feeling, true thought? Your body, your feelings, your thoughts can manifest as millions of forms, because forms are indeed emptiness just like illusions appearing in the mirror. If you cling to anything as form or emptiness, you are chasing the illusions.

Then look at the day before yesterday. Do you feel just like millions of lives away? Are those dreams? Think nothing, just observe. Just be alert, feel the breath, observe the body breathing. And feel the life and death flowing swiftly, endlessly in your whole body.

The Treasure

Living in the world, happy with the Way, you should let all things take their course. When hungry, just eat; when tired, just sleep. The treasure is in your house; do not search any more. Face the scenes, and have no thoughts; then you do not need to ask for Zen.

Live with the water, not with the waves rising and falling; live with the nature of mirror to reflect, not with the images appearing and disappearing; and live with the essence of the mind, not with the thoughts arising and vanishing. When you see the essence of the mind, then you catch a glimpse of Nirvana – the state of unborn, uncreated, unconditioned peace.

After that moment, you know how to live with the mind unmoved while walking, standing, lying, and sitting. How can you see the essence of the mind? Please, remember: You are never away from it, just like the water holds all the waves and is never away from the waves, just like the emptiness of the mirror hold all the images and is never away from the images.

The essence of the mind is non-self, so it manifest as a great magician: your mind has no form, so it takes all forms you see as its forms; your mind has no color, so it takes all colors you see as its colors…Now look out the window, when you see a bird, your mind now has the form of a bird; and when the bird flies, your mind flies too. Your mind is all things you see, all things you hear, all things you feel; the observer is all things observed.

The Spring

When spring goes, all flowers die. When spring comes, all flowers smile. Before the eyes, all things flow endlessly. Over the head, old age comes already. Do not say that with the spring gone, all flowers fall. Last night, in the front yard, a branch of mai flower.

Mai is a kind of flower that blossom in springtime in Vietnam. Notice the contrast between the first and last line; also the last line of the poem is fragment sentence, without a verb, showing the state of unborn, unmoving, undying.

While the stream manifests as endless waves rising and falling, the nature of water stays unmoved, uncreated. Now look at your mind, and see thoughts coming and going, arising and vanishing. The mind is just like a mirror that shows you the images of all things reflected.

All images come and go, but the reflectivity is still there, unmoving, undying. Now, listen to the sound of two hands clapping, then listen to the sound of one hand clapping. Do you hear the soundless? The sound comes and goes, but the nature of hearing ability is still there even in your sleep, unchanging, unmoving, undying.