February 25th, 2014

Breathe for a Quick Shift to Relaxation!

Many of you already know that I`m a big believer in the power of the breath to restore and heal.  Proper breathing really is a master key to good health.  It instantly relaxes the body and mind.  In fact, Dr. Andrew Weil (a well known author and leader in the field of integrative medicine) says `If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn to breathe correctly.`

Every morning I use a little tool called the Relaxation Response to reduce stress and feel instantly good.  This is a simple breath technique that relaxes the body and mind very quickly.  It was developed by Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Cardiologist, and it`s called the Relaxation Response because it creates a reaction in the body that is the opposite of the Stress Response (more commonly known as the flight or fight response).   When we use the Relaxation Response breath technique, we automatically switch from shallow breathing to diaphramatic breathing (fueling the body with oxygen), we lower the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline, we lower our heart rate, muscles relax, tension dissipates.   And it takes about one minute!

The Relaxation Response simply involves 4 rounds of deep cleansing breathing.   Begin by taking one full and deep breath through your nose, then exhale through your mouth slowly and fully.  Do this three more times, for a total of 4 rounds.  That`s it.  There are other variations of it that are a little more involved and yet this simple method does the trick.  I like to notice as I`m in the midst of the 4 rounds, that my shoulders release pent-up tension quite quickly and my whole body begins to relax deeply.  It feels to me like coming home;  coming home to the calm inside of me, to the clear sense that all is well right now in this moment.  In a way, it feels like coming home to sanity.

Here`s to you and living well!
PS:  It`s great to use the relaxation response any time (first thing in the morning, last thing at night, before a stressful meeting, after a stressful meeting, during a stressful meeing - you get the idea).  And if you`re not sure if you`re doing it correctly, sigh out loud fully on the exhale.  This is one way that the body automatically shifts to diaphramatic breathing.

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Power of Wellness

Lee Chamberland

Stress Relief & Happiness Expert
Vancouver, BC, Canada
(604) 738-7685
Lee is like a breath of fresh air - the moment you are in her presence, you cannot help but feel good.
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