• 3 Breathing Exercises to Ease Anxiety

    Often times, we naturally forget to breathe. How can that be possible? Well, through challenging times, it’s east to feel the tension in the body and allow our breath to become shallow. Our breath is vital to not only bringing in oxygen but to bring ourselves to the present moment. Most importantly to release negative thoughts. The following 3 breathing exercises I have used through some difficult times.

    As much attention we give to charging our electronics, we should give time to recharging our minds. In yoga, there is prana. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. For example, we receive prana from food and most importantly, the breath.

    1. Sama Vritti or equal breathing calms the body and the nervous system. This exercise can be done in a cross-legged position or lying on your back. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Mentally count to four as you inhale. Then count to four as you exhale. Try to keep your inhales of equal length to your exhales.
    2. Abdominal breathing can calm your body as well as boost energy. Sitting comfortably in a chair or lying on your back, calm the mind. Place one hand on the abdomen. Inhale through your nose and allow your abdomen to expand. You should feel the pressure against your hand as your abdomen is rising. Then exhale through your mouth. Don’t force each breath. It should be natural. Try this exercise for 10 minutes.
    3. Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is one of my favorite breathing techniques. At first, I experienced difficulty with this exercise. I felt angst but it turned out to be very beneficial for me. This removes toxins, restores nervous system, and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In a comfortable seat, hold the right thumb nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the top of the breath, pinch both nostrils and hold the breath for small pause. Then open the right nostril and exhale. Continue these exercise for about 5-10 cycles.

    “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thích Nhất Hạnh

  • Goal Setting and Printable Worksheet

    Writing down my goals has always been a big part of my life. This post is not so much on making a new years resolution as it is setting an intention for making your dreams come true!

    The sheet below is organized in two action steps. First, write down what you wish for in the empty box. In the action steps field, write down what the process looks like. If you like, you can also write down a firm deadline. You’ll see at the end of the worksheet with a field, Reward Yourself. Underneath the box, list how you will give back to the person most important…yes, you!

     

    Goal sheet titled, my wishes.

    We forget to give ourselves a pat on the back. No matter where you are in your process of goal setting, always give yourself a reward. Remember, be easy on yourself.

    Download the free worksheet here. Writing down your wishes or goals helps with images to accompany them. Cut out images that represent your wildest dreams.Have fun and be creative. The sky is the limit. Don’t hold back!

    ¡Buena suerte y espero que tus deseos se cumplean!

     

    Featured image courtesy Pink Pot Creative.

  • Body Activation

    Michele Kadison is one of my favorite dance teachers! I had the pleasure in taking her contemporary jazz class in Florida. Not only was it exhilarating, she knew body alignment down to a science. As picky as I am in choosing a dance or fitness class just right for me, Michele is one of those teachers where I relish taking her class.

    Her latest venture is Body Activation.

    Why Body Activation?
    I created Body Activation from my dance warm up, which was a part of a contemporary Jazz class that I taught for over 30 years. I noticed that dancers who took classes with me were able to heal their injuries while strengthening their core muscles and thus were becoming much more efficient in their use of movement. I realized that this would be a perfect fitness protocol for anyone wishing to maximize their movement potential, whether for performance, sports, or for simple daily motion.

    Body Activation is designed for the body in motion, helping people achieve a sense of ease as they discover a greater range of movement. The technique helps people develop healthier physical habits through exercises that yield deep and immediate results. Through releasing tension and unblocking stressed areas in the body, my students feel refreshed, lengthened, toned, mentally sharpened, and full of revitalizing energy.

    Can Body Activation benefit a non-dancer? If so, how?
    Body Activation is designed for the non-dancer, as well as anyone who wishes to heighten and maximize their physical potential. The technique is easy to follow and includes many exercises that repeat in order to create a type of biofeedback, whereby the body remembers the movements and positions in its quest to feel better. Because every exercise is designed to affect the body on a deep level, students feel immediate results: core muscles strengthen, the lower back and hips become more flexible, joints become more supple. And because circulation increases due to creating more room inside the body, there is an immediate sense of well-being, inner balance, and mental clarity.

    There are many fitness fads with fancy marketing. What advice would you give someone to cut through all that noise?
    No matter which fitness protocol attracts you, make sure that the teacher has experience working with the body. S/he should have a quantifiable background in fitness, dance, or yoga, with a deep understanding of how the body functions anatomically.

    As this person will be responsible for making sure you get fit with great results and no injuries.

    With so many teacher-training classes out there, it is easy for a person to pay the required fee, put in the time, and emerge with a certificate. This does not mean that s/he has the experience and intuitive qualification to care for you properly. Like you would with a doctor or lawyer, look at the credentials!

    A woman with tattoos on her back is stretching with arms overhead.

    Photo Credit: Yingli Xu

    What is your goal with Body Activation?
    My goal is to create global awareness about the efficacy and beauty of this technique. Once someone has taken even one class, s/he is usually convinced of Body Activation’s power to uplift and heal the body, and how this in turn affects the mind and spirit.

    I hope to develop teacher training classes for seasoned and experienced dancers and fitness practitioners who wish to teach Body Activation. My ultimate desire is to create a franchise so that Body Activation classes can be available to people around the world.

    What inspires you to keep dancing?
    I was born with dancing in my blood. It is my lifeline and my joy. When I dance it is a form of making love, connecting with the music, connecting with the universe … an ecstasy I give to myself and share with others. Body Activation is an extension of this joy.

    Michelle Kadison is smiling in front a white wall.

    Photo Credit: Malik Meuthen

     

    For information on booking Body Activation for a workshop or other event, you can contact Michele at: info@bodyactivation.net

    What is your fitness regimen?

     

    Featured image by Francesca Mey.

  • How To Reduce Rumination

    Being and feeling positive is a major to-do in my life. Finding inspirational moments is constant for me. Small celebrations such as one of my favorite publications, Coastal Living re-gramming my Instagram pic is one of those moments. It’s the small things in life, people. Do you ever feel like there is nothing to celebrate? Is there excessive noise in your head? Negative thoughts running nonstop in your mind may be more than you think. An obsessive way of thinking can be crippling and there’s a name for it. Rumination.

    Rumination is redundantly concentrating on negative thoughts from the past. This is different from worry as this emotion is concerned mostly about the future. Rumination is repeated anxiety from a past traumatic experience. It can be a result of your stress or an unsolved issue. The voice in your head that keeps you awake at night doesn’t mean that you’re losing it!

    Being negative blurs our judgment and gives us the inability to reach a decision.

    Symptoms of Rumination
    Loss of sleep or staying asleep.
    Repeated headaches or stomach pains.
    Weight loss.
    Negative thoughts interfering with your daily activities.

    Remedies

    Positive Distractions
    I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, shake it off. Find someone who is wired differently to redirect your attention. Share your experience and you’d be  surprised that rumination might be more common thank you think. Eventually, you’ll learn to make peace with all around you. Surrender and let go.

    Being Mindful
    Multi-tasking at work and being glued to your phone is information overload! Disconnect from all technology and be truly mindful with all your daily tasks one at a time. Quiet your mind for about 10 minutes before sleep. To prevent technology temptation, ensure all electronics are far away from your visibility. Go within.

    Move
    Here at Little Giant Life, we believe that movement is the key to relieving stress. As dance as been a major part of my life, I continue to find various ways of exercising. You can never be too busy for implementing some kind of fitness in your life. Set aside at least 2-3 hours  a week for you to just move!

     

    Picture of the ocean is shown with the words, rule your mind or it will rule you. Buddha

     

    Image courtesy by Death To The Stock Photo. Graphics made by me.