Despite its surge in popularity, fasting is a practice that dates back centuries, and there is plenty of scientific research that confirms its benefits, which goes well beyond weight loss. For example, fasting does wonders for promoting blood sugar control and decreasing insulin resistance. By increasing your body’s sensitivity to insulin, your body becomes more efficient getting glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells where it is needed. Fasting also fights inflammation, improves blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, just to name a few. Why don’t more people do it? It’s hard. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. How do I know? I’m living proof. I’m just finishing up my 6th five-day fast, less then a week after my 60th birthday. Most associate fasting with the complete abstinence of all food and drink except for water. Needless to say, few of us are disciplined enough to endure a five-day absolute fast. I was fortunate enough to find an alternative way to obtain the myriad benefits of fasting without an absolute fast. I [...]
Over the past year, I developed a burgeoning interest in how we can achieve the seemingly elusive goal of optimal health. The catalyst that stirred my interest was the discovery of the Buteyko Breathing Normalization method. By studying and diligently applying this method with the assistance of an expert, I successfully eliminated my asthma symptoms completely and improved my overall heath — all without medications. Optimal health is personal to each and every one of us based on our age, our genetics, and our own personal goals. Unfortunately, many view health in a negative sense — the absence of disease or infirmity. And this is the view of traditional medicine, if your not sick, that must mean you are healthy. But health is so much more when viewed in a positive sense — by living a lifestyle that maximizes our ability to enjoy the quality of our remaining years. Positive health is staying physically and mentally active and vibrant so that we can continue to engage in whatever activities give us joy. To me, this confirmation that traditional medicine focuses [...]
All of us have grown up hearing the conventional wisdom about breathing -- the more oxygen, the better. We are ingrained with the notion that oxygen is life and carbon dioxide is our body’s waste. It’s counterintuitive, to say the least, to hear that, for healthy breathing, it’s the exact opposite that’s true – the more carbon dioxide, the better. How can that possibly be? We need to take a step back and think about our respiratory system and its triggers. Our body uses carbon dioxide levels to determine our oxygen needs. So, when we reduce our breathing and take in less oxygen, we increase the level of carbon dioxide level in the lungs, which then triggers our body to deliver MORE oxygen to our cells and organs, including the brain. Similarly, over-breathing (hyperventilation) reduces the level of carbon dioxide in the lungs, which reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the cells. Carbon dioxide – what many think of as a waste product – is actually a precious commodity. It is one our body’s key regulators for our most [...]
Shortness of breath while speaking is unhealthy! The more that I’ve had a chance to closely observe people’s breathing patterns, the more I’ve come to realize that, despite how “natural” breathing is to us, most of us do not breathe correctly. Poor breathing contributes to poor health, causing many chronic conditions and exacerbating others. This holds especially true for those with asthma and other pre-existing respiratory issues. I myself once had poor breathing habits. I never understood the extent to which this impacted my health until I researched this issue. I wanted to find breathing techniques to better control my asthma. And what happened to me was truly transformative — so much so, that I’ve devoted a good part of my time sharing this with others. Healthy breathing takes training and conscious effort. And the sad reality is that very few of us breath correctly. Gasping or sighing while speaking has become the new normal. Since virtually everyone does it, no one even stops to think that it’s an issue. The breathing that we often see today is totally [...]
Wow, this summer really flew by. I’ll remember the Summer 2018 as a time of rejuvenation. I needed, and very much wanted, to restore and improve my physical and spiritual health. I knew I needed to put myself on the right trajectory for the next decade or more of my life, and as we all know, health is everything. In short, it was wonderful. I totally immersed myself in relaxation — consciously living in a state of low tension, low anxiety, low self-induced stress, and on and on. And doing so every waking moment and every sleeping moment. Relaxation permeated every aspect of my life, my activities and my relationships. And everything blossomed! I knew everything would improve, but what took me by surprise was the level of improvement. It was truly transformational. Without exaggeration, I feel that I am a different person than I once was, both physically and mentally. I look at my old self as a stranger. I Improved my health, my relationships with others, and my sense of self. So how did I do it? My [...]
This was my second winter in Vermont, the Green Mountain State, and it was even more awesome than my first! To be sure, this was a long cold winter that lasted a good five months. Nevertheless, I bundled up and enjoyed every minute of it. Throughout the winter, I strapped on my snowshoes and explored the many backcountry trails at Bolton Valley. In Stowe, I snowshoed up the Scenic Notch Road and, feeling a bit adventurous, explored some of Vermont's famous Long Trail. I downhill skied at Stowe, and fell in love with the Sterling trail off of the Sensation Lift on the Spruce Peak side of the Stowe resort. As strange as this sounds, my biggest recent accomplishment was re-learning how to properly breathe through the Buteyko Breathing Normalization method. Mouth breathing causes a host of problems and, without going into the underlying medical reasons, exacerbates the symptoms of asthma. With this method, I trained myself to breathe only through my nose even when engaging in cardiovascular activities. If the activity was too strenuous to maintain nasal breathing, I slowed [...]
Samsara. Literally translated as “continuous movement,” it is the Buddhist perspective of our cycle of life on earth as we follow the path of Birth, Sickness, Old Age, and Death. As we age, we inevitably bear witness to those in the later stages of life, including our own parents. I am having the honor of spending time with my Dad during the period that we expect to be the last weeks of his life. It’s a time of thought and reflection for everyone. We are blessed by having my good friend Maria Montenegro, a Buddhist Nun and End-of-Life Coach, sharing her incredible loving kindness, and spiritually guiding us through this journey. I wanted to share her wonderful guide, Holding Space for the Dying, where she provides some answers the difficult, and for some of us, awkward, question of what we can and should do to support our loved ones who are approaching death. Maria has lovingly helped my father express, understand, and reduce the fear and unresolved issues about the process of dying that he is now experiencing. It’s [...]
Surrender: Cease resistance. As I transition my life to one of more serenity I find myself seeking more time alone, or more aptly, more time with my own mind. It's pretty cool to just observe your mind, and follow without judgement or attachment wherever it goes. I am really enjoying my time at the very special Bolton mountain. It's peaceful. I never thought I would enjoy hiking alone but it's really a special time to just "be" and enjoy nature without electronic distraction. In my practice over the last few months I've notice dramatic positive changes in my relationships and knowing that the only thing that changed was me, I realize how much control we have over our mental state, both positive and negative. How enjoyable life can be and much more rewarding relationships can be through acceptance. Both acceptance and love of ourselves and seeing the beautiful beings in others. Although it is a constant challenge to let the ego go, and not follow societal's influence to blame and get angry, I just feel much better when I don't. [...]
I'm enjoying the beautiful summer weather and taking a daily walk to meditate on the waterfront. I've been opening my eyes during meditation recently and loving it. In the beginning of my practice I felt like I had to close off my senses to be able to go inward and relax, but now I can maintain the same sense of stillness while enjoying the beautiful world.
Wahoo! I am now a 200 hour yoga teacher through Laughing River Yoga in Winooski, VT. Thank you to Emily and Sofi and the wonderful assistants. Forever gratitude to all the students from whom I have learned so much. This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope to be of benefit to all beings through my learning. Most of all, be your authentic self, love and accept yourself. Be kind and compassionate to all beings without judgement.