A simple equation for energy and vitality
We live in a time of busyness. A time where being on-the-go, constantly stressed out, multi-tasking and running from appointment to appointment is often seen as an indicator of the degree of ‘success’ in our lives. You race through the week, meeting deadlines, paying bills, taking care of the family, working out at the gym, working late, taking work home – no wonder at the end of the week, all you want to do is flop on the couch for the entire weekend so you can do it all again next week.
Over time the constant stress this lifestyle places on your body accumulates and can lead to tissue breakdown, fatigue of the adrenal glands, suppression of the immune system, chronic illness and disease. Add to this poor digestion, constipation and poor sleep and you could start noticing a few extra kilos creeping onto your waistline!
But what if you could get through your busy day, avoid the gym and still get some exercise and still have enough energy for the family at the end of the day?
In “How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!”* Paul Chek discusses how breathing, eating and movement all contribute to generating the energy we need on a daily basis to live, be healthy and have the energy to carry out all the work that we ask of our bodies.
“Building energy and vitality in your body is a lot like investing. Just as it takes money to make money. It takes energy to make energy.”
When you breathe, you are expending energy to bring air into your body which in turn creates energy by allowing oxygenated blood to travel from your lungs to your heart, a powerful generator which sends information and energy to your brain and to each and every cell and system of your body.
When you eat good quality food, your body expends energy to chew the food and digest it. The food, now metabolized, provides energy to the hormonal system which generates and balances the required hormones for your body to perform work or activity.
Much of the energy generated through breathing and eating fuels your muscles which in turn allow you to move, have fun and generate more energy by acting as pumps to assist the heart in moving blood throughout the body.
Putting it all together
Exercising muscles in many different parts of the body allows this positive energy to be distributed amongst the many organs and systems of the body. But exercising your muscles doesn’t have to mean spending hours at the gym or pounding the pavement.
Using the concept of the chakras associated with yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong as their foundation, Chek’s Zone Exercises generate energy and vitality through gentle movement and breathing.
Zone Exercises can be done at any time. Working on the concept of Chi energy, the faster you move, the slower the Chi energy moves and the slower you move, the faster the Chi energy moves. If you’re feeling tired or sluggish and have no time for a nap, perform some Zone Exercises and feel your energy levels increase. Alternatively if you’re wired and stressed at the end of the day, notice how Zone Exercises calm the body and the mind allowing for better relaxation and a great night’s sleep.
Zone Exercises can help with digestion too – they can be done on a full stomach. If you’re not sure how fast to perform the movements, try doing them after you’ve eaten. If your digestion feels compromised, you’re probably moving too fast, if you’re doing them at the correct pace, your digestion will be improved.
When performing Zone Exercises a key ingredient is the speed and nature of your breathing. Rather than shallow chest and mouth breathing, Zone Exercises should be performed with Deep Diaphragmatic Breaths. Whether you choose to call them diaphragmatic breaths, abdominal breathing, belly breathing or deep breathing, the correct technique is to breathe in through the nose, expand your belly and allow your diaphragm to move down creating more room for the lungs to expand, rather than breathing only through the chest and mouth.
To Practise Diaphragmatic Breathing:
• Sit or lie comfortably
• Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach
• Slowly inhale through your nose or through pursed lips (to slow down the intake of breath)
• As you inhale, push your belly/stomach out and feel your stomach expand as your hand moves out
• Slowly exhale through pursed lips to regulate the release of air while squeezing your stomach
• Rest and repeat
So if you find you’re cramming too much into your day, have no energy to do the things you love to do or find it hard to unwind at the end of the day, take a few minutes to perform some Zone Exercises and experience a return of energy and vitality through breathing and gentle movement.
*”How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!”, Copyright 2004, Paul Chek