Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
What is Mindfulness and How Does it Affect My Health?
Mindfulness is when your mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you are doing and the space you are moving through. Seems simple enough until your brain enters the equation. Your mind begins to take flight, you lose touch with your body and soon enough you are overtaken with obsessive thoughts about something that has happened in the past or what might happen in the future. When this happens, your body’s nervous system goes into sympathetic mode, also known as fight or flight. That’s all great if you are in the woods being chased by a bear. When that happens you surely want your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise. You need your body to release hormones that constrict blood vessels in the lungs, kidneys and digestive tract. You’re running for your life after all!
But what happens when your body is activated too often by stressful events in your life such as relationships, finance, work and responsibilities?
If, over time, our body is chronically stuck in this fight or flight pattern, our body runs out of adequate reserves to heal and recover. This leads to digestive issues including bloat, abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation. It can also wreak havoc on hormone levels, cause sleep problems, fatigue, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and obesity.
You need simple, actionable techniques that are easily incorporated into your daily routine. Woven into my coaching programs, I use various techniques to promote mindfulness including breathwork, meditation and Kundalini Yoga.
How we breathe plays a huge role in our health, happiness, human potential and life span. Breathwork is a general term used to describe any type of therapy that uses breathing exercises to improve mental, physical and spiritual health. There are many types of breathing techniques used to accomplish various results, depending whether you are trying to increase energy and mental clarity for your big presentation at work, or unwind and destress after a hard day. A common thread in breathwork exercises in my programs is breathing to activate the vagus nerve. Think of the vagus nerve as the boss of your parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees things like heart rate, mood and digestion. The vagus nerve originates in the brain stem and extends down through the neck and into the chest and abdomen. It carries both motor and sensory information and supplies innervation to the heart, major blood vessels, airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach and intestines. Toning the vagus nerve helps our body to be in parasympathetic mode, a.k.a rest and digest, in order to recover and heal.
Meditation is a practice in which an individual focuses the mind on a particular object, thought or activity to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation is appropriate and effective for all age levels from children to adults. Benefits of meditation are numerous and varied and proven by science. Various techniques are utilized in the coaching programs to reduce stress and anxiety, improve attention span, build confidence and self-esteem, improve health and immunity, build empathy, care and kindness for self and others and improve sleep.
Kundalini Yoga precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra (sacred gestures), eye-focus, mantra (sacred sound currents repeated aloud or silently), body locks, and postures. It balances the glandular and endocrine systems, strengthens the immune and nervous systems, purifies the blood, improves circulation, increases vitality and mental clarity and maximizes healing power. It brings balance to the body, mind, and soul. Kundalini Yoga is called the yoga of awareness. It gives you a “hands-on” experience of your highest consciousness so you can better understand your purpose. In other words, Kundalini Yoga connects you with your highest self so you achieve the sacred purpose of your life.
But I can’t even reach my toes. Much less sit still for two minutes without mentally working on my to-do list.
Don’t worry! You don’t need to be an enlightened yogi that can bend your body in all sorts of crazy poses. You just need the knowledge of the benefits these practices have on your health and the desire to put them into action. Each of my programs are infused with the tools you need to calm your nervous system and get your body back into the parasympathetic state where your body can easily recover and heal from stress.