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JUST BREATHE ~ PART 3

This is the final installment of the breathing techniques that I have been sharing on my social media channels Instagram and Facebook

I have really enjoyed researching and creating these really helpful techniques that can be adopted to all lifestyle and most age groups. My two boys have been doing these exercises with me each morning and they are only 4 and 8 years old. Reminding yourself to breathe may sound simple, but I even learned that we don’t always get that right.

By taking just a few minutes a day, I have felt calmer and grounded when it felt like the world was getting on top of me. This practice also taught me that I need to take myself away sometimes and just breathe.

1: KAPALABHATI (skull shining breathing)

  • Begin with a long, slow inhale
  • Follow it with a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly.
  • Once comfortable with the contraction, up the pace to one inhale-exhale, (All through the nose) every one to two seconds, for a total of ten breaths.

2: BREATH COUNTING

  • To begin the exercise, count “ONE” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “TWO,” and so on up to “FIVE”.
  • The begin a new cycle, counting “ONE” on the next exhalation.
  • Never count higher than “FIVE” and count only when you exhale. Try to do 10 minutes of this form of breathing.

3: PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION BREATHING

  • To nix tension from head to toe close your eyes.
  • Focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group for two to three seconds each.
  • Start with your feet and toes, the move up to your knees, thighs, glutes, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes, all while maintaining deep, slow breaths.
  • You can do this as often as you like.

4: BREATH MOVING

  • As you breathe in imagine you are moving your breath to the top of your head.
  • As you breath out, imagine you are moving your breath to the base of your spine, your perineum, your tailbone.
  • Each time you breathe in,move the breath to the top of your head.
  • Each time you breathe out, move the breath to the base of your spine.
  • Breathe in this circuit for ten cycles.

5: PURSED LIPS BREATHING

  • Breathe in through your nose (as if you are smelling something), for about two seconds.
  • Pucker your lips like you are getting ready to blow out some birthday cake candles.
  • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips two to three times as long as you breathed in.
  • Repeat.

6: ABDOMINAL BREATHING

  • Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest.
  • Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your left hand goes up when you in inhale and your right hand remains still. Always inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs eight to ten times, add the second step t your breathing: Inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest.
  • As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a whooshing sound as your left hand falls first, and then your right hand. As you exhale feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.
  • Practice breathing in and out in this manner for three to five minutes. Notice that the movement of your abdomen and chest is like rolling waves and falling in a rhythmic motion.
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Put the pep back in your step

 

Put the pep back in your step with Peppermint.

Peppermint oil has been used as a tonic for centuries, and its fresh aroma is evident in toothpastes and mouthwashes today.

Peppermint is a powerful digestive stimulant; it aids the digestion of fats and strengthens liver function.  This makes it an excellent oil for relieving indigestion and treating gastric fevers and diarrhoea.

Decongestant properties

Peppermint stimulates the circulation, reviving aching muscles and joints.  It is also a powerful decongestant  and can be used to help with fevers and respiratory infections.  Additionally, it acts as a good deodorant.

Peppermint complements other decongestant oils, especially eucalyptus and thyme, which work to boost the body’s immune system.  Its aroma can also help to cool feelings of anger, hysteria or emotional burnout.

Focus your mind with Peppermint

Refreshing Peppermint oil invigorates the mind, acting as a nerve tonic and stimulant.

~ To sharpen concentration and alertness, simple combine 5 drops each of peppermint and basil oil with 10 drops of lemon in a room vaporizer.

~ To fight mental fatigue and emotional burnout with a stimulating whole body massage.  Add 50ml sweet almond oil to 4 drops each of peppermint and geranium and 10 drops rosemary.

~ Clear headaches with a soothing neck massage using peppermint and lavender oils.

Digestive Disorders

Use Peppermint’s digestive and antiseptic properties to help with common digestive disorders.

~ For relief from constipation, dilute 3 drops of peppermint, 5 drops lemon and 7 drops rosemary in 25ml  of grapeseed oil.  Massage gently over the abdomen in clockwise, circular movements every couple of hours.

~ Help with diarrhoea with an aromatic compress.  Mix 5 drops each of peppermint, ginger and marjoram in hot water.  Soak a facecloth in this, wring and apply to the abdomen.

Revive tired feet

Just what the doctor ordered after a long day on your feet.

~Relieve aching feet in an invigorating foot spa that contains 4 drops each of peppermint and geranium along with 3 tablespoons of Epsom Salts.

~Combine 3 drops each of peppermint, rosemary and lavender with 25ml of grapeseed oil for a invigorating foot massage.  Firm, brisk strokes will increase circulation.

~ Make your own antiseptic foot powder to treat athletes foot.  Simply add 5 drops lavender and 3 drops                                                                                         peppermint to 2 tablespoons or corn flower.

Cold and flu remedies

~ Add 2 drops each of peppermint, rosemary and lavender to boiling water.

Place towel over your head and inhale steam for 5 minutes.

~ Treat feverish colds by putting a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus and pine in a room diffuser or oil burner.

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10 Ways to Cope with Anxiety and Stress

We all have things that trigger feelings of anxiety and stress. Some are small and insignificant, such as being stuck in traffic, and others are life disrupters that turn our world upside down. The one thing that’s certain is that trying to avoid those things that stress us is like trying to walk in between the raindrops in a thunderstorm.

The world we live in is only getting more complex. We are surrounded by choices. From the close to 100,000 drink combinations at Starbucks to the 27 apps on a typical smart phone. At times it seems that our ability to innovate has exceeded our ability to cope with innovation. It’s simply overwhelming.

Its’ no wonder that prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds have increased by 50% in the last 20 years.

Mobile technology isn’t helping any of this.

  • 50 percent of us check our e-mail or text messages before getting out of bed in the morning.
  • 60 percent of us sleep with our mobile devices in or near our bed (up to 79 percent for those under age fifty).
  • 30 percent of millennials actually sleep with their smart phone “in” their bed.
  • We spend on average of 5.5 hours on mobile devices daily, however 40 percent of 22-32 year-olds spend more than 13 thirteen hours a day on their mobile device!

It’s all pointing to the inevitable conclusion that we live in a world whose complexity, uncertainty, and volatility is increasing faster than our ability to cope. When the context of change exceeds your ability to cope it creates stress.

Since we’re clearly not going to slow down the overall rate of change in the world, there are only two ways to reduce stress. You either have to avoid the triggers or learn to better cope with them. Notice that I didn’t say you had to adapt to the change. The greatest myth we perpetrate in modern society is that we have a mandate to adapt and accept every change. While that sounds very progressive, it can actually create even more stress because now you are not only anxious about the change but you’re also setting a high bar that you have to hurdle by adapting to something your body and mind really do not like, which in turn creates even more stress.

The fact is that not all change is good change that contributes value and quality to our lives. Take my earlier example of driving in traffic. If I could show you a way to get to your destination that is faster, more pleasant, more scenic, and which contributes something positive to your life wouldn’t you choose that over adapting to the traffic?

Although we don’t like to admit it, that’s the way most stress works. We choose to stay in stressful situations because we actually adapt to the presence of stress and accept it as normal. That only makes stress a permanent part of your life. Chronic stress is not normal. It damages your body, dulls your mind, and depresses you emotionally. And then all of these in turn make it even harder to cope with the triggers that create the stress.

So how do you reduce stress? Here are 10 ways to start both eliminating the triggers of stress and anxiety and coping with those that you have no control over.

1) Get off of Social Media

I know, I’ve started with one of the hardest and most difficult stressors to eliminate. With smartphones we are tethered to social media like tagged wildlife. Worse yet, studies have shown that social media triggers addictive and obsessive responses in the brain. But it’s not just what social media does to your brain but also what it does to your workload. Eliminating social media is exceptionally effective at reducing the stress of not having enough time. We spend nearly 2 hours each day on social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, and exponentially more right now. What would your day feel like if you had two extra hours to do things that you really needed to do? Well, guess what? You just got those two hours. It’s up to you how you use them.

2) Take a Break

Small breaks every 15 minutes have been shown to have a tremendously positive effect on productivity and well being. The key here is to avoid falling into the trap of believing that simply bumping up against an obstacle repeatedly will cause it to give way. In many cases that’s only going to increase your stress and frustration. Imagine your car being stuck in deep snow while you just keep spinning your wheels and digging deeper and deeper into the snow making it harder and harder to get out. Instead take a step back. Clear your mind. And then revisit whatever it is you’re dealing with from a new perspective.

3) Talk it Out

Depending on what type of personality you are this may appear to be very natural or very painful. This of us who like to retreat into the confines of our own mind believe that we can somehow will our way out of just about anything by focusing hard enough without interruption. In fact the worst thing in the world you can do to me when I’m stuck and stressed is to try and talk to me. My instinct is to shut you down faster than I’d swat away an annoying fly. Yet, conversation is one of the most therapeutic forms of problem solving. Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting someone else has the answer, but that your talking it out will help you find an answer. Although I’ll admit to being the last one to take my own advice on this, I can attest that as a holistic practitioner I’ve never ceased to be amazed at how people usually figure out their own problems with nothing more than encouragement and a bit of objective perspective.

4) Take a Walk/ Workout

Cliche, right? Perhaps, but walking actually release the feel good cocktail of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which stimulates you brain and causes you to feel better about yourself and your situation. Again, the challenge is that we want to believe we can “deal” with the stressor and we see walking away as a loss, when the greater loss is in spending much more time than is needed or warranted trying to “figure it out.”

5) Read

This is another one of those activities that we often see as distracting us from the task at hand. Yet, I’ve found that few things stimulate my ability to think through a problem more than the simple act of reading. Sometimes I’ll stumble across a nugget of wisdom that is tangentially or even directly applicable to my challenge at hand. But most times it’s just a way to get my mind to divert from a train of thought that has been holding it hostage. We don’t want to admit how easily we can become near sighted and lose peripheral vision necessary to think creatively.

6) Write, But Don’t Judge

This is one of my favorites. Our brains are muscles. They work best when we exercise them. But they also need time to recover and rebuild. I’m convinced that moderate amounts of acute stress are a good thing. If you’re a small business owner it’s just part of your life. Yet, the periods of recovery in between the stress are critically important. One way to give your brain time to recover is to write, I’m not talking about writing anything deeply meaningful or, for that matter, even remotely interesting. Instead, my suggestion is to simply write with no judgement about what you’re writing or how you are writing it. When you’re done writing just toss it in folder of random thoughts and streams of consciousness. It’s no different than going to the gym to workout. You’re not doing anything permanent. You’re not building a stone wall when you lift weights. You’re not going anywhere on that treadmill, or exercise bike. But you do it because it has a long term impact on you. Same with writing. Just do it for 5-15 minutes — no judgment, no proofing–and see how much sharper you are

7) Take a Nap

“And just when am I supposed to do that?” you’re asking. Well, that is exactly the problem. Most of us do not get enough sleep to begin with. Short power naps are one way to improve that. According to WebMD, “Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.” Yes, I know, the guilt of daytime napping is a hard one to cope with, which may contribute its own form of stress. Then again, if you haven’t tried it you may be very pleasantly surprised at its benefits.

8) Meditate

People fall into two categories, those who meditate and those who haven’t yet. Once you do it’s amazing how drawn you will be to it whenever stress shows up. I’m not going to give you a meditation method here. You need to study it and develop your own approach to meditation What I will share is something a good friend once told me. Meditating is not about trying not to think, instead it’s about allowing your mind to wander where it will while you observe calmly and without judgment. All I can say is, try it.

9) Listen to Music

In the age of mobility it seems as though each of our lives has a soundtrack. It’s a good thing and it can help reduce stress significantly. A group of neuroscientists at Mindlab International in the U.K have come across a piece of music that they claim reduces overall anxiety by 65 percent and reduces physiological responses to anxiety by 35 percent. I’ve often found music, in general, to be a wonderful way to help my mind get into a sort of creative zone where ideas flow smoothly and that same feel-good brain cocktail gets released. After all, who among us hasn’t been caught coping with rush hour traffic by performing a bit of carpool karaoke?

10) Stop Asking “What if?”

Lastly, it’s one thing to deal with the stress of the present without adding to it the stress of the past. While there are many episodes in each of our lives that we carry forward, the worst sort of stress is the “what if” games we pay about the past. I’m going to be very blunt here. The only reason to second guess the past is because you are unhappy with where you are now. If that wasn’t the case there would be no reason to questions how you got here. So, if that’s the case what you really need to focus on is your situation right now, right here. Do that and the what if games come to an end. Don’t do it and I will guarantee you one thing. Several months or several years down the road you will say “what if” about today as well!

Will the ten ways I’ve described eliminate your stress? No. Some degree of stress is a normal response to the world we live in. If you weren’t periodically stressed you also would likely not feel much of anything else. We need the occasional thunderstorm in our lives. Most of us just don’t want to live in a perpetual monsoon.

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Just Breathe ~ Part 2

This is part 2 of the breathing techniques I have been sharing over on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

With everyone either staying at home right now or for those of you that are working the front line keeping all of us safe, fed and warm these simple breathing techniques are perfect to help to keep your grounded, calm and perfect for optimizing lung health.

If you missed the first installment here you go: JUST BREATHE ~ Part 1

1: BREATH COUNTING

  • To begin the exercise, count “ONE” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale count “TWO”, and so on up to “FIVE”.
  • The begin a new cycle, counting “ONE” on the next exhalation.
  • Never count higher than 5 and only count when you exhale.
  • Try to do TEN minutes of this form of breathing.

2: DEEP MUSCLE BREATHING

  • To relax your face, knot your eyebrows together and release.
  • To Relax your neck, tilt your head down towards your neck, an push your chin to your chest, then release.
  • To relax your shoulders, make a shrugging motion, then release.
  • To relax your arms, push both arms away from the torso, stretch them out, and then relax them by your side.
  • To relax your legs, point your toes as far away as they will stretch, and then relax.

3: BELLOWS BREATH

  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in and out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellow. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do this exercise for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice Bellows Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

4: C02 REBREATHING

  • Cup your hands over your mouth and breathe slowly. You can also try using a small paper bag – the idea is to prevent the expulsion of carbon dioxide and get it back into your lungs so that you regain the balance of C02 in your system.
  • Keep breathing as you would normally to reagin the carbon dioxide levels.

5: GUIDED VISUALISATION

  • Head to your HAPPY PLACE, no questions asked.
  • Breathe deeply while focusing on pleasant, positive images to replace any negative thought.

6: NADI SHODHANA (Alternate nostril Breathing)

  • Start in a comfortable meditiation pose
  • Hold your thumb over your right nostril.
  • Inhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • At the peak of inhalation, close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
  • Exhale through your right nostril.
  • Continue pattern, inhaling through your right nostril, closing it off with your right thumb, and exhaling through your left nostril.
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Gentle Yoga with Joanita for the Front Line heros

The Art of Gentle practice – The New Modern Yoga

Joanita will be holding a stunning class for all of our front line workers on Sunday the 19th at 1pm. She is looking forward to creating the perfect class for you to help you settle into yourself again. We are taking names now.

The journey of each yogi into yoga begins for is very special. For many, yoga provides that relief from physical, mental, emotional pain or otherwise.

I am a very long-time yoga practioner and was trained by some of Ireland most senior Yoga teachers. My ultimate yoga journey always leads me to create a yoga practice accessible to anyone, regardless of age. That is why I have introduced that most popular class at the studio called the Art of Gentle Practice. It is New, it is Modern and it has allowed the most insecure individual to walk into that class and be at ease with his/her own practice.

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Meditation Class with Ruth Allen – Thank the Heroes

Meditation Class – Thank the Heroes

This meditation class is designed around becoming mindful and being in the present moment. The first part of the class, you will learn a simple mindful mediation technique that will help you to remain calm and in the present moment. The second part of the class will be a guided meditation focusing on restoring balance to the energy points of the body, clearing the body of trauma and returning it to equilibrium.

You will receive a Mindful Audio that will teach the deeper mind how to remain present.

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Kundalini Yoga with Celine for the Front Line Staff.

I’m so delighted to be able to offer a kundalini yoga class for the River Holistic weekend for all the frontline staff in July. 

I will design a very special kundalini class to help you deeply relax and restore your energy using breathing techniques, restorative postures, guided deep relaxation, chanting and meditation. 

My aim will be create space to allow yourself to completely let go and allow natural healing to take place to your energy field, body and mind. 

This class is open to beginners as well as experienced yogi’s no previous experience of kundalini yoga is needed, I will guide you gently through each of the postures allowing you to have a full & beautiful experience. 

Contact me at mindingmewellness@gmail.com if you have any questions at all.

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Yin Yoga ~ Full body release for Front Line Staff

YIN YOGA – FULL BODY RELEASE

Does your body and mind need some TLC. 
Yin is a great practice to add into your routine. You will sleep better and release tension before moving onto another day of expectations and busyness. I believe that if you take some time to let go of physical tension, mental and emotional tension will also find space to release. This full-body sequence I have put together for you is a great way to create this space, to decompress, ground yourself , balance mind and body and just release it all….maybe a little, maybe a lot! Just letting go whatever it is that is weighing you down. 

Yin Yoga teaches us to reroute the mind.

We live in a culture that is constantly on the go, requiring a lot of movement, activity, stimulation, and responsibilities. So it may be surprising when a yoga class that asks us to be still can be more challenging than a fast-paced Vinyasa class.

Yin Yoga is popular because it offers the chance to be still, be present, and work within while you breathe and stretch deeply and create more space in mind and body. You’ll thank yourself for doing it! If you are new to Yin and want some more information please contact me💫🙏

MC Yoga Yoga with Michelle
Namaste x

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Crystal Sound Bath for the Front Line Staff

Laura has created a beautiful healing space for all of the Front of Line staff on Sunday the 19th of July at 1pm and she would for you to join.

Quartz crystal is known for its healing properties, and it’s ability to support clarity. Whilst the crystal bowls and tuning forks are made from quartz crystal they are also tuned to the frequency of the chakras, thus making them a potent companion in healing and manifesting.

Through meditation we will acknowledge the year that has been, and open to all that lies ahead in both our head and heart.

Whilst lying on a yoga mat snuggled in your blanket you will be bathed in the relaxing healing sounds of Crystal Bowls, Crystal Tuning Forks, and a variety of different sound healing instruments such as the Himalayan Singing Bowls, Gongs, Drum, Zaphir Chimes, Solfeggio Pipes to support you through this sound journey, before allowing a deep state of stillness to set in.

As each instrument is played the sound is absorbed inwards, working on the chakras, enabling the body, mind and spirit to move back into a deeper state of balance, and who doesn’t want more balance?? Through use of these sounds we begin to shed the dense heavier energy of daily life, thus rising our vibrational energy, allowing us to effortlessly attract higher frequency people and experiences into our lives.

Contra-Indications: please note this workshop is NOT suitable for people with a pacemaker, inflammation, advanced stages of cancer, cancer tumours, metal implants, having had surgery within 3 months and in the first trimester of pregnancy.

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Yoga Flow with Elaine Gemmell for you the Front Line Staff

Passionate and inspirational, Elaine will bring a creative energy to this class. Her therapeutic approach is student focussed and celebrates the unique challenges of each and every body.

She is really looking forward to guiding you through this flow class as a heartfelt thank you for all that you have done and are continuing to do. This class is on Saturday the 18th at 10am and we would love to add you in.

Mixed level class. Some experience of yoga is beneficial, but not essential 

In vinyasa yoga, each movement is synchronized to a breath. The breath is given primacy, acting as an anchor as you move from one pose to the next. Each movement in the series is cued by an inhalation or an exhalation of the breath.

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