The Simple Way To Breathe To Reduce Stress

Ever feel stressed out? Ever get anxious, worried, depressed, or upset?

There’s nothing more crucial than to have control of your breath when you are in a place of uncertainty, fear or even panic. When you routinely engage in a patterned in a breathing. Be it 5 minutes to 11 minutes to 31 minutes a day. Your body will be trained to know how to handle distress when situations arise.

Try this for 5 mins every day before you start your day. Or while driving or commuting or waiting in line in the store. Learn to use your breathing to regulate your nervous system and release it from reacting to every situation that arise.

Try this technique from the © The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan:

Posture: Sit in any comfortable meditative posture with a straight spine, chin in, chest lifted.

Eyes: Close your eyes.

Breath: Concentrate on your breath. Inhale through the nose in eight equal strokes. Exhale through the nose in one deep and powerful stroke.

Time: Continue for 11 minutes.

To Finish: Inhale deeply, hold the breath 5-10 seconds, and exhale. Inhale deeply, hold the breath 15-20 seconds and roll your shoulders. Exhale powerfully. Inhale deeply, hold the breath 15-20 seconds, and this time roll your shoulders as fast as you can. Exhale and relax.

So when your coworkers are being difficult, breathe in for the count of 8 strokes and breathe out in 1. If you kids are fighting in the back of the car nonstop. Breathe in 8 breathe out 1. If you are feeling that nothing is working out in your favor that day. Breathe in 8 breathe out 1. Breath is one tool that won’t go away no matter what. Our lives truly depend on our breath. Train it. Befriend it.

 

“The eight strokes will make you watch and count the breath and that will force you to relate to your breath. Best procedure is that you do this exercise every evening. Eleven minutes a day of eight-stroke breathing can give you enough energy to balance your (daily) consumption of (pranic) life and take you out of stress. Is it possible? Do you have eleven minutes?”
-Yogi Bhajan

 

Compliments of the © The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Learn more here: 3HO Website

 

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Kirtan Kriya

Your cognitive health has a dramatic impact on your entire life. With proper brain function, you can be more equipped to live the happy and healthy life that you desire. In this series, we have discussed the importance of nutrition for your cognitive health as well as the impact that lifestyle has on your overall wellbeing.

Today we are jumping into one of our favorite topics that has wonderful benefits for your cognitive health, Kirtan Kriya, a singing meditation.  Rooted from the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.

What is Kirtan Kriya?

Kirtan Kriya (pronounced KEER-tun KREE-a) is a way of meditation from the Kundalini yoga tradition. In Sanskrit, kirtan is a song and kriya is used to express a certain set of movements. This technique has been used for thousands of years to help bring the mind, body, and emotions in balance. This helps to support the healing process and to promote cognitive health.

How does it work?

This is a meditation, but sometimes it is known as a singing exercise. You complete it by singing the sounds, Saa Taa Naa Maa. In addition, repetitive finger movements, or mudras, can be used in conjunction. This is not a religious practice, but it is beneficial for all types of people from all walks of life. Specifically, when practiced for just 12 minutes a day, it has been scientifically proven to decrease stress levels. Furthermore, this meditation actually promotes activity in areas of the brain that are essential for memory.

Is there any science to prove it?

Yes. Not only has it been practiced for thousands of years with profound benefits, but there are also multiple studies publishing the many benefits of Kirtan Kriya. For example, there was a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in April of 2016 stating that the Kirtan Kriya increased brain function. It went on to describe that cognitive health through the use of Kirtan Kriya increases brain connectivity (which improves memory) and it also decreases mood aberration.

“The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation believes that the various parts of Kirtan Kriya are each vital to the whole, and recommends practicing it in the traditional way to fully reap the benefits of the exercise. That said, other methods of reducing stress, like deep breathing, listening to music and other types of meditation may be beneficial to your health.”

How do you practice Kirtan Kriya?

  1. Repeat the Saa Taa Naa Maa sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight. 
  2. For 2 minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  3. For the next 2 minutes, sing in a whisper.
  4. For the next 4 minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  5. Then reverse the order, whispering for 2 minutes, and then out loud for 2 minutes, for a total of 12 minutes.
  6. To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.

The mudras, or finger positions, are very important in this kriya (see illustration below).

  • On Saa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Taa, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Naa, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Maa, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

Can I do it by myself at home?

Certainly! I designed this simple handout for you so you can start practicing at home today. Please click here to download your copy.  We recommend following along with this video here to use as a beautiful guide: Kirtan Kriya Video.  Here’s an explanation video.

In Summary

We hope you find this a powerful and enjoyable exercise and we hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 

 


Please view our resources listed below: 

Kirtan Kriya Yoga Singing Exercise

Journal Articles

Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal
Title: Kirtan Kriya Yoga Meditation: A New Dimension in Alzheimer’s Prevention
Khalsa, DS.
Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal. 2013; 18(2):12-16
Published October 2013

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Title: A randomized controlled trial of two simple mind-body programs,
Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening, for adults with subjective
cognitive decline: Feasibility and acceptability
Available online 5 March 2016
Kim E. Innes, Terry Kit Selfe, Dharma Singh Khalsa, Sahiti Kandati. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26 (2016) 98–107
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.002

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201606/yoga-and-kirtan-kriya-meditation-bolster-brain-functioning

>> For more journal articles, please click here.

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Last week we shared an article about how to boost your cognitive health using nutrition. Click here to read that post: Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Whether you yourself are suffering, your loved one is struggling, or you are an advocate of healthy living- you will want to take note of the tips offered in this guide.

This guide is based on Dr. Bredesen’s #1 Bestseller, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,  His substantial work in the field of reversing cognitive decline is instrumental for anyone suffering from this themselves or supporting a loved one going through this process.  

Here are some great tips that would truly benefit all of us, especially those of you who are trying to find the right protocol to support your brain health.  1) Exercise 

5-6 times per week for 30-60 minutes, raising heart rate and including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Exercise increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has important anti-Alzheimer’s effects. It also helps to improve oxygenation, improve sleep, reduce overall stress, reduce fat and associated adipokines, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve overall brain and body physiology in numerous ways. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline, and is an important part of the protocol to reverse cognitive decline.2) Sleep

Sleep has multiple mechanisms to reduce cognitive decline. For example, it induces melatonin, which reduces the amyloid-beta associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, it is critical to memory consolidation and it alters cellular anatomy to foster the removal of abnormal and toxic species from the brain. Thus, sleep has multiple mechanisms to support the reversal of cognitive decline.

Most people have a sleep debt, due to chronic lack of optimal sleep, both in quantity and quality. It is crucial to ensure that you do not have sleep apnea. If you do have sleep apnea, it is very important to treat it whether by CPAP, oral device, altering sleeping position, or other methods. Melatonin:

It can be helpful to use melatonin at bedtime. A physiological dose is 0.5mg, which can be taken by mouth or sublingually, depending on formulation. Some take higher doses, up to 20mg, and it is a relatively benign supplement, so you can adjust your dose.

If the dose is too high, you may notice that you awaken after about three hours of heavy sleep, and you may feel sluggish the next morning. If the dose is right, you should notice increased dreaming and awaken feeling refreshed. Melatonin has many effects, among them reducing amyloid-beta, reducing reactive oxygen species, and tumor suppression.

If you find that you are awakening in the middle of the night and ruminating, unable to return to sleep, you may find that Tryptophan (500mg) or 5-hydroxytryptophan (100 mg) helps to prevent this. Please discuss this with your practitioner, especially if you are on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for depression, or a related SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).Helpful Sleep Tips:

In order to optimize cognition, try to get as close to 8 hours of sleep each night as possible. It is best to go to bed before midnight, although some people find that their circadian rhythms do not allow this. It is also best to make sure that the room is as dark as possible. Many people like to use an eye mask for this purpose or blackout curtains. In addition, have your bedroom be as quiet as possible and free of EMFs. I’ve found Airestech to be a reliable company with affordable options for EMF protection- use code onnalomd10 for 10% off! Lastly, wind down in the evening instead of exercising or working right up until bedtime. 3) Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the most important contributors to cognitive decline, and stress-related molecules such as cortisol and corticotropin releasing factor receptor 1 are mediators of neural cell death and cognitive decline. Therefore, an important part of the overall program is to reduce stress-related effects, and there are many ways to do this, so please choose the ones that you enjoy. Relaxation Ideas:

Some people choose meditation, and indeed meditation has a positive effect on cognition. Others love music, walks in the park, yoga, visiting museums, lovemaking, or many other things (or all of those things). The Neural Agility recording, designed for brain neurophysiology, is “meditation on steroids,” and many enjoy that. This should be done 5 times per week, in the evenings, for 30 minutes, relaxed and lying down with the lights down. Finding joy and relaxation in life is very important to reduce the brain-damaging stress that many of us feel in our busy lives.4) Mental Exercise

There are many ways to do mental exercises. Try Posit, Dakim, Lumosity, learn a new language, do Sudoku, or crossword puzzles, etc. The key is to do these in the presence of improved biochemistry. Do not do these exercises to the point of exhaustion. A typical session is 40-60 minutes for 4 or 5 times each week. If you are new to this habit, it is ok to start with shorter sessions and increase the duration with time. Remember, some mental exercise is better than none at all. Make it a priority to stay mentally active. In essence, you “use it or lose it.”5) Auditory Physiology

This is like “meditation on steroids.” Use with headphones and listen from your phone, iPod or computer in the evening. It is ideal to practice this 5 times per week, for 30 minutes each time. Rest as you lay down on your back in a dark room and relax. These specialized tones can affect the release of powerful brain chemicals that can regulate mood, improve sleep, and reduce aggression as well as depression. Listen here: http://www.fariastechnique.com/music-for-interhemispheric-synchronization  and Dr. Bredesen recommended this program : http://www.activemindsglobal.com/products/revita-mind/

6) Hygiene

Dr. Kenneth Seaton from Australia spent his career studying the relationship between hygiene, inflammation, and cognition. One of the measures he used to gauge inflammation was the albumin-to-globulin (A/G) ratio. Albumin is an important protein to remove amyloid, and to carry many other molecules (including drugs and hormones) in the blood. When inflammation occurs, from bacteria, fungi, viruses, harmful microbes or dietary inflammagens (like trans fats or simple carbohydrates) the globulin fraction (from which antibodies are derived) increases at the expense of the albumin fraction. This reduces the A/G ratio. This is associated with reduced cognition.

Hygiene, and the maintenance of intact barriers (gut lining, blood-brain barrier, oral, nasal, integumentary (skin, nails, hair), etc.), play a key role in optimizing the A/G ratio. Oral hygiene with an electric toothbrush, floss, and a water-pressure flosser are all important. Oral microbes have been identified repeatedly in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Some like to use nasal washes, as well. Evaluation for MARCoNS (multiple antibiotic resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus) is helpful, especially in anyone with type 3 (toxic) Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, ensuring good nail and skin hygiene can be helpful.

In Summary

Your Cognitive Health Is Worth The Investment. In essence physical and mental exercise, sleep, relaxation, auditory physiology, and hygiene are all important factors to consider when supporting your brain health. All six of these lifestyle tips will help to optimize your physical and mental wellbeing. We hope that this information is useful for you on your journey for the best cognitive health. If you’d like personal support in this process please click here to learn more about our Happy Health Brain Longevity Program. Also, be sure to check out our entire series on cognitive health by clicking the links below:

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 1: Nutrition

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 2:  Lifestyle Tips

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 3: Kirtan Kriya

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 4: The Ketogenic Diet

Guide To Boosting Your Cognitive Health Part 5: Is your blood sugar affecting your brain?

 

PS: You are invited to click here to sign up for our free 14 Days to Health Video Series and to join our Facebook group for personal support: The Happy Health Community. 


To learn more on this topic please reference our resources below:

Book: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, MD

Website + Research: https://www.drbredesen.com/thebredesenprotocol

Fist of Anger: Meditation for Releasing Anger

8037828855_8016f84c2d_zHave you ever felt so overcame with emotions and anger that you just can’t stop turning and turning inside.  This is a great tool for just that.  It channels this uncontrollable and disturbing energy through your breath, and release it. Try it for as little as 1 minute and build up to 3 minutes.  

You body position:

Sit in Easy Pose (sitting on floor with legs crossed) or in chair, with a light neck lock (tilt your chin gently down and lengthen your neck upwards). Eyes are closed.

Your hand position:

Touch each thumb to the base of the pinky fingers. Close the rest of the fingers over the thumbs to form fists. Raising the arms, begin a backstroke type movement over the head, alternating each side (right/left) as you swing up, over and back around again.

Your breath:

Make an O-shaped mouth and breathe through it with a strong, rhythmic inhale/exhale that is in sync with your arm movements.

Begin the backstroke movement and the coordinated breath with a strong and continuous movement. Intentionally think about anything and everything that makes you angry. Continue this laser focus on bringing up the anger throughout the meditation, increasing the movement and breath.

To End:

Interlock the fingers, stretch the arms up over head, palms facing up, deep inhale through the O mouth- picture yourself surrounded in white, healing light- exhale out the O mouth.

Repeat 3 times.                      Time: 3 minutes.


IMG_0621IMG_0622

fist of angerfist of anger 2

This meditation is learned from Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan©.  For more infomation visit the Kundalini Research Institute.