Breathe – Like Your Life Depends on it!

Breathe – Like Your Life Depends on it!

We all have one thing in common. We breathe an average of 23,400 times per day. But when was the last time you really paid attention to your breath? Most of us take breathing for granted and underestimate its ability to heal us on numerous levels.

I recently adopted a breathing practice called Pranayama. While I have certainly done various forms of breath work in the past, nothing has been as transformative as this! Thanks to a friend who dragged me along to a class, I was hooked immediately. From my very first session, I noticed an intense shift in my emotional and spiritual world. So much so that I have committed to doing it daily and am now sharing it with clients and friends.

Pranayama breath comes from the Yoga tradition and the version I enjoy is simply breathing in through the mouth, into the diaphragm and then the chest and out again through the mouth. It is done in a rhythmic motion of three breaths. Into the diaphragm, into the chest and out through the mouth.

At first, it feels like hard work. Often people feel lightheaded or tingly especially in the hands and arms along with experiencing restriction or mild pain in certain areas of their body. But after a while your breathing takes on a mind of its own. You begin to relax more deeply and many people disappear into a deep meditative state.

What I love about this breathing technique is that it combines both an active participation along with a surrendered relaxation which is great for those people who have a challenge sitting still in a regular meditation practice.

Lie down and get comfortable, light a candle, use essential oils and choose your favorite music. Begin with 5-10 minutes per day and work your way up to a 30 to 40-minute practice which combines 20-30 minutes of deep, powerful breathing followed by slower nostril breaths for approximately 10 minutes.

This practice will often bring up intense emotions. It will help rid your body of physical blocks along with emotional and spiritual ones too. It’s not uncommon to have bursts of crying, laughter, or anger during your sessions which are all signs of releasing toxic or stored up emotions that we hold onto without even realizing. I have also felt the energy points in my body known as chakras spinning, throbbing, and opening. I often find myself sweating, extremely hungry, and filled with an overwhelming joy and sense of gratitude afterwards. It is like nothing I’ve experienced before.

Breathing techniques like this have been used for people in recovery from alcohol and drugs as well as for those dealing with illness such as cancer.

Here are just a few of the numerous benefits of doing Pranayama breathing:

  • Oxygen – Feeding our cells oxygen is vital to creating a healthy body. Oxygen assists our system in detoxing and fighting off potential cancer cells. It also creates a more alkaline environment off-setting acidity which has been linked to numerous illnesses.
  • Reduced Stress, Anxiety and Depression – Studies have shown that those who participate in regular breathing sessions have a lower incidence of anxiety and depression along with experiencing less reaction to stressful situations.
  • Lower/Stabilized Blood Pressure – Increased oxygen lowers blood pressure and may even lower blood sugar levels as well.
  • Increased Energy Levels – Often people report an increase in overall physical stamina after participating in an extended breath session. Once again, oxygen feeds our cells and in turn, creates ATP which is essential for energy.
  • Muscle Relaxation – More oxygen means more blood flow to our muscles which assists in a quicker recovery and often a speedier healing time for those dealing with injury, post-surgery, or for athletes with lactic acid buildup.
  • Emotional Healing – A regular breath work practice can literally unblock stored up emotions, fears, and traumas from our body often leaving us feeling euphoric.
  • Spiritual Healing – Yogis have known for thousands of years that regular deep breathing can literally open up blocked chakras or energy points within our body helping us to live with more balance, joy, and freedom.

If you’ve been struggling to find a regular spiritual practice and you’ve tried numerous things that don’t resonate, I highly recommend that you explore Pranayama breathing.

To get started, research local breathing classes in your area. Sometimes joining a group can make it more enjoyable. Find a skilled teacher along with a powerful soundtrack, and you too can have a life-changing experience.

I can’t emphasize enough just how powerful this practice can be. Breathe like your life depends on it because in all honesty, it does!

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

Attention Men! Feeling Over the Hill? Read This Before You Give Up.

Attention Men! Feeling Over the Hill? Read This Before You Give Up.

A lot of men begin to accept that once they hit 40, things will go downhill. Why is it that we have become so reluctant to challenge these beliefs?

Part of my mission as a health and wellness advocate who also happens to be approaching 50, is to re-write this story so that all of us can begin to embrace aging with a knowing that we can do it more youthfully than ever before.

For men who want to remain fit and energetic into their later years without the typical decline, here are some important factors to consider along the way.

Intermittent Fasting – The quickest and most effective way to get lean and increase vitality is to incorporate intermittent fasting 3-4 days per week. Consume your last meal at 7pm and don’t eat again until 1-2pm the following day. You may have black coffee, tea, and unlimited water but zero calories during the 18-hour window period. Do your cardio exercise on the fasting morning for extra results and fast every second day to make it more manageable. The benefits will include fat loss, increased lean muscle, improved sleep and stamina, and more clarity and focus, especially during the morning of your fasting period. It kick-starts your metabolism like nothing else and works to balance hormones, regulate blood sugar, and much more.

Testosterone – As men age, our testosterone levels tend to drop and our estrogen also known as estradiol may increase. Low testosterone leads to a decrease in muscle mass and may have negative long-term effects on our heart and other organs along with causing fatigue, depression, poor sleep quality, and cognitive decline. High estrogen may be a contributing factor to heart disease and cancer along with a more feminine appearance including increased body fat in the chest and stomach area. Speak with an endocrinologist or anti-aging doctor about doing a full hormone panel and then consider bio-identical hormones if necessary.

High Repetition Resistance Training – Regardless of our age, it is vital to do some resistance and weight bearing exercises if we want to build stronger muscles and bones. As we get older, higher repetitions with a lower weight works better to not only build lean muscle, but also to protect our ligaments and joints. Try incorporating 20-25 repetitions on your first set and then while using the same weight, do 2 more sets until burnout. Perform resistance training at least 3 days per week and ensure that you work every muscle group at least once per week.

Supplements – To help reduce stress and improve overall energy, consider taking adaptogenic herbs. Rhodiola, Maca, Ashwaganda, and Ginseng work to lower the stress hormone called Cortisol while supporting the adrenal glands and increasing overall energy and libido. Choose one to start and alternate every few months between them. Also try Yohimbe HCL which is an ancient bark from South Africa that has similar effects while also targeting fat burning in the lower abdomen and back area.

Spiritual Practice – Now more than ever, men need to slow down. We pressure ourselves with financial matters, relationship issues, and the drive to get ahead making it imperative to take a break and get in touch with our spiritual side. This is done by creating a daily practice that we will commit to. Whether it be yoga, breath work, meditation, or chanting, it must be consistent to be effective. The irony is that we’ll actually get more done with less work when we can fine-tune our intuition and connect deeply with our spirit and our higher calling.

As men, we owe it to ourselves to take the absolute best care of ourselves that we can. There is a shift happening and men are beginning to understand the importance of finding a balance in body, mind, and spirit.

Why not start today? Put yourself first and take pro-active measures to age more youthfully and vibrantly. If you do, you’ll open yourself up to more joy, energy, and enthusiasm, and you’ll begin to feel that your best years are still ahead, because guess what? They are!

*Always consult with your physician before beginning a new fasting, supplement, or exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or if you are taking medication.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

Jay Runs a Regular Men’s Coaching Group for Men 40, 50, and 60. For More Information, Reach Out Via Email: jay@jaybradleylifestyle.com

 

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

Infrared Sauna – Detoxing, the Urban Way

Infrared Sauna – Detoxing, the Urban Way

I grew up enjoying the benefits of a wood-burning sauna at my cottage in small town Canada. It was a wonderful experience to warm up during the winter months and then jumping into the deep piles of snow afterwards.

Thanks to my Danish roots, my family understood the benefits of regular sauna use. The Finnish people along with other Scandinavians have done it right for centuries. They’ve used this powerful detox tool to remain healthy and balanced while enjoying social times with family and friends.

Fast forward to the busy city life that many of us lead and we have lost touch with the basics of relaxation and healthy lifestyle habits.

There is an answer. I had the pleasure of visiting HotBox, an amazing infrared sauna experience in downtown Los Angeles. It is the modern way to detox your body, mind, and spirit in the middle of our often hectic and urban dwelling.

Infrared saunas gently warm you from the inside out rather than the outside in like the traditional ones and have been shown to have numerous health benefits. They generally use a lower temperature as well which makes it more enjoyable for those who have a difficult time with the intensity of a regular sauna. You’ll notice less humidity also which means less outward sweat and yet the detox effects are just as powerful.

The HotBox setting is modern and serene, and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. You’ll choose from a selection of colored mood lighting known as Chromotherapy with each one corresponding to an emotion or feeling that you’d like to enhance during your session. You also have multiple selections of soothing music to induce an even deeper sense of relaxation.

Here are just some of the myriad of benefits you’ll achieve from the HotBox experience:

Detox – It is reported that infrared saunas are 7x more effective at assisting your body to detoxify than regular saunas. They raise your core temperature gradually which in turn stimulates sweat glands, allowing your body to cleanse at a cellular level.

Burning Calories – During a short infrared sauna, you’ll burn approximately 600 calories! This is the most calories that you’ll ever burn without moving or exercising.

Improved Athletic Performance – Saunas increase blood flow to your heart and muscles along with naturally increasing your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) also known as the anti-aging hormone. HGH is known to build muscle and increase overall body strength.

Longevity – Studies have shown that regular sauna use can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, and improve overall circulation and because of this, they may increase your odds of living a longer life.

Faster Injury Recovery – Infrared heat penetrates tissue, joints, and muscles to relieve pain and inflammation while oxygenating the blood assisting the body to heal itself.

Younger Looking Skin – Not only will regular saunas help to cleanse pores and reduce cellulite, studies have shown that those who use saunas regularly, have a reduction in wrinkles, improved elasticity, and better overall skin tone.

Improved Immune Function – Increased blood flow will boost the immune systems response to illness, bacteria, and infection.

Reduced Stress – Regular infrared sauna use may lower cortisol levels which is also known as the stress hormone. It aids in relaxation and helps people to experience a more blissful and serene state of mind.

If you’ve never tried an infrared sauna, now is your time. Book online or call HotBox for your first experience and make it a regular part of your self-care regimen. Your body and mind will thank you and you’ll soon begin reaping the numerous benefits of this important lifestyle practice.

 

*Always consult with your physician before starting any new lifestyle practices, especially if you are on medication or you have pre-existing health conditions.

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!