18.07.20 – Humming & A Forbes List

This week I came across an article in Forbes titled 3 Foods You Probably Eat That Are Dangerous For Your Brain According to Science by Jon Levy (https://goo.gl/E8UjK1).

Stick with me here … there’s a connection between humming and diet that I found quite interesting …

The article begins with a story about the deterioration of a mother’s cognitive ability.  She was asked to pass the salt and the neurological pathway took four to five seconds instead of the usual instantaneous response.  By the year 2050, it is estimated that 14 to 16 million United States citizens will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  That information comes from the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.

The article lists these three foods: fast-burning carbs (sugar-filled beverages, junk food, saltine crackers & wheat thins), industrial cooking oils (canola, soybean and grapeseed oils) and processed food additives (emulsifiers like polysorbate-80 and carboxymethylcellulose).  The conclusion Levy makes is that Alzheimer’s and dementia coincide with vasoconstriction (smaller blood vessels prone to clogging in the brain and body), poisoning of mitochondria (inhibits the brain’s ability to produce energy) and creating metabolic dysfunction (leading to shrinkage of the brain).  The common denominators here … the body & the brain.

Here’s where the #yoga and breathing come in.  Let’s use the body to assist the brain.  Author Patrick McKweon, The Oxygen Advantage, educates his readers on the gas nitric oxide.  This simple gas influences all the major systems and organs of our body, helps keep us free from diseases (like cancer), promotes longer lives and even helps us perform in bed.  And also …

  • Vasoregulation – The opening and closing of blood vessels.
  • Homeostasis – The way in which the body maintains a state of stable physiological balance in order to stay alive.
  • Neurotransmission – The messaging system within the brain.
  • Immune Defense – The body’s ability to respond to foreign invaders.
  • Respiration – The regulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
  • Athletes – The dilation of smooth muscle layers for better oxygen transfer during exercise.

In Pantanjali’s Eight Limbs of #yoga, it is important to realize or recall the opportunity we have for optimal health through our breathing (pranayama).  One specific breath technique that increases nitric oxide content is BEE’S BREATH (Brahmari’s Breath).

#1 – Here’s how … (credit https://goo.gl/mwBEw2 & https://goo.gl/jnMxAA)

#2 – Here’s what is sounds like …

#3 – Here’s how long and often to practice …

  • Yoga International says 6 Rounds (inhale & exhale being one round) – https://goo.gl/8ua4RE
  • LifeForce Yoga says 10 Breaths (inhale & exhale being one breath) – https://goo.gl/jnMxAA
  • AnxietySlayer states 5 to 10 Breaths (inhale & exhale being one breath – https://goo.gl/tQugt6
    • Be sure to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY as it responds to this breath technique and choose the number of breaths that connect to your uniqueness.
  • Practice once or twice daily and adjust based on results from discussions with your body and your primary care physician.

#4 – Here are the contraindications …

  • Practice on an empty stomach for optimal health.

Conclusion – Let’s take the time to be aware of our diet and supplement our body with Bee’s Breath daily.  

If you would like to learn more about this technique, then please comment below or click “Contact Me” at the top of the page.  I would be honored to assist you in optimizing your health or the health of someone near to you.

YogaFred 🙂

And if you’re especially intrigued … check out this current research article … Getting to NO Alzheimer’s Disease: Neuroprotection versus Neurotoxicity Mediated by Nitric Oxide

PERFORMANCE YOGA – 01.19.15 (Breath Control – Breathe Life into Your Performance)

As an athlete, there are numerous variables being thrown into situations.  It is incredibly hard to stay focused on the present moment because of these variables.  So many athletes are prized for their ability to see a play before it happens.  I’ll ask though … how many plays have been not executed properly due to this?  I almost missed a wide open net in my hockey game this past Sunday evening because I was so focused on a celebration that hadn’t even begun.

An elite athlete does a phenomenal job of balancing the past failures and successes with the future failures and successes by being stable in the Now.  A great way to bring ourselves back to this is through the breath.  In life, and in sports, we can become overwhelmed by our failures.  They can drive us to stop moving forward.  They can cause self-doubt and may even keep us from trying.  Come back to the breath.  Full and deep in … and full and relaxed out.  It is simple and brings us back from the depths of our own mind.

Breath Control – Breathe Life into Your Performance

To perform at a champion’s level, breathe deeply and rhythmically to maintain peak energy levels.  Proper breathing works in tandem with being a Now-ist (i.e., living fully in the moment).  Expand the belly during inhalation and relax the belly during exhalation.  Let your shoulders drop and jaw relax as you exhale.  Give it a try right now.  Draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Proper breathing helps expel the stress and tension from your system and brings you back into the present.

1.  Breathe in through the nose for a count of one, two, three, four and five.
2.  Hold for one and two.
3.  Breathe out through the mouth for a count of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.

Extraneous thoughts fog up your focus.  Your mind becomes more powerful as it becomes quieter and clearer.  So breathe deeply and mindfully throughout your day.  Also, when you are not thinking about the future, it’s difficult to fear it.  Fear is the enemy of effective action!

BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind:  How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow  (BUY IT!)

Flow w/Fred – 9.4.14 (YFD – Calming the Anxiety)

With a new month comes a new sequence!  As we used a substantial warm-up, Sun Salutation A, a modified Sun B and some strong Mountain 2 flows, we for partner bow.  The whole class tonight centered around opening through the thoracic vertebrae to allow the lungs to expand.  I wanted everyone to breath deeper and fuller than they had in a long time.  I wanted us to find neutral.

We introduced Alternate-Nostril breathing for the first time tonight and the class rocked it :).  Here is a link to more information and a YouTube video for your viewing pleasure.


Calming the Anxiety
“Breathing,” says Yoga physiologist David Coulter, Ph.D, “is one of the most remarkable functions of anatomy and physiology.  It is the only biological activity which can be brought under full conscious control and yet functions semiautomatically twenty-four hours a day.”  If you do nothing else but commit to learning pranayama breathing, you will bring not only your breath under conscious control, but also your emotions.  This doesn’t mean you will repress your feelings, but rather you will begin to witness and more able manage them.

“I’m a writer, and I literally lose words that I know.  It’s as if I’m standing on one side of a synapse, peering to the other side.  There’s a word there – the very word I want for a poem I’m writing – but I can’t reach it.  It remains there, dancing, just beyond my ability to grasp it.  It’s a very frustrating experience, and it invariably signals the onset of depression.  I’ll write a perfectly decent poem and feel like it’s nothing, worse than nothing, I’m worse than nothing.”

Learn to be very watchful, and to refuse to give in to the self-judgments.  Learn how to take care of yourself by increasing your prana by getting outdoors, taking long walks, and riding your bike.  Find your breath.  Find your space.

“I’ve found that rhythmic deep breathing, and especially Alternate-Nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana), can be very nurturing, and even allow me to be ‘outside’ of the depression for a time.”  My breath can neutralize the energy.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab


Flow w/Fred – 8.21.14 (YFD – The Breath as Metaphor)

I originally started teaching at Yoga Mindset on Thursday nights.  My original vision for the class was to focus on how Yoga can help with depression.  It affects all of us in some way.  If it doesn’t affect you directly, then someone in your life is dealing with it.  Your words and actions have such a profound impact on those you encounter.  We will never what the ripples our words and actions will have on the world around us.  So why not breathe?  Why not breathe as deeply as you possibly can?

As a baby, infant, child … our breathing is so deep and full.  We want to take in the world around us.  We want to survive.  We want to experience.  We want to live each moment to its fullest possible extent.  So why is life so damn hard now?  I truly believe it is because we have forgotten how to breathe.  I easily forget to breathe with my full body.  I instead feel that I have nothing to give the world around me and it ultimately leads me to take sips at this earth.  We all battle with these frustrating thoughts.  So I grasp on to the moment and take a deep breath.  Do I have any idea what it brings with it … nope.  But I exhale and continue to move forward in that moment.  

So how do you breathe?  Are you gasping for air and hoping you won’t disturb this earth because you don’t feel deserving? Take a deep breath and realize that in the moment … you deserve it.  I am allowed to experience decay, fear, sadness, anger and all of other possible emotional states.  But I’m not going to let them keep me from taking a deep breath and remembering that in this moment … I am alive.

The Breath as Metaphor

When we were born, we breathed with our entire bodies.  Each breath was like a wave that brought a wake of movement along the spine, down to the tailbone.  But as we grew older, fear, sadness, anger and other emotional states changed the way we breathed.  We began to restrict the breath in response to the darker emotions, and little by little we forgot the most natural way to breathe.  Our respiratory system continued to function mechanically, drawing in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide from the constricted arena of our lungs.  But as our capacity to breathe fully diminished, so did our ability to experience the enthusiasms and joys of childhood.

The way in which you breathe is a metaphor for the way in which you are living your life.  Are you taking little sips of breath as though you don’t have permission to take up much space on the planet?

Learning to control your breath won’t solve all your problems, but it can help you cope with them better.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab

Flow w/Fred – 8.14.14 (YFD – Naturally High)

I’m rushing out of the house this morning to get to my YogaFit – Yoga for Kids training in Raleigh :).  Enjoy and we’d love to have you in a class soon!  Come as you are … not as you think you need to be :).

Naturally High

When we clear away the obstacles to the free flow of thought and feeling through regular Yoga and pranayama breathing practice, we can revitalize our prana.

When we restrict the breath, we are diminishing the spirit.  When we relearn to breathe fully and deeply, we are enlarging the spirit and reconnecting with the Self.  When we are breathing consciously, we remember who we are.

Pranayama means the “control of life breath.”  The ancient Yogis understood that when you can consciously regulate the breath, you can manage your feelings and moods by accelerating your energy or by putting on the brakes.  Harnessing prana through pranayama breathing exercises gives you tremendous power at your abdominals.  It’s like revving up your engine, moving from six horsepower to sixty!

The author states – “As I worked with my breath – experimenting with pranayama – and my thoughts – using affirmations and cognitive therapy exercises to counteract my negative thinking – I was able to accept the scared little girl inside, the suddenly sluggish middle-aged woman, and my body that would not always be trim and fit and healthy, my body that is continuing to change as I grow older.”

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab

Performance Yoga – 7.21.14 (Lingering in the Pause)

Breath retention is an interesting concept in yoga.  The first time I really played around with it was during a power yoga class a couple years ago.  During that time, I had no idea what I was doing.  I was still in my “do I really need this savasana stuff?”  So needless to say, I didn’t fully understand what was going on.  I found this …

There are three stages of yoga breathing process…

  • Inhalation which is called (puraka), fills the lungs with air and stimulates the whole body.

  • Retention, is called (kumbhaka) during retention the bodies temperature is raised and the oxygen is absorbed.

  • Exhalation, is called (rechaka) here the diaphragm is returned to its original position and toxic air is released into the atmosphere.


The pause between the inhale and the exhale is significant.  It is helping to give the alveoli of the lungs an extra moment or two for absorption of oxygen.  I’m cool with that.  Anything that can help my muscles function and recover quicker.  Check out the meditation below.  Thanks for reading!

Lingering in the Pause

  With your inhalation and exhalation even, you are practicing a simple ratio – say, 8 to 8, if you’re breathing in to a count of eight and out to a count of eight.  Let’s add a slight pause at the top and bottom of inhalation.  It’s not a forced holding of the breath; consider it instead a rest in the liminal space, the transition between the two energies of inhalation and exhalation.  Think of the moment after a wave has lapped on the shore and before it begins to recede.  Breathe in for your count of eight, and pause again for one beat.  This gives you the ratio of 8 to 1 to 8 to 1.

  Notice the energy of the pause.  Is it linear?  Is it evident at all?  Can you relax as you pause?  With time and practice, you can lengthen the pauses, but don’t overdo the breath retention.

BOOK – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Rountree.

Performance Yoga – 7.14.14 (Breath Placement)

Last week we focused on Breath Awareness in our Performance Yoga class.  I asked my yogis to observe their breath with certain questions in mind.  Last night’s class moved into Breath Placement.  Now that we’re aware, where does the body need the oxygen that was gathered?  Benefits have been shown in warming up, performance and recovery from the increased VO2 max from pranayama techniques.  Our focus and meditation can be seen read below.

Breath Placement.

  Let’s notice the physical motion of the breath in the body.  What is the pattern of the motion of the body as it fills and empties?  Where does the breath go from there?  And where does each inhalation end?

  As you being your inhalation, your diaphragm lowers into the belly, creating negative air pressure and drawing in the inhalation.  As the diaphragm moves down your belly expands beneath the lower hand.  Notice how this feels.

  During the middle of the inhalation, the air fills the lungs and the ribs expand through four motions, making room for the breath.  They move out away from the spine, they move upward, they spread away from each other, and they rotate slightly on their axes, swiveling like miniblinds.  You may notice some of these motions and not others; the action is subtle.  You’ll be expanding into the space between your upper and lower hand.  

  As you finish the inhalation, your collarbone will lift as the upper chest fills and the upperback expands.  If you’re wearing a heartrate monitor, you’ll feel it tighten during this third stage of the inhalation.  Continue breathing in until you feel very full, expanded from the inside out.

  As you begin to exhale, reverse the pattern.  First sink down in the upper chest, then release the ribs to their starting position, finally relaxing the belly back in toward the spine.

  When you can feel the energy of an action, you can work with it instead of against it.

BOOK – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Rountree.

Performance Yoga – 7.7.14 (Breath Awareness)

As we continue into our second month of our “Performance Yoga” class, we are moving deeper into our understanding and connection to our breath.  There are a lot of questions that rise from taking a deeper look at your body’s most basic sequence of events to survive.  Feel free to post a response below :).

Breath Awareness.

Breath awareness is paying close and interested attention to the breath.  Do not work to change it; merely observe it in its natural habitat.
Notice the details.  INHALATION.  How does it feel to breathe through the nose?  Are both nostrils equally clear?  What is the temperature of the air as it enters your nose?  Can you feel its passage down into your lungs?  What motions in your body work to initiate the breath?  What parts of your body move to receive the breath?  In what direction?  How does it feel to be completely full of air?
Notice the details.  EXHALATION.  As you exhale, where does the action begin?  What parts of your body move on exhalation, and in which direction is their movement?  What temperature is the air as it leaves through your nose?  As you approach the bottom of your exhalation, is there room to breathe out even more air?  How does it feel to be totally empty?
Now notice the transition from exhalation to inhalation.  Is there a discernible shift of direction there?  What is its energy?  At the other end of the breath, as inhalation turns to exhalation, how does that feel?  What is its energy?
How long does each breath take?  How long is the inhalation, and how long is the exhalation?  Are there noticeable pauses at the top of each breath after inhalation, and at the bottom of each breath after exhalation?

BOOK – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Rountree.