breath

Breathe More Deeply.

Breathing.  Something you’ve done every day since birth.
In fact, you take approximately 20,000 breaths each day.
How do you breathe?
Unless you’ve struggled for a breath or two, you likely don’t think much about it.
And yet, the benefits of a deep breath are many:

  • it releases toxins
  • assists in weight control
  • relaxes tension & relieves pain
  • relaxes the mind & body, & brings clarity

I could go on, but I think you get the idea: a deep breath is good for you.
How do you breathe?
If you’re staring at a screen, your breath is probably shallow.
And if you’ve been in front of that screen for any length of time, check your posture.
When we sit for hours in front of a screen (t.v., computer, phone, etc.), we are unlikely to take a deep breath.  This particular disease has been called Screen or Email Apnea. Attention is focused elsewhere, and posture is typically slumped.  Arms out, shoulders forward, lungs compressed. Breath, shallow.
Lengthen that spine.  Drop those shoulders, and fully exhale.

That’s the challenge this week:  Breathe more deeply.
As often as you can, consciously take a deep breath.
Notice what expands.  What moves the most as you breathe?  (you can’t get this wrong)
Set a timer for once an hour.  Develop a breathing practice.  Get outside and get some fresh air. Doesn’t matter how you do it, aim to breathe deeply as you move through your day.

Breathing is a fundamental part of living ~ do it well.

breathe in, breathe out.
go deep.

Some resources for breathing:
The Art & Science of Breath with Dr. Andrew Weil
Belly Breathing Practice
Eighteen benefits of deep breathing

Five Practices For Weaving Health Into Your Every Day.

Over the past year, I’ve talked about health with just about anyone that will listen.

Health:  (noun) the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor

While this is Webster’s definition, true health means something different for each of us, and there are many ways to get there.  What I’ve noticed though, is that the most fit people I know, weave health into their every day. For them, health isn’t something to check off of a list, it’s something to live.

So what does that look like?  How do you weave health into your every day?
Here are five practices to help:

1) Move More. This isn’t just about parking further away at the store, or taking the stairs. Search your day for opportunities to move. How can you sneak it in? Exercise at lunch (who needs an hour to eat?? Go for a run or walk, and eat at your desk). Walk down the hall instead of sending that email. Bike to work. Take your calls on the move. Stand during the meeting. Just because everyone else is sitting, doesn’t mean you have to. Move every chance you get.

2) Make it enjoyable. Let’s be honest, if you hate it, you’re not going to do it. So how do you make movement enjoyable? Download a podcast, and listen while you walk the dog. Make a playlist. Recruit a friend. Buy an outfit that makes you feel great. Exercise outdoors, in a beautiful spot. Do something to make your movement a source of pleasure.

3) Make it a mindful practice. Exercise to tune in, not out. Pay attention to what it feels like. How do your feet strike the ground? How are you breathing? Are you holding tension? What are you thinking?  Read this recent article from the NY Times about the link between mindfulness and satisfaction during exercise.  As much as you can, be present as you move.

4) Fuel your body to move. After you eat, notice how you feel. Do you feel heavy? Are you tired? Still hungry? Or do you feel like you could go for a walk or a run? How does what you’ve eaten serve you? We eat for many reasons – pleasure, celebration, boredom, comfort, etc. – but the primary reason to eat is fuel. Pay attention, and fuel to move.

5) Preventative practice. In order to BE healthy, to maintain your health, you want to take care of your body right now. After all, as someone once said, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” Practice preventative care. Massages. Essential Oils. Whole foods. Exercise. Stretching. Foam Rolling. Love. Dark Chocolate. What will you do to take care of you?

 

Remember, you don’t have to overhaul your life all in one day.  Start small.
What one thing will you do to weave health into your every day?

Relax.

Take a deep breath.
The more that you can relax into it – whatever it is – the better and easier it becomes.
The run.
The pose.
The job.
The relationship.
The more that you can relax and allow, the easier it is to find a state of flow.
To relax doesn’t mean to get lazy, or complacent – exactly the opposite.
Relax.  Take a breath.
Become present, centered, and aware of what’s going on in the moment.
Let that “try harder” reflex take a break, and relax.
You’ll be happier for it.

30 day challenge

As March is right around the corner it’s time for a 30 day challenge.
Pick one idea from the list below, or make up your own, to improve yourself over the next month.

Meditate. Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes. There are a plethora of benefits to incorporating this into your life.

Read each day from your book of faith. The wisdom of the ages is in there. Seek the ultimate answers to life.

Healthy eating. Go vegetarian, or vegan. Raw or local. Gluten free or sugar free. Your body will thank you.

Give up one device. Go for one of those devices that you spend a good amount of time with: the smart phone. A big screen tv. Your laptop. Say goodbye to it for one month – or at least, limit it’s usage.

Eliminate “no” or “yes” from your vocabulary. This doesn’t mean that you have to say yes or no to everything, it simply means that you’re going to have to be more creative about saying either (and thus really think about it).

Take 10,000 steps each day. In an average day, you take 8000 steps. You’re only one stroll away!

Read one, big fat book. Get to that one book you’ve been meaning to read.

Listen. I mean, really listen. Don’t simply wait for your turn to talk.

Other ideas?
What will you do?

Allowing

I spent this past weekend at Chi Running workshops with Danny Dreyer, the founder of Chi Running. AMAZING. I was like a sponge the entire time – trying to soak up as much Chi as I could!

A theme of the weekend, that seemed to thread through everything we talked about and worked on, was allowing.

Allowing your legs to relax while running instead of using them to propel you.
Allowing your structure to hold you up, instead of your muscles.
Allowing your pelvis to relax and swivel, rather than holding your hips in place.
Allowing gravity to pull you forward.

Allowing…such a huge word, and not only in terms of running.
What if we spent more time allowing and less time controlling?

Allowing yourself to eat when you’re hungry, rather than sticking to some stringent diet.
Allowing your thoughts to wander, and expand into creativity.
Allowing things to happen as they may, rather than controlling every minute.
Allowing yourself a day off from exercising, because you don’t feel like it – instead of forcing a run or a walk or a workout.

Allowing. Imagine what might show up in your life if you allowed it to happen.