Thursday, June 29, 2017

Temples to Visit in Cambodia

Passionate about helping those in need, Rathana Ung has volunteered in Cambodia to help construct homes for hundreds of individuals who were homeless. During her travels, Rathana Ung also helped rebuild several ancient temples in Cambodia. 

With a rich history, Cambodia features a number of old temples in its Angkor region, home of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries. The following are just a few temples to visit:

-Banteay Srei, also called the Temple of Women, stands out as a temple that was not built by a Cambodian king. Instead, it was constructed by a scholar and wealthy courtier who was an advisor to the king. Known for its wealth of Khmer art, the temple features reliefs that represent diverse mythological Hindu events, including the burning of Khandava Forest and the killing of the demon Hiranyakasipu by Narasimha.

-Preah Khan. Created by King Jayavarman, Preah Khan features an inscription that implies he built it where he conquered invaders from Champa. In addition to serving as a monastic house of worship, it was a university that incorporated elements of Vaishnava, Buddhist, and Shaiva worship.

-Ta Prohm. A royal monastery dating back to 1186, Ta Prohm was built by Jayavarman VII in honor of both his mother and Prajnaparamita, the goddess of wisdom. This temple is especially popular among tourists because of its location in the lush Cambodian jungle.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bruno Mars' XXIVK Magic Album Goes Platinum

An active supporter of charities operating in her home country of Cambodia, Rathana Ung has helped build schools, libraries, and a hospital, while contributing toward the restoration of five ancient temples. In her free time, Rathana Ung enjoys listening to the music of Bruno Mars.

Released under the Atlantic record label, Mars' fourth studio album, XXIVK Magic (pronounced “24 karat magic”), went certified platinum in February 2017, meaning it sold over 1 million US album units. A single unit represents one album sale, 1,500 track streams, or 10 individual track sales. 

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart with 194,000 copies sold in its first week. This marked the most albums sold in a single week for the "Uptown Funk" singer. The album's first single, "24K Magic," topped the Rhythmic Songs chart for the week ending December 4, with radio stations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Denver, Colorado playing the single 133 and 123 times respectively. It was the seventh song Mars was involved in that reached the top of the chart and his third as a lead act.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fact and Fiction from Real-Life Inspired Film Joy

Rathana Ung is a native of Cambodia who has led numerous charitable projects in the country, including the building of water wells and the construction of an on-water, floating school. Other than yoga and pilates, Rathana Ung enjoys relaxing by watching movies. Her favorite actress is Jennifer Lawrence and her favorite film is Joy.

In Joy, Lawrence plays a divorced mother with an entrepreneurial spirit. After overcoming various obstacles, she eventually invents a self-wringing mop which becomes a successful Home Shopping Network product. The character is based on real life entrepreneur Joy Mangano, although, according to Lawrence, only about half of the film depicts Mangano's life accurately.

What's true about Mangano's life in the film is that she did find her niche as an inventor by first creating a fluorescent pet collar. She also first sold the Miracle Mop out of her father's auto body shop, and it's true that she remained close with her ex-husband; in fact, the two later worked together at Mangano's company, Ingenious Designs. Fictitious events from the film include Lawrence's character foregoing her education to help her family during her parents' divorce. In real life, Mangano attended Pace University and graduated with a degree in business administration. She also met her husband at Pace University, not while he was singing at a party as portrayed in the film.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Six Principles of Pilates

Rathana Ung is an avid practitioner of both yoga and Pilates. Among their numerous benefits, Rathana Ung finds stress reduction and improvement in overall wellness.

Developed in New York in the 1920s, Pilates helps to improve flexibility, mobility and strength through targeted exercises. It follows a series of six principles, which integrate in a way that allows the practitioner to focus on particular body areas and elements of strength.

The first principle is that of centering, which encourages the practitioner to focus on his or her core muscles. These muscles power all routines and workouts, and their strength is essential to a successful Pilates practice.

The principle of precision requires the individual to focus on correct form, so that each exercise offers maximum benefit. This is important in Pilates practice, because each activity targets a particular muscle group, and incorrect form can interfere significantly. This concept also informs the Pilates principles of control and concentration, which ensure that the practitioner does not fall back into habit or over-rely on larger muscles.

The principle of flow helps to maintain smoothness throughout the workout, while that of breath ensures full activation of the muscles. The breath also aids in focusing the mind so that the practitioner can remain sharp throughout the session.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tips for Yoga Beginners

Rathana Ung believes that yoga can be beneficial to proper stress management. Becoming increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, yoga involves physical and mental exercises meant to help center and calm the body and spirit. Ranthana Ung practices every day, and while it can feel overwhelming for a beginner to know where to start, there are several tips that can make starting this healthy routine easier to tackle.

When starting out, having a proper space and the proper equipment is crucial to yoga success. Some prefer to practice with others at dedicated classes, which may be offered at local health clubs or community centers. 

Others find it more calming and less stressful to practice at home, sometimes outside. Either way, having the proper mat is important to prevent slipping. If practicing at home, make sure to create a proper space dedicated to the practice.

There are many postures in yoga, and it's often beneficial to keep a notebook of what works and what doesn't. Which exercises make you feel great, and which aren't doing what they should? Start up a collection of yoga books, YouTube videos, or CDs to aid with meditation. 

And of course, the basics should never be forgotten - get plenty of sleep, eat well, and keep a routine. Yoga can help with a hectic and stressful life, quiet the mind, and soothe the many aches and pains of a body in motion.