On Relaxing …

DB

What does relaxation mean to you?

For many, relaxation means spacing out in front of the television at the end of a stressful day. However, this actually does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress (the opposite, in fact).  To effectively tackle stress at it’s core, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response.

You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.

Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. I consider deep breathing to be the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, and all you really need is a few minutes.  Below, I will offer a quick exercise to get you started!

Simple Breathing Exercise

The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel.

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
  • Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
  • Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.

Learning the basics of relaxation techniques isn’t difficult, but it does take practice.  Most experts recommend setting aside at least 10 – 20 minutes a day for your breathing & relaxation practice.  Have fun with it!  And remember to go easy on yourself.  Starting something new takes time, but if practiced with consistency, you will notice lasting changes.

 

shelbs-river-153I hope you have found this breathing exercise useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way.  I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, CA. You can contact me HERE I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.

photo credit:  Michelle Gardella

 

on CONFIDENCE.

CONFIDENCE

You.Are.Amazing.

As. you. are.
Stronger than you know.
More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can ever imagine.
Passionate about making a difference.
Fiery when protecting those you love.
Learning. Growing. Not alone.
Warm. Giving. Generous.
Quirky. Sexy. Funny. Smart.
Flawed. Whole. Scared. Brave.
And so, so, so.much.more.

Be Strong. Be Confident. Be You. 

 

~ Tia Sparkles Singh, 2011.

 

 

on OSHO.

meditate with shelby
“I speak to help you to be silent. I say something so that you can go beyond words. I use words to help you to go into wordlessness. It is just like having a thorn in the foot: with another thorn you pull it out. Your mind is full of words, so many, and so much chattering – yakkety-yak, yakkety-yak – it goes on and on. But then people became intoxicated with my words. That was not my purpose. I continuously insisted, “Don’t be concerned with my words. Be concerned with my silences, the gaps between the words, the gaps between the lines.”
-Osho

on C O M P A S S I O N.

 

birds

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
– Pema Chödrön

 

 

on M I N D F U L N E S S.

mindfulness-580Have you ever started eating a snack, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty packet in your hand? Or been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you remember nothing about your trip? Well, you are not alone!  Most people have.

These are common examples of “mindlessness,” or “going on automatic pilot.” In our modern, busy lives, we constantly multi task. It’s easy to lose awareness of the present moment as when we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.

Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do, however learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.

Below, Juliet Adams, Director of A Head for Work offers the ABC’s of Mindfulness.   I’ve found them extremely useful in helping myself and others become more aware & mindful in daily life.

The ABC’s of M I N D F U L N E S S:

A is for awareness – Becoming more A W A R E of what you are thinking and doing – whats going on in your mind and body.

B is for ” just B E I N G ” with your experience.  Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.

C is for seeing things and responding more wisely.  By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.

-Juliet Adams, Director, A Head for Work

 

shelbs-river-101I hope you have found the ABC’s of Mindfulness useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way. I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE.  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.

 

 

 

 

Why Yoga?

shelbs-river-112

 

Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.

– Cybele Tomlinson

 

 

photo credit: michellegardella.com

Alternate Nostril Breathing.

When breathing is restricted and shallow your body doesn’t feel safe.  Muscles tense. Chest tightens.  Jaw clenches. You under-breathe.  The mind becomes anxious.  Thoughts race.

I’m a firm believer that breath is medicine.  The practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing can help calm an agitated, over-anxious mind.

 

deep-breathing44

I wholeheartedly believe that Alternate Nostril Breathing is up there, as one of the most therapeutic calming rituals.  It profoundly helps to settle, calm and nourish an agitated mind and wired nervous system.   Even after only two minutes you can feel and notice a distinct difference as to how you feel.  Below, I will outline 5 benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing and some simple how to’s, to get you started.

 

|| Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing ||

1. It revitalizes you. 

A few rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or over stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.

2. It calms an agitated mind:

Many are prone to worrying.  A few minutes of focused Alternate Nostril Breathing is helpful in calming the  “over thinking” and “over-doing” mind.

3. It encourages a calmer emotional state: 

In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful Alternate Nostril Breathing will soften the intensity of an over-stimulated emotional state.  The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.

4. It improves sleep:

If you have trouble sleeping, lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril.  See if this simple gentle practice helps in getting a sounder nights rest.

 5. It soothes your nervous system: 

By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system.  You can effectively switch your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.

 

Breathing-Exercises-for-a-Peaceful-and-Healthy-Lifestyle|| Alternate Nostril Breathing How To’s ||

 

Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.

Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril.

Step three: Pause for a second.

Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril.

Step five: Exhale through your right nostril.

Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril.

Step seven: Pause.

Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril.

Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril.

 

This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase. Never force your breathing. Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.  Enjoy the benefits.  

Know your breath is medicine.

 

shelbs-river-145

 

I hope you have found this breathing exercise useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way.  I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE.  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.

 

 

 

photo cred. www.michellegardella.com