Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Art of Breathing

"Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe." ~ B.K.S. Iyenger

Eastern medicine has recognized the importance of correct breathing for centuries for physical, mental and spiritual development. All living things are filled with life force energy, or prana, at their core. Without this form of energy, life could not exist. Yet, we all take it for granted. We all breathe, so it makes sense to educate ourselves on how to breathe consciously, and therefore improve our lives. If we have to do it anyway, it seems like a pretty good place to start to me.

Many of us are shallow breathers. Some of us breathe from our stomach area in short breaths, and some of us from our chests. Shallow breathing allows about one third of the oxygen we actually need to fill our lungs. Correct breathing starts in the abdomen, then fills the lungs and chest causing the shoulders to rise slightly. Inhalation brings oxygen and creates energy in the body. Exhalation removes the impurities from the body creating the prana or life energy to expand.

According to B.K.S. Inyenger, author of Light on Pranayama (1987), "the practice of pranayama (or conscious breathing) induces the relaxation response and accompanying enhancement of the immune system". The more calm and relaxed we are, the more life force we maintain and develop. On the other hand, the more agitated or stressed we are, the more life energy remains outside of our bodies, which can possibly lead to illnesses. Yoga scholars believe that through correct breathing practices, prana increases and causes growth and development as positive mindset changes occur over time. What a great piece of news that is!

By simply becoming aware of our breathing and doing it consciously, we have already begun positive attitude change! Start by noticing first in what area of your body you breathe from first. Place your hand on on your belly just above your navel and notice as you inhale deeply whether your abdomen moves outward. Pay attention to how your chest moves and feels and if your shoulders rise slightly. Notice how fast you exhale and if it is steady in length and comfort to your deep inhale. Practice this a few times every day. Do not push it so that you feel lightheaded - it does take some practice. Remember, you have probably been breathing for quite awhile unconsciously. Take it a step at a time. Three to five deep breaths in the beginning is good. You can increase your deep breathing time as you grow more accustomed and comfortable with it. If at any time you feel lightheaded, tense, or uncomfortable physically or emotionally - stop immediately and resume your regular breathing pattern. Don't over do it.

To make the most of your breathing exercises, note the following tips:
1. Breathe through the nose - keep your mouth closed.
2. Breaths should be steady and even. Focus on inner quiet as your goal as you inhale and exhale.
3. Pause slightly between deep breaths.
4. Don't force the process. Breath is life force and is connected to your entire body system. Any agitated breathing is a sign of physical stress and time to stop.
5. Enjoy it! This is not work. You have been breathing since the day you were born. You now are just more aware of it.

"Pranayama practice has far-reaching, positive effects on physical, emotional, and mental well-being. it also encourages spiritual development. More specifically, mindful breathing practice:
- clears and calms the mind
- focuses attention
- develops concentration
- refreshes and renews the body
- improves metabolic function
- assists in cardiovascular function" ~ Michele Picozzi, Pocket Guide to Hatha Yoga, 1998

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Helen's Wisdom

Recently, a new personal development program found its way to my
email. Is is based on the knowledge of Helen Hadsell. Helen is 83
years young, and wrote the book, Contesting: The Name It and Claim
It Game back in 1971. Helen has won every contest she has chosen
to win and enter (and she passed this ability on to her family
members!). She has spoken worldwide to share her knowledge and has
been interviewed on Oprah a few years ago telling her story. Her
sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude towards an abundant life is
second to none. The book is now out of print (available on E-Bay
for anywhere from $89 to $169 per copy!), but I lucked out as a
friend and colleague of mine had an original copy which I borrowed
and read cover-to-cover twice! (Thank you Linda!!) I share with you some of Helen's wisdom...

"...The majority of people still think that ESP means Extra Sensory
Perception, that few people have it, and you have ESP only if you
can tell how many pennies someone has in his pocket.
Effective Sensory Projection is nothing but projecting energy
toward an end result, seeing it as already having it. Now anyone
can do that. Effective Sensory Projection is just being aware of
people and things around you. You can read people simply by
listening to them, watching their body mannerisms.
If you are interested or have desire to cultivate your ESP power,
then do it. The more observant you become, the more you will come
to realize that there really is nothing hidden. It's just that you
haven't noticed before." (Helen Hadsell, Contesting: The Name It
and Claim It Game)

Welcome to the world of new perspectives...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My 2 Cents

A person's motive for accomplishment, or intention for success, determines the ability to understand what they do and why they receive the results they do. Being in harmony with intention is the making or breaking point to any success. The level at which a person is in line with intention can be personally measured through physiological states and emotions. In other words, your feelings are a barometer to gauge if you are on the 'right track'. In fact, we call our emotions 'feelings' because they cause physical responses in our bodies.

The better and more pleasant our emotions are - the better and more positive our over-all well-being. For those wondering if all the 'hype' about the law of attraction is worthwhile, kinesiology, or the study of the muscular system and its reactions within the body provides evidence.

"The human central nervous system clearly has an exquisitely sensitive capacity to differentiate between 'life-supportive' and 'life-destructive' patterns. High power attractor energy patterns, which make the body go strong [when tested], release brain endorphins and have a tonic effect on all of the organs; adverse stimuli release adrenaline, which surpasses immune response and instantaneously causes both weakness and even breakdown of specific organs depending on the nature of the stimulus...this clinical phenomena forms the basis for such treatments as chiropractic, acupuncture, reflexology, and others. These therapies, however, are usually designed to correct the 'results' of an energy imbalance, but unless the basic attitude that's causing the energy imbalance is corrected, the illness tends to return....traditional medicine generally holds that stress is the cause of many disorders and doesn't accurately address the 'source' of the stress. It looks to blame external circumstances, without realizing that 'all stress is internally generated by one's attitudes'". (Dr. David R. Hawkins, MD, PHD, Power VS Force, 2002 pp. 209-214)

Understanding how our attitudes and belief patterns with their attached emotions work - is imperative to better health. Learning about compassion and acceptance develops an attitude for choice. Choice becomes a behaviour pattern that we can use to decide between anabolic endorphins or catabolic adrenaline. Life needs a holistic approach as disregard for nutrition and physical activity hinders healing and further development.

Watching quietly in the background as the world begins to 'go green' and the self-growth and health and wellness industry expands is very exciting to me. Eastern and Western medicine practices and specialists are now joining through the understanding that holistic health is a necessity - not an option. Physicians are beginning to put the pharmaceutical companies aside and instead of feeling a risk to their reputation by promoting holistic health, they are in fact, building more credibility for themselves and their clinics and hospitals. To see these hospitals and clinics incorporating nutritional products for example, in their patient treatment programs is a huge step in developing the credibility. The Western world is finally getting on the same page as what the Eastern traditions have been saying for centuries. It has been a long time coming, but how exciting it is to see so many innovators being recognized worldwide and here in our own backyards.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Flowing Conversations

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with a friend and colleague of mine - Maddy Swinnen. Maddy is a Well Being and Business coach ( with a Masters in Positive Psychology and an MBA. She is also a mom who has built a successful business helping others while still keeping her family first priority. That alone makes her an amazing woman. Despite the fact that it is often difficult to take time out in our busy lives, we spent a few hours discussing 'flow' and it was truly fascinating.

Maggie described flow as a state of intense absorption and involvement with the present moment, where people expand their mind and body, based on the research insights of flow guru Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. As writing is my passion, the concept of flow for me usually equates to creative expression. My own definition of flow is 'a state of heightened awareness that allows for imaginative freedom and inspired thought'. Although it seems easier to get into flow when doing a task that challenges us to use and expand our skill-set, I also learned that we can get into a state of flow when even doing small daily activities when we choose to be attentive. Although I has always 'known' this, Maddy brought this idea to the forefront of my awareness. Throughout our discussion, we often chose different terminology or experiences, but we agreed on the commonalities of what 'being in flow' feels like and the benefits that being in flow can provide for personal well-being.

When asked, many people describe this state of being as 'having everything going their way'. It has been characterized with feelings of joy, peace, and appreciation. When experiencing flow during different activities, many talk of losing track of time, and that if disrupted during such a pleasing activity and state, they feel almost disoriented for a moment. I shared my own experiences with Maddy of how I have had this disorientation following interruptions while I was writing and compared it to the breaking of a hypnotic trance. Even though one can be completely aware of their surroundings, a disruption while in this state can cause a sensation of being startled. Through the sensory inputs does flow begin. Our sensory input creates the emotional state, which allows for the creative imagination to become playful and to provide inspired thoughts and images. This is 'the way of the artist'.

Obviously then, learning how to increase flow in our lives is a goal worth striving for. The benefits are many - improved health, mental clarity, calmness of mind and spirit, joy, and overall well-being. It stands to reason that if concentration and focus lead to flow, exercises such as simple meditations would be a good first step towards preparing for a state of flow. Physical activity also aids in the development of flow. Many athletes have experiences inspired 'flashes' while running or exercising. A quiet walk everyday allows not only for your physical well-being, but this inner reflection can also prepare us to arrive quicker into a state of flow when doing a more challenging task. You just need to take the time out to 'stop and smell the roses', as the saying goes. I am thankful that Maddy and I took that time together. It brought me to my creative flow, and what an amazing place that is to be. Thank you Maddy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Working Together - The Time is NOW!

I have just received my fourth call today about people in multi-level marketing companies that are so frustrated they can't stand it. Frustration is a nasty emotion, and only necessary, in my opinion, as a powerful motivator to get people to stand up and take action for what they believe in. That said...

I personally believe that there has never been a better time to get involved with a personal business - Multi-Level marketing included here - than now. So many people I talk with are in companies that are downsizing or worse - closing their doors. There has never been a more strategic time to have plans B, C, and D in place. Surprisly, most don't have even a plan B. I have been recommending Robert Allen's book, Mutiple Streams of Income to more people over the last few weeks than I can count anymore. As a coach, I cannot stress enough how important residual and mutliple streams of income are. However, I have, after call number four today, come to the conclusion that not all companies are alike. Not all MLM's have the best interest for their distributors and down lines in mind.

Here's a tip: If you are involved or thinking of becoming involved in any company - make sure that you are not going to be harrassed if you decided to expand your own income streams by becoming involved in additional companies. Every product company (information or tangible prducts) that is worth it's salt should be willing to bend the rules a bit for their distributors. So many companies can benefit each other, and as a business owner - whatever that business may be - but they only want their distributors to deal with 'their' products. They want the business. This makes sense, however; when competition rules - no one wins. Instead of saying that product A is better than product B, why not try them both out to see which is a better fit for both the distributors and the customers they are selling too? Why can't you have multiple tools in your toolbox? You can't build a house with just a hammer. I understand there are legal issues with cross promoting some products and that, obviously, must be taken into account. Yet, so many mlm companies have products that benefit each other (ie: supplements, greeting card companies, and informational products).

When I work with networking groups, I always encourage the people there to work together. Compliment one another with what you each offer and work as a unit - not as individuals. On occassion, your product might not be what 'John' is looking for, but maybe your colleague's is. Refer John to your colleague. He will be happier, and he will remember you when someone is looking for what you have to offer. If you have product A, and your colleague has product B, but they work together well (ie: supplements and vitamin juices for example), work together for mutual sales as well as referrals. Welcome to the world of mutiple streams of income. Welcome to the saving grace of having plans B, C, and D.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Networking is the Law of Attraction in Action

This week at our local networking meeting, I was discussing with some of members how quickly we have grown. Just a year ago, we were a regular group of about five members. Then we grew to fifteen and averaged to twenty for a few months straight. I predicted then, as the economy began to take a downward turn, that we would be growing immensley as more and more people would begin to realize the importance of doing something that made them stand out and creating realtionships to maximize their personal and business growth.

This past three weeks, we have grown again. We maintained an average of thirty regulars before the holidays. As the new year began, we are having numbers in excess of fifty regular attendees, and new members every week. In fact, we have grown so much, that we have to lock our door as fire regulations will not allow us to take anymore people. This has its pros and cons, of course. The pro's far outweigh the negatives.

Interestingly enough, we do not 'follow the rules' of the standard networking groups. We only recently adopted an agenda to accomodate the large numbers. Up until now, we have concentrated on unique ways for us to grow as individuals and in our businesses by putting each other first, and maintaining a sense of community and family. We do not pass out cards for leads and are done with it. We do have speakers each week, but they are our own members so that we learn more about each other on an personal basis. This one facet alone, has enabled each of us to make deeper relationships and referrals based on trust. In fact, most of us have used each others services and provide testimonials to each other through our personal experiences. After all, it is a lot easier to say, "I have a friend who I went to for ... and they were amazing!" than, "I have this guy I met at a meeting - I have his card". Which one would you pick? Thought so.

Anyway, apparently we are getting noticed. We have had local newspapers advertise and visit our group (secretly!), people talking about us on Facebook and other networking groups, etc. In fact, we even have some local celebrities talking about us in their blogs! The point is, if you want to bounce back from all this negative crap about the economy and how 'hard life is', and blah, blah, blah...get up and do something about it! Use your head and think, and then use your body and get out and move. If you don't, call us, we have some great referrals for business liquidators.

I leave you with a blog entry from Mary Gardner. Mary Gardner is the President and Founder of Lifestyles Communications, Inc. based in Winter Park , FL. She is a consultant and coach to leaders, executives, sales professionals and entrepreneurs from all over the country. Here's her post....

Marketing The NEW Way!

News Flash! Things are NOT business as usual!

My friends who go to networking events are sharing with me that their networking groups are up by a ton! My friend Tim who started COFFEEVENT on, a networking group around Orlando told me that the numbers are up 55% since December. Wow! Way to go Tim! It’s a great service you’re providing.

People have obviously jumped in and are not taking the recession sitting down. They realize that their long time customers aren’t buying the volume that they were or have cut down entirely, and are now out looking for new customers. Many are adding new services or adding something new and unique to their offerings, and are putting in longer hours and offering better customer service than ever.

I read recently that if you want to be noticed, that your product or service really has to be something out of the ordinary, and do what others won’t. Businesses that are growing, are answering a need in the marketplace and not requiring their customers to buy in large quantities, and the old rules aren’t necessarily applying to today. Just take a trip to the mall and realize that so many businesses are going out of business so the ones that are surviving are doing something unique, new or different.

No one can afford to be the same as usual anymore.

Still, people are buying. If you take a trip out to Disney World or Universal, people are still partying and enjoying life. Perhaps many of the people pre-purchased these vacations like a lot of the experts said, or maybe they just needed a break from the constant stress that now surrounds each of us with the financial woes of our country.

Businesses are now spending more money on marketing and that’s where we are able to help. We’re now sending out mailings for numerous businesses and helping them be seen over all of the others.

Bartering is also a great new avenue that people are tapping into. Ask yourself, what services can you barter? This is the time to FIND something, because if things continue, it might come in handy to have something valuable to barter. Check out Craigs list to see the many people who are bartering services and products.

For those of you who are finding business in new and unique places.. way to go. Drop a note and let me know where you’re finding it and what you’re doing that’s new and unique.

Don’t take this recession sitting down. Don’t roll over and play dead! Get in the game, be seen and get excited. Our creativity can flow when we absolutely HAVE to come up with a new solution!

If you need a jump start on your creativity, a great book is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Or check on how to jump start your creativity!

Get those juices flowing…and who knows.. you might strike gold!

Mary Gardner, Winter Park

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Happens When you Take the 'Social' out of Social Networking?

What happens when the 'Social' gets left out of Social Networking?

Well, the answer is P.O.'d people. This I know from experience as both the receiver and being flamed when I did it myself without being aware. There is an etiquette that is expected in networking. Often, I have experienced this etiquette and respect at 'live' networking events. However, many I have found, are not carrying this to the on-line community.

When I first got the inspiration to work from home, start a business and change my life – I was excited! And rightly so, I might add. The courage to move out into the 'unknown' is immense. The amount of courage didn't matter though. I was going to make it – no matter what! So, I began placing my website link in forums, on social networking sites, and sending out all kinds of email broadcasts.

Guess what? I learned pretty quickly that this is not the way to go. I succeeded in getting myself 'out there', but not in the mindset I wanted. I was coming off as a spammer. I was extremely upset as I began to have people 'un-subscribe' to my hard work and as I read negative comments about my forum posts. I had to start over.

Then, I discovered Facebook.

For me, this was a way to keep in contact with my friends back home in Canada. When I discovered that I could build my on-line presence with it, I found my niche. I was ecstatic! Now I had a platform that could build the foundation for my upcoming business and help me stay in the loop. Further, as I learn new things, I now share them with others - which happens to be a personal passion of mine.

Then, the questions starting pouring in. How do I do this? How do I make friends? How do I create pages? The list seemed endless. However the biggest question is that of making friends – legitimate ones.

Here's my advice.

If I invited you to a cocktail party at my house and the only person you knew there was me, how would you introduce yourself to all the other guests? I would be busy being the host, so you would be on your own. You obviously wouldn't say, “my name is …. and my website will now be receiving my newsletter”. So, why in the name of Heaven would you do it on-line?!? A lot of the people you want to reach do not know you, so take the time to think about how you would approach them in person. Carry that on-line, and you will be much more successful. Find the people who share the same ideas and passions that you do. Talk to them, and be honest that you want to expand your circles with 'like-minded' people. There is a lot to be said for honesty and integrity.

Remember that Social Networking has the word “social' in it for a reason.

As for face-to-face's my advice on that:

Ditto to the above.

When you get it, and we become 'like-minded', let me know. Maybe we can have a cup of coffee. That coffee, by the way, is available in person, or while I am still in my PJ's on-line.