Posts Tagged ‘breathing’

15 Minute Heart Health, It’s all about breathing.

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

When you don’t manage stress effectively you place an unnecessary burden on the one muscle that keeps you alive: the heart. When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” response. The brain releases hormones that cause your heart to pump faster, thicken your blood, and raise blood pressure. If you constantly experience this stress response, it eventually changes the way the heart and blood system function-putting you at risk for heart disease.

There’s a “cure” you can use anytime, anywhere to change the way you respond to stress and actually lower blood pressure and protect your heart from the deadly grip of stress. Cardiologist, Dr. John Kennedy, developed ‘The 15 Minute Heart Cure’-a set of simple breathing techniques that creates a connection between the heart and brain. This method helps you calm down, reenergize, and protects your heart all at the same time.

To get the most out of using this technique, try to do it at the same time each day.

B in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Beginning. Begin in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for 15-minutes. Begin with a positive attitude. View this time as a gift to your health. Seated in a comfortable position, try to clear all thoughts and bring focus to the your breath, slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

R in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Relaxation. Relaxation brought about by this technique creates changes in brain waves and the rhythm of your heart. Visualize yourself walking on a ‘path to relaxation’, perhaps a beautiful hiking path. With each step, you become more and more relaxed.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Envision. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Deepak Chopra are called visionaries for good reason. Research shows envisioning is an important part of achieving a goal-be it a story, a revolutionary digital device, or a new paradigm in medicine. Imagine your heart as powerful and strong. Research also shows that imagery can lower your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system.

A in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Apply. In Dr. Kennedy’s book, there are heart-healing images and metaphors for you to apply during your 15-minute practice and during stressful moments. Tapping into the imagery, even from memory, can help break the cycle of stress in the moment it is happening.

 T in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Treatment. Your time spent with this technique is no different than taking time for a spa-treatment. See this time as a 15-minute oasis that you create.

H in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Heal. This technique will strengthen neural networks that connect your heart and brain so that your body easily shifts from stress response to relaxation response. Healing is more likely to occur in a relaxed state, bringing more oxygen into muscles, lowering pulse rate and blood pressure, and enhancing immune response.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = End. After 15-minutes of mindful focus on the breath and heart-healing imagery, you will feel deeply relaxed and energized and revitalized. As you end your session, quietly notice your surroundings and visualize how you can use the technique throughout your day.
Breathing-Techniques_for-Meditation

 

Practicing Zen Meditation Techniques

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

How do you meditate?  Do you practice Zen meditation techniques? Many folks need a Zen meditation guide. If you are one of them, you may find the following meditation tips helpful. To gain the most benefits of meditation, we should try to make it a habit. Zen meditation for beginners takes practice and even experienced practitioners seek to improve with meditation exercises. To meditate more naturally & effectively, here are some beginning meditation tips.

Start slowly –

Begin Zen meditation with just a few minutes and gradually increase your time.  How do you know when your Zen meditation time is up?  To avoid looking at a clock to check the time, set a meditation timer or bell to sound the end of your meditation session. Use of meditation timers or bells enhances concentration for all types of meditation.  Some practitioners start by ringing a meditation bell and let the sound carry them into a quiet state.

Set a mediation time –

For successful mindful meditation, set a specific time each day to meditate.  Many practitioners say the best time to meditate is the first thing in the morning.  One of the best Zen meditation techniques is to commit to a regular time for one month and it will become a habit.

Maintain Correct Posture –

Posture is an important part of Zen meditation. Whether you sit on a mediation bench, mat or meditation cushion, you want to be comfortable, with your back and your head up. As body & mind connect, good posture helps create perfect mind-body balance.  Use of good meditation cushions will improve your posture, especially with regular meditation exercises.

Use a Comfortable Zafu and Zabuton –

When practicing Zen meditation, use a comfortable meditation cushion such as a Zafu and Zabuton. They help maintain correct posture to you can focus on spiritual enlightenment.

A sacred space –

Many practitioners set up a meditation room with comfortable meditation cushions, a meditation bell or timer, prayer shawls and incense sticks.

Breathe –

While practicing Zen meditation techniques, count your breath starting at “one” as you inhale through your nose and “two” as you exhale.  Count to ten and repeat starting over again.   Do not worry if your mind wanders, let this breathing technique bring it back into focus.

Burning incense –

Certain kinds of incense can produce a very calming effect. We can quickly develop positive associations with a particular scent, allowing the mind to quiet and a retreat-like atmosphere settle around us.  Some of the best incense for meditation is sandalwood for grounding and relaxing, patchouli to lift your spirits, amber for elevation and letting go, and frankincense for centering and purifying.meditation-enlightenment

Love yourself –

During your meditation exercise welcome your thoughts and feelings as friends, they are a part of you.  There is no “doing it wrong”!  You are getting to know yourself.  When you finish a mindfulness meditation session, smile!  Be grateful for any amount of time you take for yourself.  You are on a path to spiritual enlightenment.

If you need high-quality products to ensure a successful Zen meditation session, visit Chopa.com now. On this popular online store, you can find a wide range of products, like Zen Books, Zen CDs, books on meditation, prayer shawls, meditation timers, meditation cushions, incense sticks, meditation bells, mala beads, meditation mats and more. Visit http://www.chopa.com

Three Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Relationship

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

If you’re wondering how you can improve your relationship with your partner, here are some tips to start now. If you already have a loving relationship, these principles can help maintain the magnitude of a loving relationship by allowing growth on many levels. So get your partner & begin today.

1. Principles to Reinforce Your Partnership

The first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are the Yamas. These encompass universal morality and respect for all living things, or Ahimsa (non violence). This means that kindness and friendliness should be exhibited in all situations dealing with living beings. Kindness is contagious, and if you’re able to treat complete strangers with empathy and respect, it will be that much easier to do the same with your partner.

Deceit and lies are two common elements of bad marriages and relationships. They’re detrimental in broken relationships and have the potential to shatter the love. Satya refers to speaking the truth as long as it does not hurt someone. When combined with Ahimsa, honesty trumps deliberate deception. For instance, telling your partner about an extra-marital affair would be extremely hurtful, but carrying on a fake relationship is harmful to all, including the third party individual.

Aparigraha is the Yamas principle that encourages divestment of materialism. Hoarding wealth beyond what you and your family need implies a self-centeredness that is inherently detrimental to relationships. Buy a homeless person a meal if you can afford it or help someone in need. Furthermore, gifts for your partner should be about the thought as opposed to the long-term value. For example, buying flowers or treating your partner to his or her favorite meals create lasting memories without the acquisition of material things.

2. Sexual Vitality

A 2013 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants in long-term relationships were motivated to have an intimate relationship because it was important to their partner. In other words, people will be intimate even when they don’t want to if it makes their significant other happy. Granted, waiting in the beginning of a relationship can help to strengthen emotional bonds and commitment to one another, but a major challenge in long-term relationships is keeping everything interesting and fresh. And that’s where yoga comes into play.

A 2010 study published by the Harvard Medical School found that women experienced more pleasure and arousal after 12 weeks of yoga practice. Psychology Today cited a study from a yoga camp that found men ages 24 to 60 experience similar benefits after several yoga sessions. A yoga date every week can only improve your relationship it seems!

3. Shape Up

A study by yogi Alan Kristal and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that people who did one yoga session per week for four years lost five pounds versus the non-yogis who gained 14 pounds. Kristal credited yoga’s mind-body principles, which helped change the participants’ relationship with food and eating. Yoga also can help you quit smoking and get better sleep at night. Both will promote healthier looking skin, whiter smiles and positive emotions; all of which will help build your confidence in relationships.

Yoga connects you with the truths of the here and now. Likewise the focus of healthy relationships is the present, not the past or future. Incorporating yoga into your regular life ensures beautiful memories with your partner and promotes a future of love and commitment. And all of us can use love as a catalyst for growth on many levels.

Isn’t to day a good day to begin? Let yoga make Love!

~Brian Wilkinscy

5 tips to refresh your commitment to yoga

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Time to move on – not away from yoga
You have trained long and hard, practiced diligently and now you have doubts – about yourself, your teaching and commitment. What is happening?
The answer is: you are practicing yoga. Self-inquirytrends in yoga, reflection and doubting your intentions are the manifestation of a deeper relationship, that can withstand and flourish through inquiry and emotional turmoil.Compare your relationship with yoga with other meaningful relationships that endure through change and even conflict. If they are strong, they will develop and strengthen. Yes, flaws may be revealed and that relationship may change, but the underlying love will endure and prove richer in the long-term.

Where, when and how you discover yoga will determine the start of your journey. This may be a route that takes us into a practice, or even teacher training that requires commitment to a certain style that later in life, may not nourish and support your growth. An acceptance and even ultimately a rejection of a particular school of yoga is neither a reflection on the practice, but merely an acknowledgement that it is time to move on. The body and mind evolves during our journey through life. Yoga may keep us flexible, strong and active in the physical body, but our aims may change, as we recognize and nurture other areas of our practice.

Physical injury, health concerns and natural aging also determine the suitability of any practice and may mean changing or adapting your practice. One of the many comforts in yoga is that there is always something that you can do – either softening your practice until recovery allows you to return to your previous choice, or moving into different areas such as pranayama or meditation.How do you move forward?
• Firstly, it is important to accept and be open to change. Drawing back and observing your intentions may at first contribute to feelings of loss and even anger. To ‘let go’ of a rigid practice can also cause feelings of guilt as you release yourself of the commitment and possibly regular practice that has become part of the pattern of your daily life.

• Remember, you are only recognizing changes in yourself. Recall how well the practice suited you in the past – what you have learnt and how it has supported you. Let go of guilt and be thankful for the experience.• Have a break and encourage the body and mind to rest and find the space for observation, inquiry and introduction to other aspects or styles of yoga. This may even result in a refreshed interest and commitment in your previous practice.

• Talk to your teacher and other students. You will discover that these doubts and feelings are not unusual. Your teacher may suggest other classes or training that will support your growth. If this is ‘farewell’, a respectful parting will prevent any bad feelings.

• Observe other areas of your life and how they may be contributing to your confusion.  It can be tempting to use yoga as a crutch to support other areas of life that are out of control, or even to be disappointed in yoga no longer gives you the feelings of strength, stability and calm that it provided when you first started.

• Do not rush! Any decision should be taken slowly and calmly. Remember how long it took to develop your practice and how it has helped you develop.

It may be time to move on, but that does not mean moving out! And if you decide to take a break – yoga will be there waiting patiently to welcome you back – no questions asked.

By:  Wendy Jacob

Three ways to shift your day through breath

Monday, February 9th, 2015

If you are having a tough day, take a pause and notice your breath. Do you feel yourself breathing? Our breathing reverberates in our body and this vibration is directly related to the vibrations in our mind that come as thoughts. As ancient yogic texts have explained, our thoughts affect our breath. Our breath affects our body function. Our body function/health affects our speech. Our speech affects our actions. And our actions affect our destiny. Therefore, if you want to make a change in your life, invite a positive change to your breathing pattern.

Notice the next time that you are feeling angry or stressed about something. Excited thoughts lead to an excited breath, which can lead to quick, reactive decisions; some that we later regret. Sad thoughts lead to a dull, heavy breathing pattern that can make it hard to take any action to help ourselves. Positive, happy thoughts are connected with effortless deep breathing throughout the body. This leads to positive actions and choices that can make our life better. The pattern of breath and thoughts which vibrate within you will ripple out into the functioning of your organs and determine what words are spoken, what actions are taken, and the energy attracted.

On-The-Go Breathing Tools:  

 1. When you need to quickly re-set – Breathe through the nose to allow the breath to slow down. This also helps you get more air into the lungs, and helps you clean more old air out of the lungs. If you pause and take some really deep breaths, moving the air deep into your body, you will immediately start to feel differently.

2. When you are feeling angry or stressed – Pause and fold forward at the hips, letting your torso hang down towards the floor. If you feel tightness in the lower back and hamstrings, bend your knees a bit so that your hips rotate over the legs. Now, lengthen your inhale and let your exhale last as long. See if you can stay here up to one minute.  Then, slowly roll up to standing. And notice how the world looks.32

3. When you are feeling low in energy or emotion – Stand up, feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, take your arms up to the sky. As you exhale, take the arms out and down by your side. Do this about 10 times, and begin to connect the breath with the movement of the arms. See if you can even go slower with the arms and breath. On the last round, keep the arms up in the air for 10 smooth breaths through the nose. And then gradually lower them down.

Suggestions To Start Your Practice:

  • Take a Yoga Class – Yoga is more than just exercise for the body. Many forms of exercise focus on exhaling, pushing and forcing the heart rate to rise. Yoga balances that with time to inhale lots of good, fresh air into the body. The more fresh air we put into our system, the more efficient our body operates. Digestion, assimilation and elimination improve. When our bodies are working well, it’s easier to have positive thoughts and take positive actions.
  • Practice Pranayama – If you are really interested in improving your breathing, consider taking a Pranayama Class at a yoga studio. Pranayama is the technique of expanding one’s life force (the energy behind the breath) through breathing techniques. Many Pranayma classes inlude a few poses to open the body and end in a meditation.

If you don’t like what’s going on in your life, before you decide to take a radical action, start simple. Expand your breathing to bring more positive energy into your system. This will ripple from your mind to your breath and out into your life.

Written by ~ Jeanne Heilman

Including Yoga in Your Work Day.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Yoga is an ancient traditional art form of exercise believed to have originated in the Rig Veda. Yoga emphasizes on inner peace and the self-origin of an individual for eternal truth. This form of art is considered great in the form of flexibility and keeping the body and mind free form chaos within. Having a cure for all kinds of ailments and focusing more on the individuals overall health. Incorporating yoga in your day to day activities helps the individual in Reducing stress, control over blood pressure, increased learning and power memory, manages chronic pain.

The best part of yoga is that it can be performed anywhere as the entire focus is on using the individuals energy and efforts which is not depended on any instrument of exercise unlike in gyms. Rather than performing yoga only on specific timings like a morning or evening class, yoga can be performed in small portions throughout the day keeping you energetic and focused all the time.

Few ways of doing yoga throughout the day in small portions

Deep Yogic Breathing 

Taking deep breaths at any given point of time when you are shopping at a grocery store, driving, walking to your workplace, watching TV, attending on conferences etc. Deep breathing calms the heart rate and nervous system and also has an influences the people around you and keeps them calm. Deep breathing forces more oxygen to the brain making you more alert, eloquent when dealing with clients, customers.

Meditation 

Mediation is the key factor in yoga that brings internal peace and bliss. A 5 minute meditation at your work place, college, school, and home can calm your body, mind and make your day more effective. Meditation can be performed in various ways, a simple technique that you can practice is CONCENTRATING ON YOUR BREATH. Close your eyes. Inhale, exhale a one count cycle for each breath, notice the air movement in your body, the belly, nostrils entering and leaving the body. Focus on one point and the see the increased concentration.

Desk Stretching 
A sitting posture e.g. Gomukhasana- cow face pose, stretches the upper body. Seated twist -right, left side stretch with legs shoulder length widened stretching at each side while you inhale and exhale .Shoulder stretch, hip stretch, back bend helps in eliminating physical and mental fatigue. All stretches at one seated place can help you a lot in relaxation.

Yoga at the Lunch Break 

Find an open and quiet place at a park or at your office terrace and perform few yoga asana like Tadasana ( Mountain pose ), Urdhva hastasana (raised arm pose), Uttanasana (standing -forward bend), plank pose, staff pose, Paschimottanasana ( seated forward bend.) These few postures that would energize your body, makes you feel more lighter, eradicating the toxins and increasing concentration.

Courtesy of Flora Cox. Ms. Cox is a part time medical student, who shares her view regarding health issues on many blogs. She is conducting a research on Ehic card (European health insurance card). yg