I picked up the book “Building Bone Vitality” at the library. A few pages in I thought “Did I wander into the self-hell section by mistake?” This book is quite preachy and dogmatic – not my style. The theory, however is sound, based on oriental medicine’s emphasis on maintaining a healthy PH balance. Plenty of research and data support their claim, which is basically, for bone health, eat your vegetables. Consuming excess amounts of protein, among other things, leads to an overly acidic environment in the body. This adversely affects cellular function, and causes bone tissue to lose calcium. There are foods that dramatically bump up the alkalinity (dried apricots and grapefruit are at the top of the list – who knew?) Of course I’m on board with eating well, but guess what else is a culprit in raising the acidity of our internal environment my friends? Stress. A stress reaction floods the system with adrenaline, and the result is a highly acidic state. We can handle this in short term bursts but when the stress becomes chronic, as it so often does in our modern world, it becomes more and more difficult to get ourselves back into balance. Whatever the stressor, the mind alerts the body that danger is present. The adrenal glands respond by releasing hormones that stimulate the nervous system.
And shuts down:
Repair and Recuperation
What to do? Increase the amount of time that you are feeling calm. This will strengthen your potential for returning to calm following a stress reaction.
How to do it?
Calming Breath – Lengthening the Exhalation
Long full exhalations tell the body that all is well. Take a few minutes to get comfortable either seated or lying down. Bring your attention to your exhalation, following the exhalation all the way into the slight pause at the end of the breath. Gently begin to lengthen your exhalations, by counting to two on your inhalations, and three on your exhalations.
Continue to follow your exhalations into the quiet pauses, where the next inhalation will arise. The idea is to lengthen your exhalations without any strain. If at any time you feel short of breath, you are probably trying too hard.
Continue until you find a comfortable rhythm where you feel relaxed and calm. Then let go of any control of your breathing, and simply watch the breathing pattern that emerges as a result of this practice.
By consciously lengthening the exhalation we can trick ourselves into relaxing even in the most stressful situations.
Calming Breath Excerpted from Donna Farhi’s “The Breathing Book”