Belly Breathing Benefits

This targeted method of deep breathing goes by many different names, but they all mean the same thing. Deep breathing through the belly signals the nervous system to calm down. Building this breathing practice will benefit sleep patterns, strengthen the immune system, and enhance the digestive system. Flexing the diaphragm muscle massages the digestive organs helping to relieve conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. The most immediate benefit is that this practice lowers blood pressure.

Research indicates that 9 out of 10 people are chest breathers who take short, shallow breaths into their chest all day. This method of breathing tells the nervous system the body is under stress. The body reacts by releasing cortisol, increasing blood pressure. The body and immune system become strained.

Try spending a period of time each day taking belly breaths. Place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. Inhale through the nose, puffing the belly out (pushing one hand away) and letting the breath rise. Allow the cells of the body to become better oxygenated as you take in 7 times more oxygen than a regular chest breath. Try this before you go to sleep or first thing in the morning. It’s great for insomnia. Try this sitting at your desk.

Find your breath. It’s right under your nose!

 

Get Spicy

Spices and herbs add more than just taste, they boost nutrition by adding antioxidants, phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory power. Here are five of the mightiest:

  1. Cumin – High in antioxidants and great for digestion. Effective for respiratory issues and helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  2. Cinnamon – Helps stabilize blood sugar levels, relieves pain and stiffness in the joints, and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Also has a positive effect on memory and attention.
  3. Oregano – Is a strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral spice. It also relieves inflammation and helps with allergies as well as aches and pains.
  4. Ginger – Ginger is a mighty anti-oxidant. It is commonly used in the treatment of colds, coughs, and flu. It reduces nausea and vomiting and helps with motion sickness. As a strong anti-inflammatory, it manages swelling and helps in the treatment of arthritis. Ginger also helps fight cancer and reduces cholesterol.
  5. Turmeric – Slows the development of Alzheimer’s by decreasing inflammation in the brain. It is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps reduce joint pain and improve liver functioning. Turmeric is one of the mightiest anti-cancer spices.

As with any changes to the diet, it is important to consult with a physician. Dietary changes can interact with medications and supplements. All of these mighty spices can easily be incorporated into everyday recipes. Spice is nice!

What the Crack!

Wondering what that cracking noise is in the joints while practicing yoga or stretching?

There are a few answers to this. When a joint is moved in or out of its regular positioning, gas escapes from synovial fluid in the joint. Ligaments stretching and releasing can also create sound.

According to international yoga teacher, Judith Lasater, sound comes from tendons moving across joints or from arthritic changes in the joints.

While it is usually normal, do pay attention. If symptoms change or if pain/swelling accompanies the popping or cracking noise, seek the advice of a qualified health professional. Otherwise, consider that crack a hello from your body to you!

Sphinx is no myth

Sphinx pose as a yoga asana or posture is a gentle back bend. Practicing this pose helps strengthen the spine and stimulate the abdominal organs. It expands and stretches the chest, shoulders, and lungs. Sphinx helps improve blood circulation while relieving the body of stress. Gentle twists and quad stretches can be added and this posture can be taken deeper into other yoga poses as well like cobra pose and raised cobra. Sphinx helps firm up the buttocks too!

Nourish Your Body

One of the easiest and most effective ways to nourish your body isn’t costly. It doesn’t take a lot of time and you don’t need to even leave your home. Self massage with warm oil is the perfect way to nurture and ground your body. And it only takes 15 minutes. Apply warm oil to the scalp, ears, and feet. An oil massage supports the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. It enhances circulation, lymph drainage, and helps establish sleep patterns.

A self massage routine can be done in the morning or evening. Enhance your experience with essential oils to add some aromatherapy. Drink it all in!

En Joy

“To enjoy life to the fullest, stop wanting anything. If something comes, let it come. If it goes, let it go. Just be contented with what you have. Even if something goes from what you have, it doesn’t matter. Accept it. True joy doesn’t come from anywhere. Nothing brings you joy. No person brings you joy. You yourself are joyful always. This is enJOYment. Depend on nothing, because nothing from outside can make you joyful.”

~From A Thought for Each Day, The Golden Present by Sri Swami Satchidananda