Aqua Ballet Lower Body Workout

We are filming for several hours a day starting at the crack of dawn. The weather is cooler but not for long. My only relief has been to strip off my workout clothes, which are almost pasted to my body, jump into a swimsuit and plunge into the pool. After about 45 minutes of laps back and forth (I’m so motivated from watching all these Olympic swimming trials on TV) I get an idea. What if I try some ballet barre exercises in the water, holding on to the side of the pool? Aqua Ballet Barre, not such a bad idea I’m thinking. So I try one of my on land favorites for my legs and butt. I like it! I can really feel it working. It may be even more effective with the water for added resistance.

Try it yourself.

AQUA BALLET WORKOUT:

Stand facing front, heels together, feet turned out. Hold on to the edge of the pool with your right hand. Slowly bend left knee, bringing foot up to right knee forming a triangle. Slowly stretch leg in front of body. Then bring foot back to the knee of the standing leg and return to the starting position. Repeat 4 times to the Front, Side, and Back.

Turn around and repeat exercise on the other leg holding on with your left hand.

Below are Aqua Ballet Workout Photos

Aqua Ballet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as the latest in my world of health and wellness, please check out this health coaching video. If you are ready to break the cycle of failed diets, exercise programs with no results. Do you have low energy, high stress or persistent health issues,

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Easy Summer Workout

Easy Summer workout

Mirabai Holland Wall Exercise For Thigh Strength

Easy Summer Workout! It’s time to jump start your exercise program. You can enjoy the weather while you get into shape.

Here are five easy exercises to tone you up; no equipment necessary. Try doing them every other day. For the first three start with eight reps and build up to 16. For the last two (isometric exercises) hold for 10 seconds and build up to 30 seconds. With all these exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.

In a matter of a few weeks you should feel your body getting stronger and see it get shapelier.

Easy Summer Workout

Warm-up by taking a 10-minute walk. By the tenth minute, it should be brisk enough for you to just barely carry on a conversation.

Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Standing Push-ups:
Stand facing a surface, with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back upright again.

Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders

Calf Raises:
Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again.

Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Squats:
Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in; gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.

Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Wall Sit:
Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs
Upper Back Squeeze:
Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart. Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)
Hope you enjoy this Easy Summer Workout

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Finding Fabulousity

I was back in my hometown recently, where I health coached and taught for over 20 years. I missed my clients so I decided to take some of them out for tea and dessert.

I thought for a minute the dessert part was a bad idea when a couple of them wouldn’t eat a piece of cake in front of me. But when I dug in myself, moderately of course, the party got started in earnest.  I asked them if they wanted to share things that were important in their lives over the past year.

As we went around the circle, they spoke of daughter’s weddings, losing your job, getting pregnant, becoming a gym rat, outliving heart disease, surviving cancer and menopause, the joy of grandchildren, joining a touch football league, and a trip to China.

Maybe because I was their host, the conversation drifted toward how getting fit, eating healthier and reducing their stress had changed their lives.

They shared stories about feeling invisible, putting on belly fat, having no energy and feeling like a lump. One remembered showing up in my office, tearing her hair out saying my doctor told me I need to do something, I’ve got serious health issues, but I hate to exercise, I’m stressed all the time and I love sugar. What do I do?

She said, I told her “We are going to fix this. We’re going to design a program together you can look forward to instead of dread.”

My coaching style is to start people wherever they may be physically and emotionally and get them on their way smoothly and pleasantly; one small goal at a time. If the first experience is pleasant, you’ll want a second and the third and so on. Sustainability is the key to a healthier life. And that’s what happened with these clients.

But something else remarkable happened too.

They said reaching their goals had given them the self-confidence to pursue things they would never have dared to try; that the change in their bodies had kindled a change in the way they saw themselves. Instead of feeling invisible they felt fabulous and that Fabulosity had spilled over into the rest of their lives. As much as I would love to take all the credit for this transformation, I think that it boils down to healthy body, healthy mind; simple lifestyle changes were the key that unlocked the door to their potential.
Pretty cool huh?

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FASHION FLASH MEMORIAL DAY EDITION

Fashion FlashFASHION FLASH MEMORIAL DAY EDITION!  I am Mirabai Holland, from Moving Free With Mirabai and am proud to host our NEW  Fashion Flash Blog for Women over 40.

We celebrate and remember on this Memorial  Day, 2019!   As always we are ready to give you the best and most current advice to look and feel your best!

Check us out with the latest info and giveaways in beauty, fashion, fitness, and lifestyle.

 

 

Inka introduces you to the fabulous island of Elba/Italy.

 

 

 

 

Last week, Angie at Your True Self Blog posted the elements of urban safari style to inspire new spring and summer outfits.  This week, she follows up with hundreds of outfit combinations for “Exactly How to Style the Urban Safari Look.”

 

 

 

 

Barbara Hannah Grufferman — marathoner, speaker and author of Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life — believes in the power of healthy habits to age well. But scientists are finding that the future of successful aging just might lie deep within our cells. Check out what Barbara discovered!

 

 

 

Robin shows you fabulous red white blue entertaining in style for the summer. This patriotic table setting will get you from Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekend in style!

 

 

 

 

 

Studies show that having a hobby could actually boost your health. See how Jackie from Jackie Silver Style channels her creativity with a fun pastime. 

 

 

 

 

Prime Beauty has discovered a matte lipstick that doesn’t dry out your lips. Karmela Cosmetics also donates 10 percent of its net profits to charities supporting women!

 

 

BEAUTY INFO ZONE LOGO HEART

Hate when your eyes show aging? Marcia from Beauty Info Zone is using 3 products that she’s finding make her eyes look more youthful. Don’t you want to know what they are?

 

 

 

 

We all  look forward to the bright sunny days of summer– but don’t become a skin cancer statistic.  Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog  tells you how to safely enjoy the summer skies.

 

 

Are you looking for a clean, natural, cruelty free and effective age defying serum to add to your skin care regimen? Erika at Notes from My Dressing Table has been test driving the Airelle Age Defying Serum with Barrimatrix and she’s really impressed with it. Come check it out!

 

 

 

PAINTED LADIES-3-300x111

 

Sheila from Painted Ladies revisits the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer & Foundation. 

 

 

 

It’s National Sunscreen Day, Memorial Weekend and the unofficial start of summer. Never Say Die Beauty is protecting her face from the sun’s damaging and aging rays with three exceptional lightweight sunscreens from Paula’s Choice.
 

 

 

Have you ever wondered which ingredients are important in your skincare products? Check out these 11 dermatologist recommended ingredients  from The Makeup Obsessed Mom

 

 

 

WHAT”S NEW WITH MIRABAI
My digital art is new. Here’s a piece I just completed called Travelers. It’s 90×45. For more information on my artwork please visit mirabaihollandart.com

 

NEW ONLINE WORKOUT CLUB TOO!

THREE MEMBERSHIP LEVELS CLICK HERE

PUMPING THE PRIME

The price for membership is $59.95 every 6 Months.

PUMPING THE PRIME is a 50 plus Intermediate & More Advanced exercise system for the rest of your life. You get 7 full-length workouts. 2 Cardio, 2 Strength. 2 Stretch & 1 Stretch & Tone, ranging from easier to more challenging. View on computer and mobile devices.  (renews every 6 months until you cancel)

EASE-IN For Beginners

The price for membership is $59.95 every 6 Months.

If you’re a Beginner or you need to start over, Ease-in. You get 6 starter workouts: 5 min, 10 min, 15 min.20 min, 25 min, and 30 min. Start with just 5 minutes. When it feels too easy, click on 10, then 15 and soon until you’re comfortable doing 30 minutes. At that point you’re at level 1 where most of the health benefits of exercise kick in. Plus you get 3 full length exercise videos addressing in-depth the three major components of fitness: Cardio, Strength and Flexibility. Plus quick workouts to strengthen specific body parts. View on computer, and mobile devices. (renews every 6 months until you cancel)

TOTAL MEMBERSHIP: ALL ACCESS

The price for membership is $99.00 every 12 Months.

Total Membership includes All Videos for Ease-in Level and All Videos for Pumping the Prime Level for just $99 for a full year. You have 24/7 access to All Videos. Create your own workouts to suit your needs and your mood.

(renews every 12 months until you cancel)

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Osteoporosis: Is Your Thigh Bone Like The Eiffel Tower?

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthMay, is Osteoporosis Awareness Month.I first became interested in bones as a young dancer (about 200,000 years ago, in the Mid Paleolithic era). I was studying body alignment and I became fascinated with the skeleton and the remarkable living tissue that makes up our bones. I was intrigued by the intricate architectural structure of bone.

That interest led me to discover weight bearing exercise for bone building and to design Skeletal Fitness®, the first bone loading workout in the United States. In order to know how and why exercise works, here’s a quick look at how your bones work

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthThere’s the smooth, hard shell we see on the outside called cortical bone, and the amazing crisscrossed, honeycomb like structure on the inside called trabecular bone. The combination of cortical and trabecular bone make our skeletons, strong, light, flexible and efficient.

The structure of trabecular bone is the secret ingredient. The trabecular bracing structure is located at precisely the correct angles to absorb the maximum force.

So when you jump over a puddle or run for a bus, it’s the trabecular bracing that directs the force to the strongest part of your skeleton and prevents a bone from breaking.

Most of us aren’t aware of our beautiful bone structure. But, it hasn’t gone unnoticed or under utilized.

The structure of trabecular bone was copied by the French bridge builder Gustave Eiffel, who wanted to build the tallest man-made structure in the world. When he built the Eiffel tower in 1889, he calculated the positioning of the braces in the curves of the legs to direct any force like high winds on the entire structure to the strongest area; the four legs. This is why the Eiffel tower continues to stand the test of time.

That’s fine for an iron tower. If part of it becomes weakened you can see it and fix it. But what happens to weakened or damaged areas of our skeletons?

I was astonished to find out that bones are pretty smart. They don’t grow to adult size and then stop.

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthOur skeletons are constantly getting rid of old weakened bone tissue and replacing it with new healthy bone. Osteoporosis Awareness MonthIn a process called remodeling, old weakened areas are broken down and replaced with new well-formed tissue. Our bodies replace about 10 percent of our bone each year.

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthIn bones with osteoporosis, the remodeling process has gotten out of whack.Those sturdy crisscrossed structures disappear and bones get weak and start to fracture. Fractures occur most often where there is the most trabecular bone.

The three areas most at risk for osteoporotic fracture are the spine has the most trabecular bone. So, if you have osteoporosis, the vertebrae start to squash under the weight of the torso. The thighbone at the hip is next. It can break just stepping off a curb. And the wrist will likely break if you put out your hands to catch yourself in a fall.

Osteoporosis Awareness Month

But there’s a lot you can do to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone health. Weight bearing exercise like walking, jogging, aerobic dance and weight resistance training, stimulate the remodeling process and promote bone growth.

Exercise should be site specific. Do weight bearing and resistance exercises for the whole body but pay special attention to the areas most at risk; the spine, the hip and the wrist. Calcium and Vitamin D are also important.

Remember your bones are living tissue. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

It’s Never Too Late To Take Care Of Your Bones!

 Mirabai Holland Offers SPECIAL 25% OFF ALL Skeletal Fitness DVD PRODUCTS UNTIL 6-1-19 Put in coupon code BONES at Checkout! PLUS Free USA Shipping!

Mirabaiby Mirabai Holland MFA Certified Health Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist.

 

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Osteoporosis Prevention Diet

Osteoporosis Prevention DietOsteoporosis Prevention Diet? EEK! One more thing to worry about? What ever happened to “these are our golden years”?. Sounds like more bad news but it’s not. True, our bodies can lose up to 40% of their bone mass in the 10 years following menopause. And true, if we don’t do something we could easily end up with osteoporosis. But also true, the fix for this is both easy and delicious.

It’s important to get enough calcium, Vitamin D in your bone healthy diet.  As we age  bodies become less efficient at absorbing these nutrients.

Here are some recommendations.

If you’re 50 or over you should make sure you’re getting a total calcium intake of at least

1200 milligrams daily and a Vitamin D intake of at least 800 to 1000 units daily.

Osteoporosis Prevention Diet

Here are some sources of dietary calcium:

  •  Dairy Products including milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Nuts such as almonds and various green vegetables such as broccoli
  •  Fish with bones such as sardines, and mackerel and calcium fortified juices and cereals.

So, yogurt with fruit, almonds and maybe even a little cereal sounds like lunch. So does a salad with sardines, and a little raw broccoli. How about a nice piece of fish with a smaller salad. You might try some cheese and fruit with a glass of fruit juice. OK, wine. You get the idea. Get your calcium from food and you don’t have to take supplements. But if you do, most people have a better time digesting calcium citrate than calcium carbonate, but they both work fine.

Sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fishes such as salmon and mackerel and Vitamin D enriched milk, juices and cereals.
  • Although your skin can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, sun block prevents vitamin D production.

By now you’re making up your own healthy bones recipes so I don’t have to suggest a Salmon, mackerel, milk, fruit juice and cereal smoothie do I?

But if you’re like most people and wear sun block and don’t get enough D in your diet you’ll need to take a supplement to get your 800-1000 units of Vitamin D.

MORE Osteoporosis Prevention Diet  DO’s

Research suggests nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A, K & C found in certain veggies and fruits may help foster better bones. It is recommended to eat about 12 ounces of fruit and 16 ounces of veggies daily.

Here is a list for your concoctions:

  • Magnesium include: Raisins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, plaintains, squash, artichokes, beet and collard greens.
  • Potassium include: Oranges, orange juice, bananas, prunes, papaya, avocados and tomatoes.
  • Vitamin A: Mangoes, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach
  • Vitamin K: Spinach, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard, turnip and mustard greens.
  • Vitamin C: Oranges, pineapples, payayas, grapefruits, lemons, strawberries, red rasberries

  • Osteoporosis Prevention Diet NO’S

One bit of bad news is too much alcohol or caffeine can add to bone loss; and soft drinks particularly colas that have both caffeine and phosphorous (bad for your bones) may be a double whammy.

So that’s my quickie eating for your bones report. Don’t try that smoothie; it’s nasty.

SKET ULTRA KIT

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Osteoporosis: What Does Buying A Purse Have To Do With It?

We all have a lot to lose if we take a serious fall. Assuming we survive, the effects can be life altering. And if you have osteoporosis, what would have been a minor slip and fall for others, could have devastating consequences for you. Here’s a fall prevention video that should be of interest to anyone interested in staying upright.

Osteoporosis Fall Prevention Video

There’s a story that prompted me to post this video and write this article. Here it is.

OsteoporosisI have a friend who had been eyeballing this cute little red purse for a couple of months.  She didn’t need it but she wanted it and sort of became obsessed with it.

She’d visit it online and wave to it in the store. But, there’s no way she was going to buy that purse because wanting it that bad made her feel a little stupid.

Well, the darn thing went on sale the other day at 40-percent off and another 10-percent off with her store card. Now, of course, she had to have that red bag.

Apparently, so did every other woman in the United States. Because, she had it in her online shopping cart and by the time she got her credit card out, it was no longer available. It had been snatched right out of her cart.

She was furious. She felt violated. “How dare they sell MY red purse?”

She called the company.  They apologized and looked for one in their inventory anywhere. They gave her stores and a warehouse to call and reserve it before the last one could be sold. She called around for over an hour and finally got to someone who found one in California and ordered it for her.

As she was patting herself on the back for her investigative skills and persistence my friend had an aha! moment. She had recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her doctor had given her a list of endocrinologists he’d be comfortable recommending but she hadn’t even looked at it, let alone researched it.

“I had been meaning to but I had been putting it off for no good reason. I thought why on earth don’t I apply that same purse passion to taking charge of my own health care?”

She thought about it for a minute and the answer she came up with unnerved her a little. “Health care is not sexy,”  Purses are sexy! Purses are sexier than being healthier and maybe living longer? Eek!

But health is sexy! Quality of life is sexy!

As she started to Google the doctors on the list, she began to sing a parody to that old rock song.
“I’m too sexy for my purse, too sexy for my mouse pad, but not too sexy for my doctor’s office. Maybe a little bit too sexy, but I’m goin’ anyway.”

I think perhaps my friend has touched a nerve in many of us. Would we really rather look good than to feel good?

Sure seems like it. I think it’s that very premise that prompted an ad agency to come up with a TV commercial for a dietary supplement featuring a sexy dancing X-ray skeleton of a baby boomer model that’s protecting her looks by protecting her bones.

It got my attention. If you can’t get them to do it for health, get them to do it for beauty. Twistedly brilliant!

So I guess, if beauty is your motivation, go for it; especially when the health comes with it.
But what do you do if you already have osteoporosis like my friend, or have low bone mass, or you just have the good sense to want to take of your bones?

Osteoporosis And Calcium

I asked Susan Randall, MSN, FNP-BC, Senior Director, Science and Education at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and she said:

Getting enough calcium in our diet is really important. The NOF recommends
an intake of 1,000 miligrams for adult women from age 50 or younger, and age 51 and older — 1,200 milligrams a day for adult women. If a woman isn’t paying enough attention to calcium in her diet she puts herself at risk. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to calcium. Neither women nor men should get more than about 2,000 milligrams a day.

She also said “Weight bearing exercise actually builds bone in youth and will help maintain bone.”

When I asked her about fall prevention she said, “As we get older the type of exercise changes a little bit. We still have to do some impact work but it has to be safe to avoid injury and falls so you want to add balance training, flexibility training, and safe movement to make sure the individual is able to stay active and healthy.”

So what’s the takeaway here? My takeaway is if you like standing on your own two feet, taking care of your bones is about as sexy as it gets.

May is Osteoporosis Prevention Month! It’s Never Too Late To Take Care Of Your Bones!

 Mirabai Holland Offers SPECIAL 25% OFF ALL Skeletal Fitness DVD PRODUCTS UNTIL 5-31-19

Mirabaiby Mirabai Holland MFA Certified Health Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist.

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Stress: Dealing With It

Chronic StressStress. It’s everywhere. If you live and work on this planet it’s almost impossible to avoid.

Feeling stressed? Me too!

Today I’m writing about how to get rid of stress and suggest some easy ways to get that burden off your back.

To get us in the mood, let’s start with a short, guided meditation and stretch video to help reduce stress. Try it with me and see for yourself. You can do this at home or at your desk at work. (I use my ear buds at work.)

 

Stress:

Now that you’re a believer, lets have a look at stress and how to get rid of it. (By the way, as you get better at becoming relaxed, you can keep your eyes open while watching the waves on the video.)

Stress has been around since the beginning of time. It started as the fight-or-flight response when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation. In that situation, stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are produced. Your blood vessels constrict, blood pressure goes up, pupils dilate, heart rate quickens, and breathing becomes more rapid. The body is preparing itself to do battle or run. This response is essential in times of acute danger. But problems at work, crying kids, traffic, you name it can trigger the same response.

Given the pressures of daily life, chronic stress itself has become a life-threatening situation. It can cause a host of health problems including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression, increased body weight, high blood pressure and heart disease.

We can’t eliminate the stress. But we can relieve the fight-or-flight response that sends our bodies into danger mode. And we can cultivate a relaxation response over time that will reduce our physiological stress reaction.

So what do we do about chronic stress? How do we get rid of it?

How? Relax. That’s what my first yoga teacher used to say when I was all bent up in the pretzel pose with a grimace on my face. And, like that meditation you just did, it actually worked. Once I was able to relax, I was stress-free even in the pretzel pose.

Seriously, daily conscious relaxation exercises can make real difference in the way your body responds to stress. Dr Herbert Benson coined the phrase “relaxation response” in his book by the same name in 1975.

Since then he and others have conducted numerous studies, including a recent one at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, that have detailed the body’s intricate positive response to conscious relaxation exercises. In a nutshell, the relaxation response has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the effects of stress. You experience a feeling of deep relaxation and well being. And if you practice relaxation regularly you’ll feel better and help yourself avoid those stress related health issues. That’s how we get rid of chronic stress.

Meditation is just one of an almost infinite number of ways to consciously relax. Virtually anything that takes your attention away from your daily grind and makes you concentrate on just one thing can work. Doing the dishes, aerobic exercise, yoga, stretching, golf, playing a musical instrument, casting a fishing rod, playing with a cat, almost anything can work if you pay attention to only that and clear your mind. I’m partial to exercise because I get the benefits of a workout as well as the relaxation. It’s my mantra. It’s what I do to get rid of chronic stress.

Dr. Benson suggests you practice some form of conscious relaxation for 10 to 20 minutes every day to get rid of chronic stress in the long-term.

But what if you’re pressed for time? (Pressed rhymes with stressed.)

Reduce Chronic Stress with this little exercise.

Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Sit down and close your eyes. (If you’re on the street, duck into a doorway, stand and keep your eyes open and one hand on your purse.)

Let your muscles relax. Concentrate on your breathing.

Breathe in and hold your breath for one second, count one one hundred thousand, and breathe out.

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for two seconds — one one hundred thousand, two one hundred thousand — breathe out.

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then five seconds.
When you get to around three seconds of breath holding, your stress level should start to drop and your mind should start to clear itself of thoughts.

After five, you should feel pretty good. This works well for me particularly in moments of acute stress.

That one worked too didn’t it. I hope concentrating on reading this helped you reduce your stress and I hope you’ll make conscious relaxation a part of your life.

It’s a lifestyle change that’s easy to make because it feels so good when you do it.

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Chronic Stress: How To Get Rid Of It

CHRONIC STRESSChronic stress. It’s everywhere. If you live and work on this planet it’s almost impossible to avoid.

Feeling stressed? Me too!

Today I’m writing about how to get rid of chronic stress and suggest some easy ways to get that burden off your back.

To get us in the mood, let’s start with a short, guided meditation and stretch video to help reduce chronic stress. Try it with me and see for yourself. You can do this at home or at your desk at work. (I use my ear buds at work.)

Now that you’re a believer, lets have a look at chronic stress and how to get rid of it. (By the way, as you get better at becoming relaxed, you can keep your eyes open while watching the waves on the video.)

Stress has been around since the beginning of time. It started as the fight-or-flight response when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation. In that situation, stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are produced. Your blood vessels constrict, blood pressure goes up, pupils dilate, heart rate quickens, and breathing becomes more rapid. The body is preparing itself to do battle or run. This response is essential in times of acute danger. But problems at work, crying kids, traffic, you name it can trigger the same response.

Given the pressures of daily life, chronic stress itself has become a life-threatening situation. It can cause a host of health problems including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression, increased body weight, high blood pressure and heart disease.

We can’t eliminate the stress. But we can relieve the fight-or-flight response that sends our bodies into danger mode. And we can cultivate a relaxation response over time that will reduce our physiological stress reaction.

So what do we do about chronic stress? How do we get rid of it?

How? Relax. That’s what my first yoga teacher used to say when I was all bent up in the pretzel pose with a grimace on my face. And, like that meditation you just did, it actually worked. Once I was able to relax, I was stress-free even in the pretzel pose.

Seriously, daily conscious relaxation exercises can make real difference in the way your body responds to stress. Dr Herbert Benson coined the phrase “relaxation response” in his book by the same name in 1975.

Since then he and others have conducted numerous studies, including a recent one at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, that have detailed the body’s intricate positive response to conscious relaxation exercises. In a nutshell, the relaxation response has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the effects of stress. You experience a feeling of deep relaxation and well being. And if you practice relaxation regularly you’ll feel better and help yourself avoid those stress related health issues. That’s how we get rid of chronic stress.

Meditation is just one of an almost infinite number of ways to consciously relax. Virtually anything that takes your attention away from your daily grind and makes you concentrate on just one thing can work. Doing the dishes, aerobic exercise, yoga, stretching, golf, playing a musical instrument, casting a fishing rod, playing with a cat, almost anything can work if you pay attention to only that and clear your mind. I’m partial to exercise because I get the benefits of a workout as well as the relaxation. It’s my mantra. It’s what I do to get rid of chronic stress.

Dr. Benson suggests you practice some form of conscious relaxation for 10 to 20 minutes every day to get rid of chronic stress in the long-term.

But what if you’re pressed for time? (Pressed rhymes with stressed.)

Reduce Chronic Stress with this little exercise.

Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Sit down and close your eyes. (If you’re on the street, duck into a doorway, stand and keep your eyes open and one hand on your purse.)

Let your muscles relax. Concentrate on your breathing.

Breathe in and hold your breath for one second, count one one hundred thousand, and breathe out.

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for two seconds — one one hundred thousand, two one hundred thousand — breathe out.

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then five seconds.
When you get to around three seconds of breath holding, your stress level should start to drop and your mind should start to clear itself of thoughts.

After five, you should feel pretty good. This works well for me particularly in moments of acute stress.

That one worked too didn’t it. I hope concentrating on reading this helped you reduce your stress and I hope you’ll make conscious relaxation a part of your life.

It’s a lifestyle change that’s easy to make because it feels so good when you do it.

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New Beginnings

New BeginningsNew Beginnings!

As I grow older I realize I need to remember those moments that continue to have meaning and help all of us recreate ourselves!

Here’s a poem I wrote many years ago about myself as a very young girl experiencing Spring. I am sure you have your own experiences that are transformational too. Happy Easter & Passover!

New Beginnings

Her small hands reach into the garden
for pansies.
She strokes them against each cheek
black and purple velvet.

She lies on the ground
face up
mouth open
ready to swallow
the maple tree.

Butterflies kiss her sleeves
as she nose-dives
into the roots
and inhales
the smell of birth.

The yard is safe.
Her legs kick
swinging dirt
digging deeper
for a secret
from the darkness.

She finds none.

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