Breathe

Boatloads of exciting behind-the-scenes things are taking place as we—publisher, publicist, and author—ramp up for the November 1 release of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path for Gratitude and Growth. It’s exhilarating. One might even say, breathless.

With this in mind, Crystal—my publicist at BookSparks—sent me a visible reminder to breathe. In turn, I’m sharing a breathing exercise from Note to Self that has never failed to produce calm for me:

4-7-8 BREATHING

  • Place a hand on your lower belly to ensure that you’re breathing past your chest.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
  • Hold that breath for a mental count of 7.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while mentally counting to 8. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation.
  • Pause briefly, without inhaling, and then start another round. This natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.
  • Once you’ve established a rhythm, identify a replacement attitude. Imagine that with each inhalation, you’re breathing in the color orange and the feeling of that new attitude—increasing joy.
  • When you exhale, imagine that you’re releasing the toxins associated with the unwanted emotion—offloading baggage.
  • Repeat for several minutes, drawing the orange breath and replacement feeling down into your lower belly to anchor the new feeling.

When was the last time you focused on your breath?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

R is for Relaxation

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Relaxation is essential for anyone who’s interested in managing stress. And while relaxation enhances peace of mind, it also decreases the wear and tear on our minds and bodies from the challenges and hassles of every day life.

Whether your stress is spiraling out of control or you’ve already got it tamed—everyone can benefit from using relaxation techniques. Unfortunately, relaxation oftentimes takes a back seat in life’s busy-ness.

Most health professionals—alternative, complementary, traditional, and integrative—encourage their clients to use relaxation techniques.

A relaxation technique is something that refocuses your attention to a calm awareness. It doesn’t matter which relaxation method you choose, what matters is that you engage in the practice regularly so that you can reap the many benefits:

– Slowing your heart rate
– Lowering blood pressure
– Slowing your breathing rate
– Increasing blood flow to major muscles
– Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
– Improving concentration
– Reducing anger and frustration
– Boosting confidence to handle problems

There’s a wide brushstroke of relaxation techniques:

In your mind’s eye you might imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate. Use as many senses as you can. For example, if you imagine yourself at the ocean, think about the smell of salt water, the sound of crashing waves, and the warmth of the sun.

Another method is to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.

Other relaxation techniques include, yoga, tai chi, listening to music, exercise, meditation, and self-hypnosis.

The moment you feel stress symptoms sneaking up on you, make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique. If you nip it in the bud, it can prevent stress from spiraling out of control.

What was the most recent relaxation technique you used?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

Inhale, Exhale – Breathwork

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

Laurie Teaching Breathwork by Len Buchanan

The body discharges 70% of its toxins through the breath. If we’re not effectively using the breath, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health wrote, “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. From my own experience and from working with patients, I have come to believe that proper breathing is the master key to good health.”

Deep circular breathing—belly breathing—is when we inhale through our nose and exhale through our mouth. However, the ideal breath is not as simple as this. A true cleansing breath is one that directs the breath energy all the way down into the lower belly; about two inches below the navel. This area is known as the lower “Tan Tien,” meaning the stove, furnace, or cauldron.

Follow this inhalation by exhaling waste products up and out through the mouth with a long, slow exhalation. The key to the breath is to have longer exhalations than inhalations. In fact, they should be twice as long. This not only purges toxins, but promotes vital energy, relaxation, and healing.

When we don’t use our breath effectively, our other systems work overtime to compensate for it. This overwork can set the stage for serious illness. You can learn the practice of healthy breathing to increase your energy level, lower blood pressure, increase vitality, enhance mental concentration and the ability to retain information, unleash creativity, improve circulation, overcome anxiety disorders, and relaxation.

One of the most relaxing breathing exercises is four-seven-eight. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation—enjoy!

Four – Seven – Eight Breath
Inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
Hold that breath while mentally counting to seven.
Exhale through your mouth while mentally counting to eight.
Pause briefly without inhaling then start another round; this natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

For more information on Breathwork, please follow this link.