Orson’s Page

Orson’s Page

On this page, you will find a selection of photos and videos featuring my special friend Orson. He is a working-line German Shepherd who came to live with us in November 2020.

Here you’ll see Orson as a tiny puppy, including photos of him in the actual advert when he was just a few days old, and when I came to view him at 6 weeks of age.

This is a collage of photos from that irresistible and often hilarious phase between two and three months of age. They grow so incredibly fast, so I am glad I captured some of the moments. 

Orson’s frolickings in a dog agility tunnel. 

This video is a result of me giving in to an over-enthusiastic puppy who insisted on joining in every time I rolled out the yoga mat..! 😉

Orson’s foraging in the wild – from his perspective. Watch out for the ominous end..!

Orson’s first attempt at swimming! Just a few days before his first birthday.

My favourite collar for night walks with Orson:

Gallery

I hope you’ve enjoyed Orson’s page. You can also visit Orson’s YouTube channel for more videos.

Note: I train Orson with Adolescent Dogs Online Training Academy, both online and live, and I can highly recommend this training platform to any dog owner, regardless of the dog’s age. If you have any questions, just scroll down the page to the comment form and I’ll get back to you soon. 

BY LUCIE DUN

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Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase through my links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. (The full Affiliate Disclosure can be read here.) If you’d like to learn more about affiliate marketing, e.g. how to earn extra income from blogging and promoting products you like and would recommend to others, which is what I do, check out Wealthy Affiliate, my favourite platform for online marketers. You can create a free account, which will enable you to make your own website in a few simple steps, and host it with them – free of charge – for as long as you like. You can test it right now by trying their free website builder SiteRubix. Thank you for visiting!

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The Best of Eckhart Tolle

The Best of Eckhart Tolle

This page is dedicated to the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. I have selected my favourite sections from his talks and writings. I hope you will find them as helpful, and often deeply transformational, as I have.

Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama

Eckhart Tolle (left) with the Dalai Lama and Ken Robinson

Quotes by Eckhart Tolle

Here is a selection of my favourite quotes by Eckhart. This also included several longer passages from The Power of Now. 

~ Offer no resistance to the present moment.

 

~ When you accept what is, every moment is the best. That is enlightenment.

 

~ Allow what is and see what happens.

 

~ To complain is always a non-acceptance of what is.

 

~ Wherever you are, be there totally.

 

~ Everything is honoured, but nothing matters.

 

~ All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.

 

~ Don’t demand that situations, conditions, places, or people should make you happy, and then you won’t suffer when they don’t live up to your expectations. 

 

On a deeper level you are already complete, and when you realize that, there will be  playful, joyous energy behind what you do. You will no longer pursue your goals with grim determination, driven by fear, anger, discontent, or the need to become someone. Nor will you remain inactive through fear of failure.

 

~ Do not be concerned with the fruit of your action – just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come on its own accord (Eckhart’s paraphrase of Karma Yoga from Bhagavad Gita).

 

“One day I’ll make it”. Is your goal taking up so much of your attention that you reduce the present moment to a means to an end? Is it taking the joy out of your doing? Are you waiting to start living? If you develop such a mind pattern, no matter what you achieve or get, the present will never be good enough; the future will always seem better. A perfect recipe for permanent dissatisfaction and nonfulfillment, don’t you agree?

 

 

The Best of Eckhart’s Talks

My favourite passages from Eckhart’s talks in audio/video format. I love his wisdom and sense of humour!

The Power of Being Present

Eckhart Tolle – with his adorable sense of humour – describes how our attention is consumed by compulsive thinking and what this does to our state of consciousness. (Love the part about social media..!) He then explains how to get back from being identified with the voice in our head and our personal story to the present moment – the state of alert awareness, which is profoundly liberating.

Dealing with Difficult People

Eckhart’s perspective on challenging individuals in our lives.

Share Your Thoughts

I’d love to hear your opinion about Eckhart’s Teachings. Just scroll down to the comment section further down, I look forward to reading your views. Also, do check out some of the best works of Eckhart Tolle in the section below.

Enlightened Relationships - Eckhart Tolle
Great Western classics - Eckhart Tolle
The joy of being - Eckhart Tolle
Becoming a teacher of presence - Eckhart Tolle
Transmuting suffering into peace - Eckhart Tolle
Bringing stillness into everyday life - Eckhart Tolle

For even more titles by Eckhart Tolle, including audiobooks and DVDs with his talks and meditations, visit his page on Sounds True, his publisher’s site.

BY LUCIE DUN

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Energy Medicine in Action

Energy Medicine in Action

The following lines are selected entries from my Energy Medicine Journal, where I describe my experience with energy work. It’s nice to remember all those rewarding moments when I was able to help someone by applying various healing techniques. I hope you will find some of it useful.

horizon

Easing Pain at the Side of the Neck

My husband complained about pain at the side of his neck. I checked the Eden Method diagram which shows the relationship of muscles and meridians, and found out that the muscle in the painful area is connected with the Kidney meridian. I sedated the Kidney meridian. I also used an additional technique called pain dispersing, for which I used a wooden brush and tapped the painful area.

To find how to sedate the Kidney meridian, visit my posts The Kidney Meridian, and  Acupressure Strengthening and Sedating Points. For pain dispersing and other useful pain-relief techniques, check my post 6 Non-Invasive Pain Rellief Techniques. 

A Surprisingly Fast Relief from Hay Fever

I was suffering from hayfever symptoms and decided to use some acupressure points to help me relieve the sneezing and all the other allergy symptoms. I was pressing and massaging an acupuncture point on my instep, (called Liver 3 – see the picture below) and after about a minute of doing so, the tingling in my nose, as well as the sneezing, suddenly stopped. My eyes stopped itching as well.

Liver 3 Acupoint

Liver 3

This image is the property of Miridia Acupuncture Technology.

Relief from Menstrual Pain

One of my friends was suffering from menstrual pain, which involved lower back pain and pain in the groin area. She said she would normally use a painkiller, but didn’t have any with her. I decided to use specific acupressure points to calm (sedate) two meridians: Kidney and Liver. For the lower back pain, I sedated the Kidney meridian, and for the groin pain, I sedated the Liver meridian.

You can find the techniques here: Acupressure Strengthening and Sedating Points.

After sedating both meridians, which altogether took about 12 minutes, my friend’s face lit. She looked at me with slight disbelief, smiling, and said that the pain had subsided from intense to barely noticeable.

The Daily Energy Routine

Some of the enertgy medicine techniques that I use daily have been compiled into a set of simple exercises called the Daily Energy Routine. You can easily incorporate it into your day, and it will reward you with more energy, improved focus, better mood, and an increasingly stronger immune system. I am happy to share that thanks to opractising this rtoutine daily, I have been free from colds for more than three years now. 

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Donna Eden for her amazing method in which she merges ancient and modern healing techniques. The Daily Energy Routine is a crucial component of her method and it has helped thousands to keep their health in balance. 

Also, my big thanks go to Miridia Acupuncture Technology for developing the highly useful Points app.

Shares and Comments

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share it with anyone you know that may find it helpful. And, if you’d like to share your experience or ask a question, just leave a comment further down this article. Be well!

BY LUCIE DUN

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Your Health in Balance: Donna Eden and Energy Medicine

Your Health in Balance: Donna Eden and Energy Medicine

Donna Eden Method

The increasingly popular discipline in the field of healthcare, Energy Medicine, is based on the fact that our bodies are composed of a large grid of energies. Although it is a platform that exists beyond the world of tangibility, its manifestations are clearer than daylight. When we switch on a lamp, we trigger the flow of electricity in order to create light; when we feel physical pain, we usually view the unpleasant sensation as a combination of inner forces, either bio-chemical or electromagnetic reactions, but most of us are not aware that we own a similar ‘switch’ that can influence those inner forces.

This symbolical switch represents a number of aspects or physical tools: For instance, our own hands that can influence the flow of our energies through their own electromagnetic fields. Similarly, our thoughts and intentions can alter the chemistry in our brain, and often trigger the healing process. The placebo effect is a good example of this.

Donna Eden

While already aware and fascinated by the science of Energy Medicine, when I got to know the internationally acclaimed Energy Medicine practitioner Donna Eden, it felt as if a treasure-box of knowledge had opened for me. I have learned about countless techniques that one can use to mobilise health-enhancing inner energies, strengthen one’s immunity, and empower your mind by being able to control it better.

Donna Eden, David Feinstein and Vishen Lakhiani

Donna and David with the founder of Mindvalley Vishen Lakhiani

Donna Eden has been teaching people to understand the amazing energy system of the body for many years. She does this with incredible passion, because through using these techniques, she managed to heal herself from Multiple Sclerosis. She was told by several doctors that she would not live long (this was in her twenties) and she was advised to ‘put her affairs in order’.

Interestingly enough, when her doctor presented her with this death sentence, she didn’t give in to despair (especially because she had two young daughters!) but instead came to the following conclusion – ‘Well, if the doctors can’t heal me, I’ll have to do it..!’

And she did.

Using her own energies, which she can see (she was born with this ability), it took her about a year to recover from Multiple Sclerosis and a number of other health challenges, including asthma and some serious allergies.

Donna Eden demonstrating an energy testing technique

Empowering Others

After this incredible self-healing experience, Donna embarked on a life-mission to help others to take their health into their own hands.

Although she can see energies, (including systems mapped in ancient times such as meridians and chakras) she insist that everyone can learn energy healing, and empowers others with simple but powerful techniques that don’t require any clairvoyant ability at all.

Donna has been teaching Energy Medicine for over forty years, and many of Donna’s students are physicians, nurses, and other mainstream health professionals. She has been a consultant or guest speaker in numerous universities, hospitals, and corporations.

As a practitioner, she has worked in both traditional and alternative health-care settings. She has been travelling to countless countries to share her message and features in many online courses, including courses on the legendary platform Mindvalley. 

I feel immensely grateful to have met Donna personally. She is one of the most radiant beings I’ve ever met.

Donna and Lucie in spring 2019, Dorking, UK 

Donna has also written several books, one of which, co-written with the clinical psychologist David Feinstein, is the all-time classic in the vibrational medicine field, Energy Medicine – Balancing Your Body’s Energy for Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality.

In her book, Donna Eden explores the theory that our organisms and their functions are based on the flow of invisible, yet measurable energies, which affect the way we feel and think. If we recognise this, we are on a good path towards maintaining and even improving our energy levels, our health, and overall wellbeing.

Your Body’s Self-healing Power in Your Hands

It is exciting and empowering to discover that the chief practitioner of Energy Medicine is the one who inhabits the body cared for – i.e. you. If you use principles of this blend of ancient Chinese medicine, kinesiology, and acupressure, you will be able to influence your own body’s inherent capabilities to heal itself, prevent illness, and gain a new zest for life.

While Energy Medicine doesn’t diagnose or cure illness in the traditional Western medicine way, it works with subtle energies of the body, which can strengthen our immunity, prevent illness and on many occasions, cause a natural healing process.

Managing Seemingly Uncontrollable Forces

With applied Energy Medicine, you can master the art of acquiring new stamina, vitality and clarity of thinking. You’ll be able to minimise the harmful effects of stress and anxiety, and, on top of that, control your moods. Managing our states of mind is one of the most important tools in life that one can ever hold, and you be amazed how quickly it is possible to get on top of the seemingly uncontrollable force that often dictates our states and can bring us well down, sometimes to a point of self-destructive thoughts or acts.

What’s more, you can soon use what you have learned to improve the wellbeing of other people, which rewards you with a sense of purpose and meaning. To personally grow and contribute is one of the main human needs in the spiritual field, and what can be more meaningful that contributing by helping someone feel better or even regain health?

Learning the Language of our Energies

When we learn about Energy Medicine, we are in fact learning something that our unfathomably intelligent body already understands. It is comparable to learning a new language – in this case, the language of energy. Our lifestyle, due to our drastically changing industrialised environment, has become considerably alienated from the natural rhythm of nature, so in order to stay healthy and balanced, it is twice as much important to live in conscious harmony with one’s own energy systems.

Our bodies have been evolving over millions of years, so from this perspective it is only a fraction of time we have lived in the high technology-driven world we know today. It is quite a task for our bodies, designed to live in the wilderness, to adjust to such a rapid change.

Having said that, our energy system is extremely intelligent and adaptable. Every second, every heartbeat, it manages millions of biochemical processes in our body, most of which we don’t have a clue. We take for granted that we are breathing, digesting and metabolising, that our heart beats, that our eyes blink. Our mind is – fortunately! – not required to understand, let alone manage this incredible, mysteriously interwoven process of the functions of our body that keeps us alive.

On High Alert 24/7

However, it is obvious our bodies are trying hard to adapt to the environment we did not evolve for. While our immune system protects us from a large number of invisible invaders, it often struggles with tacking unnatural particles, such as artificial chemicals in processed foods, exhaust fumes pollution, or men-made electromagnetic radiation. Our immune system is thus on continuous high alert, with hardly getting a break. This, of course, drains our energy and makes us prone to illnesses such as cancer, mental disorders or depression much more than in our distant past.

Our modern lifestyle also means that due to stress we are often on a verge of ‘fight-or-flight’ response, an age-old instinct, which we don’t utilise enough (e.g. due to lack of predators we have to flee from), and therefore we’re almost constantly in a kind of heightened state which we don’t know how to release properly.

Fleeing the Beasts of the Modern Times

This natural, life-saving response of the body is, of course, brilliant, however, it was not designed for modern-day stress management, therefore our body’s energy intelligence is dealing with a tough task indeed; when our computer crashes or when we have a family row, our body still uses the same mighty techniques for fleeing a prehistorical beast.

That means that we symbolically flee those beasts daily, and this puts our body, which thinks we need to save our lives instead of just reboot a laptop, under a massive, unnecessary strain. This then inevitably results in a weakened immune system and being prone to illnesses.

‘Software Update’

It is clear that to a large extent we are out of resonance with our current environment. If we want to keep healthy and feeling great, we have to become more aware of our own body’s energy systems, and actively take part in the evolution of our energy patterns. This is a perfect opportunity to involve our intellect – yes, we can help our already breathtakingly intelligent bodies become healthier and more harmonious. In a way, it is like updating our body energy software, which will function better in the modern world. 

The Daily Energy Routine

Updating our body energy software may sound a bit far-fetched, yet there are very simple techniques that each of us can do and contribute to this process. Several of these techniques have been compiled by Donna Eden in her Daily Energy Routine, which is a set of exercises that she carefully selected after many years’ observation of their high effectiveness. 

It is one of the best gifts you could give to your body, and if you incorporate it into your daily routine, it will reward you with increased energy levels, more vitality, mental clarity, and stronger immune system. I have been practising this routine daily and I haven’t had a cold for more than two years.

More Immunity-boosting Tips

In the following video, Donna and David offer advice about keeping your immunity strong especially during major viral outbreaks. Donna demonstrates a number of immunity-boosting tips you can do ‘on the go’.

Share Your Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and that you will benefit from all the health tips by Donna Eden. Feel free to share them with others, and leave a comment below if you have any questions, or would like to share your experience with energy medicine or any other form of holistic healing. To your great health!

Learn More About Energy Medicine:

  • Energy Healing Summit  featuring Donna Eden, Caroline Myss, Dr. Judith Orloff, Cyndi Dale, Dr. Gary Schwartz, and many more.

the energy healing summit by sounds true publishing
the energy healing summit by sounds true publishing

BY LUCIE DUN

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RELATED POSTS:

Strengthen your immune system
Breathing Techniques
How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

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Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase through my links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. (The full Affiliate Disclosure can be read here.) If you’d like to learn more about affiliate marketing, e.g. how to earn extra income from blogging and promoting products you like and would recommend to others, which is what I do, check out Wealthy Affiliate, my favourite platform for online marketers. You can create a free account, which will enable you to make your own website in a few simple steps, and host it with them – free of charge – for as long as you like. You can test it right now by trying their free website builder SiteRubix. Thank you for visiting!

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Breathing with Wim Hof

Breathing with Wim Hof

The fact that breathing practices can lead to self-healing and improved quality of life is no longer a secret. However, not many of us take advantage of our self-healing abilities, mostly because we simply don’t know what techniques to practice to experience tangible benefits.

If you would like to experience the power of breathing practices, I highly recommend practising breathing with Wim Hoff, the world-renowned legend known as ‘The Iceman’.

The Wim Hof method audio download

The Incredible Wim Hof

Having become an icon for his astounding achievements and withstanding extreme temperatures, Wim has broken over 20 world records, including running a marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, and standing in a box filled with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.

Wim Hof in ice

The Wim Hof Method

Yet his most remarkable achievement is the creation of the Wim Hof method – a science-backed method that focuses on three aspects: Cold, breathing and mindset. The method has helped thousands of people to transform their lives by accessing the deepest parts of their brains and master mind over matter.

People who have followed his method have reported multiple benefits, such as more energy, improved health due to stronger immune system, better emotional resilience and increased happiness, less stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved focus, and feeling more in control of their lives.

The Iceman’s Mission

Wim Hof’s mission is to show us that his achievements are not superhuman, but that all of us have the ability to achieve the seemingly impossible through strengthening our immune systems and diminishing our stress levels through his powerful method that anyone can use to improve health and performance – and often see real results within just a few days.

Wim Hif

The Benefits Of Breathwork

In this post, we will focus on the aspect of breathing, and breathe along with Wim Hof’s instructional video. Breath is a very powerful connection between the body and the mind. Apart from eye blinking, it is the only function in our body that we can do either completely voluntarily, consciously (e.g. slow it down, deep in, hold it etc.), and completely involuntarily, unconsciously.

We can use our body to produce rhythms of breathing that induce similar rhythms in the involuntary nervous system.

Breathing can be seen as the only bridge through which we can access our involuntary nervous system and influence its function.

Breathwork Can Prevent or Heal Symptoms of Chronic Stress

An enormous number of illnesses are rooted in over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system governs the fight or flight response, and if we stay stressed for long periods, our body stays in a long-term fight or flight response, which causes damage to the body.

Long-term, chronic stress can result in mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. It can also lead to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, or stroke. Another one of the bad effects of long-term stress is that the body becomes too acidic, which is the ideal environment for cancer cells.

The good news is that breathwork is a natural, cost-free way of preventing these symptoms, or sometimes even – if you are ill already – getting to the root of the disease processes and changing them.

Slowing and Deepening Our Breathing

One of the most important goals of breathtwork is to make your breathing deeper, slower, quieter and more regular.

We should become aware of our breathing, and try to move it in a direction of becoming deeper and slower.

Because by doing that, we’ll be inducing the rhythms of our involuntary nervous system, which will positively affect your heart, blood vessels, digestive system, skin, and much more.

There is also a close correlation between how you breathe and your emotional state. If you observe people who are angry, upset, afraid, or nervous, you’ll notice that their breathing is irregular, shallow, noisy, rapid et al. You cannot be in a calm emotional state while breathing in a rapid, interrupted noisy way.

Conversely, it’s hard to be angry, upset, or anxious while breathing in a deep, slow, quiet way. So, breathing is a powerful tool that you can use to regulate your emotions. This can work for severe kinds of anxiety.

When you discover that through regulation of breath you can regulate moods, prevent anxiety attacks, you will feel empowered and reassured that ultimately, you are in control of your emotional states, and you can regulate your health to a great extent.

Breathing Can Change your Chemistry

To back his breathing technique, Wim explains that oxidative stress comes through shallow breathing and through all the external pressure in our lives. This deregulates our chemistry.

But breathing techniques can regulate your chemistry in a positive way. Your breathing will make contact with your immune system and with your nervous system on a very deep level, and strengthen both.

It will also make your body more alkaline – the opposite of acidic, which is the best prevention against cancer.

Adrenaline in Small Amounts Can be Beneficial

Furthermore, this type of conscious breathing will release adrenaline (also known as epinephrine. People with anaphylactic shock – a strong allergic reaction are treated with a tool called EpiPen, which is named after epinephrine.)

Adrenaline is often associated with stress, and, as already mentioned, chronic stress is harmful to your body. However, when released in small doses, and only temporarily, adrenaline can actually benefit your health by boosting your immune system. Just as adrenaline prepares your body for a fight or flight response, it also boosts your ability to fight off infections, which is the fact that Wim Hof utilises in his breathing method.

What’s more, small doses of adrenaline increase the number of antioxidants in your system, which fight off free radicals that cause aging and tissue damage. Thus, breathwork can also contribute to healthier, younger-looking skin!

Wim Hof

Wim Hof’s Breathing Technique – an Overview

Wim says that if you do three rounds of the following exercise every morning, you will become the master of your chemistry.

However, it is extremely important to note that the following breathing exercises can have a very strong effect and should be only done when in a completely relaxed state, e.g. lying down on a sofa, a bed, or a matt. They should never be done when you’re in the car or a swimming pool, because the heavy breathing may make you feel faint or even lose consciousness for a few seconds.

There are three breathing cycles. Each cycle is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Strongly inhale and lightly exhale 30 times.

Part 2: Hold your breath (after an exhalation) for 1 minute or longer

Part 3: Inhale and hold your breath for 15 seconds

This exercise should be ideally done in the morning, and always on an empty stomach.

Wim Hof’s Breathing Practice Step by Step

Here is Wim Hof’s breathing technique in more detail:

ROUND 1

Part 1: Inhale and exhale 30 times.

When you inhale, you should first inhale into your belly and then into your chest. After that imagine the breath reaching your head.

Breathe fully in, then breathe out with ease. The in-breath should be quite intense – fully in – but the out-breath shouldn’t be forced; don’t try to push all the air out of your lungs. You should just let go with ease.

Wim Hof Method
Wim Hof method

Do this 30 times. (Sitting or lying down, because the breathing may make you feel quite light-headed.) You may also feel tingling.

While you are breathing, you can visualize your breath like a wave reaching the shore. On the in-breath, it reaches the shore with intensity, while on the out-breath it peacefully recedes.

Part 2 – Stop Breathing (After the Exhalation) for 1 Minute

This may seem impossible. It certainly seemed impossible to me at first. However, after about 3 or 4 days I managed to hold my breath for a full minute.

The Wim Hof method

Through the ‘conscious stress’ of being without air for one minute or longer, we are activating the immune system. This is due to the sudden release of adrenalin, which, in this case, is beneficial for our body.

Part 3 – Inhale and Hold Your Breath for 15 Seconds

After staying without breath for one minute, take your well-deserved in-breath, and then hold it for 15 seconds.

You have just completed one cycle (or one round) of Wim Hof’s breathing technique. Now, do two more cycles.

ROUND 2

The second round is the same as the first one, apart from part 2 – the duration of the breath pause after the exhale: Instead of one minute, you’ll stop breathing for 1,5 minutes.

You may think it’s impossible to be without your breath for that long, but you may hold your breath for longer, thanks to your body being relaxed and more oxygen entering your body. And, with more oxygen in your body, your body chemistry will become more alkaline and less acidic.

Part 1: Inhale and exhale 30 times.

Part 2: Stop breathing (after the exhalation) for 1, 5 minute

Part 3: Inhale and hold the breath for 15 seconds

ROUND 3

The third round is the same as Round 2.

Part 1: Inhale and exhale 30 times.

Part 2:  Stop breathing (after the exhalation) for 1,5 minute.

Part 3: Inhale and hold the breath for 15 seconds.

Wim Hof says that after round three you will ‘get high on your own supply’ and might want to do an extra round!

A Simple Recap of Wim Hof’s Breathing Technique:

  • Breathe in fully / Breathe out lightly (30 times)
  • One minute without breathing after the exhalation
  • Take a deep recovery breath, and hold for 15 seconds
  • Repeat this cycle twice more. After 30 breaths, try to increase the time with no breath in your lungs to 1,5 minutes.

Wim Hof’s Video of the Technique

Here is Wim Hof’s video to guide you through each stage, so you can practice the powerful breathing technique with him. If you are practicing this in the morning (which is recommended), it should power you up for the rest of your day! Enjoy!

Reminder: Do the breathwork only when you can fully relax, and on an empty stomach.

Wim Hof Live

Wim Hof has taught his breathing technique to many, including Russel Brandt, as you can see in the following video:

Learn More from Wim Hof

You can learn much more about Wim Hof’s method from his book The Wim Hof Method. available in several formats – as a book or an eBook, an audio download, or a CD. Visit the section Inspirational Books and Audio for more information.

The Wim Hof method audio download

Share Your Thoughts

I’d love to hear about your take on Wim Hoff’s method. Have you tried it, and if so, with what results? Let me know in the comment below and I’ll look forward to getting back to you.

BY LUCIE DUN

This site has been (very happily) built with DIVI, by Elegant Themes.

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The Physiological Effects Of Caffeine

The Physiological Effects Of Caffeine

cofee

In this post, we’ll be talking about the physiological effects of caffeine on your body and explore how caffeine works. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question “Should I drink coffee?”, I think that by the end of this article you’ll know a bit more about the behaviour of caffeine and you may regulate your caffeine consumption accordingly.

Life Starts After Coffee!

I once saw this written on a blackboard in front of a little cafe in London. I couldn’t agree more with that statement, especially because it was 7 in the morning, and I truly didn’t feel much alive yet. This cheeky little slogan made me buy their coffee, although I had already had one at home. Sometimes it only takes one witty slogan to steer you in a direction of an unhealthy choice.

Not long after this, I encountered another funny one on a busy road in London Islington. It said: “This is the last coffee shop for the next 2500 miles”. Impossible to resist that one!

And one more, in Shoreditch, at the beginning of December:

“I dream of flat white Christmas…”

Good or Bad?

There are many different opinions as for whethere coffee is good or bad for you. Most of us love coffee (including myself). I find the smell of freshly ground coffee irresistible. It makes me think “If it smells so divine it must surely be God’s gift to us!”

Ok then, let’s start with the good news for the coffeeholics.

coffee beans

The Benefits of Drinking Coffee

It is believed that when coffee is consumed in moderation, without sugar and well before noon, it can benefit your system by sending more oxygen to your brain, speed up your reflexes, making you more alert, boost up your productivity and improve your mood. Some studies go even that far to claim that coffee can contribute to the prevention of cancer and Type 2 Diabetes.

The Dark Side of Coffee

However, it is equally known that drinking coffee can result in a number of problems such as feeling edgy and nervous, experiencing insomnia or even panic attacks. I once had a major panic attack after drinking 3 double espressos before a flight. (I was clearly asking for trouble by doing that!)

Depressive moods, trouble with sleep, panic attacks, very frequent colds, and craving for carbohydrates were very familiar to me during my thirties. It was eye-opening to learn that part of these issues may have been caused by my over-consumption of caffeine.

The best way is to gain some understanding how caffeine works, and then you can make better choices regarding when and how often to drink coffee, or if to drink it at all.

coffee cup and heart rate

How Caffeine Works

I used to drink coffee a lot because I thought it was stimulating my body, thus giving me more energy. But when I discovered how caffeine works, it kind of put me off from drinking it too often.

Caffeine and Adenosine

Have you ever wondered what’s behind the stimulating effect of caffeine?

When caffeine enters our body, it binds to the receptors of a chemical called adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that prepares our body for sleep by calming us down by slowing down our neural activity. It also dilates the blood vessels to ensure good oxygenation while we sleep. Basically, this chemical is responsible for giving us the ‘go to bed!’ signal so we can recharge our body.

But caffeine prevents adenosine from binding to its receptors. It blocks the molecules of adenosine from entering them. As a result, we don’t feel tired when we would be naturally.

But why does caffeine bind to the adenosine receptors in the first place? Because, interestingly enough, it is very similar to adenosine shape-wise. You could compare it to a key fitting into a keyhole. The key of caffeine has almost the same shape as the key of adenosine – thus it can easily block the adenosine receptor (keyhole) and molecules of adenosine just end up piling up in front of its own receptors, without being able to enter them. (Does it also make you feel rather sorry for them..?)

Caffeine Makes Us Deaf To Our Body’s Signals

Our body is wise, and so with the help of adenosine, it makes us tired and sleepy when it needs to rest and recharge – just as the battery in your mobile, which will signal when it’s time to plug it in a charger. However, when caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors, we may be naturally tired and in need of rest, but we don’t feel it, because adenosine has been blocked and cannot do its job – i.e. to calm our nervous system and make us tired.

Consequently, we feel the stimulating effect of caffeine,  while, in reality, our body really needs to recharge by having a nap or a deep rest, but we don’t feel ‘on top of the world’ and keep going at our full speed. Imagine what would happen to your mobile if it kept telling you that your battery is at 100% while in reality, it was 2%, and you kept using it recording videos, using multiple apps, having conference calls etc. At one point, it would inevitably shut down, when you’d need it the least.

The same happens with the ‘caffeine crash’. When the receptors of adenosine are unnaturally blocked by caffeine, adenosine will build up, and in the end we’ll end up more tired than if we hadn’t drunk any coffee at all.

Built-up Adenosine Will Catch Up With You

Notice that if you are on a several days’ coffee binge, that you often wake up tired. Even if you had enough hours to sleep, you’re not rested. Why’s that? Because by allowing caffeine to block all the adenosine receptors, there’s a lot of spare adenosine floating by, and once caffeine wears off, all the excess adenosine is suddenly fere to do their job, i.e. yelling at you how desperately exhausted you are.

You probably wouldn’t mind this at half-past eleven in the evening,  but at nine in the morning, after good eight hours of sleep, it’s not good news. And this is caused by that nice buzz of those few double espressos of yesterday.

So what do you usually do when you feel tired because of all that excess adenosine and just can’t get going in the morning? You usually reach for more coffee. And that, of course, creates even more blocked receptors, and more floating sleep-inducing chemicals that will hit you even harder later on. You have just caught yourself in a vicious circle.

What’s worst, you no longer experience that nice buzz that you get when you drink coffee only once in a while (as I do, after having learned my lessons). Now you either don’t feel anything or get this kind of wired, edgy feeling, verging on panicking, because your brain is not allowed to rest. It’s being ruled by caffeine, which can now dictate your moods and play quite wildly with your energy levels.

coffee beans and glass mug

Caffeine Fools You About Having Energy

So it’s good to remember that caffeine does not give us natural energy, it only conceals our tiredness. In a way, caffeine is ‘hijacking our nervous system’ by telling us we are not tired. It will ‘lie to us’ about feeling full of energy and then hit us with sudden exhaustion.

As much as I love coffee, I don’t like this ‘sneaky behaviour’ of caffeine. The idea that some external substance is bullying the molecules in my body by blocking their own receptors makes me want to start a petition for the rights of adenosine. But, of course, as soon as I smell the divine aroma of coffee, I forget all about it..!

Dopamine and the Comedowns

We love coffee because it can almost immediately improve our mood. This is caused by the release of dopamine, the ‘get going’ chemical that can cause pleasurable states that we want to experience every day, and which is the reason why the Starbucks, Costa or Nero signs have such magnetic effect on a lot of us.

But once the rush we get from artificially released dopamine is over, we can experience fatigue and low moods, even depression.

Caffeine Speeds Up Neural Activity

Do you know that jittery or even anxious feeling after you’ve had a strong coffee or any other caffeinated drink such as Red Bull?

As you already know, adenosine’s job is to slow down our neural activity. However, when it’s blocked by caffeine, it has fewer receptors available for the adenosine to ‘hit the brakes’ of the neural activity, which, in turn, will speed up instead.

So now there’s a storm of neural activity in our brain caused by caffeine, which results in the emergency production of adrenaline.

Adrenalin – the #1 Stress Chemical

Caffeine has the power to activate a number of neural circuits in our body. This causes the pituitary gland in our brain to ‘think’ that there is some sort of emergency happening, and that we are in danger.

Consequently, it will start to secrete hormones that send a signal to adrenal glands to start producing more adrenalin. Adrenalin is the hormone produced during the ‘fight or flight’ response, helping us survive by escaping danger or attacking an enemy or a predator.

To be able to get into such a state, we need an extra boost of energy and attention level – and this is exactly what we coffee drinkers get after downing a double espresso.

However, the price to pay for this heightened state is the comedown, when we suddenly feel even more tired than before drinking that coffee.

Increased Acidity: Cancer and Faster Aging

Caffeine is the culprit behind the chemical reactions of an emergency response – ‘fight or flight’ – and part of this reaction is a release of stress chemicals including adrenaline and cortisol. During the emergency response, the levels of adrenalin and cortisol in your body will increase. Both adrenalin and cortisol are acidic in nature. If we allow our body to become acidic, we are risking creation of the perfect environment for cancer.

Also, if your body is acidic, your body will age much faster!

It’s good to remember that if you drink coffee every day, your body’s’ acidity will be increasing. So this is another big reason why I reduced my coffee intake.

Caffeine Depletes Serotonin

Caffeine is also responsible for the depletion of serotonin, which is quite a big price to pay for the temporary caffeine-dopamine high. Serotonin has an important function of regulating our sleep cycles, digestion, pain control and immunity.

Lack of serotonin makes us also crave carbohydrates, so drinking too much can indirectly lead to gaining weight.

Disturbed Sleep

Caffeine can stay in your system for many hours and affect your sleep badly.

An espresso shot reaches a top level in your bloodstream within half an hour to up to 1 hour. Caffeine takes much longer time to process that you would think. Processing caffeine and getting rid of it from your system can take about 10 or even 12 hours!

So, it is wise to calculate when to have your cup of coffee, especially if you want to go to bed early and enjoy a deep, restorative sleep. The best thing is to have a good reserve of 12 hours before you plan to sleep. To be on the safe side, I tend to have my coffee by 10 am, so I’m ‘all clear’ by midnight.

If I had a coffee at 1pm, I would still have difficulty in falling asleep at 11pm. Other people may not – it all depends on individual metabolic system.

Is Caffeine Addictive?

Yes, you can develop a caffeine addiction. Whilst, in y case, it used to be mostly psychological, (I just could not imagine my morning bus commute to work without as comforting hot cup of soya latte) other people can develop physical dependency and experience withdrawal symptoms. A day or two after your last coffee binge you may suddenly experience a huge drop in energy, feeling extremely sleepy and weak, getting headaches, or experiencing digestion issues.

Best Coffee Alternatives

Let’s be honest. There are no coffee alternatives. Coffee is coffee, however hard you tried to swap it for guarana drinks or chicory.

If you love coffee as I do, it’s a life-long love affair and that’s it. Instead, I’d suggest drinking coffee in moderation and don’t try to replace it with anything – it’s a lost battle. If you torture yourself with all the coffee imitations, you’ll end up returning to coffee and drink it

The best thing you can do is to learn a few tricks on how to access those ‘get going’, pleasant states through other methods, such as controlled breathing or meditation. This will help you reduce your cravings for coffee in the most natural way, without feeling restricted or forced. This is what’s happened to me when I discovered these techniques, and I’m happy to share them here:

Controlled Breathing

One way of getting our body more alkaline than acidic is deep breathing. You can check four easy breathing techniques that can help you with that in my article Breathing Techniques for Your Health.

Meditation

I was intrigued when I came across a Google talk by a meditation teacher Emily Fletcher, called ‘Why Meditation is the New Caffeine’. She says she hopes that one day coffee shops will be replaced by meditation stations. Why? Because meditation can give you a similar energy boost a slight ‘high’ like caffeine, without the bad side effects like jitters or energy crash. It produces dopamine and serotonin, but without making your body acidic, but alkaline. Ank alkaline environment is means slowed process of aging and prevention of cancer!

Recharging with meditation15 Minutes!

What’s even more exciting, meditation has been more and more viewed and approached as a productivity tool. If you commit to a regular practice, you can gain the kind of energy that you’d normally seek in caffeine, and have much more done. But unlike caffeine, with meditation, your sleep will get better and you might even need fewer hours of sleep that you’d need in the past. I’m happy to say that this has happened to me, and I describe my experience in my article The Physical and Psychological Benefits of Meditation, where I dive into the fascinating science behind this ancient practice.

A Ray of Hope for Coffee Lovers

If you managed to get to the end of this article, and you are a coffee lover (like me!), you may be wondering: ‘Can I ever enjoy my coffee guilt-free?’

Here’s a ray of hope for coffee lovers: If you become more conscious about drinking coffee and adopt a number of healthy habits, you may, at least to a certain extent, decrease the harmful effect of caffeine on your body. Timing and frequency play a huge role in this. Occasional morning coffee can be enjoyable and shouldn’t give you any dramatic side-effects, especially if you take good care of your body through sport, breathing practices, or meditation.

Seeing the bigger picture has helped me limit my caffeine intake. Now I treat myself to a morning cup of coffee about two times a week, but definitely not as a daily ritual, or even several times a day as in the past.

I hope that you have found this post helpful and, if you are a coffee lover, not too daunting. If you think you just cannot function without coffee, I would highly recommend trying breathing practices and meditation, and see that your need for daily caffeine boost will decrease naturally, without having to restrain yourself and feel you are missing out on one of your favourite treats.

Your thoughts on this topic are much welcome in the comments below!

BY LUCIE DUN

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Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase through my links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. (The full Affiliate Disclosure can be read here.) If you’d like to learn more about affiliate marketing, e.g. how to earn extra income from blogging and promoting products you like and would recommend to others, which is what I do, check out Wealthy Affiliate, my favourite platform for online marketers. You can create a free account, which will enable you to make your own website in a few simple steps, and host it with them – free of charge – for as long as you like. You can test it right now by trying their free website builder SiteRubix. Thank you for visiting!

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