Day 3 of the Body & Mind Recovery Series: Breathing and Meditation

The magic - of recovery, of building muscle and a healthy metabolism, of burning fat and losing weight - happens when we’re calm and recovering.

The solution to managing in the moment and chronic stress is to induce peace and calm.

***What better way than through a Breathing or Meditation Practice!

Stress is a major player in how well we recover. Higher stress whether it’s physical or mental, can hinder recovery.

Stress and hormone imbalance are interrelated, and when hormones are off - due to stress - the body canny go through it’s normal healthy recovery process.

Hormones like cortisol become elevated during stress. Blood sugar regulating hormones like insulin and glucose are impaired. Testosterone drops, estrogen and progesterone are thrown off. Thyroid regulation and the adrenals send signals too.

Here’s the thing, stress can come in MANY forms, and some we don’t even recognize easily. Overtraining without ample rest and recovery is a stress. So are work projects or obligations we aren’t so enthusiastic about. Exercise itself is a stress!

The problem is Not with small bouts or stress here and there, in fact it’s actually healthy and beneficial to experience little challenges. During exercise some adrenaline helps us get through a challenging session. Once the workout is over, the body recovers and shifts into parasympathetic mode - relaxation and recovery mode.

The issues arise when things become chronic. The body and mind are in constant arousal. The sympathetic nervous system kicks into overdrive and adrenaline remains elevated.

This sort of situation is not that uncommon. We push push push, and go go go without thinking about long term consequences.

✨ Refocusing on our breathe, an object, or mantra immediately starts to shift the body and mind from a state of arousal (adrenaline/sympathetic nervous system) to a state of peace and calm (parasympathetic nervous system)!

You don’t need to get all hard core with meditation either.

Simply, sit or lay down, focus your gaze ahead, and begin shifting inward giving your attention to your breathing.

Observing it, observing the feelings within the body, allowing everything to flow including your mind. Your mind WILL likely wander, which is completely expected and normal. Accept this and pay attention...when it does, be mindful of it, and calmly non judgmentally return it to your breathe, object or mantra of focus.

Take 5 minutes (or even just 1-2 minutes!) today for meditation or breathing. You can start with a pre-recorded video on YouTube or a phone app.

Do you have a breathing or meditation practice in place already? What’s your experience?

If not yet, begin this week and share your initial thoughts and experience too!

Rachel Cantore

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