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Archive for March, 2009

Inviting meditation into your life can bring a sense of peace and calm to your otherwise hectic lifestyle.

Could you not use some inner peace and a sense of soothing in your busy world?

Meditation is all about looking inward and focusing on the spiritual core of your life.
The practice comes from Vedic Hinduism. The focus of meditation is to relax and calm the mind and to slow down the level of consciousness. Meditation can allow you to feel better about yourself. It provides feelings of self confidence, empowerment, strength and can turn a heavy stress load on its heels!

Inviting meditation into your life can help you to find stillness in your life and it can center and relax you. Meditation is all about relaxation and rejuvenation! Contrary to what most people believe, meditation is not difficult to learn and anybody who wishes to learn it can! All it takes is the willingness to learn and the desire to quiet your mind.

Mediation is something that you can engage in for as little as 10 minutes a day. If that is all the time you have to devote to it (or if that is all you need) than that is perfectly fine.

Meditation is closely connected to breathing. Meditation teaches those who practice it to engage in deep breathing (which is breathing that comes from way down in the diaphragm), as opposed to breathing from the chest.  Believe it or not, the very best teachers of deep breathing are babies! Babies breathe properly. However many of us allow too much stress and a hurried pace to alter our breathing patterns over time.

Meditation seeks to get you back to the place where you should be- the place where we all started, with baby breathing.

Once you have found the serenity that comes from meditation, you will find it easier to reach the same state time and time again. Inviting meditation into your life is ALWAYS an investment in your good health!

Mediation relaxes the mind and body and promotes positivity in your life and healing. For beginners I recommend starting with a very basic breathing meditation. Visit http://www.how-to-meditate.org/breathing-meditations.htm to get started.

Inviting meditation into your life is one of the many ways that you can remind yourself that you are indeed worth it!

Samantha

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The ancient practice of yoga has been around for a long time because it is an effective alternative discipline.

The birthplace of yoga is ancient India where the word means union in the Indian language of Sanskrit. Yoga means “asana” in Sanskrit which in turn is about a variety of physical postures.

What do yoga and union have in common you wonder? Yoga unites the body, mind and spirit and is concerned with all aspects of health and well-being. The ancient practice of yoga has been practiced for many centuries and involves a variety of poses. The poses are not that difficult to do once you get the hang of them!

The main goal of all who practice yoga is that of creating balance in the body. Once that has been obtained, the goal then becomes to maintain the balance. If you think yoga is just about stretching then you are partially right- stretching is a part of yoga but it is only one part of the greater whole!

The ancient practice of yoga has become a part of western culture because it is so life affirming. Yoga helps to develop and improve a person’s level of flexibility and strength. Every pose that makes up yoga is geared towards improving either strength or flexibility.

The poses are done in a swift manner and occur one right after the other. The heat that this conjures up in the body helps to improve stamina and makes the coordination and alignment for each pose even better. To become familiar with some of yoga’s most basis poses, visit http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/yogabasicsession.asp

Most yoga classes are generally from 30 to 45 minutes a day. One of the greatest aspects of yoga is it can be learned by anyone, regardless of their age, fitness level or how strong or flexible they are. Don’t worry- if strength and flexibility is not your forte then yoga will get you there!

Yoga classes generally also touch on other spiritual elements such as meditation, deep breathing and sometimes inspirational readings and chants. There are different types of yoga so you can try each one out and then decide which one suits you the best.

As you become familiar and comfortable with the ancient practice of yoga you will start to notice small but significant changes in yourself that is sure to keep you going back for more!

Samantha

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Conventional wisdom and health and fitness gurus tell us you need to drink at least 96flozs of water a day to stay primed for good living. Pooh – I say!

And I’m glad to report I’m not alone in thinking it’s gibberish as so does a recent MSN health tips section. Apart from the fact there isn’t enough waking time to drink that much water, your bladder can’t take it either. You can only do 15-minute meetings at work otherwise you’d have to excuse yourself.

Of course I was one of freaks that sucked this up at one point. The program I was on also had you add extra glasses of water if you were overweight. I think I was close to drinking my own weight in water each day! My kids didn’t see much of me during that period – or if they did I was on my way to the bathroom.

Then I began to question the validity of a program that has me drink as much as a person twice my size. Surely size matters? And I also began to be concerned about all the good stuff in my body I may be washing away before it has a chance to keep my body functioning in tip top condition.

And at the end of the day this is also the concern of the health professionals who have decided to take on this falsehood because they see the inherent danger in it.

The fact is, while the average body may require 96flozs of water a day we get a lot of it from our food. Granted if your diet is fast food or you drink a lot of coffee then slurping up bottle after bottle of water may be how you make amends.

But it is not necessary for the average person to drink 96flozs of water a day and it could be harmful if you did.

Does this mean you don’t need to supplement your normal dietary intake of water at all? No, you can still benefit from drinking more water than coffee or soda. I’m down to two cups of coffee a day and I drink about 48flozs – some days 72ozs if I’ve been extra active. And I rarely have soda – reserved for eating out only.

I’m now comfortable booking one hour meetings and taking long trips in the car without figuring out if there’s a rest stop on the way. And best of all I can say no to all that water out there because I know one way and another I get enough – and enough is all you need.

Hansen

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Figuring out how to keep motivated to walk on a regular basis is not easy – here are tips to keep the skip in your steps.

One of the best motivating factors is noticing all of the good that walking is accomplishing in your life.

What could these things be? If you suddenly have more energy and are sleeping better at night then thank your walks for that. How about the fact that you are coping better with stress lately? Or what about the fact that your favorite dress that was feeling awfully snug but now fits just right?

Let’s face it, motivation often starts out high when we begin something new but can drop off somewhat as time passes. This can be influenced by anything from your state of mind to how busy you are, to what the weather is like on any given day.

To keep motivated to walk you need to want to remain focused on the task at hand. Being comfortable makes motivation more attainable. When you walk do you wear comfortable clothing that allows your body to move freely? Do you wear clothing that is appropriate for the season? If you answered no to both of these questions then you need to rethink your walking wardrobe. No one will remain motivated to walk if they are wearing clothes that are binding, itchy, too warm or not warm enough!

Always keep this in mind- when you walk in the cooler months dress in layers but choose fabrics that breathe. In the warmer months, cooler clothes that are super comfortable are where it’s it! Motivation here you come!

In the same way, what you wear on your feet is so important. Wear appropriate shoes and socks to cushion and protect your feet.

If you walk alone then bring some tunes along to keep you motivated. Songs will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Purchase a pedometer so you can make note of your progress. This will give your motivation level a tremendous boast!

Do not always walk the exact same route. To keep motivated to walk you need to expose yourself to newness as often as possible! Mix it up a bit for added spice! This will allow motivation to remain high.

Samantha

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When you first begin, do not rush. Starting a walking program is not the same as running a marathon so just go easy! This is something you want to enjoy!

Start with a slow and relaxed pace. It will take time for your body to get used to walking if you are not accustomed to it. You might want to begin with a short stroll around your neighborhood. Start with a walk that takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Continue to take daily short walks for a week. The next week add an extra five minutes to your walk and the following week another five minutes. I think you see where I am going with this. Keep adding minutes until you are walking anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes a day.

Starting a walking program can benefit your health in so many ways but it is important to remember to drink water before your walk, afterwards and preferably to bring some with you. Warm up before your walk and cool down afterwards. This helps to lessen the impact on your muscles and joints.

As you walk, pay attention to the manner in which you are walking. No slouching! Your posture should be good and your head should be held high. You are proud to have joined the ranks of the walkers of the world so let it show! Keep your back straight.

Your eyes should be focused ahead of you as you walk. Make sure that your abdominal area and your buttocks are tight and your shoulders are down.

Starting a walking program can be even more enjoyable when you walk with another person. Be aware that you should be able to walk and talk at the same time. This is known as your talking pace. If you are gasping for breath then you are walking far too fast!

Samantha

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I don’t often get the chance to quote Hippocrates but when he said that “walking is man’s best medicine”, he couldn’t have foreseen thousand’s of years later how many people discover that truth daily.

Walking as part of a daily exercise program is encouraged by doctors to their patients after heart surgery, and by hypnotherapists to clients who quit smoking or are in a weight loss program.

Now these may be two extremes but nonetheless provide validation that walking is an exercise that can benefit the majority of us and adjusted for different fitness levels. I love to jog but in the last few years have been forced to reduce my running activity due to knee problems, and have replaced most jogging with walking.

Outside a good pair of walking shoes there is no other investment in equipment needed – just your time.

Recently I invested in a pair of MBT walking shoes because of my knee problems and recommendation by other family members. MBT walking shoes are specially designed to reduce stress on knee and hip joints and improve your posture and gait – they’re designed by Swiss Masai. Now I wear mine all the time around the house and not just when exercise walking.

If you want to invest in additional equipment then a pedometer and some cool clothing would be extras to consider, and if you walk early morning or in the evening wear a reflective product. Choose comfortable clothing and dress in layers.

Benefits of walking include:

– Easy to do and fit into any schedule
– Healthy
– Safe
– Burns calories
– Lowers blood pressure
– Reduces bad cholesterol levels
– Improves muscle tone
– Enhances stamina and energy
– Easy on your joints
– Increases aerobic capacity
– Reduces heart attack risk

Remember – walk at a speed you’re comfortable and if you experience pain or discomfort talk to your doctor.

Hansen

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In our pop-a-pill society we swallow potent drugs with potential serious side-effects to stop smoking – but there are safer and better alternatives.

Two well know drugs prescribe by physicians to help their patients quit smoking are Zyban and Chantix. Zyban came out of the research performed on Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant drug, when it was accidentally discovered it lessened the cravings to smoke in testing on subjects. Zyban has been on the market longer than Chantix.

Zyban is not recommended if you’re already taking anti-depressants or have suffered an allergic reaction to Zyban already, or have seizure disorders. Zyban is not considered a complete stop smoking solution. For one thing, it’s recommended only for short periods, usually up to seven weeks. And so its use to you in a quit smoking program is limited and you should have in place a longer term plan to prepare for life after Zyban.

Chantix was supposed to be the new wonder smoking cessation drug. But of late it’s had some scary stories connected with its use. These include suicidal tendencies and depression, and more common side effects of nausea, headache, and difficulty sleeping and abnormal dreams. The FDA continues to investigate.

The fact is there are other alternatives to taking prescription drugs to quit smoking with no side-effects, and these have proven to be every bit as effective, and in many instances more effective.

One of these alternatives is hypnosis. Stop smoking using hypnosis has been around a long time, but tends to be used as a last resort for smokers looking to quit. So hypnotists tend to get the most difficult cases. But on the plus side these same people are usually highly motivated to quit.

Using hypnosis to stop smoking is a natural way to quit and if you’re ever had hypnosis sessions then you know how relaxing it is as well.

Two cons of a private hypnosis sessions for some people is price – although this tends to be a false economy concern – and the fact you have to make an appointment and keep it.

So the industry of self-hypnosis stop smoking CDs and even quit smoking hypnosis download products have sprung up in the last few years. These are a less expensive alternative to private hypnosis sessions and obviously you can listen to them at your own convenience.

For articles about the pros and cons of self-hypnosis CD products for stop smoking go here, and information on quit smoking MP3 hypnosis programs go here.

I’ll be talking more about hypnosis as an alternative to many other challenges in upcoming posts.

Hansen

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