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How to slow down and top up your health and wellbeing
There’s no denying how fast our lives are in Western society. Day in, day out we’re chasing our tails, trying to meet this deadline, live up to that personal expectation, stay on the treadmill of do-do-do until we run out of breath – sometimes literally!
Yes, we have family and work obligations that may keep us going at this pace, but there’s no rule book that says, a successful modern life must be lived at breakneck speed.
This is your guide to slowing down and experiencing improved health and wellness.
The sacred art of staying present
When we live busy lives, sometimes we disconnect our mind from our body. Our thoughts are on fast-forward to the future or stuck in the past. We may get anxious and tighten up our muscles and thoughts. And this is when we’re more susceptible to chronic health conditions.
Let’s hit the pause button.
For just one moment, take a minute, just 60 small seconds, to observe your breathing, your heart and your thoughts. Staying aware and alive to the present is a great way to slow everything down.
“When we live busy lives, sometimes we disconnect from our body. We get anxious and tighten up our muscles and thoughts.”
Every breath you take
Did you know the medical community believes we’ve lost the art and science of breathing? Could it be that humans are taking the miracle of breathing for granted and not doing it correctly for our optimum health?
It’s certainly astounding to conceive of such a thing. But (re)learning how to take slow, deep and measured breaths could make all the difference to your energy and stress levels. Take a look at this video on the four breathing secrets that could transform your health.
There’s no doubt about it. The breath is potent medicine. It is the regulator of our nervous system that can either put us in a stressed or relaxed state.
The pace of modern life means that we’re constantly exposed to daily stressors and some of us have found a way to cope throughout the day by adopting shallow breathing mechanics which ultimately leave us feeling fatigued, foggy and counting the minutes until the working day ends.
“The breath is potent medicine. It is the regulator of your nervous system so it’s responsible for how stressed or relaxed you feel.”
How breathing can benefit your body, mind and spirit
We take our breathing for granted. But apart from the miracle of just keeping us alive, the humble breath can help bring you other benefits including:
- improved digestion
- increased oxygen supply and energy
- enhanced muscle recovery
- better control of blood pressure
- calming for the mind and nervous system
- reduced stress and tension
- reduced fatigue and better sleep quality.
You can feel the invigorating effects of diaphragmatic breathing right now
- Place your hands on your lower rib cage
- Breathe in as deeply as you can without raising your shoulders
- Fill up your lower rib cage when you get to the peak of that breath
- Hold your breath for up to eight seconds more if possible
- Release the breath slowly through parted lips.
“By slowing down, you’ll see how doing less will actually do more for your health and wellbeing.”
Yoga: a powerful ancient practice for a modern world
Improved flexibility is one of the most frequently touted benefits of yoga, and for good reason. Spending just a few minutes each day in poses like ‘warrior’ and ‘downward facing dog’ can do wonders for your health and wellbeing – but you needn’t have superhuman strength or be able to contort your body out of shape to truly reap the benefits.
If you take a regular class – either online or in a studio – you can expect to see a difference in your mobility very soon. In fact, yoga builds on poses and breathing techniques that will help keep you agile throughout life.
To enjoy the most long-lasting benefits, try to build a steady yoga routine into your week. You’ll find it can make a world of difference to your energy and outlook.
Benefits that support your best health
Yoga poses work to release toxins and tension from of your body. Essentially, they open up the space to allow flow in your mind and body which can result in feelings of increased joy.
- Detoxify and release blockages
- Allow new energy pathways to generate
- Keep your body and mind strong and lively
- Targets common areas of weakness, tension, and inflammation
- Restores and transforms chronic issues into strength, agility and a healthier body.
“Yoga is not about doing more and working harder. It’s about undoing, relaxing, releasing and letting go.”
And if you’re still a little unsure, consider this: there are over 5,000 academic articles that support the use of yoga for optimal health and wellbeing.
Getting into the flow of Tai chi
Tai chi is an art and exercise from ancient China that increases wellbeing and makes us more alert and self-aware – a great antidote to the rushed pace of modern living.
Ideal for helping us understand our own unique body-mind issues, Tai chi works on moving us towards more optimal movement and thinking. The benefits are so well known, over 500 published medical studies have shown Tai chi improves many aspects of our health (National Council on Aging).
All Tai chi forms follow a set of essential principles to provide a range of health benefits including:
- improved posture
- deeper breath
- flexible movement.
The movements appear slow and effortless like tranquil water flowing in a river. In fact, Tai chi was created using the laws of nature and Chinese medicine that teach us the principles of balance, give and take, up and down, in and out and hot and cold.
This ancient practice is perfect for practicing, relearning and getting back in touch with your:
- body alignment
“Tai chi reminds us that we are part of a larger system and to work in harmony with our surroundings.”
There’s no time like the present to get present, slow down – and reap the health rewards
Your body speaks to you every day about the toll a hectic lifestyle can have on your mind, body and spirit. It communicates to you through your energy levels, sleep problems, headaches, digestive issues and even chronic aches and pains.
But by following a few simple techniques like being more conscious with your breath and movement you can get on the fast track to a slower, more relaxed and measured way of life.
All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.
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