health and wellness
It’s both the first and last thing we do while we’re on this planet. Essential to living, breathing is something we do automatically, without thinking. Unfortunately many people have forgotten how to breathe properly, taking short and shallow breaths which tells our brains that something is not right. Short and shallow breathing occurs naturally when we’re stressed or threatened.
Watching a baby breathe is beautiful. Naturally their abdomen expands and contracts before they learn to suck in their bellies and puff out their chests to look good.
Whether we breathe properly, from the abdomen, or improperly, our breathing affects our whole body; how well we oxygenate our body, focus and concentrate, and regulate our emotional state are all affected by how well we breathe. How mental, physical and emotional health are not just affected by how we breathe, we can see the state of our health in our breathing.
When we’re stressed, angry, our breathing is short and fast. When we’re relaxed we breathe slower and more deeply. By altering our breathing by consciously breathing deeper, and slower from our abdomen, we alter our emotional state to match our breathing pattern.Learning to breathe properly takes practise. We move from shallow chest breathing to deep abdominal breathing.
How to breathe properly:
- Lying on your back, with your knees bent, place your hands or a book lightly on your abdomen just above your navel.
- Start by taking a few normal breaths.
- Inhale through your nose. Feel your abdomen expand as your use your diaphragm to breathe.
- Exhale slowly, noticing the sensations of the air leaving your body.
- Repeat this relaxed and full breathing for a few minutes.
Notice how much more relaxed, energized and clear headed you are when you breathe properly. If you’ve been breathing from your chest for a long time, it will take some practise to retrain your body to breathe properly without thinking about. Spending some time each day mindfully breathing will help retrain your body to breathe properly while you give yourself the the many gifts which proper breathing provides.
Yoga, Tai Chi and other body centred practices provide us with an exceptional opportunity to use breath to regulate our emotions, improve our health and bring mindfulness to our breathing. Pranayama is the Yogic science which teaches a variety of methods to improve our health through breath.
Increase your energy, while you decrease your stress. Call us to experience the simple techniques and health saving effects of proper breathing at your events and workplace. You can reach Carrie at 416 704 8545 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Ways to Use this Weekend to Recharge
The weekend’s here!
Give yourself some love. You know it’s really not selfish and some TLC is exactly what you need.
A little Self Care-Self Love goes a long way to undo the damage. I know there’s an avalanche of other things to take care of. There always is. What are waiting for? Just be loving to you!
Be outside: This is the weekend that mid winter fantasies are made of. Warm and sunny, the full array of summer blooms are still around while early fall scents and sights are starting. We wait all year for days like this, get out take in the sun, the sights the smells and sounds. You’ll find me on a hike with my dog through the ravines of Toronto.
Schedule some fun: Don’t let the to do list stop you from having fun. Get your stuff done and leave room to play. Your kids really want to play with the kid in you! Thankfully my kids love to hike too.
Set your priorities with your purchases. The stores are packed these last weeks of summer. While some shopping is inevitable, with a bit of planning it won’t have to be overwhelmingly a pain. (or is it just me who resists weekend shopping?) Use these 3 steps to make sure the weekend isn’t a blow out.
Budget. Back to school’s expensive. Really expensive! Keep your budget in mind and discuss it with your kids and spouse so you aren’t swayed by feel-good spending. Keeping your kids involved in the conversation helps them learn how to shop wisely. Avoid the credit card burn.
Plan your route. With some pre planning you can save more than enough time to eat well and get out and have some fun.
Choose Well: Ethical and safe shopping helps keep us on top of mindless spending. Do you really want to be bringing items into your house that are toxic? I didn’t think so. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to shop ethically and safely.
Rest! If you’re a human being on this planet your nervous system is way overstimulated and you’re probably one of the 60% of Canadians who are sleep deprived. Try some real relaxation: listen to a meditation, take a yoga class, or enjoy a mindful walk.
Make the weekend exactly what you need. Recharge your batteries and hit the reset button before Monday rolls in.
It’s your weekend, it’s your life.
Be Well Live Well
An unabashed Wellness Geek, Carrie’s motivated to bring Wellness experiences and learning to people and organizations who are ready to stop being overwhelmed and are ready to Live Well by Being Well. Massage On Wheels and The Wellness Edge provide services, experiences and and fun for Wellness, Health, Marketing and sharing. It’s time to take control of your Well Being. You can reach her at: email@example.com
The break you need is One Conscious Breath away.
I need a break! How many times have you thought this lately?
If being overtired, overwhelmed, frustrated, in pain, angry, or impatient were a currency we’d all be wealthy. Too many of us are “in the black” when it comes to energy, fun, calm, and contentment. Being busy, many of us are habituated to being overwhelmed; we’ve lost the knowledge that our brains and bodies are literally wired to be calm, balanced, creative, compassionate, energetic and loving. That’s how this wonderful machine we call a body is built. Regrettably, most people don’t know how to switch from chaos to calm and have forgotten how incredible it is to be living in the zone of balance and relaxation.
Here’s how it works:
Whether we’re frenetic and overwhelmed or calm and focused is completely determined by which of the two branches of our nervous system is turned on in any given moment: the Sympathetic branch, the part that gets us stressed, or the Parasympathetic branch, the part of the nervous system that has us being calm, balanced, and relaxed. By activating the relaxed branch, we stop the stress hormones from pumping out of our brains and instead, enjoy feeling restored and balanced.
Feeling Well comes when there’s balance between the two branches of the the Nervous System
If you’re interested in the physiological information of the Autonomic Nervous system, check out this link: http://www.dantest.com/dtransoverview.htm
Switching Gears: From Chaos to Calm
The fastest and easiest way to access the Relaxation branch of the nervous system is through our breath. By focusing our attention on our breathing, we gain access to, and can relax into being present, relaxed, balanced and fully engaged in what’s happening.
Being fully aware of our breathing shifts us from stressed to relaxed, overwhelmed to calm.
Our breathing, our respiratory system is in constant conversation with our nervous system. It’s a two-way conversation that impacts our day and yet, we rarely notice it. How we’re breathing, moment-by-moment through the day is a mirror reflecting which branch of our nervous system is activated. This relationship is so intricately connected that with practice you will notice that each emotional state has a corresponding pattern of breathing.
Getting to Know You: Breath by Breath.
Check in with yourself to get to know when you’re out of balance, otherwise you will find yourself exhausted, depleted and not particularly happy. This imbalance shows itself in many ways. How many of the following are you experiencing this week?Anger, impatience aggressiveness, argumentative, shut down, hibernating/avoidence, exhaustion, unable to sleep, high blood pressure, tension headaches.
Any time you’re experiencing one or more of the above(feel free to add more to the list) it’s your opportunity to engage the 3 R’s.
Recognize that you’re feeling off. That’s the balance of the system tilting the wrong way.
Refocus your attention to your breathing.
Return to calm, restorative and balanced.
Refocusing our attention to our breathing can feel oddly unfamiliar and even uncomfortable in the beginning. Keeping our attention on such a simple thing as breathe in – breathe out can trigger boredom when we’re used to high energy over stimulation. Create the intention to stay present to whatever arises; thoughts, feelings and sensations will always come up into our awareness, that’s how we’re wired. Simply notice each one without judgment, but with kindness and you’ll find more space to take in what’s going on: rapid or slow breathing,the flow of air, the sensations of air entering and leaving, the rise and fall of the belly and chest
Our nervous system (how we feel) and respiratory system (how we breathe) equally impact each other. By paying attention to our breathing the breath slows down and deepens. It’s automatic. Focusing our awareness on our breath triggers relaxed breathing, which tells the nervous system to start up the parasympathetic branch. Relaxed breathing is our access to feeling well, balanced.
The challenge after spending so much time out of balance is remembering that we have a choice and can exercise that choice. I know that whenever I’m feeling off, impatient, anxious, bored, upset, that it’s time to shift. Sometimes when I’m super stressed, it takes a few tries to fully bring my awareness to One Conscious Breath. 100% of the time, the moment my mind’s attention drops into my breathing, I calm down, relax and have access to a broader menu of possibilities.
To download One Conscious Breathe Click here
It only takes a moment to shift from chaos to calm using mindful conscious breathing. Check out the impact for yourself and see how easily you can create the break you want and need.
Carrie Mudrick Rubel
In order to Be Well – Live Well we must find a balance between stress and relaxation. Without this balance our lives are controlled by our habitual stress responses which inevitably cause breakdowns in our health and our relationships. Practising relaxation creates the habit of responding to life’s challenges, rather than reacting and opens up new opportunities to enjoy balance and equanimity.
An unabashed Wellness Geek, Carrie’s motivated to bring Wellness experiences and learning to people and organizations who are ready to stop being overwhelmed and are ready to Live Well by Being Well. Massage On Wheels and The Wellness Edge provide services, experiences and and fun for Wellness, Health, Marketing and sharing. It’s time to take control of your Well Being. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you need to refresh, sleep well and be ready for another day, find 15-20 minutes for yourself.
Simple and relaxing this pose is guaranteed to calm the chaos in your mind, de-stress your nervous system, while taking the pressure off your feet, hips, back, shoulders and frown.
8 Simple Steps to Relief from Exhaustion
- Place a folded blanket or yoga mat on the floor at a wall
- Sit sideways against the walls with your knees bent and your hip against the wall
- Slowly lower yourself back, with your head on the floor swinging your buttocks around so they touch the wall
- Raise your feet up the wall extending them straight up as far as is comfortable for you.
- Place a small pillow under your head and/or neck if you are more comfortable. Another blanket for comfort and coziness is nice too!
- Let your arms roll so that your palms face up keeping your arms away from your body in a comfortable position.
- Breathe slowly – Every time your minds wanders off (as it will) gently remind yourself to focus on relaxing and on your breathing
Benefits of Legs up the Wall
- Relieves pressure from your legs, ankles, knees and hips
- Releases lower back
- Eases shoulder, upper back and neck tension
- Calms the nervous system
- Balances out the mood
- Allows you to rest and restore your energy.
Legs up the wall is part of a series of Restorative Yoga poses. Simple, effective and easy to do. This series is ideal for anyone who needs to de-stress, energize and find more calm and balance.
Yoga, Mindfulness workshops and classes and other de-stressing activities are available through www.thewellnessedge.ca.
Mindful Meditation alters rapid gene expression finds new study.
Meditating is good for you! Whether you’ve been practising for decades, thinking you should try it or wondering why so many people are talking about it, researchers are looking at how meditation affects the body and the mind. Some wonderful and surprising findings are coming out of the latest research.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice.” writes study Author Richard J. Davidson. read more …
Working with Professional Event Planners has given me a first hand look at how stressful their work life is. Event planning is undeniably one of the most stressful careers anyone can choose. Learning to manage and not suffer through the unrelenting stress that comes with constant changes is the key to having the healthy and all around successful career you want. Fortunately, we can learn or re-learn how to deal with day to day, moment by moment stress to stay balanced, happy, focused and above all, healthy! Try these 5 tried and true approaches. read more …
Looking Down the Rabbit Hole
According to Health Canada, work-life conflict, stress that comes from work and family life clashes, is costing Canadian business between $4.5 billion to $10 billion a year. Most organizations know that stress is a problem affecting the health of their people and their profits, the true costs are often not examined or measured. Exploring some of the recent research we see a number of areas that are causing a loss of productivity, profit and competitiveness.
The cost to the average business of corporate health benefits is read more …