Positively Powerful

Deep breathing is a simple, effective tool to enhance and aid a healthy life style.

In today’s society, chronic stress has become common place and is having a toxic effect on our overall health and wellbeing. Stress leads to quick, shallow breathing which becomes a habit. This means we are not using our lungs to their full potential, only makes use of the top part of the lungs. Stress also increases blood pressure, muscle tension, headaches and other health concerns. When we breathe too quickly and shallowly we don’t clear the build-up of toxins and stale air from the lungs. Focusing on breathing can bring you into the present moment creating feelings of calm, clarity and control. These are things we don’t feel when we are stressed, unwell or anxious.

Deep breathing causes the lungs to fill right to the bottom, expanding the diaphragm and muscles around the ribs and abdomen. This action also looks after our organs as the muscle movement massages the liver, intestines, heart and stomach detoxifying them and promoting better blood flow to those organs. The lymphatic system also benefits from deep breathing as it has no other mechanism to stimulate it other than muscular movements.

Deep breathing releases endorphins which act as natural pain relievers and help us to feel good. It also strengthens weak abdominal and intestinal muscles improving digestion and posture and allows us to take time out to relax and clear the mind.

Pam Grout, author of “jump start your metabolism: how to lose weight by changing the way you breathe” says shallow breathing impoverishes the cells of the body and slows metabolism affecting weight gain and poor digestion. By increasing oxygen to the cells through deep breathing we are stimulating metabolism and digestion. This can help with weight loss and/or weight management.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Give it a try now. Below is a simple way to practice deep breathing.

Sit or stand comfortably where you are and bring your attention to your breathing. Notice the rhythm of your breath, in and out, in and out. Notice the sensation of the air as it enters your nose, fills your lungs and flows out through your mouth. Place your hand on your abdomen, as you breathe in your diaphragm will expand and push your hand out. Pause for a moment before you breathe out and again when all the air has left your lungs. It is in the pause that relaxation and quieting of the mind can be found. This is one of the easier ways to calm and centre yourself and can be done anywhere, sitting at your desk, in line at the super market or when stuck in traffic.

Practice this every day for 10minutes and see how much better you feel.

To ease tension and give your energy a good boost, try this breathing exercise.

Begin by sitting or lying comfortably. Count to 4 as you breathe in, taking the breath all the way down into your belly. Imagine the air is filling your abdomen, hips and lower back. If it helps to draw your breath down, place your hands on your abdomen or pelvis. Breathe out to the count of 6 allowing the weight of your chest to push all the air out of your lungs and then pause for the count of 4. Continue for a few minutes and notice how much calmer and centred you feel. You may also notice how your mind is clear of negative and racing thoughts.

To make deep breathing a healthy, rewarding habit that improves your health through relaxation, simply practice the above exercises daily for 10 to 20 minutes and try to put other thoughts aside. You will begin to love the feel of instant relaxation and you will be better equipped to manage stress and other life challenges with greater ease and confidence.

Hello world!

Dear readers,

My name is Calista and I have started this blog because I want to share with you what I have learned about meditation, stress management and how you can benefit, as I have done, from regular meditation practice in the comfort of your home, work or in a group.

I have decided to write this piece because I saw a need to share an experience of meditation that people can relate to. Meditation has an aura of mystic and wonder which draws people in with the promise of enlightenment, calm and good health. Meditation can deliver on its promise, but not without dedication and hard work.

Meditation can be emotionally challenging, physically difficult and is not for everyone. It can take some years of exploration before you find a style of Meditation that suits your personality and needs. Some people who have experienced severe trauma in their lives turn to meditation to relieve pain and suffering. Meditation can help in this way, but the road to relief is hard and confronting at times, and is best undertaken in conjunction with counseling. Meditation is a unique natural tool that can be of great health benefit now and for the rest of your life. It is flexible, portable and a joy to do once you have found your rhythm. Its health benefits both physical and psychological have been proven for centuries in the Eastern Culture and more recently in scientific research in the Western Culture.

For the last five years, meditation has increasingly become a big part of my life.

The journey began, as most personal development journey’s do, with a need to put an end to feelings of hopelessness, a growing collection self- help books, too many nights of Bridget Jones’s Diary, and an unhealthy reliance on the local Naturopath.

There was a lot of supporting scientific data conducted by American and British Universities and Scholars, even a piece in Time Magazine. There were also many different modalities ranging from spiritual based practice, to practice for specific health conditions such as cancer and pain management.

The health benefits of your commitment and patience can be significant and are well worth it.

Meditation is a natural tool for improving your life both in the short term and in the long term. It is easy to maintain, cost effective and can be done anywhere and anytime the need arises.

Meditation is a great complementary therapy to medical treatment for pain management, cancer treatment, high blood pressure, digestive issues, weight management, skin conditions or counseling.

I love meditation because I am in control of my practice, my development and the extent of its application. I can use meditation as a spiritual tool or as a stress reduction tool. I can sit for long periods of time or I can take 5 minutes to simply focus on my breath.

The classes I teach are simple and can be adapted to individual needs.

Each class is structured the same, beginning with some relaxation exercises, breathing exercises and some quiet meditation. Each participant is presented with a welcome pack full of useful information and links to further useful information.

If you feel you would like to experience some meditation in a supportive and friendly environment, please contact me

Included below is a little spot meditation to get you started.

Enjoy

MEDITATION

Find a quiet spot, either inside or outside. Your location will depend on whether you wish to sit or stand and what is available to you at the time.

If you sit or stand, try to make your spine as straight as possible.

Your feet are to be flat on the ground and your shoulders to be relaxed.

Take a deliberate breath in and notice how the air feels as it fills your lungs.

Breathe out with sign noticing the feeling of your chest falling as the air leaves your lungs.

Repeat this as many times as you like or for three minutes.

At the end of this exercise, notice how you feel. Do you feel energized and calm?

This meditation can be done anywhere and anytime you feel anxious or stressed or when you want to rejuvenate your mind and body during the day.