Is the single most important activity that we ever do & yet for most of us, we are not aware of this precious, life-sustaining process. We can survive without food/water for a number of days, yet without breathing, we cannot survive even for a few minutes! It is observed that the normal average breathing is between 14-20 respirations per minute, yet, we refer to this is an ‘abnormal normal’. This is because we pay no attention to how we breathe!
Simple Breathing Technique
Ideally, our breathing should be relaxed, calm & deep. This can be achieved by anyone who tries to develop some awareness of this process. Sit in a comfortable, upright position or well-supported in a recliner or lie in your bed. Just try to relax, keep your eyes closed & bring your attention to your breathing. Observe your nostrils & feel the movement of air inwards as you inhale, then pay attention to the movement of air when you exhale. Now gradually pay attention to the chest & abdomen. Observe a gentle expansion as you inhale & relaxation as you exhale. After a few breaths, gently try to inhale a little deeper (feeling an expansion of the chest & abdomen), followed by a gentle, focused & slow exhalation through the lips (as the chest & abdomen gently contract), repeat. Do not force either phase of the breathing cycle. Try to have an equal duration for each inhale & exhale breath. Continue to breath in this manner for a few minutes, this will naturally bring your breathing rate to around 6-8 breaths per minute without any extra effort. Feel the calmness & relaxation. Try to do this type of ‘mindful breathing’ as often as possible during the day & definitely at night before going to sleep!
Is the easiest exercise that can be done by us! It requires no special equipment, training or clothing. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing & you are all set! Helpful hints:
- Warm-up, is essential either in the form of gentle stretches or begin walking at a
slow pace, similarly cool down also with stretches or a slower walking pace. This
will minimize risk of muscle strain/injury.
- Posture – Keep a comfortable upright posture – head up, spine upright, shoulders relaxed.
- Take smooth, even strides allowing the arms to swing effortlessly. Walk briskly – if able OR, alternately vary the pace for a fixed distance to minimize fatigue.
- Breathe normally & deeply.
- You may use a pedometer if you wish to track the number of your steps.
- Try to walk at least 15-30 mins. daily preferably in a park/natural setting
- Also incorporate some intermittent brisk walking as per your tolerance & reap the remarkable benefits on your overall health & well-being.
- Walking on a regular basis has been clinically proven to have a positive effect in lowering high blood pressure, reducing blood glucose levels, improving your mood among other positive benefits.
Nutrition & Hydration
- Eat balanced, wholesome meals
- Include fruits, nuts & cooked vegetables daily
- Drink plenty of water (avoid ice cold) throughout the day
- Limit caffeinated drinks
- Avoid sodas, artificially flavored energy drinks, ‘enhanced’ water
Make a determined effort to develop & maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. It’s possible you may be experiencing difficulties currently in your life, but you can always hope for things to improve & pretty soon they do, because WYTIWYG (What You Think Is What You Get!)
If you remain focused on your pain/problems then it can appear that they never seem to go away, but if you start looking at the brighter side of things, then very soon you will be able to make steady improvement and get back to your happy & healthy lifestyle.
Cultivating an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE will allow your life circumstances to significantly improve for the better (see suggested reading). Being thankful for every little thing in your life will steadily bring better experiences, prosperity & good health.
Some suggested self-education books/videos:
- UnDo It – a practical book on reversing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression etc. – by Dean Ornish, MD
- Your Body Doesn’t Lie – a practical book on our body’s energy & how different things influence it – by John Diamond, MD
- Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
- Magic – a practical book on the power of Gratitude – by Rhonda Byrne
- The Game Changers – video (Netflix)
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