Tag Archives: reduce stress

Why There’s No Such Thing as a “Bad” Meditation

shutterstock_63307786My morning meditation was fairly half-assed. I didn’t ride my bike at sunrise to my preferred Buddhist center in Cambridge, over the Mass Ave. bridge with the elegant crew boats manned by chiseled athletes sculling the Charles River below, sit in silence for 45-minutes, and emerge a more kind, patient, and productive person afterward. Sometimes, my meditation is like this, but not today.

Today, it was 5-minutes, dutifully timed by my iPhone. I sat on my loveseat, which is not hippie code-speak for a special form of cushion or zafu. It’s just a loveseat from West Elm. I didn’t even light a candle. No time. No need, really.

It’s tempting to judge this juxtaposition of experiences. One looks, sounds, and feels more Zen. The other looks, sounds, and feels like nothing much. My reason for mentioning any of this is that, in my experience doing yoga and meditating since the age of 16 (I’m now 34), it’s become clear that people genuinely want to meditate. They may even go so far as to get a routine going, perhaps started on a retreat or with the help of a guided program by a local teacher or remote one via the Internet or audio files by Deepak Chopra (friends raved about his 30-day program with Oprah earlier this year) or Jon Kabat-Zinn, to whom I introduce all new meditators (his resources are so lovely and accessible).

Then, we fall off the wagon. It’s not as easy back home as it was in Tulum with the ocean waves crashing outside and only pressing responsibility being to get to the dining hall for fresh fruit and herbal tea afterward. We don’t have much space at home and no real cushion or seat meant for meditating. It’s trash day, and the damn truck outside is so noisy. We’re already late for work. We didn’t get enough sleep. We overslept. I just don’t wanna we mentally whine, or we forget altogether. It happens.

Alternatively, some never try (for any length of time, at least). They mean to. They want to. They hear meditation would be good for them. It reduces stress, relieves anxiety, increases focus, combats depression, and on and on. Many people can practically recite the benefits by heart despite never encountering them. It’s just so hard, they lament, gamely resigned to an immutable fate. They’re just “not good at it.”

Here’s the good news: it’s not possible to be bad at meditation. There’s doing it and not doing it. That’s all. If you want to try: try. And be assured that it doesn’t always look, sound, or feel Zen. Sometimes, it feels wretched or boring or like nothing much at all. It doesn’t matter how long or where you sit, whether roused by an antique Buddhist gong or iPhone.

All experiences of meditation are good and valuable because they cultivate the skill of being present, of strengthening the mind. How many other skills would we expect to master without much practice, especially life-altering ones? Even your chaturanga took a while, didn’t it? Moreover, it’s not only the immediate results of meditation from which we benefit. They accumulate over time, whether 45-minutes here or 5-minutes there. Like modern yoga, depictions and descriptions of meditation can be very skewed, prioritizing the beautiful, effortless, and happy–no itchy noses or furrowed brows– which is why it’s important to gently remind ourselves that these are images.

Forget the images. Forget how other people do it. Grab a spot, set a timer, close your eyes, and breathe. That’s all. It might not look like much, but when it amounts to you being less dominated by your thoughts, emotions, agenda, and judgments and more at peace with yourself, it’s everything you need.

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

Gabrielle Bernstein: Miracles and A Rad Guided Meditation

Sat Nam Spirit Junkies! This week I’m sharing a clip from my Miracles in LA lecture. In this video I discuss how stress blocks us in every area of life. Watch this video and follow the guided meditation on how to eradicate your ego, release stress and powerfully activate your energy. Practice this meditation daily and your life will begin to flow.

Ego Eradicator Meditation from gabriellebernstein on Vimeo.

 

More from Gabrielle:

How to Reduce Stress

A Meditation for Irrationality

A Meditation to Help Treat Addiction

Can Adaptogens Help Us Reduce Stress – For Good?

If there were an herb believed to help reduce stress and increase our ability to adapt to new circumstances, would you try it? Couldn’t hurt, right?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra addresses questions about adaptogens, which are plants and herbs that may be able to modulate our response to stress and any discomfort caused by changes in the environment. He examines the history of these substances and some recent studies on particular adaptogens which he has been involved in. How can these substances be used to improve our response to stress?

Dr. Mark Hyman encourages the use of adaptogenic herbs to help reduce stress and calm the mind. Such herbs might include ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, cordyceps, ashwagandha, and others that are nontoxic, nonspecific in action, and generally healthy and high in antioxidants.

Studies on the medical viability of adaptogens to reduce stress have been somewhat sparse but nonetheless promising.The more we learn about these plants and their healing potential, the closer we may get to finding real, long-lasting relief from stress and anxiety. And wouldn’t that be a treat!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and leave your comments below!

3 Gorgeous Meditations to Kick Off the Week

Happy Monday!

If you’re like many active, busy people out there, Monday mornings can be rough. A new week brings a new set of responsibilities, activities, and concerns, and it can be hard not to feel like you’re jumping on an already-running treadmill. Even if it feels like you have a million things to accomplish this week and barely enough time to do it all, it’s important to get centered first and foremost. Your responsibilities won’t go anywhere, and the 10 minutes it takes for your mindfulness practice will pay off in the long run.

Here are 3 guided meditations to help you start your week on a fresh and centered note:

Transport yourself to Norweigen Hardangervidda National Park and become one with nature during this guided mediation with Deepak Chopra. Put your intent on your heart, focus on your breathing and let go.

Find peace in a grassy green field as Mallika Chopra reads a guided meditation. Set your intent on your heart, focus on your breathing and let yourself go.

Settle yourself in a secluded forest as Deepak Chopra reads two poems by Tagore. Tagore is known world wide for his metaphysical poetry, especially “Song Offerings” which earned him the first Nobel Prize for Literature for a non-European in 1913.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out the rest of our guided meditations!

Five Beautiful Things: A Practice to Reduce Stress and Be Present

Smells like FlowersBy Tara Sophia Mohr

I’m always looking for new ways to wake up to the life in front of me. This week I started playing with the idea of “five beautiful things.”

In any moment, particularly if I’m feeling stressed or out of sorts, I look for five beautiful things in my midst. I really look at them. I take them in—not just with my eyes but also with my mind and my breath and my heart. I spend a few moments just looking.

This morning, I’m in a bustling café. It isn’t particularly beautiful. But in a moment of feeling kind of bummed out and rushed and anxious, the thought popped up: look for five beautiful things.

The moment I raise my head, I see the red-gorgeous leaves of the trees out the window. Intensely rich as bowl of dark cherries. Hovering slightly in the wind, patiently waiting for our attention. Bold and unapologetic as they wait. Had I looked at them before this morning? Yes. Had I seen them? No.

Next, the face two seats down from me at the café. Clear, pale, freckled, trustworthy, unusual and familiar feeling all at once. Beautiful.

The bright green skirt of the woman walking past me, the green of summer.

The photos above the espresso bar, which I’ve seen at least a hundred times before. Three in a row, frame in arches. In looking at them I start to appreciate the miracle of someone taking the photograph, and the miracle of someone else framing them that way, the miracle of someone conceiving a design for this place. And then I start to feel the miracle that it is all here, and I’m here too. The miracle of a Saturday morning that is, that is now.

By the time it’s time to look for item number five, everything is looking beautiful. The white coffee cup is beautiful. It’s all starting to feel vibrating and alive and miraculous and now. (And I’m not even caffeinated yet).

So number five is, shockingly, the stop sign, right outside the window. It’s become stunningly gorgeous sometime in the past five minutes. It probably couldn’t have been beautiful thing number one, but through these eyes it’s a vibrant red. It’s the perfect shape composed above the green vines below and the brick building behind.

I’m left with this: There’s a way in which life is about looking. Looking closely. Looking with the intention to see beauty. Looking with curiosity and alertness. Looking with reverence for now.

Looking changes everything.

Right now, before you finish reading this post, and click over to the next window, will you find five things of beauty, of striking mystery, in your midst? Five things that are amazing out of their aliveness? Start with one or two, and take them in through your eyes, your mind, your heart and your breath. Spend a few moments with each, and the rest will take care of themselves.

What does “life is about looking” mean to you?

* * *

Tara Sophia Mohr is the founder of the global Playing Big leadership program for women and the author of the free 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook. An expert on women’s leadership and well-being, Tara helps women play bigger in their work and in their lives. Visit www.taramohr.com to learn more.

4 Tips to Make Your Home Office Less Stressful

Home OfficeBy Jessica Snow

Working from home is an excellent way to make a living while balancing other crucial aspects of life. And depending on your family’s dynamic, it could be the only way you’re able to work. The flexibility of having an office at home makes it possible to raise small children without having to foot the cost of childcare providers, and otherwise reduces travel expenses most people accrue by commuting.

This option can be remarkably convenient, but all the distractions that tend to come with this setup can give it the potential to be disastrously stressful. There are a few things to keep in mind as you’re setting up your office that will help make it the most productive space it can be.

1. Keep Energy Positive With Feng Shui Principles

Keep your office as far away from your bedroom as possible. This will help you mentally separate work from home life by eliminating possible distractions and temptations. Also, position your desk area so that your back is to a wall. Sit at the desk so that you can see out a window or through a doorway. Keeping your immediate surroundings open and not boxing yourself in will help prevent anxiety and promote a positive outlook.

2. Prevent Clutter

According to Feng Shui consultant Natalia Kaylin, “Clutter is vicious, it takes many forms, and is the biggest contributor to stress.” Reduce the possibility to accumulate stressful clutter by installing a filing system to keep records organized, and make a conscious effort to keep unneeded supplies and knick-knacks at bay.

3. Let The Light In

The plants you use to decorate your office will need a certain amount of natural light, as will yourself. Let as much sunlight into your workspace as you can, as this is the purest form of light. Avoid using fluorescent lights if at all possible. Over-exposure to fluorescent lighting has been known to cause or worsen migraines, headaches, eye strain, and anxiety. You’ll want to find a balance between having enough light that you can see your computer monitor and read freely, but not so much that your eyes become strained.

Choose the right shades for your office that will let in the right amount of light, and the environment in your workspace will be ideal for producing your best work.

4. Purify Air With De-Stressing Plants

Houseplants are a lovely way to decorate a home office. If you choose the right plants though, they will do so much more. Ivy, Peace Lilies, and bamboo palms have been known to have air-purifying qualities in addition to their peaceful beauty.

The home office is supposed to be a very productive, practical space, so it’s understandable that decorating it may not be at the top of your list of things to do. You’re human though, so a workspace that doesn’t accommodate that will not be conducive to productivity. Keep these tips in mind while you’re setting up your space. Your office will be an inviting, positive place to be, and your work will reflect that.

* * *

Jessica Snow is a young writer from sunny Florida who enjoys learning and writing about a myriad of topics. When shes not glued to her laptop you can find her running the trails with her Great Dane, Charlie

How to Teach Kids to Meditate (Grades K-5) – Part 1

Little BuddaThis is a script I wrote and loosely followed while teaching the children in my town’s public elementary school to meditate. I thought it might be helpful for other parents, teachers, and counselors who’d like to do it with their own children, with scouting troops, with church youth groups, with summer campers, and with classrooms. You can do it all at once if your group is attentive or break it into pieces over a couple of days. Use what works for you and your time constraints. My best advice in doing this is to be flexible and animated. Don’t be afraid to ad-lib or get silly. The kids will respond beautifully.

For children grades 2-5

Hi, my name is ________________.  I’m here to teach you a way to be happy. Not haha happy. Not that-was-a-funny-movie happy. Or I-love-ice-cream happy. Not even I-just-got-a-new-puppy happy. I mean heart happy. We’re going to use a tool to help us learn how to do that. Can anyone imagine what our special happiness tool could be?

The thing I’m thinking of is very close by. It’s free, it’s super easy to find and it does not require assembly or a special carrying case. It’s as close as your breath…. In fact, it IS your breath.

Just by breathing we can help ourselves find happiness. And we can use special breathing tricks to help us. But to be good at anything, what do we need to do? Practice! Right. Just like soccer or piano or drawing. If you want to be good at something, you need to practice.

But before we start practicing our breath work, I want you to help me with a check list.  You don’t need to raise your hand, just check a little box in your head if you’ve ever experienced the following things:

  • Had a big fight with someone at home
  • Forgot to turn in your homework
  • Couldn’t sleep because you kept thinking about something
  • Felt embarrassed in front of your friends
  • Worried about something happening in the world
  • Got the sillies and found yourself in trouble
  • Was scared on a carnival ride
  • Felt out of control with excitement before a big day
  • Knew the answer but felt shy to raise your hand in class
  • Got left out of a party or outing with friends

I’ve felt all of those things. And I bet you have, too. And if you haven’t yet, you will. No one is exempt from this. We all feel bad sometimes. We all mess things up. We all feel insecure.  You, me, the most popular kid in school, the bully down the hall, the star on the basketball court. Everyone. And it’s okay to feel these things. These feelings are important parts of being a person. The bad stuff lets us know when something’s wrong so we can work to ease those feelings when they’re no longer useful.  Once we acknowledge the bad stuff and send it packing, we can create more open space for the good stuff that reminds us how wonderful it feels to be alive. Each and every one of us deserves to know happiness and success, acceptance and love. And we can achieve these beneficial feelings when we activate our superpowers. We are all born with super strength. No one is exempt from that either. We’ll talk more on how to use your superpowers later but I don’t want you to forget you have them, so let’s pull on our super suits, tie on our super capes and adjust our flashy masks. Check to make sure our tool belts are on tight.

Okay, good. So when we can find a comfortable balance amongst all these feelings, we can feel peaceful. Composed.

What does composure mean? Let me try to help you understand. Listen to this.

(Play a bit of Mozart.)

Can you hear how everything is in harmony? All of the pieces of the orchestra are very different. Some are deep, some are light, some sound a little sad, some sound cheerful or even silly. But when they work together they create something balanced, productive and beautiful – something composed. In order to maintain this composure, the musicians need to practice. They need to dedicate time. They need to focus.

We are like that. In our lives, we juggle lots of different feelings. They’re all important. But when we can make all those diverse feelings work together and still feel balanced, we can maintain composure. When we can engage that composure throughout the day, our frequency begins to rise.

Frequency is a big word. It’s like the radio station our lives are tuned into. You can tune into frustration and negativity or you can tune into love and empowerment. Which one would you like to tune into?

Yes, me, too. So think of frequency like energy – and get those super suits ready. When it’s on the rise, we’re getting happier and happier. We can use our super powers to feel good and think clearly. And when our frequency rises, the people around us can feel it and believe it or not, our awesomely fast frequency helps others. Just by being fast. Superhero fast.

Understanding that we are all very much the same may help in relieving some of the confusion we feel when we’re angry or sad or anxious. And we can team up that understanding with meditation to cool our own jets and ease the stressful feelings we’re carrying around.

Who has heard the word meditation before?

Meditation is a quiet time to connect with our breath, to be still, to remember that right here, right now, we are alive and safe and okay. When we meditate, we remember to treat our bodies well, to use kind words with others and think before we speak, to think clear, useful thoughts. When our thoughts are good, our lives will be good.

For some people, this comes naturally. But most of us need to practice to achieve that state of peace and harmony, which we can find by taking a moment to TUNE IN.

Times to use meditation:

  • While taking exams and quizzes (you know the answers but your jitters keep you from remembering clearly)
  • Leading up to big celebrations, holidays, vacations or events (when you’re so excited that you’re having a hard time sitting still or thinking clearly)
  • Before games, recitals, performances (visualization helps you prepare by creating a vision for your future)
  • During arguments with friends or family members (taking time to breathe will calm you down so you can use your most compassionate voice)
  • In uncomfortable social situations (mindfulness will bring you back to your personal truth and keep you out of trouble when trouble is tempting)
  • To ease depression or sadness (bringing your thoughts to center will connect you to “what is” instead of “what was” or “what might be”)

There are many ways to meditate. But we always begin by breathing. So let’s sit straight in our seats, feet on the floor, spine long, chin tucked in, head reaching to the ceiling. Place your hands in your lap, palms up and close your eyes completely. Now think of yourself as breathing “on purpose”. Start with a deep inhale, filling your lungs as much as you can and releasing the breath, completely emptying your lungs. Try it two more times with me. Now breathe in and out through your nose naturally and notice the way your body feels from the inside. The chair supporting your weight, your hands relaxed on your legs, the air touching your skin, your soft belly rising and falling with every breath. If your thoughts get lost and you forget that you’re breathing, just gently bring yourself back to this place. Let’s breathe for one more minute and when the time is up, I’ll invite the bell as a signal to end this meditation.

(Wait one minute. Invite bell.)

A great tool to help us is this bell. You can think of the bell as a peaceful voice, inviting you to take a breath. You can accept this invitation each time you hear any bell. Keep your ears open for school bells, church bells, door bells – and use their sound as an opportunity to stop what you’re doing and breathe. Tell the people around you what you’re doing and invite them to stop and breathe, too. Use it as a reminder to think about your breath and about being connected to the earth and about being a perfectly imperfect human being. Listen to the way the bell resonates and stay still and quiet until you can no longer hear its sound.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Why Isn’t All This “Good Advice” Working For You?

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 1.02.00 PMEvery day you are bombarded by well-intentioned, “good” advice ranging from stress management to diet and exercise. Sorting it all out can be difficult, especially when it’s conflicting: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” versus “out of sight, out of mind.”  Some of this good advice is a mysterious secret which will be revealed if you buy the book, and some of it comes in the form of meditation and visualization tapes which speak to you personally – you and millions of others listeners. And this is precisely the problem: One size does not fit all.

If you tap into YOUR gut intuition, you already know:

  • What your healthy balanced meal plan should  include – which foods agree with you and which don’t
  • The specific daily exercises which work for you
  • How to reboot your natural rhythm
  • That stress is internally driven and based on your perception
  • The person you need to forgive
  • That getting a good night’s sleep is restorative and how you should proceed
  • That how you wake up in the morning impacts your entire day

For example, let’s look closely at this last point. I prefer to set my alarm clock five minutes early which gives me greater control to wake into consciousness. By easing into awareness I can set the tempo and focus necessary to begin my day. I believe that my daily awakening is so important that I prepare for it the night before with my own intention for the next day, like laying out my clothes for work in the morning. I prepare a phrase that I find from a poetic, philosophical or religious work and on many evenings I write my own words by reaching into my heart. I know what I need to tell myself to manage my day. Since seasons and conditions vary, my self-help messages will be different. I don’t need to listen to someone else telling me what to think or envision.

Bottom line: No one can motivate you. To generate will power you need to create “resonance”. Whatever you desire to achieve, whether losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising, pursuing a higher degree or dating again, you need to reflect if what you wish is in harmony with your inner self.

The key question you need to ask yourself: Do I really want to achieve this goal? Or is this a goal that:

•I believe I “should” pursue

•My parents always wanted for me

•I feel pressured to achieve because of competition with friends and neighbors

When you are in harmony with yourself, you will be eager to complete any goal which you genuinely want because it is your heart’s desire. On the other hand, you lack will power because subconsciously you really don’t want to change the status quo. You might be getting some reward even from a bad habit. For example, some of us pity ourselves and enjoy playing the sympathy card. “Poor me, I can’t meet any good men as they all seem to be taken. I’ll just have to fill my empty heart with this rich, creamy ice cream.”

Ultimately, don’t give away your power. Hypnotize yourself! Self-help literally means self-help.

8 Ways to Beat the Sunday Night Blues

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.31.52 AMThey were tell-tale signs of any weekend coming to an end: sunshine was fading into darkness, Mom was sitting on the couch reading the Sunday paper before bed, and the infamous “dun-dun” music was signaling the beginning of another episode of Law & Order SVU. Sunday nights were always fairly routine in my house, especially the always-timely buzz of dread I felt from anticipating the week ahead.

I’ve always struggled with what my mom called the “Sunday Night Blues”: you know, that feeling of anxiety or unrest in the pit of ones stomach when they haven’t checked their work email all weekend, or when that little red exclamation point that marks an “urgent” message feels like it was branded onto your brain before you left the office on Friday. When I was a kid, the anxiety was always related to something going on at school the next day. Now, it’s really mostly about the anticipation of my inbox on a Monday morning (no one should ever, ever have to deal with the site of my inbox on a Monday morning.)

After years of Sunday night struggles, I put a list together of the practical things I’ve learned over the years that help calm the waters when infinite emails await:

1. To steal a line from The Eagles, Take it Easy. This is the basis for all other Sunday night blues remedies. Snuggle up on the couch, do things that soothe the soul, and try to run all the errands on Saturday if you can. Make this a day where it’s at least an option to do absolutely nothing.

2. Prepare for the week ahead. Yes, I know: I just told you to take it easy. But being prepared is a big part of taking it easy so that you’re not taking it crazy during the workweek. Make it so Monday morning can be as serene as possible: do the dishes, leave out whatever you need for the next day so you’re not scrambling when the alarm goes off.

3. Speaking of alarms, set the alarm a little earlier than usual. I’m sure a few eyeballs just popped out of their respective heads, but give me a moment to explain. I’m a professional snooze-button-pusher, but come Monday morning, all bets are off. Here’s why: I think it’s important to give yourself a little more time than usual for you when the week begins. Whatever it is you like doing – working out, writing, just sitting with a cup of coffee – give yourself time before the week begins to just reconnect with yourself. It makes the week ahead much easier, and helps you get in touch with whatever intentions or ideas you want to put into action during the 9 to 5. 

4. Clean house. Clean spaces make for clear minds. In an effort to have a clearer mind myself, I try to keep my spaces as clean as possible to avoid the anxiety caused by clutter. Things like cleaning my desk before I leave work on Friday, getting the crumbs out of my car seats and de-cluttering my apartment make all the difference in the world when it comes to maintaining my serenity.

5. Take responsibility only for what’s yours. In a workplace environment, where people are often individually responsible for a whole lot at once, it’s important to remember what’s actually your responsibility and what’s not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked in with myself about what I’m so frantic over and realized it actually falls under someone else’s umbrella of responsibility. It’s easy to get caught up in the game of making sure no stone goes unturned to save face, but if the impending crisis that awaits on Monday really has nothing to do with you, than try to remind yourself that you’re not solely responsible for holding the whole world together. There are tons of forces out there working in your favor: let them do their job while you see to doing only the one to which you were assigned.

6.  Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. Usually, what I think I’m afraid of isn’t really what I’m actually afraid of. When I get to the core of what’s worrying me, I try to come to terms with that fear actualizing itself. If I can visualize myself at peace even in the “worst case scenario”, I can remember that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay.

7. Plan things to look forward to. The week doesn’t have to be all about work – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Make time to see friends throughout the week and plan gatherings or activities with yourself that put a spring in your step.

8. Hand it over. I have something I call a “God Box” (you can call it a “universe box” or whatever floats your boat) that I use to let go of everything I’m afraid of. After writing down all of my worries on individual pieces of paper, I’ll put them in this box next to my bed and give them over to the universe. It’s my way (and many others’ way – I did not come up with this ) of letting go and letting God when there’s nothing I can do about something that’s troubling me. Many times, months after I’ve written something down, I’ll pull it out of the box to find it’s been resolved in some way I never would have expected. Doing this over and over serves as a great reminder that everything will be okay in the end…

…because as we’ve been told over and over, everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.

(Authors note: Yes. This even applies to Mondays.)

Better Breathing for a Better Life (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.33.10 PMWhen you find yourself in a situation where you get stressed, frightened or caught off guard, what’s the best thing to do?

Scream? Sometimes. : )

But seriously, what did mom or grandma or your loved one tell you to do?

Breathe.

Yes, it’s as simple as that.

But time and time again, while walking around the streets of San Francisco (and while being in the car with certain eh hem, friends with road rage) I witness screaming and feel their blood boiling. What good does that do?

I try to make it a practice to breathe deeply every morning.

Here’s how:

I love filling up my lungs and expunging all the air and imagining my lungs deflating like a balloon. I do this almost every morning with a 20-30 minute yoga routine.

I’m an early riser, so I like to take in the stillness of the morning silence with a meditation practice. People may get freaked out and discouraged about “not knowing how to meditate.” The truth is, there isn’t a “right way” to meditate. Simple focus on your breath, deep breath in…deep breath out.

Other times when I’m running and gunning, I just take three quick deep breaths. If you’re over-programmed like me and have a busy schedule, set a reminder on your phone to go off three times a day to remind you to breathe.

Here’s a video I made for you that will help you focus on your breathing. This is what I usually see on my morning run at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Breathe in when the waves come toward the shore. Breathe all the way out when the waves recede. It’s only a minute long, but the effects are long lasting.

Enjoy!

Feel better?

According to Men’s Journal, here are some stats about how deep breathing can be aaah-so-good for your health:

Relax: Breathing is an “accurate and honest barometer” of a person’s emotional state. Train your breathing to maintain your calm and lower stress levels.

Maximize Potential: The average person uses just 50 to 60 percent of his lung capacity. Breath training expands the lungs, and better oxygen intake means higher athletic performance.

Improve Health: Research suggests that developing proper breathing habits can play a role in treating conditions like asthma, acute bronchitis, ADHD and sleep apnea.

Don’t we all feel better after taking a few deep breaths? The next time you feel your panties or boxer briefs getting in a bunch, smile and relax (those butt cheeks). Namaste!

What other breathing exercises help you get through your day? If you follow our @goinspirego Instagram feed, you’ll notice that I often post pictures of beautiful cityscapes and snapshots of nature. Surprisingly, many people tell me the pictures remind them to slow down, be present and breathe. I’d love to hear/see what inspires you to breathe. Please share in the comments below.

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