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!

Secret Killer! Reduce Inflammation – Increase Life, Energy & Well-Being

Secret Killer! Reduce Inflammation – Increase Life, Energy & Well-Being

By now, most of us know that inflammation within the body is one of the leading factors to increased disease and illness. In fact, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and numerous others are linked to chronic inflammation.  These health challenges are affecting more and more Americans each year and a large percentage of these cases could have been prevented.

A diet high in trans and hydrogenated fats and sugar along with highly processed carbohydrates like chips, cakes, and fast-food are the leading culprits with a lack of exercise also playing a critical role in the development of these illnesses.

Health educators have been getting the word out for years about ways to decrease harmful factors while increasing healthy lifestyle habits and there is hope that eventually this dangerous trend will dissipate.

There are subtle signs of inflammation too including indigestion, sinusitis, aches and pains, hay fever, allergies, bleeding gums, asthma, stiff joints, puffy eyes, skin rash, and headaches. In a natural, healthy state, our body should feel good most of the time. Any of these symptoms may be a clue that something is causing inflammation within your body. Paying attention to the early signs may be the key in preventing a more serious long-term illness.

Sometimes these early symptoms may be caused by environmental irritants such as air fresheners, candles, personal care products, or pollen while at other times it may be something internal such as a reaction to medications, foods, or even supplements.

I suggest that people listen to their body and the messages it sends us. If you don’t feel well, something is going on. Our body speaks to us at all times, and sometimes we need to get quiet and pay very close attention to that intuitive voice. If you’re having chronic issues of any type, begin looking for the source and don’t stop until you find it.

Here are some important ways to begin reducing inflammation today so that you can improve your overall health:

  • Rid your Home of Toxins – Chemical cleaners, air fresheners, and personal care products are the main cause of breathing issues and long-term damage especially to our lungs. Do yourself and your family a favor and throw out all chemical cleaners and personal care products and replace them with organic, healthy alternatives. For a list of which chemicals are the most harmful, visit: ewg.org
  • Elimination Diet – One of the easiest ways to figure out which foods are triggering you is to do a short elimination diet. Eliminate the main culprits including dairy, wheat, sugar, gluten, eggs, corn, and soy for 7 days. Gradually begin re-introducing them one at a time. Keep track in a food journal how you feel before, during, and after you eat them. Look for signs of inflammation including mucus, fatigue, headache, indigestion, scratchy throat, and watery eyes or nose. Sometimes these can occur the next day so pay special attention and trust your intuition.
  • Eat Alkaline – Too much acidity in our body can cause inflammation. Acidic foods include animal proteins, dairy products, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Try offsetting your acidity by bringing in more alkaline foods and beverages. Dark leafy green vegetables, pink Himalayan sea salt, and fresh lemons and limes are especially alkaline for the body.
  • Superfoods – Some of the best ways to reduce inflammation are to consume concentrated forms of superfoods. Look for organic, raw, and non-GMO products such as: chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, sprouted kamut, turmeric, green tea, aloe vera, and tart cherry juice.
  • Gut Health – By building our healthy gut flora, we strengthen our overall system and help to reduce inflammation. Take a potent probiotic supplement daily, eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and kombucha tea. Bone broth has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive track and colon. Focus on consuming more organic product to eliminate the consumption of Glyphosate which is a harmful chemical in herbicide sprays used on non-organic produce.
  • Omega 3 Oils – Adding more omega 3 rich foods to your diet in the form of hemp, flax and chia seeds, avocados, olives, salmon, sardines, and walnuts along with krill oil supplements, will help will help to off-set chronic inflammation and assist in creating healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Quality Sleep – Sleep is absolutely essential in reducing inflammation. Ensure that you get quality rest at night and consider taking a regular, short nap during the day when possible. Sleep is restorative and assists our immunity, hormones, and other bodily systems to work at their optimal. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night has been linked to increased inflammation.
  • Exercise – Doing some type of moderate exercise daily that keeps your heart rate at approximately 60-85% of its maximum (220-age x .85) helps to lower all inflammation markers within the body and assists in decreasing overall stress.
  • Chill – These days it is imperative to incorporate a de-stress practice. It will be different for each person but some of the proven methods of lowering C Reactive Protein which is one important inflammation marker in the body are deep breath work such as breath of fire, yoga, meditation, and chanting. The key is keeping it regular and making it a daily practice for best results.

While some inflammatory disease can be genetic, approximately 75% is related to our environment and our day to day lifestyle choices. Be wise, make good decisions and start today. Even the smallest of shifts can positively affect your life, energy, and well-being.

  • Always consult with your physician before making changes in your diet, exercise, or supplement regimen.

 

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!

8 Tips to Lose Weight & Keep it Off!

8 Tips to Lose Weight & Keep it Off!

As a health and wellness coach, the number one reason that people seek me out is for weight loss. They are looking for guidance and tips on how to battle that bulge and keep it off for good.

While Los Angeles may be an exception, the majority of Americans are overweight with over one third being considered obese. It’s a serious problem and it goes far beyond being solely a vanity issue. More and more people are suffering from the negative health consequences of being overweight including increased risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other illness.

Losing weight and getting in shape usually means approaching our health and lifestyle from a number of angles and not just our eating habits.

Here are the top areas to look at in order for you to lose weight, gain muscle, and increase your overall chances of living a longer life:

  • Reduce Sugar & Processed Carbohydrates – The main cause of weight gain is the overconsumption of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and processed foods especially white bread, pastry, and pasta. When eating these types of food our insulin and blood sugar spike which may wreak havoc on our system. With excess sugars in our blood our body eventually begins to store fat and it craves more and more sugar as time goes on. It is a vicious cycle. A diet high in sugar and processed foods also challenges our digestive system while lowering our immunity too. Work on bringing in monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar, and use whole grain products whenever possible. Better yet, eat more healthy fats like avocado, fish and nuts, and lower your carbohydrate intake altogether which will shift your body into fat-burning mode and create less sweet cravings.
  • Exercise – Most of us dislike this one but the truth is, we can’t lose weight permanently unless we move our body. This doesn’t mean that we need to be gym rats but it does mean some type of movement each and every day even if that is a half hour walk with a neighbor or friend. Resistance training is also ideal because it builds lean muscle which in turn burns even more body fat. Make it fun and know that once you begin, it gets easier and easier to continue. The hardest part is making the commitment to start.
  • Avoid GMO Foods – If you eat anything that is non-organic, there is a 75% chance that that particular food is genetically modified and also contains a chemical called Glyphosate. Glyphosate has been linked to the breakdown of our gut health and in turn may lead to extreme weight gain along with numerous other health challenges. It is always best to buy organic or look for labels that are certified as non-GMO.
  • Reset Your Metabolism – Sometimes all we need is a kick-start! Re-booting our metabolism sets us off onto a healthy path of weight loss and detoxing which can motivate us to continue on the healthy lifestyle journey. My favorite is the Purium 10-day Transformation where people lose 5-20 lbs in 10 days and lose visceral fat, build lean muscle, sleep better, and increase their energy while decreasing cravings for junk food.
  • Stop Eating in the Evenings – Intermittent fasting is all the rage now and for good reason. Intermittent fasting can be done in different ways but one effective method is to stop eating at 7pm in the evenings and not to begin again until 11am the next day. If this is done even just 3 days per week, it gives our body a rest from processing food while we sleep, kick-starts our metabolism and helps us to build more muscle while burning excess fat. There are plenty of other great benefits too! While 16 hours without food may seem extreme, remember that we are sleeping through half of it.
  • Get your Hormones Checked – Hormones are the spark plugs for our body. As we age they can go a little haywire. In men, our testosterone may go down and our estrogen can increase causing weight gain around the middle and less muscle mass. For women, higher levels of estrogen and lower testosterone also has its effects along with the other key hormones that change with age. Low thyroid may also cause weight gain. Seek out an anti-aging specialist or endocrinologist in your area and have a full hormone panel to see if there is something they can do to help. Bio-identical hormone replacement may be an option for you.
  • Drink More Water – Water is essential for good health, weight loss, and overall energy. Drinking more water increases the number of calories that we burn during the day so drink up. 8-12 glasses per day of clean, filtered water is best.
  • Supplement – Certain supplements can assist weight loss. Garcinia Cambogia, Green Tea, and Green Coffee Extract are shown to assist fat burning and to decrease appetite. Chromium Polynicotinate helps to stabilize blood sugar and in turn, reduces sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Low Vitamin D levels are also linked to weight gain and obesity so get your blood tested and ensure that you get at least 20 minutes of sun each day at non-peak times without sunscreen and consider a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.

*Always consult with your physician before beginning a new vitamin, exercise, or hormone regimen.

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Consistency is Key

Consistency is Key

One thing that I have learned with almost 50 years under my belt is that consistency is the key to living a more satisfying and successful life. I’ve also figured out that being consistent always wins over hard work.

The problem that many of us have in life is that we lack consistency in certain areas. We tend to work hard for periods of time whether it be at our job or an exercise regimen but then we often slack afterwards because we feel burned out or tired.

When we overdo it in any area of our life it only makes sense that we’ll eventually lose momentum. Even with diets, we tend to be extreme for short periods to get the results we desire but the strict discipline is difficult to keep up and we end up gaining all of the weight back soon afterwards.

Moderate and consistent effort wins every time. People have often asked me how I have stayed fit throughout my life and my answer is always consistency. I don’t push too hard, I never have, and I have worked out 4-6 days per week since I was 13. Almost 37 years of consistent fitness has gotten me amazing results. While there were certainly times that I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, not once did I find it hard work.

While I have not been consistent in all areas, I definitely have the fitness and health component covered. None of us can be balanced in all areas of our life at all times and many of us put more emphasis in certain areas over others. But if we could learn to redistribute that effort into all parts of our day-to-day life from our spiritual practice to our work to relationships and our healthy lifestyle habits, we’d enjoy more stability and a smoother ride throughout.

Like brushing our teeth, doing something regularly and creating a routine makes it easier to continue. The longer we go without consistent action, the harder it is to get back to it. For example, have you taken time off from your exercise routine only to have months go by without doing anything? Have you avoided regular decluttering from your home only to quickly see things pile up in front of your eyes? Perhaps you notice that when you eat unhealthy foods regularly your body begins craving more unhealthy foods the longer you go.

Our spiritual and mental health also requires routine. When we run our spiritual batteries low, we become stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and grumpy. Committing to a daily gratitude and meditation practice for example, even for a few minutes per day will make the difference in how we feel.

When we act consistently it also gives us a sense of pride that we are taking care of ourselves and our life. We gain a self-reliance and confidence that we are committed to greatness and to being our best selves and we prove that we can in fact, do whatever we set our minds to.

The next time you find yourself slipping in any of the important areas of your life, stop, take a breath, and make a different choice. Push yourself if necessary and refocus your energy. Often the beginning is the most challenging but once over that initial hurdle, you’re set to go.

Sometimes just the simple awareness that we are off track or inconsistent is enough to snap us back into a new way of thinking, one that encourages us to keep moving forward towards our ultimate happiness and success in all that we do.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angles. 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!