Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Mind-Body Balance

I just returned from the rejuvenating INSPIRATO ACCESS Wellness Retreat in Cabo hosted by myself and my friend, Keri Glassman, and wanted to remind everyone how important breathing & stretching are to your overall health, no matter how physically fit (or not) you are. The body and the mind get connected through the breath. When we hold our poses and breathe, we begin to access places in our body where old emotional baggage has been stored. We begin to dislodge all sorts of pent up stress, which reduces hormonal imbalances and as a result, we even release excess weight. Many of us think that by pushing ourselves harder, we will reap the benefits and results that we are looking for. If "more" is no longer working, let me suggest that your body may just fall into place quite naturally as you change your brain chemistry and your mind.

Here are a couple of tips and tricks to get a healthier body and happier mind:

Begin or end your day with these 3 stretches. Hold each pose for 30 seconds minimum, and up to 2 minutes each.

1) Pigeon
Draw the sole of the left foot to the groin area or inner thigh of the right leg. Lean on the outside of the left hip, and sweep your right leg behind you. The hips should be facing squarely to the floor. The left knee is out slightly to the left of the left shoulder, and the foot is coming toward the right shoulder. Fold forward and breathe for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. When you have completed, walk the hands back up, lean to the side of the bent leg, and sweep the straight leg forward. Shake out the legs in front of you, then switch sides.

2) Forward Bend
With both legs extended in front of you, move the fleshy part of the butt away to the sides. Ground your sit bones to the floor. On the inhale, extend the arms up and reach for the sky, and on the exhale, reach the chest to the tops of the feet and fold down. If you can reach the feet, use the leverage to draw your body down. Breathe here for 2 minutes, or 10 breaths.

3) Happy Baby
Lie down on your back. Open your knees on either side of your ribcage, with the soles of your feet facing the ceiling. Grab the outside edges of the feet. Use your hands to pull down, so the knees are open and bent. From here, start to bring more of your lower back to the floor by arching your back. Breathe here for 5 to 10 breaths. Try to hold this for 2 minutes.

A tip that Keri Glassman shared from her Nutritious Life mantra is a belief that we both share: Take 8 minutes to yourself each day and just breathe in and out of your nose. 8 seconds in, 8 seconds out. This is the beginning of literally changing the grey matter of your brain. Keri shared with us that studies have shown that if you set aside 28 minutes per day of an 8 count inhale and exhale for 7 weeks, that your brain literally changes. Begin with 8 minutes a day and build. You will notice a shift in all areas of your life, including weight loss (if that is your goal). More importantly, your happiness levels will increase and you will have more joy in your life on a moment to moment basis.

Find balance in your life by working this easy, 10 minute wake-up routine. Watch your mind and body fall right into place. Start or end your day with these poses and breathing technique to establish a healthier, more life-embracing mindset.

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