Getting Your Breath Back with Easy Self-Help Acupressure

firemanGetting Your Breath Back with Easy Self-Help Acupressure

Life can throw us curves of all sorts! We don’t plan on those, and we don’t necessarily see them coming our way. One such event was the October 2017 fires. And no matter how YOU were individually impacted, the experience most likely affected your breath, your emotions, your sense of well-being, and maybe your physical health.

Our Bodies Remember Trauma

As we get closer to the one-year anniversary of that terrible time for Sonoma County and Napa County, your body may be experiencing memories of distress. Also, it hasn’t helped that we’ve had other fires raging north of us.

People are using phrases like, “I’m waiting with baited breath” and “I’m wondering how much more I can take.” Some folks realize that they’re not processing information with ease, similar to what they were experiencing one year ago after the fires. And many are trying to figure out what they need to do to regain their vitality and productivity. Fatigue is running rampant because sleep isn’t restful and rejuvenating.

None of those symptoms are unusual after trauma and chaos. And when we re-experience the memories of the traumatic event, our bodies get even more stuck in the patterns of the symptoms.

Reduce the Impact of Trauma

We can help our bodies let go of the symptoms and the tendency to hold onto those patterns. By balancing our energy, we can create new patterns of balance and ease that our bodies will see as more desirable.

Self-help acupressure is a natural, effortless way to remind your body how to be in breath, how to let go of stress and anxiety, and how not to take on stress. You can relieve discomfort and pain, balance your emotions, boost wellness, and improve performance in your daily activities.

Daily Practice

A daily practice of balancing your energy allows you to become a partner with your body. Rediscover your breath, boost your immune system, improve your focus and clarity, increase your vitality, let go of overwhelming thoughts and handle your feelings. You will find that your body feels healthy and full of life when you get your breath and energy back.

Here are a few energy tips that will help you reach health and vitality: To open the breath and calm the whole system:

▪ Hold thumbs with opposite hands

▪ Hold index fingers with opposite hands

▪ Fold arms across chest and hold opposite upper arms

To relieve respiratory distress, such as holding breath or coughing:

▪ Hold the right base of the rib cage with right fingers

▪ Hold right chest below clavicle with left fingers

▪ Switch and hold opposite sides

To release jaw, mouth or throat tension, such as clenching or holding breath:

▪ Cup sternum directly below clavicle with the right hand

▪ Place left fingertips in a vertical pattern below the navel

I hope that you make use of these suggestions! to get your breath back. They can really make a difference!

Sonoma Strong Health Fair 2018Sonoma Strong

And to learn even more, join me at the Sonoma Strong Healing Fair on Saturday, September 29th at the Veteran’s Building in Santa Rosa. I’ll be presenting at 11:30, offering more suggestions on how to get your breath back.

I’ll also be teaching in the Kids’ Area at 1:00 and 3:00. I look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, wishing you ease.

 

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April is Stress Awareness Month

StressIsn’t it crazy that we actually have a “National Stress Awareness Month”? Guess that shows a lot of people are dealing with some sort of stress in their worlds.

What is stress?

How do we best define it when it is so different for everyone? What can we do to reduce the effects of it so our bodies don’t go into reaction? And what can we do to actually have a sense of control so stress doesn’t seem to be running the show?

I’ll give you some historical background about how stress came to be recognized as a “condition” in our country. Then, I’ll share some easy-to-use self-help acupressure energy tips for changing how we can transform stress from a negative to positive. Transforming stress is a bit different from how Western medicine suggests we can manage it!  And, when we get to that place of management, we truly are partners with our bodies.

Stress Awareness Month

It has been held every April since 1992. Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to:

  • inform people about the dangers of stress
  • successful coping strategies
  • harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

Medical Definition of Stress

In a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response.

The state of mental or emotional strain or tension from adverse or very demanding circumstances can be so recognizable that others notice. We even hear comments like “he’s obviously under a lot of stress” and “she really needs to figure out how to manage her stress.”

Stress can cause or influence the course of many medical conditions. These include psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety.  Medical problems can encompass poor healing, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and many others. We now have “stress management” recognized as an effective treatment for many medical conditions.

To read more about stress and how the Western medical world defines it, go to

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20104.

Transforming Stress

Articles that include tools for self-assessment, resources, and programs, can be found on the website for The American Institute of Stress. The organization is all about awareness, education, and collaboration.

Go to https://www.stress.org/what-is-stress/.

Stress as a Project

Personally, I like to look at “stress” as a “project that can be transformed.” The term stress was coined by Hans Selye in 1936. He defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.  If we look at stress as “the rate of wear and tear on the body,” it makes sense that increased stress can actually accelerate the aging process.

And who wants that? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather walk around in a body that does not have major reactions to stressful situations. All of the experimental and clinical research confirms that the sense of having little or no control is always distressful, and that’s what stress is all about.

Energy Tips to Manage and Transform Stress

Here are my self-help acupressure energy tips that you can use to manage stress. They will allow you to be a partner with your own body.  Because stress can take the breath away and cause us to wait with bated breath, follow along to learn how you can have full expansive breath. You’ll be way ahead of stress and its ability to affect you.

To help let go of stress, open up breath, release tension and increase vitality:

1. Hold upper arms by folding arms across the chest

2. Right hand — cup sternum directly below the collarbone

     Left hand — hold fingers in a vertical pattern on your tummy

3. Right hand — hold the base of the right front ribcage

     Left hand — hold fingers on the right chest below the collarbone

4. Gently cup thumbs

More than an Ounce of Prevention

The Daily Clean Your House Flow helps you stay in balance and get in front of stress. Doing the  Daily Clean Your House Flow prepares your body for what you’re going to ask it to do now and for what might come at it (even major stressful traumatic events). Do the Daily Clean Your House Flow at least once a day. It will create a strong foundation for you to be able to be the best partner you can be with your body. I have been doing it daily for more than 20 years, as have many of my clients, friends, and family. This one practice is the best antidote to stress and you can do it anywhere, anytime. The more you do it, the better you will feel.

Do your part to Make Stress Awareness Month Obsolete

Share this post about the Daily Clean Your House Flow with the people you care about through your social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’ll be glad you did your part to lower the stress in the world.

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Freaking Out

Freaking Out halloween-bat-01Is something freaking you out?

It’s the season! The trick is to find ways to get through the “freak out stage” whether the upset is a result of being in overwhelm, information that you just received and can’t wrap your brain around, feeling not listened to, or any number of other reasons.

The trick can easily become a treat. Your body doesn’t like being freaked out so it will easily make good changes when you try to correct the episode by bringing a special treat into the mix. It’s like being offered your most favorite and yummy chocolate or dessert and getting that “oh, my, I’m in heaven” result.

Instead of freaking out when an upset occurs, retrain your body. When you are in stress mode, your breath is often impacted. It becomes constricted and causes your lung and diaphragm capacity to be lessened. So it’s all about helping your body rediscover breath. Then the next step is to re-pattern your breathing, which will also create more fluid movement, even affecting mobility and flexibility. That’s where “the change has taken place” is experienced.

Treat Your Body

Here’s a super easy way (treat) to help your body let go of any unhappy experience and get back on an even keel.

  1. Give yourself a hug by crossing your arms and gently touching your upper arms. This will open up lung capacity.
  2. Move one hand to the base of your ribcage (keeping the other hand on the upper arm). This hold will help open up the diaphragm.
  3. Move the hand that is on the upper arm to the outside of your knee. That connects with helping ease of movement.
  4. Move the hand that is on the ribcage to the outside of the other knee. You’re now holding the outside of both knees. THAT is all about the re-patterning and helping your body accept the change.

Hope this helps you get through ANY “freaking out episode” you might be experiencing. Just know that it’s a moment in time and the trick is to help your body not take it on as “real.”

Wishing you a super Halloween! And hoping that the season is all about freaking out because of the haunted house, not because of an upset or stress!

 

 

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Accidents Happen

accidentAccidents Happen

How many times have you experienced, “Oh, oh something bad just happened?” Whether it was a vehicle crash or a fall or a sports mishap, accidents are not planned. They are a misfortunate experience that sometimes create injury but almost always give us a sense of “I’m out of control and I don’t know what to do next.”

My Unexpected Lesson

Friday morning I was rear ended while driving on the freeway.  I’m okay though a bit sore and know that for the next week or so I’m going to be taking care of this body. Luckily I started the day with my energy balancing practice (the Daily Clean Your House Flow) so my body was better prepared for what might come at it. My ongoing self-help is definitely making a difference, and I’m connecting with other body workers to receive healing sessions. I know that my body will release the tight muscles and inflammation that are showing up.

Fight or Flight

What amazed me at the time of the accident was the degree of “I’m in major reaction to this impact.” I saw myself being unclear and unfocused and not knowing the next thing I needed to do. Granted I was shaking like crazy and my neck and head were really hurting after hitting the headrest, but I was truly uncomfortable with my experience of being out of control, lack of calm and lack of composure.

Energy Work to the Rescue

While waiting for the police officers to talk with me and take my report, I sat in the back seat and just did some more energy work. I could feel my breath return — my inhales and exhales were more expansive. And I could feel my ability to think and analyze resume.  By the time the EMTs showed up I knew my blood pressure was back to okay, though they said the inflammation was going to show up, especially after they saw how much had gone flying inside the car. (Books in the pocket behind the passenger seat actually ended up in the back of the car. And coins that had been in the ashtray were all over the car).

The After Affects of the Accident

Since then – I know that my body is still in reaction. This morning I was on edge and I felt jumpy. A friend pointed out that my voice was a bit shaky and I seemed rattled. My body is still reacting to the stress of the accident when I experienced “not being in command.” I need to feel back in control, grounded and safe. So time for some more energy balancing and getting grounded.

Getting Back in Balance and Control

I did the Daily Clean Your House Flow (second time in several hours) plus I did the following:

  •  Right hand: hold fingers on the left upper arm
  • Left hand: hold fingers on the right base of ribcage
  • Left hand: hold fingers on inside of right thigh

Followed by:

  •  Right hand: cup fingers on sternum below collarbone
  • Left hand: hold fingers on tummy below naval
  • Right hand: hold fingers on base of spine at coccyx

Getting Back to the Garden

Following that, I went to the garden and enjoyed the fact that I have roses blooming again! Then I just sat and enjoyed the space and listened to the birds. Then I played in the dirt. THAT is getting grounded!

Here’s hoping that fewer accidents befall any of us. And that when something does happen, our bodies cooperate and don’t go into major reaction.

  

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Breath and Love Make the World Go Round!

Groom carrying his bride a top a beach inspired wedding cakeIt’s wedding time!

How many weddings are you invited to this spring? Or maybe you’re even part of a wedding. I thought I was attending a wedding this coming Saturday, but it has become more than that for me. The bride and groom called me a while back and asked that I be the officiant for their wedding!  What an amazing honor!  I am thrilled, excited, and in joy.  I’ve been reading and rereading the ceremony that the bride has written, practicing and hoping to have most of it memorized. It’s not all important to have the whole thing memorized, but I want to have flow.  I will definitely have the words in front of me though. During an emotional time, it’s good to have the back up.

In my practicing out loud, I’m spending time with breath and making sure I go slowly and find the spaces that are good to be IN breath.  I’m filling my abdomen with the expansive inhale, knowing that is the space and place that allows for ease and projection. I’m allowing my diaphragm to have movement because it is from there that I will have the ability to stay in the moment and not “get lost in emotion”.

Hey – emotion is good — it’s what allows us to be human. But if the emotion gets really big and takes our breath away, it’s TOO big and causes us to get stuck.  And THAT is not where I want to be when I’m in front of that big group of family and friends.  I especially do not want to be in that stuck place for the bride and groom.

One of the best places I’ve discovered for practicing out loud is in my garden. Hearing the birds, experiencing the breeze drifting through the oak trees, smelling the aroma of the roses, feeling the warmth of the sun — what a magical place to be in as I speak the words and feel the energy of what Nikki has written.  And to bring myself to a really centered grounded space, to be fully present, and to open up my breath and truly experience the space available within me — this is what I am doing before I speak the words:

  1. Hold my upper arms by folding my arms across my chest (opens up breath in both lungs and diaphragm)    
  2. Right hand — cup my sternum directly below my clavicle
  3. Left hand — hold my fingers on my tummy below my naval

Any time I feel myself going into “holding my breath” or not having an expansive breath, I hold those energy points again.  After all, there is no such thing as too much self-help! I assure you that I will be doing these same holds before the ceremony begins! Because those same holds will allow me to be in the moment and experience the emotion without the emotion getting too big — and allow me to fully project with full breath.

I hope YOU have magical moments this spring and summer and that my suggestions come in handy -– because when you’re truly IN breath and helping yourself be present magic WILL be there for you!

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