Back to basics

February 18, 2014

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I remember learning in biology that all living things require oxygen and water. Why then, do so many people neglect the two things that are so crucial to their survival?

Every morning when I wake up, I reach for coffee before water. It helps me get my day started, but it also dehydrates my body and makes me tense. Overindulgence in caffeine, coupled with sleep deprivation, leads to burnout.

Unfortunately, some people have to experience that burned out feeling––the low energy, lack of focus and creativity, and health problems––before learning how important it is to stop, breathe deeply and drink water. I relearned that lesson recently.

In the past, my weekly dance class included a 30 minute yoga routine. When I stopped dancing I also stopped my yoga practice, and I started to feel tense and burned out again. I am now back on my yoga mat, breathing, and making an effort to drink more water.

Yoga allows me to quiet my mind and focus on deep breathing. I find that my attitude is more positive, I’m less cranky, and I think more clearly. I’m less worried about the small stuff, which allows me to focus on more important things.

On days that I don’t do yoga, I make a conscious effort to do simple stretching and deep breathing when I am sitting down.  I realized that I had become so disconnected from breathing with my diaphragm that it felt foreign and difficult at first. I had to practice.

We can breathe anywhere, our desks, cars, or sofas. The great thing about breathing is it’s free; you don’t even need a gym membership.