Ask your stressed out friends how they deal with feeling overwhelmed and they’ll likely list off the usual suspects: Sleep. Caffeine. Sugar. Alcohol. Exercise. Yoga. Some of these are clearly healthier options than others, but even the easy fixes take time—something that a lot of people who are stressed out tend to have in short supply. But there is a quick fix for the times when you have too much stress and too little energy: The simplest and most effective tool for instant energy, banishing stress, and ridding toxins from the body is breath!
That’s right. Breathing—the thing we do all day and night long without thinking about it—is responsible for a whole lot more than fuel our body with oxygen. The rate at which we breathe actually helps regulate our heart rate which in turn controls a bunch of other physical aspects. Breathe slow and fast and our body and brain will automatically shift to that fight or flight mode, the one that comes with stress and sends your blood pressure and shoulder tension soaring. Focus on slower, longer, and deeper breaths and you’ll help calm your body and mind, fighting stress in a matter of seconds while also filling your body with energizing oxygen, the lifeblood of a creativity, productivity, focus, and fire for whatever our life demands.
So how can you breathe better? (more…)
Everyone, take a full, deep breath and step away from the shapewear. Whether you swear by your Spanx every day or just break them out for special occasions, you aren’t doing your body any favors.
Shapewear is specifically designed to suck you up and hide any “blemishes” your body might have. To do that, of course, it has to be pretty tight. According to three doctors interviewed by the Huffington Post, that tightness can be dangerous.
The doctors, a gastroenterologist, dermatologist, and chiropractor, said that shapewear actually compresses your internal organs. Let’s say that again. Shapewear is compressing your internal organs, like your stomach, intestine, and colon.
Spending time in the garden is always a welcome activity, as the sunshine feels good and the fresh air brings hope for many enjoyable summer days to come. However, gardening can be exhausting, and if we are not careful, it might even be injurious.
The following are a few tips to keep your back in top shape as you spend long hours pulling weeds, hauling mulch, and performing other yard-centered activities.
Stand up often
Although it might seem like wasted time when you have a full day of yard work planned, standing up every five minutes will give your back a much needed break. When you spend too many hours slumped over your garden bed, it can be as bad for your spine as sitting slumped over in your recliner. So do yourself a favor and periodically stand up and stretch. (more…)
Getting stuck in traffic is enough to turn your hair grey. Blood pressure rises, muscles tense, and a positive attitude plummets when your car is at a standstill. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make the experience more pleasurable, and gain some health benefits while in the process.
The following are three easy yoga inspired exercises you can do the next time you find yourself wedged bumper to bumper.
Scoot your hips back so that your spine is upright against the seat of your car. Lift the crown of your head toward the sky as you inhale deeply, and press your hips down into the seat as you exhale fully. By doing this, you are creating space and decompression between each vertebra. As a result, you will gain energy, not to mention have to readjust your rear view mirror to take on your new height. (more…)
When it comes to stress and frustration, sometimes it’s just good to let it out. We yell, run, punch – whatever it takes to blow off some steam. However, letting out aggression forcefully isn’t the best habit to fall into especially if you find yourself needing to do so often.
When I think of the best workouts for stress, my mind naturally goes to punching, kicking or tearing things in half. However, fitness expert and health coach Stephanie Mansour would suggest otherwise.
In college, Stephanie had a professor in an aggression and media class who told her the worst thing you can do when you’re upset is to start punching things. As a result, she’s concluded that when we’re angry or upset and need to take it out on something, we’re not teaching ourselves how to actually deal with our issues or become a mature, centered person.
As a fitness coach, Stephanie sees her fair share of clients who come to her for a stress-relieving workouts. But instead of letting them rip into a punching bag, she guides them toward these more relaxing exercise instead.
Breathing techniques – To practice intentional breathing, place your hands on your stomach and draw in air like you’re trying to inflate a balloon, and then slowly let your breath out through your nose like you’re deflating the balloon. In the process, feel your stomach getting bigger and smaller as you breathe, and think about breathing in perspective and breathing out stress. (more…)
It is easy to understand that we are unaware of our breathing patterns while we sleep, but most of us don’t think this is true during our waking hours. For instance, do you know how you are breathing right now? Did you have to stop to think about it for a few seconds or were you so connected to your breath you could answer the question instantly? Most people are oblivious of the quality, rate, or depth of their breath at any given moment during the day. After all, who has the time to think about breathing all day long?
Nirinjan Yee, founder and president of BreathResearch, has come up with a solution to help us track our breathing throughout the day. Why does this matter? Because according to Yee, better breathing means better living. From professional athletes to the elderly, breathing is not only essential, it can improve performance, optimize health, and increase inner contentment and well-being by reducing stress.
So how can you track your breathing? With an iOS app called MyBreath. Rooted in more than 35 years of research, MyBreath has the ability to analyze, track and retrain your breathing patterns. Download the app straight to your iPhone and track your breathing in 90-second intervals, upload your data, get feedback, and track your progress. (more…)
When people think of yoga, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of someone doing a yoga pose on a sticky mat. But did you know that only one of the four main branches of yoga involves poses, and poses are just one fraction of that branch? This means that the yoga poses you are familiar with are a very small part of yoga.
If you study the origins of yoga, you will learn that yoga began as a way to reach enlightenment. Of the various methods, only one involved the deliberate and systematized use of the physical body. The others were centered on the path of selfless service (Karma yoga), love and devotion to God (Bhakti yoga), and the study of the intellect (Jnana yoga). In the fourth branch, Raja yoga, steps were taken to prepare the body (and the mind) for long hours of meditation for the purpose of attaining union with the divine.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest recorded books of yoga, these steps consisted of eight parts, or limbs. The first two limbs are comprised of morals and ethics to guide the yogi toward making the proper choices that foster inner peace, purity of mind, and non-violent actions. (more…)
Anger creates unnecessary tension in the mind and body. From negative emotions to a distressing stomachache, reactions to rage are not only upsetting they are also very unhealthy.
If you struggle with anger, the following yogic breathing practices (pranayama) may help you to feel more at ease so you no longer have to suffer.
Instead of screaming at your spouse, child, or customer service rep, take some time to yourself and do a few rounds of this spine-tingling, endorphin-producing pranayama.
Sit or lie down on your back. As you inhale, contract the muscles of your face and make tight fists with both hands. With an explosive exhale, stick out your tongue, open your eyes and fingers very wide and roar loudly. Five rounds of lion’s breath is usually enough to release the beast of rage from your soul.
Tip: During your exhale, visualize the source of your anger shrinking down to tiny, inert particles. (more…)
If you could only inhale hundreds of thousands of dollars straight into your bank account and exhale your spare tire from your middle-aged torso, life would be perfect, wouldn’t it? Sure, Hippocrates believed, “air is a pasture of life and a greatest ruler of all,” because we all need air to stay alive. And yes, your yoga teacher sings the praises of deep, abdominal breathing for inner peace and a clear head. Perhaps you’ve owned, seen or have known someone who bought the classic 1980s breathing exercise video, led by a slender woman in a leotard with hair like Farrah Fawcett, who makes us believe breathing is the way to a slim physique.
Whatever your experience has been with people suggesting that breathing air is life’s best elixir for weight loss and good health, there is now a new item on the market that claims their product is better than any weight loss pill or potion.
Brought to you by a team of international scientists, Breathslim is the latest device said to promote fat loss with practically no effort. Built out of a tiny container that holds water with an attached breathing tube (much like something you might have seen at a college party), the Breathslim device claims to bring more oxygen into the body.
Okay, so what? Fitness experts will tell you that the more oxygen that is consumed by the body, the more fat the body will use as fuel. This is true, however the body’s capacity to burn heaps of fat is highly dependent on aerobic fitness. In other words, you have to train your body with aerobic exercise in order for you to be a better and more efficient fat burner.
Being under stress is not fun. Tension headaches, insomnia, and back pain are just a few symptoms of taking on too much. These symptoms are uncomfortable to say the least, but if not addressed, they can lead to more serious, health-threatening ailments.
According to the American Psychological Association, one half of Americans say that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives, adding that stress is responsible for keeping them up at night. The American Institute of Stress claims that workplace stress costs more than $300 billion dollars each year in health care, and according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, stressed out workers incur an average of $600 more a year due to stress related needs compared with non-stressed out workers.
Whether you work, are retired, or are a stay-at-home mom, if you are under stress, please take note of the following five tips for releasing tension from your life. Not only will it help you, it may even relieve the stress from those around you.