Deep breathing is my favorite antidote to stress. I do two-part breathing - first into the belly and then into the lungs and out again - before meditation, during the day during stressful situations, and definitely when at the dentist's office. I am also a fan of Piko-piko
breathing, used in the Hawaiian healing tradition. It is not only a stress reliever but a great aid in relieving pain as well.
Breathe in with your attention on your navel and breathe out with your attention on any part of your body that is in pain. Your imagination will help move healing energy along with your breath.
Make these deep breaths, moving your belly up and down (deep abdominal breathing oxygenates and relaxes your whole body). In another variation of Piko Piko, breathe in healing energy from the sky above and send any heavy energy with your breath out your feet to the center of the earth. You’ll be moving healing energy through the body, energizing your chakras and unblocking tension so your body can move into balance.
This is a perfect breathing exercise that takes less than a minute, can be done anytime, anywhere you need to relax, and is especially perfect before sitting down to meditate.
Deep breathing is one of the stress-releasing techniques used in the Dynamind Technique, which I learned in Hawaii from Serge Kahili King, PhD, a Hawaiian shaman and healer. It can be used to work on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dis-ease. Get a free preview at www.thechakras.org
For your free MP3
of my complete 10-minute Chakra Meditation, breathing into each chakra center and energizing it, click here
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries
With all this talk of manifesting your goals, how do you actually accomplish
conscious manifestation? There are many ways - here is advice gleaned from Gay Hendricks.
Manifestation begins to happen after you’ve become skilled at focusing positively on your goals (stage one) and loving yourself as you proceed toward them (stage two.)
Stage three is to cultivate an ongoing experience of wonder.
As you go through your life, get in the habit of asking lots of
wonder-questions. A wonder-question is one you don’t know the answer to.
A wonder-question is something you’re genuinely curious about.
When a tough situation emerges, go toward wonder rather than
toward a fixed position. If you’ve been struggling with your weight all your
life, shift for a moment to wonder instead of struggle. Ask a wonder question:
“Hmmm, I wonder what my weight-struggle is really about?”
(Compare that to a non-wonder question: “Does Jenny Craig or Weight-
Watchers have the best program?”)
Wondering is more fun and it makes things work faster. If we’d
gotten stuck in feeling victimized by our buyer who backed out, we wouldn’t
have had much fun. We might not have gotten the house back on the
market and sold it quite so quickly, either.
You can turn any life-situation into a wonder-question. If you’re
having a relationship struggle, let go of blaming your partner or yourself.
Instead, wonder “Why would I be creating a relationship struggle right
If you’re having a money-struggle, turn it into a wonder-question:
“Hmmm, what am I needing to learn from this money-struggle?”
Under stress, we humans tend to clutch our bellies in fear and cling to
fixed positions. We look for somebody to blame. We think we know whose
fault it is and what they ought to do to fix the problem.
Let’s try something new: Under stress, go to wonder rather than fear.
Let go of positions and float free in wonder.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries
Journaling can be used to chronicle your stressors and identify the true root of your tension.
In a recent workshop on “Mastering Stress for Optimal Health,” at a Hawaii Health Getaway, Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, introduced journaling as a way to find the underlying causes of stress in your life and evaluate the best ways to manage it.
There are numerous journaling techniques to improve mindfulness, set goals and improve well-being. In fact, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychotherapy, had his clients write in a stream of consciousness without censoring in order to bypass their “inner critic.” This allows access to a hidden reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, and creativity beyond the conscious part of the mind, Freud contended.
A more recent use of journaling, shared by Doherty, is the 28-day Stress Management Journal developed by Porter and Rosch of The American Institute of Stress.
“If you don’t clearly identify the stressors in your life, you’ll have almost no chance of reducing or eliminating your stress,” she said. “Whether you create your own format for writing about your stress, or use The Stress Management Journal, you will be able to identify patterns and emotional reactions that you can change for greater peace and health in your life.”
Start with writing down the obvious causes of stress (like a fight with your spouse, or difficulty with your boss). This helps you identify the subtler, underlying causes of stress. For instance, when you get into an argument with your children during the morning rush to get to school and work, you'll learn that it's probably not the kids -- but time pressure -- that's really stressing you.
Keeping a diary to see where their blocks to health and happiness originated worked well for the characters in The Chakra Diaries.
So, get out a ruled notebook, fancy diary or purchase a Stress Management Journal at www.stressstop.org.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries
I'm so looking forward to contributing at Hawaii Health Getaway's program, "Mastering Stress for Optimal Health." If you're ready for a Spring Retreat, come to the Hawaii Health Getaway, April 30 - May 7, to learn mind-body healing techniques, healing touch and massage, conscious communication, optimal nutrition for the mind and body, plus yoga and meditation. The daily adventure excursions take you swimming with dolphins, hiking to magical waterfalls, watching the lava create fireworks as it flows into the ocean on the Big Island, and swimming and snorkeling in volcanically-heated warm ocean pools. For details, see www.HawaiiHealthGetaway.com.
As Hippocrates said, "Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease." In a recent discussion with Serge Kahili King, PhD, teacher of the Hawaiian Huna philosophy, he explained how everyone's body can achieve "instant healing" if there is no stress or tension. So that's where healers come in - they teach you to do yoga, meditate or chant, balance your chakras, do Qigong, exercise, breathe deeply, eat healthier food, perhaps take a pill to remove pain so that you can relax and heal. "All power comes from within," as King teaches in the Huna principles and that includes our power to heal. But we are all here on earth to help each other, and "healers" can help others to release the blocks in the flow of their healing energy. So, get that delightful massage, take that inspiring class, but put all your confidence and belief in your own ability to heal because, truly, all healing comes from within.
Namaste! Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries
I love Piko-Piko breathing. Can you recommend any other instant stress busters? My boss at work is driving me crazy.
Yes, if judgments ever run through your head, they’re stressing you out – and can lead to lots of health problems. Hawaiian mind-body medicine teaches that any criticism, whether of your boss, yourself or the weather, leads to tension in your body, raising blood pressure, blood sugar and stress hormones. For instant relief from this “mental stress,” spend just one minute doing “Saturation Praise,” complimenting everything you like about yourself, your boss (if only his tie), your yoga practice, your chakras, your world, and watch relaxation set in.
Piko-piko breathing is used in the Hawaiian healing tradition, taught at the recent Hawaii Health Getaway I attended. Imagine breathing in from the crown of your head and breathe out with your attention on your navel. Make these deep breaths, moving your belly up and down (deep abdominal breathing oxygenates and relaxes your whole body). In a variation I love, breathe in healing energy from the sky above and send any heavy energy with your breath out your feet to the center of the earth. You’ll be moving healing energy through the body, energizing your chakras and unblocking tension so your body can move into balance.
This is a perfect breathing exercise that takes less than a minute, can be done anytime, anywhere you need to relax, and is especially perfect before sitting down to meditate. Namaste!