Breathing Breaks

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Breathe easy……Take a breather……Take a breath ……Catching your breath

These are just a few of the different ways we express using breath to ‘take a break’. It’s in our lingo, part of our culture, and yet it’s something we rarely seem to do. Instead we ‘take a break’ by getting a cup of coffee or surfing facebook or Netflix on our pc…you know you do and your boss knows it too. We all need to take breaks from our work, even if we love what we do taking a break has many benefits ….

Better Circulation, increased muscle tone and flexibility

Sitting all day long can have a negative impact on the body, which is why it’s essential to get up and move at least once every hour. This increases blood flow improves muscle function, joint mobility and genuinely keeps you from feeling sluggish.

Boosts your Creativity

Get those creative juices flowing! Taking a break from the action allows you to recharge your mental batteries, improving the chances of coming up with that new genius idea.

Increased Productivity

Productive and engaged employees aren’t necessarily ones who work 80-hour weeks, it is usually someone who is engaged in the task at hand and productivity should be measured by the quality of the work.

Reduced Eye Strain

Taking just five minutes away from a computer screen is typically all you need to keep eye strain at bay, and it’s crucial to sustaining work for a long period of time.

Lower Stress Levels

Stress is one of the main things that causes burnout. To preserve your sanity, de-stress and improve the quality of whatever you are doing, you need to step back from the action. And remember it’s not goofing off,

it’s really about taking time to Refuel and recharge.

At the Cleveland Clinic they use yoga and modified traditional yoga breathing exercises as a way to help patients manage their pain and disease. Deep breathing is not only relaxing, it’s been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes.

Dr. Mladen Golubic, a physician in the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, says that breathing can have a profound impact on our physiology and our health. “You can influence asthma; you can influence chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; you can influence heart failure,” Golubic says. “There are studies that show that people who practice breathing exercises and have those conditions — they benefit.”  He’s talking about modern science, but these techniques are not new. In yoga, breath work is called pranayama and Yoga practitioners have used pranayama as a tool for affecting both the mind and body for thousands of years.

According to Psychology Today, breaks at work improve employee performances. Below is a list of breaks that may be effective during the work day (Fritz et al., 2011):

  • Meditation helps you detach from work thoughts by clearing your mind and focusing on relaxation.
  • Physical activity helps you increase blood flow to areas in the brain that are necessary for focus and attention.
  • Learning something new or playing a game will help you feel confident and boost motivation.
  • Setting a new goal and thinking about the future will help you see the bigger picture and re-evaluate life in a positive way.

Meditation, physical activity, learning something new, and setting a new goal can sound like a lot of different things you need to do to take that break, but the reality is you can do all these things by simply taking a ‘Breath Break’.

Instead of reaching for coffee to give you a boost, allow your breath to soothe your body, mind and spirit.

If you don’t have time to leave your desk here is a 2 min ‘Breathing break’ you can take to de-stress, invigorate the spine and enliven your brain…

Push your chair away from your desk, place your feet on the floor under your knees, sit near the front of the chair and lengthen your spine.

Now close your eyes and place your hands on your belly and begin to take long slow deep breaths. On each inhale lengthen a little more through the side and back body, while doing your best to keep the chest and shoulders relaxed. After about 5 or 6 breaths open your eyes and let the breath return to normal.

Then begin the deep, calm breaths again, this time taking your arms overhead on the inhale and bringing them down on the exhale, again about 5 or 6 times.

Then place the hands on your knees, inhale to lengthen the body and on the exhale ‘roll forward over your knees’ keeping the hands on your knees for support. Go as low as you are comfortable. Inhale as you bring your body up and exhale you roll forward. About 5 or 6 times.

You can do another round changing the dynamics if you like and if your back is strong enough….

On the Inhale raise your arms up and on the Exhale as you roll forward you release your arms out to the side (swan dive fashion) and towards the floor. If you need to support of your hands on your knees, please keep them there.

If you have more room and time, try the above sequence standing up…. Just adjust from sitting to standing in mountain pose for the first round of breathing, on the second round arms go overhead slowly as you inhale and slowly come down on the exhale. You can add a little bit of fun here, as you go up on your toes slowly raise your heels off the floor.

For the next round (keep the heels down) raise your arms up on the inhale and on the exhale, bend the knees and roll down towards the floor. And on the inhale bring your body back to standing.

Again 5 or 6 breaths for each round. And remember to smile and have fun.

Breathing is the original mantra and just a few minutes of deep breathing is easy, it is an act of self-care and it accelerates the benefits of the work break. And connecting movement with the breath enhances brain function and amplifies the benefits of your ‘Breath Break’.

I could be talked into a wee little video of the above mentioned breath breaks….Hummmm? Interested?

So try substituting the ‘coffee break’ for a ‘Breath Break’ do it every day for a week and let me know how you feel!

Namaste my lovelies 

Oh Shanti

Cheryl

For information regarding events, Classes, Reiki and workshops, please check out the FaceBook page for The Chattanooga Yoga Centre.

 

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Daily Cup of Gratitude………. Working

I am grateful I have a job (several actually), we live in economically precarious times, as I write that previous bit the little voice in my head ( aaa shud’up, you have one too) pipes in with ‘but havent we always’, and yes I suppose we have, but the situation seems much worse now, economic collapse, high unemployment, retirement funds derailed, wow I have to stop watching the news. But I digress, yes I have several jobs, I teach yoga in a few different places, I train a few private clients and I work part-time at a bank. And I am grateful for each gig.

I am grateful that I am able to work, I know there those, who for one reason or another can’t work, So I am grateful my body is healthy enough to allow me to work.

I am grateful that I love what I do, yep folks I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually LOVE what I do, I love the folks I work with at the bank and the job allows me just enough freedom that I don’t get bored (the kissofdeath for me),  and Iconsider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga and to use what I know to help people get out of pain.

Nothing is perfect, no job is perfect, and no body is perfect. We just have to get up everyday and look for the joy, the laughter and at least some bliss in the things we do. If you have a sense of humor and an attitude of joy, then joy will find its way to you. In all that you do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

PS having said all that I am sharing a very funny ‘Cat in the Hat’ poem about work 🙂 That should make you smile.

The places I call Om………Fit One Gym

I teach and train at some wonderful facilities, I plan on writing a little something about each one of them. Highlighting owners, management, the classes I teach,  my history there and the folks I work with.

Lets start with Fit One Gym…….

Goodness Where do I start? I am deeply entrenched at Fit One, it really is a home away from home.

A brief history in time……………..

In January 2006 I hired on at FitOne as the General Manager. Working alongside the owners Jane & Jerry, I was responsible for everything from general staffing issues to scheduling classes, pay roll to maintenance, and everything in between.  That included of course teaching many classes and doing a little personal training. Fitone is a 16,000+sf Multi purpose community centered facility, part Gym and part mini spa all rolled into one. The Gym has 2 group fitness rooms, large strength training and cardio areas and a wonderful childcare center. Upstairs is home to an upscale hair salon, massage therapy and aesthetics. FitOne has never stopped growing. They have added a 2nd building with an all-purpose room used for everything from Silver Sneakers classes to wedding showers to small church group meetings.

I was GM for 4 years before stepping down to Fitness Director. I needed to spend a little more time with my family and I was planning a long yoga training in Atlanta, and while it was a hard decision to make, it worked out best for everyone, Jane & Jerry didn’t need a GM anymore they had already taken on much of the day-to-day running of the gym, the change made sense.

I have met so many wonderful people at FitOne and made many life long friends. Julie, Caleb, Suzanne, Nissie, Ali, Ashley, Karyn, Rachel, Richard, Jen, Jonathon, my many Lisa’s, the list is endless. Julie, Caleb, Suzanne, Claudia, Jonathon and I were there the day they opened the doors. We became more than friends, more than family we were each others support system. We could bitch and cry to each other or laugh with each other. Those early days were amazing, lots of hard work and long hours but it was a magical time.

 Julie, Caleb and I were the 3 musketeers; the universe had put the 3 of us there, together, for a reason. And along with Jane & Jerry, 2 of the kindest people I know, we we’re quite a team and I love them all dearly. In August of 2010 I went ahead and stepped down as Fitness director, I had taken a part-time job at a bank and that just didn’t leave enough hours in the day for everything. I still teach there and train a few, select clients.

Fitone continues to grow and thrive, serving their community with a passion for fitness and a commitment to everyone who comes through their doors. It will always be my Gym home. Many Blessings to all those who have come into my life via FitOne. I love you all.

 I have so very many friends at Fit One, maybe I should write something about each one 🙂    Food for though…hummmm……