Are You Focusing Enough on This Critical Area?

I live in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas. (Notice how
I capitalized those terms? That’s how special Central Texans think
this area is.) Our little community on the shores of Lake Travis
is blessed with lots of woodlands and natural beauty.

Along with our healthy habitat comes a plethora of flora and fauna
that never cease to fascinate and entertain.

For example, one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen -
and I’ve been to some places like Costa Rica that seem to have
invented beautiful flowers – is the yellow flower on the prickly
pear cactus.

And one of the cutest animals I have ever encountered is the
baby aramadillo that meandered into our back yard one time. Poor
little guy just wanted to dig in the mulch. He dug in, held on
and made little baby grunting noises as we tried to pick him up
and move him to a safer area outside of our back yard (where our
dogs and cats roam).

We also have a very healthy deer population. Many towns and suburbs
are overrun with deer, and I know this can be a topic of
contention for many people who have seen their shrubs and flowers
get eaten, seemingly overnight.

Our yard borders on a well-trod deer path. We have kept the lot
next to our main yard wooded and in a natural state, so the
deer can traverse the area between our neighborhood streets
in safety. So we see quite a few deer moving through our yard.

Yet imagine my surprise when I went out to get the papers one
Saturday morning a few weeks ago, and I saw a baby fawn deposited
on our front lawn, not 15 feet from our front door!

Baby fawn in our front yard

Baby Fawn in Our Front Yard

We’ve seen baby fawns before, including last year when one was
lying under a tree just on the other side of our street. No,
the mama deers are not bad mothers. Apparently they leave the
fawns so mama can go forage and eat. The fawns know instinctively
to stay still and not move. In most cases they are well
camouflaged. And these newborns lack any kind of scent, so they
are actually safer without mom because coyotes and other potential
predators can’t smell them.

However, right smack in the middle of our front yard seemed
kind of nuts! The fawn definitely was visible.

We resisted the temptation to pick the little thing up and hide
it someplace better. We looked out and checked on it a few
times. Eventually mama deer came back and took the fawn along
with her, down the deer trail.

I’m happy to report that mom and baby are doing great! We see
them every morning and every evening as they make their way
along the deer path. They’ve been joined by a few other does
and fawns too, and we enjoy watching their antics as they
learn the ropes.

As I watch the fawns jumping and leaping, bounding and running,
I’m struck with how powerful they are. That kind of power -
to be able to start on a dime, jump and bound with great force,
and accelerate quickly – demonstrates the tremendous potential
energy they store in their muscles and tendons.

Same thing with our pets. We have two dogs and two cats. (And
they all get along just fine.) Our dogs tend to want to nap
and lay around, in particular they like to lay on their dog
bed here in my office and hang out while I am working.

Our cats are, well….cats! Which means they also lay around
and nap quite a bit.

But rouse any of one of these puppies or cats with something
interesting, like the rabbit that runs through our yard (the
dogs’ current obsession), or a bird or butterfly flitting
by (the cats, of course)….and they fire into action.

In a heartbeat, they can go from resting to full sprint.

Young children demonstrate the same capability. My son and
his friends can go from zero to 60 in an instant – from
laying around reading to sprinting into the back yard with
their nerf guns, ready to attack “the enemy” in their pretend
battle.

They can stop on a dime. They can sit and stretch and hop
without any warm up at all.

The key to this type of flexible power and quick starting
ability is in all of us.

It’s dictated in large part by how flexible we are.

We see this unhindered flexibility in young children. We can
continue to cultivate is as young adults. But then….

It seems to go away. As we get older, we lose our flexibility,
as well as our ability to start fast and accelerate quickly
without a warm up – AND without pulling a muscle or putting
oour backs out.

Our muscles and tendons get tighter. Our joints get tight or
even painful. Our backs ache.

This loss of physical flexibility is echoed in a loss of
mental flexibility and emotional resilience. In fact,
many bodyworkers and energy practitioners have linked
cognitive challenges and moodiness to a lack of flexibility.

Of course, these are unwanted results. I think you probably
agree that you would rather maintain flexibility of both
body and mind. But how best to reclaim your god-given
flexible power?

On the positive side, even if you’ve lost that youthful
flexibility you once enjoyed, you can still get it back. The
human body has amazing regenerative powers.

And improving your flexibility results in a number of
positive side effects, including mental and emotional
benefits.

Dogs and cats, children and fawns actually stretch all the
time. And they stretch in a particular way.

It makes sense to consider this as you work on your own
flexibility.

I think flexibility is one of the most important areas you
should focus on, especially as you get older. But most people
don’t understand how important this is…or how best to
get started.

I’ll devote my next few tips to addressing this important
topic.

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
www.BestBreathingExercises.com

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

I Want To Send This To You – and It’s On Me

Best Breathing Exercises logo

The Best Breathing Exercises Letter

There’s a lot of mumbo jumbo out there about breathing and energy
exercises, about “secret” techniques and methods, about how you
have to study and practice for a long time before you get to the
really good stuff.

The reality is this: you can pick up quite a bit of technique and
skill by starting at a basic level, practicing and experiencing
at that level, then building from there.

It’s similar to teaching any new skill to anyone, from music to
martial arts to macrame.

First, you provide a basic foundation of knowledge, initial skills,
and a few key techniques.

You then have the student practice these, over and over, so they
actually experience them and therefore learn them. The experience
part is critical. Just reading about something won’t make you good
at it, or allow you to understand it.

Actually DOING THE THING, even if it’s at a basic level, pushes you
forward toward competency and, eventually, skilfulness.

At the same time, an instructor will work to ensure their student is
progressing in increments or steps that make sense: steps that
challenge the student just a little to keep it interesting, but
don’t overwhelm so much that the student gives up.

I know from experience teaching martial arts and breathing exercises
that too much time spent in explanation is boring.You have to
explain the basics, then let the student work with it and practice.

Once they have some experience, you then add the next layer of
explanation, detail or complexity.

Move the performance level and knowledge base up, step by step….
and you have a winning formula for progress and learning.

(And, as one of my favorite martial arts instructors always says,
“Repetition, repetition, repetition – plus enthusiasm – is the key
to success in all your endeavours.”)

I can teach and explain quite a number of wonderful exercises to
you in these email tips. However, because of the length at which
I have to keep these (so you will actually read them), I sometimes
struggle with how much detail to include.

How best to resolve this?

Well, for one thing, I have created a number of information
products which go into greater depth on specific areas of
breathing, energy cultivation, stress management, and flexibility.
(Visit http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/products.html to
see a complete listing.)

Here’s another thing I used to do: early on, when I first started
the Best Breathing Exercises website, I published a short, two to
four page newsletter that I sent out each month to my customers.

Yes, a PRINT newsletter which I mailed out.

I know I know, not common in this day of digital everything. But
I tried it out anyways.

And I was pleasantly surprised at the response. My customers
loved it!

They loved that I could devote more space to really digging into
a specific topic, or even cover off a couple of topics, in more
detail than I usually can through a blog post.

And I loved being able to share even more information, insights
and inspiration with my customers.

I eventually stopped doing the print letter. Not sure why, now
that I think of it.

But, I’ve decided to start up me ol’ letter again. And you,
my friend, are the beneficiary.

As I said, the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter” will be written
for you and mailed to you each month.

It’s like a letter I would write to a good friend, one who wants
to learn more about improving health and energy levels,
transforming stress, being more focused and confident, and
becoming more resilient.

And, because it’s a print newsletter, I don’t have to edit
myself at all, like I sometimes do when posting online. So I can tell
you what I really think!

So, how do you get on my list?

Here’s the deal:

I initially planned on including only customers in my newsletter mailings.

However, I’ve got a lot of devoted readers of my blog, and I would
love for you to also benefit from the newsletter.

Therefore, I have also decided to open up this new version of the “Best
Breathing Exercises Letter”
to readers of this blog.

If you’ve been reading for a long time, or for just a few days,
and would like to receive the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”,
simply give me your mailing address and you will be good to go.

Here is the link to provide your current mailing information:

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

(A number of folks have already signed up – if you have already
input your mailing address information, you do not have to do
it again – I’ve got it!)

Only sign up if you are truly interested in receiving and
reading the Letter. I want people who will actually USE and
therefore BENEFIT FROM the information I will be providing.

And I want to hear back from you, including your recommendations
for additional topics you would like me to cover.

I’m betting you are one of those people, Dear Reader. You want
even more information, insights and inspiration to help you live
the full, active, joyful life you deserve! So don’t delay -
take two minutes to type in your mailing information at

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

Thanks for your support!

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. Yes, you too can receive and benefit from even more breathing
and energy exercises and instruction, and deeper insights
into the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of
abundant energy, health and fitness – by signing up for my FREE
monthly print newsletter, the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”.

In the next few issues, I will be exploring the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of breathing and visualization.
And I will share more details on several of the most productive,
yet easy to learn, exercises that I have enjoyed over the years.

To input or update your mailing address info, go to

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

It’s the Best Time of Year For This

In our modern, always-on society, we often lose track of natural
cycles which affect our health.

As we move into summer here in the U.S., I’d like to remind you
that now – late Spring / early Summer – is THE BEST time to lose
weight, if you have weight loss – or more specifically, fat
loss – as a health goal.

(Apologies to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere – I will write
something geared toward Fall and Winter for you soon.)

Anyhoo, right now your metabolism is at its peak and your body is
oriented toward shedding winter’s fat and bloat and leaning out.

The days are longer and brighter, which automatically improves
your mood and revs up your energy levels…so you feel more
motivated to engage in physical activities, such as heading
outside, exercising, doing yard work, swimming at pool or beach,
and so forth.

Seasonal fruits and veggies are bursting forth. Our garden is
doing awesome this year, with various sorts of peppers and
tomatoes already gracing our dinner table. At this time of year,
your body naturally craves more nutritious, water-rich fruits,
vegetables and juices – ideal for cleansing, healing and slimming
down!

But here’s the deal: NOW is the time to take advantage of this
natural cycle and leverage it to lose weight. NOW is your
window of opportunity. So don’t delay!

Unfortunately, late summer is not so amenable to weight loss
and slimming down. In late summer, our bodies begin to move
into fat storage mode as we prepare for winter, and the cycle
pushes us to fatten up to help our energy stores last through
winter, when (at least theoretically) we will have less food,
and less fresh food, to eat.

Of course, that’s not really the case anymore for most of us.
But your body works based on 10,000 years plus of evolution.

It makes sense to ride the wave when you can, doesn’t it?

This means get busy now!

You Can Do It!

Karen

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. “I believe that if a person can maintain enthusiasm long
enough, it will produce anything!” (Frank Bettger)

Stoke your enthusiasm with the inspiration and the certainty that
come from knowing what to do, and how to do it, to successfully
reach your health and fitness goals. My Special Report, “Ten Universal Strategies for
Optimal Fitness” covers – in a concise, easy to understand, and easy to implement
way Рthe most important elements  of an efficient, effective and
ENJOYABLE approach to getting fitter and feeling healthier than
you ever imagined.

The information in this report will point you in the right
direction and show you exactly what to do to get maximum
results.

If you’re intersted, you can pick up a¬†copy of my at

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/fitnessstrat.html and
ride the summer cycle to improved health, fitness and weight
loss.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Last Day of School – and My Son is Sad?!

Today is the last day of school in our town. The kids are going
nuts with excitement, as you might expect.

They’ve had a fun week: assemblies, end of school parties, field
day. I volunteered at field day to help run one of the stations
for the third, fourth and fifth graders. Not surprisingly, every
kid I spoke with was ready for summer.

I still vividly recall that feeling of relief, excitement and
anticipation that always came at the end of the school year,
especially during elementary school.

The promise of a long, hot, wide open summer with the freedom to
read what I wanted, play with my friends all day, spend some
relaxed time with my parents, and even a family trip or two to the
beach….ah, heaven!

I still get that feeling today, even though it’s been many many
years since I had a summer off.

As we drove to school this morning, I asked my son Miguel if he
was psyched that it’s the last day of school.

He said, “Yea. But I’m also sad.”

“why? I asked, a little surprised.

“Because I will miss Mrs. Olson”, who is his third grade teacher.

How sweet!

When we went into school to give Mrs. Olson her gift, I thanked
her for all of her work and kind attention this year. And I
shared with her what Miguel said.

I could tell she really appreciated it.

Miguel has really enjoyed being in her class this year. He has
struggled at times with math, but overall his love of learning,
reading, doing projects, and helping out in class have continued
to grow.

And when I look back and compare where Miguel was at the
beginning of the year with where he is now, I can’t help but be
impressed with the amount of progress made, knowledge learned,
and new skills mastered.

Mrs. Olson is known as a teacher who expects a lot from her
students and really pushes them. She employs a solid routine,
good structure, and makes sure the kids are working on the most
important things each day and week.

On the other hand, she is also a lot of fun. She lets the kids
do “read-ins”, when they bring in their blanket and favorite
books and read most of the day. She is kind and encouraging to
each of them, letting them know SHE knows they can do it.

And, as my son likes to remind me, “Mrs. Olson can do The Worm!”

(He is most impressed by that particular talent….)

I think Mrs. Olson’s approach to running her third grade class
provides a good example for each of us, in terms of how to
approach our own fitness and health regimen.

It’s a combination of five key factors:

(1) Have high expectations for yourself. No matter what your
age or present physical condition, you can make astounding
progress and enjoy significant results, if you put in a
consistent effort. So think big.

(2) Set a few key goals for yourself – goals that are personally
meaningful to you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many. And
while setting a general timeframe is good, don’t box yourself
into the “Must lose 20 pounds by X date” mentality.

(3) Make a plan, make a schedule for how you are going to
weave your health and fitness practices – including exercising;
breathing and energy exercises; meditation or prayer; taking
time to prepare and enjoy healthy meals; getting enough sleep,
etc. – into the fabric of your daily life. In other words, keep
a good routine.

(4) Hold yourself accountable. Keep track of how you’re doing.
BUT – see yourself with kind eyes. Don’t get too down on
yourself if you miss a workout, or eat crappy for a few days.
Picture your own inner “Mrs. Olson” giving you a little pat on
the back and saying, “You can do it!”

(5) Have fun! Enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy the process. Just
as Miguel has been blessed with a love of reading and a love
for learning, you too should learn to embrace the process and
embrace this healthy lifestyle…And realize that this process
has merit in and of itself.

Here’s the deal: For most of us, the most difficult part is
the start.

Because, if you’re doing it right – and not falling victim to
some crash diet or weight loss gimmick – it will take a little
time before you see results.

Don’t get discouraged by slow results, or seeming lack of
progress up front. It’s been my experience that you will start
to FEEL better before you actually LOOK better in the mirror, or
on the scale.

To keep yourself motivated, consider this:

Weight lost quickly will just as quickly reappear. A sudden,
drastic decrease in calories will set off alarm bells in
your body and brain.

On the other hand, slow and steady weight loss ensures you are
losing fat, not lean mass, as well as bypassing your body’s
natural urge to compensate and cause you to pig out.

Also – fitness gains achieved quickly based on some crash course
in exercising can also disappear quickly – usually because you
are unable to sustain the effort or the time investment
required.

On the other hand, slow and steady increase wins the race,
because, over time, you are building a foundation of aerobic
capacity and strength.

Positive expectations…slow and steady….good routine….
continual improvement, bit by bit….having some fun along
the way….

Not only a recipe for third grade. A recipe for life!

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. A good exercise routine can literally rocket launch you to
improved health and fitness, higher energy levels, better brain
and cognitive function, and enhanced productivity. Unfortunately,
many of the recommendations and conventional wisdom out there
are not very helpful, and can even be detrimental. Even worse,
they’ll have you spinning your wheels and getting no result.

Plus, there are so many fitness fads and gimmicks out there
today. What’s realand what’s BS? Where should you start?

I wrote my Special Report, “Ten Universal Strategies for
Optimal Fitness”, to help answer these questions. I cover – in
a concise, easy to understand, easy to implement way – the
most important elements of an efficient, effective and
ENJOYABLE approach to getting fitter and feeling healthier than
you ever imagined.

The information in this report will point you in the right
direction and show you exactly what to do to get maximum
results.

The revised and improved version of the report is coming off
the presses in a few days. Claim your copy today at the (still)
low introductory price (plus access to a special bonus offer)
by clicking HERE.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Tap Into This Secret Source of Strength

One of the most exciting discoveries of the last 200 years is that
each of us has the ability to change our life by changing our
thinking.

Our attitudes of mind, our typical ways of thinking, our way of
looking at our life and our world….each of these impacts us
every day, in ways both obvious and unseen.

We live and operate in the physical world. Yet physical force or
effort is the lowest form of energy. Mental and spiritual forces
release the higher form of energy.

Your inner world of mind and spirit helps to drive and determine
your outer world of circumstances and results. If there’s some
aspect of your life that you would like to change or improve,
look to your inner world first.

A great way to do this is to sit still and be quiet for a few
minutes each day. Meditate, pray, or simply relax and let your
thoughts roam for a bit.

Release your worries, relax, and quietly think about what you
would like to bring into your life. You can think broadly
over various areas of your life….or you can focus on a
particular area that is vexing you, and picture the changes
and new reality you would like to have appear in that area.

We are all seeking “peace, sweet peace” as that old Christian
hymn says. We intuitively crave and seek peace of mind, because
we intuitively know that a peaceful state of mind leads more
easily to health, happiness, abundance, and spiritual growth.

Many people equate peace of mind with some ultimate or end
state of being – something we all aspire to, but never quite
attain, given our busy lives, the pressures of responsibilities,
the never ending quest for more.

Here’s a little secret: the people who are the most peaceful
are the most powerful.

In your peace lies your power.

In his book, “As A Man Thinketh”, James Allen writes about
the strength that comes with serenity:

“Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom…
self-control is strength; right thought is mastery; calmness
is power.”

You want to get into a calm, peaceful, serene state of mind,
particularly in times of stress and strain.

But wait a minute, Karen. When I’m stressed and strained is
exactly when I find it most difficult to become calm and
collected.

Ah yes, I know. I’ve been there! Just thinking you SHOULD
be calm and serene is a lot easier than actually BECOMING
calm and serene.

There’s an old saying, or story actually, in Chi Kung. A
student asks the Chi Kung master how often should she practice
in order to make progress. The master tells her she should
practice every day for 15 minutes.

But I lead a very busy life including work and other
responsibilities, says the student. What if I don’t have time
to practice every day?

“Ah,” says the master, “At times when you are very busy and
don’t have time, you should practice 45 minutes every day!”

In other words, the less time you have to focus on yourself,
to take a time out and get peaceful….the more you need to
TAKE the time and gift yourself with a few minutes of
peace.

Here’s where integration of your mental, emotional and physical
powers comes in. Combining breathing and energy exercises
with specific types of visualization, affirmations and
positive emotions can help you to master your emotional
state and carve out a zone of calmness, even in the midst
of chaos.

When your inner and outer selves begin to operate together in
a more organized and synchronous way, then you’ve really
started tapping into significant power.

The strength and mastery of your peaceful state of mind is
like a healing balm for the situation. It helps bring order
and right results.

Remember this: When you are in a peaceful state of mind, you
are the master of the situation, no matter how negative it
seems.

I often use the Prayer of Serenity as my cue to re-orient
my own thinking, focus and energy back to a more peaceful
and calm state.

Here is a way of interpreting that famous prayer, providing
additional meaning which I find quite helpful when I am
facing a particularly tough day or situation:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”
(calmness is power);

“Change the things I can” (Self-control is strength);

“And the wisdom to know the difference” (right thought leads
to mastery).

In such mastery is your strength and power for good.

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. You can receive and benefit from even more breathing and energy
exercises and instruction, and deeper insights into the physical,
psychological and spiritual dimensions of abundant energy, health
and fitness – by signing up for my FREE monthly print newsletter,
the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”.

In the next few issues, I will be exploring the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of breathing and visualization.
And I will share more details on several of the most productive,
yet easy to learn, exercises that I have enjoyed over the years.

To input or update your mailing address info, go to

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Here’s Something New for You

People are raving about the “Inner Smile” technique I shared with
you in my previous blog posts.

Readers have been emailing me to tell me how much they enjoy this
exercise, and how wonderful they feel after doing it for just a
few minutes.

Truth be told, I gave you a high level synopsis of the exercise. I
focused on the key points, the major steps, and then relied on you
to fill in the gaps.

How?

Through your own experience, of course!

There’s a lot of mumbo jumbo out there about breathing and energy
exercises, about “secret” techniques and methods, about how you
have to study and practice for a long time before you get to the
really good stuff.

The reality is this: you can pick up quite a bit of technique and
skill by starting at a basic level, practicing and experiencing
at that level, then building from there.

It’s similar to teaching any new skill to anyone, from music to
martial arts to macrame.

First, you provide a basic foundation of knowledge, initial skills,
and a few key techniques.

You then have the student practice these, over and over, so they
actually experience them and therefore learn them. The experience
part is critical. Just reading about something won’t make you good
at it, or allow you to understand it.

Actually DOING THE THING, even if it’s at a basic level, pushes you
forward toward competency and, eventually, skilfulness.

At the same time, an instructor will work to ensure their student is
progressing in increments or steps that make sense: steps that
challenge the student just a little to keep it interesting, but
don’t ovewhelm so much that the student gives up.

I know from experience teaching martial arts and breathing exercises
that too much time spent in explanation is boring.You have to
explain the basics, then let the student work with it and practice.

Once they have some experience, you then add the next layer of
explanation, detail or complexity.

Move the performance level and knowledge base up, step by step….
and you have a winning formula for progress and learning.

So, back to the “Inner Smile” and other, similar exercises.

I can teach and explain quite a number of wonderful exercises to
you in these email tips. However, because of the length at which
I have to keep these (so you will actually read them), I sometimes
struggle with how much detail to include.

How best to resolve this?

Well, for one thing, I have created a number of information
products which go into greater depth on specific areas of
breathing, energy cultivation, stress management, and flexibility.
Visit http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/products.html to
see a complete listing.

Here’s another thing I used to do: early on, when I first started
the Best Breathing website, I published a short, two to four page
newsletter that I sent out each month to my customers.

Yes, a PRINT newsletter which I mailed out.

I know I know, not common in this day of digital everything. But
I tried it out anyways.

And I was pleasantly surprised at the response. My customers
loved it!

They loved that I could devote more space to really digging into
a specific topic, or even cover off a couple of topics, in more
detail than I usually can through an email message.

And I loved being able to share even more information, insights
and inspiration with my customers.

I eventually stopped doing the print letter. Not sure why, now
that I think of it.

But, I’ve decided to start up me ol’ letter again. And you,
my friend, are the beneficiary. IF you are interested.

As I said, the <em>”Best Breathing Exercises Letter”</em> will be written
for you and mailed to you each month. quill_pen

It’s like a letter I would write to a good friend, one who wants
to learn more about improving health and energy levels,
transforming stress, being more focused and confident, and
becoming more resilient.

And, because it’s a print newsletter, I don’t have to edit myself
quite as much as I sometimes have to when writing online. So I can tell
you what I really think!

So, how do you get on my list?

Here’s the deal:

I used to limit receipt to customers only. But I very much
appreciate your following and reading this here blog o’ mine.
So I’ve decided to open up this new version of the “Letter”
to you, Dear Reader.

If you’ve been followinging my blog and would like to receive the
<em>”Best Breathing Exercises Letter”, simply give me your mailing
adress and you will be on the list.

Here is the link to provide your current mailing information:

http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

I’m only opening sign up for the Letter for a few days. I want
people are are truly interested and will actually USE and therefore
BENEFIT FROM the information I will be providing.

I’m betting you are one of those people. You want even more information,
insights and inspiration to help you live the full, active, joyful life
you deserve! So goeth noweth and provide your mailing information at
http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

It will take you less than a minute. Go there now and git er done.

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. Yes, you too can receive and benefit from even more breathing
and energy exercises and instruction, and deeper insights
into the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of
abundant energy, health and fitness – by signing up for my FREE
monthly print newsletter, the <em>”Best Breathing Exercises Letter”.

In the next few issues, I will be exploring the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of breathing and visualization.
And I will share more details on several of the most productive,
yet easy to learn, exercises that I have enjoyed over the years.

To input your mailing address info, go to
http://www.bestbreathingexercises.com/bbe_nl_signup.html.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Fun and Fascinating Exercise, Part 2

Smley Face iconCan you actually smile your way to better health, improved self-
confidence, enhanced energy levels, and peace of mind?

Two thousand years or so of experience says Yes!

In my previous message, I started you off on a fun and fascinating
exercise – The “Inner Smile” exercise which is foundational to
certain eastern energy practices, such as Chi kung (qi gong) and
certain meditation practices.

I like the Inner Smile technique because it’s an easy, natural
way to introduce higher level mental and psychological approaches
into your breathing practice.

As I mentioned before, the Inner Smile can get pretty complicated.
In fact, a number of chi kung techniques or approaches can get
complicated – sometimes so much so that they become almost
unusable, unless you plan on devoting your full time to their
exploration.

However, over my years of learning, studying, practicing and
teaching, I have discovered that there is often a simpler,
more readily available, but equally energizing and empowering
way to approach the most beneficial techniques.

The Inner Smile is a really fun one, and therefore – again,
from experience – it’s one that you are more likely to practice
and do on a regular basis – not only because it’s easy and
enjoyable, but also because you will begin to reap benefits
within a short time.

I say it’s fun because you are using a power you already possess -
the ability to daydream. It’s fascinating, because the more you
relax, let go and play around with it, the better results you’ll
get.

So remember: approach from a perspective of playfulness, positive
expectancy, and relaxation.

To recap quickly: once you’re relaxed and breathing into your
dan tien or lower abdomen, smile into that spot.

Actually picture a smiley face in your dan tien. I also recommend
smiling for real – I’ve found it’s very helpful to smile softly to
yourself as you smile into your body.

Let that smile radiate happiness, calm, contentment.

Feel your smile bathe your organs and every system in your body in
radiant healing energy.

Continue to breathe gently and deeply into your dan tien as you
smile. After only two to three minutes, you should be feeling great!

There are several ways to amplify the Inner Smile technique. One of
the most accessible is to project the smile out in front of you.

Basically, visualize the smile in your dan tien / lower abdomen
being projected out from that power center to a spot two to three
feet in front of you.

If you’re into the Batman movies or comics, picture Commissioner
Gordon firing up his beacon and illuminating the night sky with
the Batman Signal.

In this case, you can picture the universal smiley face. See it
bright and shiny, smiling back at you. Then, smile back at it.
Yes, actually smile – broaden your soft smile to a big, toothy
smile. Feel the energy amplify – breathe it in.

Then see how you feel.

I’ve had people do this exercise, as described, and feel absolutely
transformed after just five minutes or so. It truly is a wonder!
And I like the fact that it’s easy to learn and do. Even if you
don’t get every detail, you will still reap the benefits. It’s
that good!

You Can Do It!
Karen_signature

Karen Van Ness

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. In my next post, I will let you know how you can get even
more breathing and energy exercises, insights and instruction
from yours truly. AND I will explore some of the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of combining breathing and
visualization.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Here’s A Fun, Fascinating Way to Progress In Your Breathing Practice

During the 1800s Western society moved into what has been called
“The Industrial Age”, an age of tremendous mechanical and electrical
strides that helped to automate many labor-intensive tasks.

Then, in the mid to late 1900s, we entered what was called “The
Information Age”, in which the development of computers, advanced
management practices, and decreased time to travel enhanced our
ability to store data, develop new products and solutions, and
achieve even more automation in industry and in our daily lives.

Now we are said to be in “The Knowledge Age”, in which we have
developed even more powerful tools for accumulating and accessing
information, analyzing and transforming data, and making it easier
for people to communicate, collaborate, and learn. We’re also
more connected physically because it’s become much easier and
cheaper to travel – not just across country, but all over the
globe.

As economic society has progressed, its emphasis has changed from
the purely physical and mechanical to the mental and informational.
Knowledge and knowledge workers are more important than ever.

We can draw a parallel to this progression when we look at
breathing exercises.

Within the western paradigm, breathing and energy practices over
the past century-plus have progressed from a purely physical
or mechanical emphasis to an approach which also incorporates
mental and psychological tools. In many cases, these mental and
psychological approaches have been borrowed from, or at a minimum
informed by, Eastern breathing and energy practices.

I often refer to the late 1800s through early 1900s as a kind of
“golden age” pf physical culture. Breathing exercises were one of
the cornerstones of programs typically recommended for enhancing
strength, health and vitality.

In these early days, the exercises were pretty much all
mechanical, and were designed to help people learn how to
breathe fully, open up their lungs, and develop the muscles
and connective tissues associated with breathing.

Breathing was also heavily emphasized in the performance of
exercises, ranging from walking to lifting weights.

These types of exercises can be invaluable, and are a great
foundation for an effective breathing and health practice. In
fact, I used mostly mechanical breathing and stretching exercises
to improve, then eventually rid myself of, a severe case of
asthma.

However, once you have made progress in mechanical exercises and
methods, established your foundation, and experienced excellent
results – you invariably thirst for more.

In terms of progression, there are several different ways you
can go. One that I highly recommend – the “next level up”, so to
speak, in your breathing practice – is to begin to use your
imagination.

Coupling breathing with specific types of visualization and
imaging can be extremely powerful, serving as the foundation for
incredible improvement in specific areas of your life.

It is also fun AND fascinating!

Fun because you are using a power you already possess – the
ability to daydream.

Fascinating, because the more you relax, let go and play around
with it, the better results you’ll get.

Here’s one of my favorite approaches: “Your Inner Smile”.

Inner Smile practice is an important approach in various types
of chi kung (qi gong) and meditation methods. It can actually
get pretty involved in some systems! I want to share a simple
“Inner Smile” technique you can start using right now.

First, take a minute or two to calm and steady your breathing.
Use box breathing (which we discussed a couple of tips ago),
or other form of counting, to help you extend your inhale
and exhale. Relax as you do this, don’t force anything. Let
your breathing relax your body.

Once you feel somewhat calm and relaxed, begin to breathe
specifically into your lower abdomen – your hara, or dan tien -
which is your physical center of gravity and also an important
energy center.

Inhale into and out of this energy center, which is about
two inches below your navel and 1 to 2 inches under the surface.

Here’s a little trick: It often helps to imagine a golden energy
ball in that spot, twirling and radiating. If you concentrate
long enough, you will begin to feel warmth or other sensation
in that area.

Now, let’s get to the Smile. Once you’ve got that energy ball
twirling and spinning – at least in your mind’s eye – smile
into that spot.

That’s right, smile into it. Actually picture a smiley face
in your dan tien. I also recommend smiling for real – I’ve
found it’s very helpful to smile softly to yourself as you
smile into your body.

Let that smile radiate happiness, calm, contentment. Let it
radiate the feeling that you are OK – in fact, you are perfect
just the way you are. Let it radiate health and healing
throughout your body.

Your smile loves you unconditionally. Your smile gives you a
feeling of joy. Your smile gives you energy and confidence.

Feel your smile bathe your organs and every system in your
body in radiant healing energy.

I know this exercise seems a little out there. But trust me,
it works.

Try it out, and be sure to relax and have fun with it. Spend
3 to 5 minutes smiling into your dan tien. Put a little smile
on your face too. Then see how you feel.

I guarantee you will be in an elevated state.

Now, would you like to know more about this technique, plus
a way to amplify it? Like I said, it can get pretty
sophisticated….but I will share a couple of recommendations
that can really power this up for you.

See you in my next message. In the meantime, keep smilin’!

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

Karen Van Ness

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

P.S. Breathing is the direct and instantaneous way to tap into
the life force, the vital energy that flows through each of us.
Performed properly, deep breathing coupled with dynamic
exercises is a powerful method for accessing and flowing your
internal power: power for thinking, power for solving problems,
power for enhancing your health, and so much more.

Making a small investment of time each day, or every other day,
in dynamic energy exercises – like the ones I teach you in “The
Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II: The
Dynamic Energy Routine” – will instantly enhance your internal
energy and focus. To learn more, click here.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Are We Wimps – Or Are We Just Typical?

I read a book last week that discussed the increased pace of modern
life, how the resultant stress was leading to health and anxiety
issues for so many people, and how too many were turning to
medications and other unconstructive methods (such as excessive
drinking) to cope.

Sounds pretty typical, doesn’t it? I mean, these days you can’t
open a magazine, read a newspaper, or pass a row of books in the
bookstore without encountering articles and books on stress, coping
with stress, stress management…..as well as anxiety, nervousness,
insomnia, and so forth.

Funny thing is, the book I was reading was written in the 1950s!

And I have also read books published in the early 1900s which
discuss the same issues.

We always assume – at least here in the United States – that the
1950s were an oasis of prosperity, order and calm, and most
families were truly living the American dream. Relative, of course,
to the horrible war that had engulfed the world in the 1930s and
1940s. Relative also to the upheaval and disintegration of social
norms and beliefs that followed in the 1960s.

Yet even within that oasis of slower, simpler times, people felt
rushed, stressed out, unable to keep up with the changes, unable to
cope adequately.

Interesting, isn’t it?

If we could go back in a time machine and visit with a typical family
in the 1950s, we’d probably think them wimps for feeling stressed out
during what we presume to be a simpler, slower time. (I’m speaking
here of typical white America, by the way. Life for black families
in the Jim Crow South was something else altogether.)

But here’s another way to look at this: Are things going to be
even faster, harder, more stressful in our future? One day, will
some writer sitting at her laptop look back and, having read
my stuff about transforming stress, think “Jeez, those people
in the early 2000s had it so easy. Life was slower then. Why
did they suffer so much from stress and stress-related disorders?”

Hmmmm….

Is life really faster, harder, less forgiving and more stress-
inducing today than before? Or are our expectations so much
higher in terms of what we must or should accomplish, how we
should live, how well our careers should go, how fulfilled and
accomplished our children should be, and so on?

Not sure I know the answer to that. But I think it’s clear
that each age, each generation encounters and has to deal with
many of the same types of issues.

Technology has been, and will continue to be, a huge enabler in
nearly every facet of our personal and business lives. But isn’t
it also one of the main perpetrators of our “always on, always
accessible, therefore always on the spot for something” mentality?

Can you ever truly slow down, relax, and experience life in the
here and now when you’re glued to your smartphone, laptop or
high def TV?

Not likely, methinks.

The good news is, you have the power every day to make choices
that can help free you from the bonds of constant electronica
and accessibility.

Indeed, you have the wisdom and power inside you – right now,
today – to make significant, transformative changes in how
you deal with and handle the stresses and strains of modern
life.

Which brings me to my main point of this message to you.

Learning how to calm, slow and deepen your breathing can help
you overcome feelings of anxiety, stress, or anger which may
impede your ability to solve problems or overcome the typical
stresses of modern life.

In my last message, I taught you the basics of box breathing.
Inhale, hold, exhale, hold to a particular count – this simple
and deceptively powerful practice can be quite an enjoyable way
of breathing.

One of the things I like about timing your breathing to a
count is that it helps you regain mental control, reduce all
that monkey chatter, and focus and concentrate better. You’ll
feel more in control and experience quite a mental and physical
boost.

Now, here’s the next level up, so to speak, in your breathing
practice: using your imagination.

Coupling breathing with specific types of visualization and
imaging can be even more powerful, serving as the foundation
for incredible improvement in specific areas of your life.

I’ll have more to say and share about that in my next message.

You Can Do It!

Karen

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

To Concentrate Better, Be A Square

Did you know there exists a rich tradition within human history of
integrating breathing practices and techniques into specific
disciplines, including those that support health and fitness…
enhanced mental or physical performance….and even religious and
spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation.

For example, learning how to breathe properly and fully,
using your entire breathing apparatus, can help you quickly
and easily focus on any kind of mental or physical work you
are about to engage in.

Learning how to calm, slow and deepen your breathing can help
you overcome feelings of anxiety, stress, or anger which may
impede your ability to solve problems or overcome the typical
stresses of modern life.

Coupling breathing with specific types of visualization and
imaging can be even more powerful, serving as the foundation
for incredible improvement in specific areas of your life.

Today let’s focus on a simple but highly effective breathing
exercise that can help you stop stress or overwhelm in its
tracks and enable you to focus or concentrate better on the
task at hand.

Yes, this is for all of you “adult ADD’ers” – as in Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD).

I’ve got some experience with this. Our son Miguel has a
moderate to severe form of ADHD. We are constantly working with
him on developing and implementing simple strategies to help
him stay focused on his schoolwork or whatever task he is engaged
with….AND to regain focus or concentration more quickly when
he is distracted.

I know some adults with ADD too. My better half whs never
officially been diagnosed, but ADD certainly explains some
behaviors we see today (and explains a lot of thing from
chilhood as well). My brother WAS diagnosed with adult ADD.
Again, explains a lot from his childhood (especially from a
sister’s perspective!)

Now, I know there are some folks out there who claim that ADD
or ADHD does not exist, and that parents and school staff are
just looking for a way to medicate the kids so they sit still
and behave like they are “supposed to”.

Well, I can tell you it’s for real. We deal with it every day.

However, it’s possible to deal successfully with it, with the
right combination of behavioral strategies, clear and specific
consequences (both positive and negative), and, in some cases,
with carefully tested and prescribed medications.

The explosive increase in the number of kids diagnosed with ADD
or ADHD is mirrored by the increase in the number of adults
finally getting diagnosed.

However, from my viewpoint, the pace and expectations of the
modern world make every one of us ADD’ers, or at least sometime
ADD’ers.

Ever-present smart phones, iPads, and laptops mean we are
interrupted often with a new email, new tweat, new ping,
or whatever. And our internal wiring compels us to respond to
that ping or dong or song (whatever you have set up for your
alerts) because we are wired to (1) respond to rings and pings;
and (2) to move toward the novel, the break in the routine.

The result is constant interruption, leading to being less
productive and feeling like you can’t focus…leading to feelings
of overwhelm and not being able to get your work or other tasks
completed when you should….resulting in more stress and
strain and even less focus and concentration, and so on and on
in a terrible downward spiral. Unless….

Unless you arrest this process, nip it in the bud. And it’s
relatively easy to do, if you’re willing to take a few simple
steps.

First off, you’ve got to get a handle on the interruptions. With
few exceptions, you don’t have to answer every phone call, and
you don’t have to answer every email or tweat or twat or text
that comes in. So why are you chaining yourself to electronic
notification jail?

Instead, try scheduling specific times when you will check your
devices for emails, texts and so forth, and respond to the ones
you need to during those times. For example, many productivity
experts recommend checking email only two to three times per day.

Not only are you more efficient at working through and responding
to your emails. You’ll also get more work done because you are
focusing on the task at hand for blocks of time, and not allowing
yourself to be pulled away from it to check emails.

Only you can help yourself begin to detox from your electronics
dependency. However, I can help you with a second important
step:

Using your breathing to help you regain control and focus.

In martial arts, particularly in more traditional styles, breath
control is taught throughout the training.

One of the best, yet amazingly simple, breathing exercises I
have used over the years is called “box breathing”.

Basically, you follow the 4 sides of a box or square to control
and regulate your breathing. It’s best to start out using a
count of 4. Here’s how:

-Breathe in for a count of 4; hold gently for a count of 4;
exhale for a count of 4; hold gently for a count of 4.

Seems easy, right? Well, it is deceptively simple. But it’s
packed with benefits.

Breathing and holding for counts of 4 doesn’t seem that challenging.
But you’d be surprised at how erratic and shallow your breathing
typically is – especially if you are feeling stressed, rushed, or
overwhelmed, or if you are working out hard and pushing yourself.

The simple act of controlling your breathing, both in terms of
pace and regularity, allows you to assert control over your
physiological reponse.

To really benefit, be sure to breathe in deeply, using your
diaphragm, and take a full breath.

When I say breathe deeply, don’t go overboard and try to suck
in a huge amount of air. This usually results in tightening
up and trying too hard, which is the opposite of what you want
to do.

Rather, breathe into your lower abdomen as you inhale. Allow
your stomach and sides to expand out. Hold gently, then
exhale fully. Again, don’t strain. Just make sure you have
pushed out all the air, then hold.

This method of breathing is quite enjoyable. It enables you to
regain mental control, reduce all that monkey chatter, and
focus and concentrate better. You’ll feel more in control and
experience quite a mental and physical boost.

AS you gain experience with box breathing, experiment with
changing the counts you use. For eaxmple, extend the amount of
time you hold your breath. Breath in for a count of 4, hold
for a count of 8 or 12, breathe out for a count of 8.

This specific count is a technique one of my Tae Kwon Do
instructors emphasized. We did it often during seated
meditation. It really helps you focus inwardly and gain
mental control.It’s also wonderful for developing greater
lung power.

Technically you’re not following the box or square anymore,
it becomes more like a rectangle or quadrilateral. But you get
the picture.

You should devote part of your time each day to the cultivation
of breath control and power. Making a small investment of time
in dynamic energy exercises – like the ones I teach you in “The
Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II: The
Dynamic Energy Routine”
will enhance the results you get from
exercise, as well as your internal energy and focus.

Breathing is the direct and instantaneous way to tap into the
life force, the vital energy that flows through each of us.

Performed properly, deep breathing coupled with dynamic
exercises is a powerful method for accessing and flowing your
internal power.

This type of dynamic exercise creates harmony between the breath
and the physical. Not only are you strengthening the muscles
associated with breathing. You also are creating and
increasing a sense of harmony and relaxation across both mind
and body.

It’s health-enhancing and life-extending. I strongly encourage
you to tap into the benefits that await you from investing just
a few minutes a day – or a few minutes at the start of your
regular workouts.

You Can Do It!

Karen_signature

“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
http://www.BestBreathingExercises.com

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

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