Breathe…

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Many Eastern cultures have long recognized the importance of breathing to cultivate a positive relationship between the body and the mind. One that promotes a more tranquil state of being and a more resilient physiology.

In order to fully relax we must gain control of our breathing and learn to breathe through our stomachs. Remember that relaxation is truly an elixir for body, mind and spirit.

The secret is simply to breathe…deeply and often. A natural rhythm of breathing includes inhalation, exhalation and resting.

Let’s try some breathing exercises so we can all enjoy the benefits of a more mindful living. Practice breathing exercises when you wake up or when you get in bed at night or any time you feel the need to reconnect with yourself.

By practicing regularly, over time you can learn to notice when your breathing changes in response to stress, exercise, moods and rest.  This can help you develop easy, rhythmic breathing.

1. Sit or lie comfortably with closed eyes and observe the breath. Use no effort. Notice the quality of the breath and how it moves in the torso.
2. Place one hand beneath your navel and one under or on your tailbone and notice the movement in these areas.
 3. Place your hands on each side of the lower ribs. Observe your breath. Now
cross your arms, placing each hand under the opposite armpit. Feel the
breath come and go. Then release your arms and observe any changes
in your breathing.
 4. Now you are ready to try abdominal breathing. Rest your hands lightly
on your stomach. Slowly and deeply inhale through your nose, pushing the
hands outwards. Then slowly exhale, squeezing the belly tight. Practice four inhales and exhales.
 
“In the future, let’s hope for a TV commercial that says, “Stay in touch with your feelings, keep in touch with a loved one, be treated by a massage therapist, and be well.”
—Bernie S. Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles

Let’s Teach Our Children How To Relax…

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I have noticed recently, in my massage and energy work practice, more and more visits from children and young adults.

It’s truly an honor to be trusted to care for the little ones and teenagers. I love them and feel that they have a much deeper connection to the source, to this vast Universe, than most of us adults.

What has been surprising to me is the amount of tension, pain, and intense alertness in those kids, mostly due to the overuse of electronic devices like video games and cell phones .

As a natural reaction of the body during a massage, the muscles tend to relax, the blood pressure drops and a gentle heaviness and well-being takes over the body with the release of endorphins. The mind slows down, the shoulders drop, and—at least for that moment—all tension goes away, giving the mind and body a break from stress. However, if our mind is constantly being stimulated, the process is much more difficult .

I believe that we adults still have the power to lead our children with more awareness, the power to rethink values and priorities, the power of making decisions regardless of what has been followed by the great masses and the insatiable consumerism that goes around us. It makes sense to think that the change might start with us…adults. How we perceive the world, how we relate to it affects directly how our own children will connect and feel the world around them.

Why not question, once in a while, our habits of living and gradually introduce into our family a more relaxing and healthier routine? One that involves more quality time in interaction with humans and nature and less time in interaction with machines…maybe then our children will drop the weight of the world that we are unconsciously placing upon their shoulders.