Have you ever had one of those hectic days? Where everything is just flying at you a mile a minute? Or you’re so stressed, you have trouble falling asleep? Well, guess what: the answer is in your breath.
Some of you may have experienced the calming effects of focusing on your breath during yoga. It is a simple technique that can be used anytime, anywhere – not just on the yoga mat – to bust stress!
Here is how:
Sit in a quiet place you feel comfortable, roll your shoulders back and straighten your spine.
Deeply inhale and hold it for a few seconds.
Take your right thumb and press it to your right nostril, close it completely and exhale through the left.
Pause and inhale through your left nostril.
Use your ring and middle finger to close your left nostril and exhale through the right before pausing and breathing in again through the right.
Continue to alternate sides, making sure to pause for couple seconds at the top and bottom of each breath. Each breath you take should be long and full. Continue alternating nostril breathing for at least 5 minutes. If you want to aim for a deeper sense of relaxation, you can do it for up to 10 minutes.
Now, if you’re nose it so congested due to allergies that you cannot do this exercise, well then, that’s another conversation.
Congratulations! Can you believe it?! You are entering the final week of the 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge! I applaud you all for making it this far and hope you are reaping the benefits of participation.
For this week’s Healthy Eating Challenge, I want you to review the blog post, “Why How You Eat Matters”. Focus on eating more slowly, deliberately chewing your food and savoring each bite. You will find that taking the time to enjoy your meal will inevitably result in you consuming less overall. Also, continue to make vegetables and legumes the mainstays of your diet, focus on whole foods and avoid processed foods. Cultures that are long-lived eat this way.
For this week’s Exercise Challenge, I want you to continue to make exercise a priority; exercising every day for at least 30 minutes and 1 day a week for 45 minutes. You may recall that in Week 4, we asked you to make flexibility and stretching part of your exercise routine. In the final week of this challenge, I would like you to incorporate a renewed focus on stretching and flexibility in your cool down routine. Lack of flexibility is the key reason why many of us develop injuries. Click Here to see a list of easy stretching and flexibility exercises. Remember, exercise is as effective at preventing coronary disease as taking statin medications. If you have a medical condition, you should always discuss any changes to your exercise regime with your physician. For those of you with prior injuries to your knees, shoulders, etc. it might be helpful to also consult a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan that is specifically tailored to your needs.
For this week’s Emotional Challenge, I want you to start being “mindful”. Being mindful means staying in the moment. If you choose to go out for a walk, enjoy the walk. Think about the smell in the air, the color of the sky, the sound of a bird’s singing. Do not focus your mind on your to do list, the argument you had with your sister or how you are going to resolve issues at work. Take the time to be in the moment and find enjoyment in the simple act of putting one step in front of the other and taking it all in. The breathing exercises that we have given you will also be very helpful to you in trying to help you stay in the moment.
As always, if you have any questions about the challenges presented this week or wish to share news of your success with this program, please leave your comments on our blog. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great week everyone!