Live Like You Breathe... In Then Out
The Nalini Method is grounded in the firm principle that physical and emotional strength are essential to live a happy life. Another way of looking at this is inner and outer strength. Our breathing is a continual pattern of air flowing in and out and a constant reminder that to truly fulfill our body's needs, we must look inside and out. Here are some easy tips for inner and outer transformation.
Breathing deeply and consciously is one of the easiest and most important changes you can make. Shallow breathing restricts the diaphragm's full range of motion and doesn't allow certain blood vessels to receive oxygenated air. A study from Harvard's Department of Mental Health revealed that taking time to breathe deeply can lower your blood pressure and drastically reduce stress. The proof is out there!
Stretching is crucial for your body's flexibility, but don't neglect the importance of form. Don't get caught up in "looking" or "being" flexible, get caught up in feeling the stretch. Poor technique can put you at higher risk for injury than not stretching at all. Keep the stretches slow and controlled, accept your body and range of motion, finding that point of resistance and breathing deeply.
Inhale... Be Grateful
Gratitude. We've all been told how important practicing gratitude is, but here is some science to back it up. A study at the University of California split participants into two groups. One group kept a daily journal of things they were grateful for throughout the day, the other group wrote about daily irritations. After three months, not surprisingly, the "grateful group" were happier and more optimistic. What is surprising is that they also exercised more and had fewer trips to the doctor!
Sometimes your emotions do not coincide with your workout. It's all about using your workout to enhance or transform your mood. For example, if something at work has you angry and frustrated you may want to swap contemplative yoga for high intensity cardio. This way, your mind and body are more in sync and you can channel that energy in a productive way. Leave the days of road rage or regrettable texts behind you!
"Flow" is a term used in psychology and defined as "the mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task." Psychologists report that people who experience flow on a daily basis feel more fulfilled. Whether it is running, painting, playing the piano, sewing or any activity where your brain becomes fully present, try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of flow into your daily routine.
Trail mix! Yes, it's a delicious (and healthy!) snack, but we're not talking about nuts and dried fruit here. Mixing up your daily running trails and bike routes can have a positive impact on your workout. What small change in route could you make to improve your day? Maybe it is simply riding your normal bike route backwards or driving home through a different section of town and discovering a new restaurant.
Challenge yourself to take at least one deep, concentrated breath each day. As you inhale, think of one action you will take to become emotionally stronger; as you exhale, think of one action you will take to become physically stronger. This simple practice will have you feeling recharged, connected and balanced! As Maya Angelou once said, "As long as you're breathing, it's never late to do some good."