Life is hectic. We live in a world where we are constantly attempting to multitask work, family, relationships and health. Most often, health becomes our last priority as we strive to complete our daily checklist of responsibilities. This means leaving meal planning, exercise and wellbeing practices as optional. As most of you can already guess…this is a terrible idea! Our health is an investment, which we need to make daily. We owe this to ourselves, our loved ones and even our employers. Healthy lifestyle habits increase our immunity, making us less prone to sickness. Exercise, good diet, stress relieve practices and even massages, which are mistakenly confused for pampering, allow us to function more energetically, positively and efficiently.
Through this blog, I mean to communicate with you some ideas of how to fit in your health practices in your daily life! I want you to feel empowered with the knowledge that it can be done, although may take some adjustments to you and your families scheduling priorities. Support each other in this important feat and you will live happier, healthier and more energetic lives!
A simple and easy first step is to find ways to start the day right! Most often we drag ourselves out of bed, head cloudy, exhausted and slow…. For those who need a gentle but efficient way to make your morning less traumatic, I mean to present you with a simple solution. The ABCs listed below, aim to give you a more balanced and energetic day. This can be done all while stimulating a more focused mind, a faster metabolism, stronger circulatory system and clam nervous system. Life…….. BRING IT ON!
Awaken the Nervous System and open your energy channels with a hand and foot massage. (5 min) In Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory, the body is composed of 12 main meridians or energetic channels maintain homeostasis. For more information on the application of these eastern therapies I contacted my beautiful and talented Eastern Medicine Savantess Elizabeth Zara in NYC . According to Liz, energy blockages caused by stress or illness can be associated with almost all health concerns. Disruption of flow along these channels can throw off our internal balance and affect not only energy levels but sense of general wellbeing, attitude, state of mind and way you deal with stress. These points can be unblocked or toned (balanced) by a fine acupuncture needle or with acupressure. Since these energy channels either begin or end in the hands or feet, acupressure massage done in these areas have an immense impact on our overall wellbeing and is an amazing way to induce the body’s natural self-curative processes. According to Liz, benefits of regular self-therapy includes stress relief, an enhanced immune system, increased circulation and cardiac function, decreased muscular tension and pain, tone the body’s natural energy sources and, in general, alleviate symptoms associated with aging. Your body will feel more balanced, your mind engaged, you will feel healthier and more energized … Sounds too good to be true? Try it….. I find its value in transitioning my sleep-self to day-self second to none. It is amazing how after only a few minutes of acupressure, you feel awake, strangely more relaxed and less stiff. Daily massage of the hands and feet are an ideal way to quickly activate and release built up tension in body! For more information about this ancient healing method and to find specific points which may target your specific needs Dr Micheal Reed Gach Ph.D has written some interesting, easy to follow books.
- Intermission: Wash face quickly, brush teeth and apply sunscreen to face, chest and hands.
Balance your mind to your body by going for a 30 min brisk walk or jog. This is a great way to get your systems juicing! By this, I mean hormones flowing, enzymes activated and muscles awakened. During this time pay attention to what your body maybe telling you. If some area feels stiff, tight or painful, think of what this may be related to and what you could do to avoid it in the future. This is also a great opportunity to gather and organize your thoughts and plans for the day.
- Intermission: At the end of your small cardio session, stretch out what you had perceived as sore or tight. (5 min) Remember to be gentle and breathe deeply and slowly while you stretch. Try holding stretched for at least 10 seconds to allow the body to make appropriate adjustments. Stretching has shown to calm the nervous system and relieve stress… Enjoy it!
Center gravity away from your feet. (10 min) Revive your circulatory system and direct blood towards your brain with an inversion! This may sound a bit wacky but the power of this is irrefutable. Inversions are used by yogis for centuries to give the circulatory system and inferior half of the body a well-deserved rest. I have practiced some form of yoga for the past 8 years and had the pleasure of learning the benefits of inversions from some of the best yogis around town. Gurus of Ashtanga such as Ananda Zorzo and Bikram Yoga, Myriana Pahmier, alike, agree on the benefits of such practices. Our leg veins are usually working in overtime to pump blood furthest away from heart back up against gravity to get re-oxygenated and dispose of the waste it has gathered along the way. Leg vein appearance and pain related to leg vein insufficiency can be combated simply by incorporating, along with certain exercises, some relief from gravity. Inversions are a great way to offer this relief. Inversions also give the brain a surplus of oxygen and nutrient rich blood, and furthermore stimulate the pituitary and thyroid gland to balance hormones and improve metabolism. As a result of this practice we can benefit from, lighter, prettier, relaxed legs, a focused, calm mind and better metabolism…. I love it! There are many levels of inversions but the most simple and safe version I will advocate here is, in yoga, referred to as Legs-up-wall pose or Viparita Karani ,consists of lying flat on your back while allowing your legs to lay flat up against the wall. Place your arms gently at your sides with your palms up and breath deeply, slowly and freely.
For those experienced yogisthere are Shoulderstand -Sarvangasana-, Headstand Salamba -Sirsasana.. These advanced inversions can be dangerous if you have history of high blood pressure, retinal detachment, slipped discs, anklyosing spondylitis,
cervical neck issues, hernias or vertigo. For this reason make sure to check with your doctor and practice with your certified yoga instructor before attempting these positions.
- Additional thoughts: As you have noticed I did not include eating in the above protocol…..hold off until after you have showered and dressed and have something healthy and light planned out. Breakfast is important but not at all costs. Fruit, herbal tea and egg and some form of oats are my favorite breakfast picks. These are, for most of us, easy to digest, filling and nutritive. Coffee or green tea is essential for many but make sure your body is ready for it prior to making your desperate sprint. Maybe wait until you have had your mid-morning bite prior to indulging your caffeine crave. Don’t fret about losing about your early morning energy source as our rejuvenation protocol should have given you enough fuel to get you up and out the door!
I also want to mention that really any form of exercise can serve to mentally and physically prepare you for your day. It just needs to be something that doesn’t stress you, is balanced and meets your objectives. If you feel up for it, do a yoga, boxing or Pilates class but for the days not possible, go for a balance and energy routine similar to the one I prescribed above. If you wait for the end of the day to be good to you, chances are you will have forfeited your right to all other priorities, people and unforeseen circumstances. Seize the day and actively equip your mind and body for all the day might bring!