Hi All!   I'm very happy and priveleged to welcome our very first guest expert to Head Space today!  Who is this mysterious VIP you ask?!  He's an expert in the field of wellness, health and fitness, all the way from California, USA, and he's here to share with us the in's and out's about what actually happens to our mind and body when we're strung out and stressed to the max!
Welcome Howard VanEs of www.mystressproofing.com , great to have you with us!  

Read to the end people ... there's a FREE GIFT waiting for you!

Neurons by Nicole Verwey- Baker - Recycled Paper On Canvas

Beating Stress With Your Breath
By Howard VanEs. M.A., cofounder


Did you know that the majority of the visits to medical doctors are because of stress related symptoms? Stress can be positive as well as negative. In its positive form stress challenges us and adds excitement to our life. In its negative form, stress can be quite debilitating, resulting in symptoms like headaches, tight shoulders, upset stomachs, lack of sleep, lack of energy, trouble thinking clearly and irritability. Left unchecked, ongoing stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic anxiety and depression.

To deal effectively with stress it’s helpful to understand what causes it. Imagine for a moment that it’s 20,000 years ago and you are a cave man or a cave woman stalking a prey. As you walk along you hear a noise in the tall grass up ahead and spot a huge tiger leaping towards you. Being the expert hunter that you are, you raise your spear and thrust it at the tiger. In that instant a hormone called epinephrine was released into your blood stream causing a rise in your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. As sugar and fat is release into your blood stream, blood is diverted from your skin and digestive system to your muscles and brain. Your senses are heightened! This physiological process is known as the “flight or fight” response.

This “flight or fight” response to stress occurs when you are driving on the highway and get cut off by another driver. It also occurs when you have to make a presentation to a large group, or go on a job interview, or take a test, or have a fight with your partner, or simply are overwhelmed with a lot of “important” things to do. Unlike the life and death example of the tiger, most stress related issues in our life are not a matter of life and death. Herein lies the problem as our biology has been preprogrammed to respond to challenging situations as is if was life or death by initiating the fight or flight response. Useful for hunting and fighting wars but very limiting in our modern lives. Everyone experiences some stress in his or her life, however what makes stress a killer is when it is ongoing and your system does not get a break from it.

So now that you know how stress occurs and what it does, let’s look at one of the most effective ways of dealing with stress. It is called the relaxation response and it is your body’s own natural way of bringing your system back into balance. The good news is that the relaxation response can be activated voluntarily. And yogic breathing practices, called pranayama, offer us many ways to do this. Among them here are three that are easy to do yet very effective at reducing stress, activating the relaxation response and quieting your mind.

The Yogic Breath:
Sit in a chair with your feet apart on the ground and bring your neck, head and spine into one line. Place your hands on your chest and breath in through your nose and out through your nose, feeling your chest expand. Do this three or four times. This is a chest breath and is rather shallow. Now place your hands on your belly and begin to inhale through your nostrils. As you do this, let your belly expand filling the entire abdominal area with your breath. Exhale and through your nose and press in slightly with your hands. Repeat this three or four times
Next place your left palm on your chest and your right palm on your belly. As you inhale through your nose let your belly expand and then bring your breath up into your chest, feeling your ribs expand. Exhale through your nose, release your breath first from the chest and then your stomach. Repeat three more times. Now close your eyes, rest your hands on your lap and repeat this breath ten times. To make this breath even more effective make the exhalation slower than the inhalation. This breath is quieting, calming and will leave you feeling more relaxed. If for some reason this breath is difficult for you just do the belly breathing and focus on long slow exhalations

Left Nostril Breathing:
 This breath helps to quiet the mind as well as being cooling and calming to the entire system. It is particularly useful when you are feeling hot or angry. Simply close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand. Breath in through your left nostril and out through your left nostril - slowly. Repeat this ten to twenty times.

Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Place your right index finger and middle finger on the bridge of your nose. Close the right nostril by pressing your right thumb, inhale and at the top of the inhalation close your left nostril with your ring finger. Release your thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril and at the top of the exhalation, close the right side with your thumb. Release the ringer finger from your left side. This is one round. Repeat six to twelve times- going slowly. This breath is very calming and has a balancing effect on the system.
The above breathing practices may be used individually or practiced together. Experiment and see what works best for you. If you feel dizzy or light headed at anytime – stop and let your breath come back to normal.

www.mystressproofing.com and Head Space!

About Howard VanEs, M.A.
Howard VanEs, has been committed to wellness and fitness for over 25 years. He has a deep passion for wellness, and a desire to help people learn about the many ways they can improve the quality of their health and life through mind/body methods. His experience includes work as a martial artist, yoga instructor, stress management trainer, and psychotherapist.

Howard is the cofounder of www.mystressproofing a website dedicated to helping people managing stress and taking control of their lives. Additionally, Howard has been a dedicated practitioner of hatha yoga and has been teaching yoga for the last 15 years in the Bay Area of California. Howard is the primary author and editor of the Letsdoyoga.com wellness book series including  Beginning Yoga: A Practice Manual, the audio CD Shavasna/Deep Relaxation, In addition to writing about and teaching yoga, Howard also leads yoga teacher trainings, stress management trainings, insomnia workshops, wellness seminars and retreats worldwide. Howard also has an M.A. in counseling psychology.

Copyright 2011 by Howard VanEs and Mystressproofing.com. All right reserved. No portion of this document may be copied or duplicated in any form without the express written permission of either Howard VanEs or Mystressproofing.com

Well done on reading to the end... or were you one of the sneaky ones who just scrolled to the end?? hmmm!!??  Sprung!

Howard has kindly given me permission to record his YOGIC BREATH technique for you to download and use when you need to destress!!  THANKS HOWARD!:)
CLICK HERE NOW for your free download