Guys — Today we are taking a slight departure from the monthly theme to touch on something I know most of us are interested in — health and wellness. Well, maybe it’s not much of a departure, because, let’s face it, as mothers we need to remind ourselves to focus on ourselves — our whole selves. We need to prioritize our health and tune into what we need to stay sane.
I don’t know about you guys, but I find myself struggling to bring awareness to my breathing. I know it’s automatic and a vital part of us humans remaining alive. But I find myself either concentrating too hard on my breath or holding my breath or just not knowing exactly how to synthesize my breath. Honestly, who knew breathing could be so damn stressful?!
BUT, thankfully, Henry to the rescue. In this piece Henry Richardson of DEFINE body & mind offers incredible breathing tips that you can incorporate into your life right here, right now! Thank you Henry!!! I Hope you enjoy reading this piece enjoy as much as I did. ♥ Elaine
by Henry Richardson, DEFINE body & mind
With so many people, including myself, talking about detoxing, cleansing, juicing, and fasting, I think it is important to remind ourselves that cleansing has been around for thousands of years. It isn’t a trend, it is something our body not only wants, but requires.
Many spiritual traditions include various forms of fasting and cleansing. These periodic breaks in eating have been thought to promote health and well-being; and Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism all have spiritual practices that incorporate fasting into their faiths.
Presently, fasting is associated with weight loss as an attempt to drop weight quickly. However, fasting was not intended as a way to lose weight in the ancient world. Fasting was used as a spiritual practice, a metaphor for washing ourselves clean of all of our impurities: physically, mentally, and spiritually. These practices are still used around the world.
Ayurveda, India’s traditional form of ancient medicine, incorporates cleansing and fasting as a part of continuous health. An Ayurvedic specialist often encourages a cleanse at every change in season. This change in season is a good time to revitalize and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. Panchakarma, “five therapies,” is a cleanse process based on the individual’s needs. The goal in Panchakarma is to remove deep rooted stress causing toxins in the body, along with other layers of toxins that might be inside our system.
Although all forms of cleansing help remove toxins, Panchakarma is centered around cleansing internally and externally. This will often lead to weight loss, however, the purpose of an Ayurvedic Panchakarma cleanse is to refresh the body and then bring the body back to a state of balance.
We happen to cleanse every single day. If you grew up in a Southern family, you know that “lunch” was often called “dinner.” And “dinner” was called “supper.” The reason we Southerners call it “supper” isn’t just to sound cute (which is oh so true!), it is because “supper” is supposed to be a supplement to our hunger needs. The biggest meal of the day should be lunch. We should finish supplementing our meals by 6 or 7 pm at night, and then eat our first main meal around 7 am the next morning. This is a FULL 12 HOURS of cleansing!
But we also cleanse daily in a variety of other ways:
Sweat – Your skin is your largest and fastest reproducing organ. So let’s take care of it. One of
the easiest ways to do that is through a good sweat! DEFINE revolution anyone??? But exercise is only one way of helping your body sweat out the bad stuff. Remember baths, steam or saunas, and moderate amounts of outdoor sun are all ways of helping to increase the amount that the body sweats.
Urine – By increasing the amount of water you take into your body, the better chance your body has of flushing out toxins that naturally build in our bodies filtration system: specifically, the kidney and liver.
Bowel Movements – By increasing the amount of fiber in our diets, we increase the amount of movement in our system. We consume various pesticides, hormones, and other inflammatory foods that can be mitigated with the appropriate fibrous foods that bind to toxins we consume on a daily basis.
Breath – One of the wonderful things about exercise is the fact that it makes us sweat. Another great thing about exercise is the breath work. At DEFINE, all of the classes we offer focus on breathing as an effort to promote deeper health and wellness. Breath work helps improve circulation, it improves the regulation of the heart, and it improves how the body deals with stress. Just a few minutes of focused breathing exercise can help the body and mind all day.
No matter what your goals, I think it is safe to say we all have a goal of being our best for the long-haul. There are so many simple practices that you can incorporate into daily living that will help you feel your very best for the long-term. Let’s create space in our bodies, in order to help us create clarity for our brains, which will ultimately help us create positive and overall goodness in our families, our jobs, and our communities.
Here’s a quick breathing exercise that you can take with you wherever you go (think: STOP LIGHT!). It takes roughly 1 minute, and it is very easy to incorporate into your daily life.
- Place the tip of your tongue where the roof of your mouth and your front two teeth meet.
- Close your mouth, and if you can, try to close your eyes.
- Breathe in from your nose for a count of 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale your breath for a count of 8 through your mouth.
- Repeat this pattern in three cycles.
For more on DEFINE, I chat with Henry about the body/mind connection, his philosophy and studio in this clip.
And if you enjoyed this post, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it. And don’t forget to follow and subscribe to Join the Collective! ♥ Elaine