Just a Reminder

When our life is filled with deadlines, details, duties, and dealing with difficulties, it is crucial to develop a daily routine that can help us in maintain our health, balance and sanity.

It’s the little things that, when done consistently, are the most powerful tools we have to calm our mind, relax our body, soothe our heart, and soothe our soul.

The combined daily practice of proper breathing exercises, relaxation skills, and meditation brings a much-needed sense of peace and order.

Let’s take a look at the three basic tools we need to build that strong and vibrant life.

Just Breathe

How many of us are aware of our breathing?

If you have ever watched a child or animal breathe, you will notice how they breathe from their belly, slow and deep. We take our breathing for granted, until some problem develops. As you are reading this, how are your breathing? For the most part, we are not aware of how we are breathing throughout the day. 

Did you know that majority of people are shallow breathers?

As we get cut up in the day-to-day hustle, we tend to breathe fast and shallow. This results in the body not being able to fully clear out the lower part of the lungs. We can live without food and water for many days, but only a few minutes without oxygen. How we breathe has an important effect on our health and the quality of our lives. Shallow breathing deprives your body of oxygen, which puts a burden on your heart, nervous system, and brain. 

Did you know that every breathe you take supplies your body with oxygen while also removing carbon dioxide and other toxins from your lungs. energizes and purifies your body, improves the functioning of your organs, especially the heart, circulation, nervous system, and metabolism, clears and calms the mind, reduces stress, prevents disease, and helps you sleep better and handle your emotions.  

Ever notice how you breathe when you are angry, anxious, tired, or sad? 

Your emotions affect your breathing, and vice versa, your breathing can affect your emotions. We hold the key to changing our emotions and energy by changing the way we breathe. When stressed, our breath becomes rapid and shallow, so by slowing down our breath and making it  deeper, we can stop the stress response and tap into the relaxation response.

Who doesn’t want to improve their breathing? 

We can start by bringing our awareness to our breath throughout the day and observe our energy level as it fluctuates with our breath. We can balance our body’s energy and remain centered by learning how to breathe more deeply and slowly. Simple techniques, like the basic three-part abdominal breathing, can have an immediate impact on your body and mind.

Taking yoga classes is a good place to learn about breathing exercises, also known as pranayama. In Sanskrit, prana translates to life force, and yama means control or mastery. Thus, the practice of pranayama is about focusing and regulating the breath, which is absorbed into the body through the air. That’s why when we go for a walk in the fresh air, we are inhaling air that is charged with prana. This dynamic force is like an electric current that circulates in every part of our body giving us, renewed strength and vigour. 


Cultivating a stronger connection to our breath will transform our life and health by becoming more in tune with our body, and tapping into the power of breath to  allow vital energy to flow and soothe the soul.

Just Relax

Did you know that medical researchers estimate that between 60 and 90% of today’s illness are stress-related disorders?

In our modern society, everyone’s running on empty. Many are busy juggling responsibilities both at home and at work, always rushing and trying to adapt to a consistently shifting playing field. Chronic stress takes a toll on our mental and physical health. Today’s silent pandemic pushes people’s bodies and minds to the limit. Stress that is not managed puts extra pressure, loss of control, and uncertainty into the equation, leading to a variety of problems, from a loss of energy and vitality to interfering with our health, personal relationships, and lifestyle.

Whether it’s our doctor, our best friend, our colleague, or our partner telling us that we need to relax, most of us don’t really know what relaxation is or how to relax. Relaxation is not about becoming a couch potato; it involves taking an active role in bringing a state of true inner calmness to our body and mind. Doing relaxing activities is a good way to get our mind off the stress and give our body a chance to rest. But true relaxation involves training. If we want to become a marathon runner, we would need to train. The same applies if we want to become relaxed: we need to train.

Why is relaxation so important?

There is overwhelming scientific research today showing us evidence of the physical and mental benefits of relaxation. Relaxation reduces muscle tension, stress, and anxiety; lowers heart rate and blood pressure; protects the heart; increases blood flow and allows oxygen to reach body tissues; decreases anger, frustration, and fatigue; helps lower inflammation and pain; and improves digestion, the immune system, mood, and concentration. 

Yoga teaches relaxation techniques, but there are now a plethora of online courses and apps that are sure to meet our needs.Some basic relaxation techniques include;

  1. Progressive muscle relaxation; we go through each body part and gently relax.
  2. The contraction release method; we focus on one part of the body, contract for ten seconds, and then totally let go of tension in that muscle. 
  3. Autogenic training; we use systematic exercises along with a series of self-statements about heaviness and warmth in different parts of the body to elicit the relaxation response.

Most of these techniques involve rhythmic breathing combined with a series of movements and guided imagery. 

The quickest simple way to relax is find a quiet space, make yourself comfortable, become aware of your breath and take a few deep breaths; become aware of your body and do a body scan; whatever tension you find, give it permission to release and relax; whenever your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath; bring your attention back to your posture, your chair, the floor, the sounds around you; enjoy this feeling of calm and know that you can carry this feeling with you throughout the rest of the day.

Catch yourself when you are rushing and things are becoming hectic. Make it a point to slow down and catch your breath. Stress is not what is going on in the world, it is about how we choose to respond to the stressors. Since stress is part of everyday life, our job is to figure out what we can and cannot change and resolve to take action. Worrying won’t change anything; it will just add more stress.

We all get busy and forget to relax. Those who say they are too busy to relax are probably the ones who need it the most. In order to reduce the wear and tear on our body and mind, we need to prioritize and incorporate relaxation into our daily routine so we can function at an optimal level. Making time to rest and relax lays a solid foundation for stress management. Find a relaxation technique that works for you, be consistent, and it will prevent a host of physical and mental problems.

Just Meditate

Did you know that your mind is like a wild monkey?

The Buddhists compare the mind to a room filled with drunken monkeys jumping around all day long. Our mind is always filled with thoughts, ideas, worries and many voices swirling in our head, each one competing with the other to be heard. On top of this, we have the addiction to technology and the multi-tasking world we live in today that adds to the problem. We have become more anxious and fatigued as well as less able to focus and sleep. 

This is the nature of our mind. We cannot get rid of thoughts, nor can we fight with them. The more we resist, the more they persist. The key is learn how to tame our conscious mind. Practising meditation will help us pay attention to these monkeys, get to know and understand them, and eventually, master them. The end result is living a calmer, happier life as we harness the power of our subconscious mind, the core of who we really are, and our higher self.

What is meditation?

By learning to meditate, we can learn how to quiet the mind. Meditation is when we intentionally spend time with our mind. Meditation is fitness training for the mind. 

The three components of meditation include;

1) concentration; the ability to focus our attention. 

2) observation; paying attention without judgement.  

3) awareness; allowing ourselves to be present and awake while deeply relaxed.

Why meditate?

Research shows what the yogis have known for many thousands of years; science now has a better understanding of how meditation affects our mind and body.

When we meditate, we become more aware of our thoughts, more present in the moment, clear our mind, stay focused, relax our body, reduce stress and anxiety, improve our ability to solve problems, better adapt to and overcome emotional problems, enhance our sleep and overall well-being, and increase productivity.

How does one meditate?

There are so many great apps and videos that can provide us with guided meditations to get  started. Get into the habit of meditation by creating a daily routine: sit in the same quiet space

each time, repeating the same action and the same ritual, like lighting a candle or burning incense and put up your “do not disturb” sign; start in the seated position so that we do not fall asleep in the prone position. Some set up an altar or picture. Make it comfortable by adding a cushion. These all set up prompts or cues for us to strengthen our meditation. Take small steps, like a doable five minutes to start, and then see how easily it will turn into twenty minutes. 

The basic meditation focuses on one breath at a time, breathing in and out slowly and deeply. When thoughts or feelings come up, let them go without judgment. Our mind is expected to wander, just bring it back to the sound of our breath and observe. As we continue to meditate, we will be able to release tension within the body, mind, and emotions, all of which lead to healing. Being still is about giving ourselves the time and space to reflect, replenish, and find inner peace in our hearts and souls, regardless of what is going on around us. 

Remember to Breathe – Relax – Focus – Feel – Observe – Allow

Take a deep breathe, relax, and pay attention to the important things in life. All three are interconnected, and each one is a combination of the others. As we reap the benefits of breathing, relaxing, and meditation, we will reconnect to our natural rhythm and inner wisdom. We can all use less stress and more calm in our lives and in the world.

Apply these principles to our everyday life and reinforce the sense of harmony, serenity, and balance. And it goes without saying that the more we apply these tools, the more we tap into the “flow” and harness the power of now. 

Face your day with relaxed awareness and presence toward everything you think, say, and do. No need to rush; instead, move more deliberately and mindfully. No need to stress out or dread the day; instead, feel calmly active and look positively forward to a new day.  

Give yourself the permission to JUST BE.

Antoinette Giacobbe