Welcome to the first part of our 6 part series on effective stress busting techniques that help with particular bodily complaints. We’ll be covering a wide range of issues over the next 6 weeks but this week, we’re going to be addressing how you can perform simple exercises at home that will boost your health and help with issues such as fatigue, constipation and osteoarthritis. These are not exercises that you’ll learn from your typical personal trainer but are more akin to meditation. If you just did a double-take when you heard the word, “meditation”, then don’t be alarmed, read on and all will be revealed.
Zonal exercises (moving meditations)
If you have tried meditation, particularly the increasingly popular "mindful meditation" extolled by the likes of Andy Puddicombe from Headspace, you might have realised that its pretty tough. Trying to calm your busy, racing mind and focus on your breath is actually quite an advanced concept for most of us and really its like running before learning how to walk. One of the better, alternative ways, to get on the mediation ladder that we love are zonal exercises or moving meditations done at your natural resting breathing pace. This is something we teach and recommend our clients, that participate in both our Holistic Lifestyle Coaching programmes and our Performance Coaching programmes, do on a regular basis in and out of our studio.
Benefits of zonal exercises
Here are some of the benefits of performing zonal exercises:
- Increase your energy. Most exercises are catabolic in nature and cause you to spend energy. Zonal exercises however are not physically demanding and actually aid in recuperating energy, just like you do when you sleep.
- Zonal exercises create movement in a part of the body that needs healing by bringing nutrients, vitamins and minerals through the blood vessels to your vital organs
- By cultivating the awareness of your breath and focusing on movement, you are less likely to become distracted by busy thoughts. This is one of the downsides of mindful mediation – it just takes too long to get sufficiently good at it to be effective for most people.
- By doing these movements very slowly, and letting your breath dictate the speed of the movement, you will be taking a deeper diaphragmatic breath, and creating more oxygenated blood to help feed your organs.
- And lastly zonal exercises are great at mobilising stiff joints in a stress free manner
This week we present a zone 1 exercise "breathing squats" and subsequently, over the next 5 weeks, we will introduce 5 more zonal exercises. Breathing squats are great at helping with:
- Adrenal fatigue and stress
- Digestive distress
- Mental lethargy
- Incapable of inner stillness
How to perform a breathing squat
“The exercise should be easier and less effort than walking otherwise it won’t be effective.”
Tips for breathing squats
The key with breathing squats is that they should be done at a very relaxed breathing pace. If you feel yourself becoming even slightly breathless then decrease the squat depth to make it easier. For example you may be able to do a full squat without even raising your heart beat by 1bpm, however if you can’t then slow it down to maybe only a quarter squat. The exercise should be easier and less effort than walking otherwise it won’t be effective. Start off by just doing 10 to 20 breathing squats every morning as soon as you get out of bed and you'll soon find this is a fantastic way to start the day!
So, that’s the first zone 1 movement mediation exercise in our 6 part series. We’ll be sending out one a week from now on so don’t miss out by signing up for our newsletter here. Over the next few issues we’ll be bringing you zonal exercises that help with issues like lower back pain, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, allergies, high blood pressure, cancer, thyroid problems and many more so stay tuned. Click here to access part 2.
To your health, happiness and longevity,
The Levitise Team
P.S. If you love this blog post then do check out our fortnightly newsletter where you'll get the freshest content on health, nutrition and fitness delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out and sign up here with just your name and email.