Archive for meditation

just breathe october

just breathe october - nu roots

Happy October! It is an incredibly joyous month for me, as I get to spend it with my brand spanking new baby boy. I am smitten!! I’m going to keep this quick, so I can get back to him…

I am writing this 4 days postpartum and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for this month’s resolution. The theme of the month…just breathe.

Breathing exercises are something I have long recommended to my clients as a part of a holistic lifestyle. They are said to:

  • balance the left and right brain
  • decrease stress
  • decrease blood pressure
  • alkalize the body (to help prevent disease)
  • switch you out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest”
  • increase oxygenation to the tissues
  • improve sleep quality
  • help get you through tough situations…like labour ;) and all the other aches and pains that come after childbirth
  • overall enhance well-being

During prenatal classes our instructor often commented on my excellent breathing techniques. My husband and I often joked that I’d been doing it (breathing) since the moment I was born, it’s no wonder I was so good. If you watch a baby breathe…my favorite new hobby, they take deep belly breaths, the kind I am going to recommend you try this month. Deep belly breaths tell your body “everything is okay, I’m calm, relaxed without a care in the world”. It is thought that we lose this quality as we get older and more stressed, and conscious of our bellies looking too big, so we start to develop short, shallow, chest breathing which tells our body a completely different message. This sends the message “everything is not okay” hang on to food, hang on to water, perhaps we’re in a drought, a famine, a war and we need to protect our internal organs.

Any mamas out there will know there is no better time to use your breath than during childbirth. And although I didn’t necessarily receive the beautiful, natural childbirth I had so desired due to unforeseen complications (this story to come, if you are interested), my breathing got me through some incredibly tough moments.

The moral of the story: tell your body everything is okay. Breathe – deeply, consciously, daily. It will listen and benefit you in ways you may not have thought possible. All by doing the most simple task we all do thousands of times a day.

The challenge of the month – do 1 of the following 3 breathing exercises 1 to 2 times per day.

My three favorite breathing exercises:

The 4, 7, 8 breath

Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 counts, slowly blow out for 8 counts. Repeat this 4 times in a row. Do the exercise twice a day.

Alternate nostril breathing

Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.
Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril
Step three: Pause for a second
Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril
Step five: Exhale through your right nostril
Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril
Step seven: Pause
Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril
Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril
Step ten: This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase.Never force.Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.

Source: http://thehealthylivinglounge.com/2009/06/16/12-great-reasons-to-start-alternate-nostril-breathing-today/

Deep belly breathing

Keep it simple. Just sit still, close your eyes, focus on your breath and feel your belly move out on the inhale and in on the exhale. Do this for 5 minutes or as long as you want if it feels good.

Have a happy, healthy, safe October and always remember…just breathe!

Lots of love from an incredibly happy brand new mama!

Sam

my resolution revolution

Meditation

my resolution revolution

As a holistic nutritionist and a person who is always striving to better myself, the world and the lives of those around me, instead of a traditional resolution, this year I’ve opted for 12…er…I guess it’s 11 now. It’s probably not what you think. I’m not going to do them all at once, but rather I have decided to implement one healthy habit per month that I will complete everyday for that month.  Experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I’m putting that to the test.

First off, you start one month later than everyone else! As a chronic procrastinator I am usually one step behind, but hey no time like the present! Besides, I was busy moving across the world Dec 30th…okay, I will stop with the excuses.

Actually, I was inspired by my brilliant sister, Dr Mom ND and her “Live Like You Give a Damn” project, where she is taking on 12 healthy habits she recommends to her patients and leading by example.

So what do I expect to get out of this? My intention is not to become a master at all 11 resolutions, or maybe not even 1. It is simply to be open to something new, something positive and something I have wanted to implement for some time. My goal is to see and feel what effect these practices have on my mind, body and soul and, hopefully, afterwards I will continue to practice at least some on a regular basis. That’s it – no guarantees, no overwhelming pressure, just try it and see what happens.

February: daily meditation

This is a tough one for me. I have tried to meditate many times in the past, but without much success. Nearly every attempt I’ve made, I’ve either been quickly distracted by incessant, rambling thoughts, or I get cold, or there is some obnoxious song repeating itself over and over in my head. It usually isn’t long before I just give up.

So why meditate at all? For one, studies have shown that it reduces all kinds of stress (physical, emotional, psychological), improves health in so many ways, boosts fertility, enhances immunity and slows down the aging process, to name just a few of the benefits. (For more, read this awesome article by Food Matters). I have known about the advantages of meditation for years and have often recommended it to clients, so now it is about time that I start taking my own advice.


So what is meditation anyway? Meditation does not necessarily mean siting with your legs crossed, fingers together, singing “hum-men-a hum-men-a, hum-men-aaaaaa”. It can be as simple as sitting in a quiet space with your eyes closed, or even open, and beginning to rid your mind of the constant chatter. As the saying goes, “you control your mind, your mind doesn’t control you”. But for most of us living in this overstimulating, often chaotic world, this simply isn’t the case.

Over the course of this new year, please join me in implementing month-long healthy habits (even if you are focusing on a different habit than I). I would love to hear how they are changing your daily life, for better or worse. I plan to write regular updates about my journey – the ups and downs, the challenges and the changes, so please check back regularly and send me your feedback in the comments section below.

Happy meditating…hum-men-aaaaaaaaa!!

 

Helpful links:

Benefits of meditation & sample guided meditation

Yoga Glo – unlimited online yoga and meditation for just $18 US/month.