Stay Sharp and Calm

Breath work improves concentration and mental clarity by sending oxygen to the brain. Focusing on the breath also clears away the mental chatter that gets in the way of concentration and mental clarity.

Some forms of extreme anxiety can cause mental upsets, making it impossible to stop obsessing and furthering mental distress.

Focused breathing diverts the mind’s attention to the body and breath. By focusing on breathing patterns, the body can return to its parasympathetic (calm) state, lowering anxiety and restoring clarity.

Calming Down vs. Revving Up

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If your body constantly stays in survival mode (i.e. elevated stress), this will cause your systems to not work properly. Symptoms of stress include, fatigue, inability to concentrate, poor circulation (i.e. cold hands in a warm room), anxiety, panic attack, high blood pressure, disturbed digestive functions (i.e. indigestion, constipation, weight gain — yikes!) and may lead to other breakdowns in the body.

Just a few reasons why you may want to choose a breathing break over a coffee break.

Rock a Bye Baby

Roll down and rest in child’s pose

When you feel the need to connect with your inner calm, take a moment and assume the classic yoga position “child’s pose.” My version suggests adding a gentle side-to-side head movement as an added relaxation technique.

Position: On the floor, sit back on feet and heels; fold your body forward with your arms resting by your sides with your palms facing up. Place a soft towel under your forehead.

Simple exercise: Rest and breathe. If this is uncomfortable, try separating your knees or placing a rolled towel between your knees and thighs. Roll your head from side-to-side on the towel for a gentle massage.

Benefits: Stretches your low back; calms your body and mind

Have fun, get creative, and share your ideas . . .

Bed Breathing

While trying to get up in the morning, wake up on the right side of the bed by focusing on your breathing and grounding your body.

Equipment: pillow

The firmer, the better!

Position: Lying on back with pillow vertically aligned with your spine (head resting on pillow) and arms out to your side. Clear away spouse or cat.

Simple exercise: Breathe in (1) -2 -3 -4, hold (1) -2, breathe out (1) -2 -3 -4. Repeat sequence for one minute.

Benefits: Wake up calm, centered, and energized.

Have fun, get creative, and share your ideas . . .

Fitness Simply

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I stretch to the left and stretch to the right . . .

7:00 am: Max the cat nudges my hand: “Wake up Foodface, get your lazy buns outta bed.” I consciously breathe, focusing on my inhales and exhales. I breathe for one full minute and fall back to sleep.

7:05 am: Max wins! As I roll out of bed, I pull in my abs and slowly roll up to stand, squeezing my buns for good measure.

7:06 am: I wash my face, dry,  and then . . . take my hand towel overhead, pulling it tautly. I stretch to the left and stretch to the right. Continue reading