Pure Intention : Living Well Consciously

Essential Ingredients for Wellness – June 28 , 2021

WELLNESS the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.

Lotus flower – a symbol for wellness. The lotus flower emerges from murky waters perfectly clean and beautiful, so it is also a symbol for purity. The meaning of the lotus flower holds such power because it can offer hope and strength to people struggling in their daily lives

I guess I can now say that the silver lining of this past year is my new quest for wellness . 

Back in early 2020,  pre-COVID days, if you had asked me if I believed that I was “well”, my answer would definitely have been a solid yes . I used to run to a power yoga class at lunch and sipped on green juices every now and again, time permitting. I was caught up in my work, totally oblivious to how off kilter I was!

For the past 25 plus years I have been travelling at the speed of light  and up until lately , my lifestyle was a far cry from “balanced “ .  It’s not that I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing but I did not understand the importance of self – care .  I honestly had no clue what it truly means to take care of yourself and how essential it is ! For years I have definitely been in survival mode and today I am ready to thrive !

Forced to stop , sit back and smell the coffee , I am slowly transitioning into a new lifestyle and way of being . I am very cognizant of how fortunate I am to be able to take the time to explore the concept of wellness and what that means for me . To say that I am grateful for this time in my life would be an understatement and the word that best describes how I’m feeling these past few weeks is blissful . 

Wellness can mean different things for people and there is not one size fits all .

Over the next few months I will share different ingredients that are working for me personally .

I recently watched a Ted Talk by Dr Habib Sadeghi shared at a Long Hauler Support Workshop facilitated by fellow long hauler Rebecca Maynard.

In his talk, Sadeghi refers to “self containment“. I am slowly beginning to understand that there are so many things that we can do for ourselves to alleviate suffering and heal.

Ingredient #1 BREATHE

It sounds like such a simple thing but some of us struggle with this more than others. 

For me, learning to breathe has been a lifesaver and I am still learning so much.

In a previous blog, I made reference to James Nestor’s book Breath  – the New Science of a Lost 

Art. 

“No matter what we eat , how much we exercise , how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are – none of it will matter unless we’re breathing correctly…the missing pillar in health is breath. It all starts there.“ 

James Nestor

“…the basics of restorative breathing …slow and long techniques are open to everyone – old and young , sick and healthy , rich and poor . They’ve been practiced by Hinduism , Buddhism , Christianity , and other religions for thousands of years , but only recently have we learned how they can reduce blood pressure, boost athletic performance , and balance the nervous system. “ 

Here are a few examples of how breathing has contributed to my new found sense of well being . 

1. Work through fear and anxiety 

When I think back to my first full blown panic attack and thought I was having a stroke ….the time when that physician told me that I was allergic to life . For months I thought I must have some neurological disorder until I was seen by a neurologist who explained to me that I had a panic disorder . I was hyperventilating ! Unfortunately at the time , I didn’t take the time to explore the concept of anxiety . I needed to get rid of it as soon as possible so I took medication for 6 months to make it go away . I needed to be able to function and this was my quick fix to survival . 

You know the saying if I’d only known then what I know now ?? 

Right??

My anxiety came back in full force this past summer as I struggled with COVID symptoms .

This year ,  I have discovered that when you focus your attention fully on your breathing , it really is possible to detach from one’s thoughts . What a relief ! The best part is ….no meds required .

2. Physical Pain

One of my biggest challenges of late has been physical pain. Deepak Chopra MD, is an Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate and an excellent authority on well- being. His teachings and guided meditations have introduced me to breath awareness and how it can be used to heal the body.

It’s really not that complicated!

Step 1 – observe your breath without manipulating it.

Step 2 – deepen your breath and slow it down 

  • slowly count to 4 as you breathe in a full breath
  • pause and count to 2 
  • Slowly count to 6 as you breathe out fully. 
  • Do this for one minute and your breathing rate should drop .
  • Now, direct your breath to any area of discomfort  using your breath to bring awareness to those areas .

Chopra describes your breath to a taxi cab that directs awareness to areas of discomfort . This is called self regulating the healing mechanisms of the body through the breath and I can actually say that with much daily practice, it is finally working for me.

There are so many different breathing techniques and I think it’s a matter of testing things out to see what works best for you. 

A friend recently introduced me to the Wim Hof Method which I am starting to explore – wim hof method guided breathing for beginners. I tried this video a  few times and then discovered that there is a class on Pure Yoga tv  online and I love it. Either one can work. I found it a bit intimidating at first and I have yet to hold my breath as long as they do! Practice, practice, practice…


Pure Yoga –

ALL LEVELS PRACTICE

Instructor : Dan Gomez-Duran

This guided breathwork mimics the popular Wim Hof technique. Some benefits to practicing include stress reduction, muscle/body recovery, increased energy, focus, and enhanced creativity.

These past months I have had the privilege to take the time to explore alternative interventions in an attempt to get my life back.  In the process I have discovered that I don’t want that life back!

New beginnings and an infinite number of possibilities moving forward.

Wishing you wellness, 

K.

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