Summer is the most prolific time in which we can “revere the healing power of nature,” as Hippocrates wrote. Every cell, every organ has the potential for healing, regeneration, repair. We are whole human beings, and oftentimes when we are hurt and the healing isn’t happening, the problem does not lie on the physical realm, but rather in the nonphysical one. I often feel overwhelmed by the contradictions of what’s good for you, but as soon as we shift to lifestyle as medicine, it’s like going back to basics—nourish, hydrate, rest, move, align, connect, immerse in nature for spiritual significance—and it all begins with breathing.
Off the page, mostly because of this life cycle I find myself in, I have been engaged in the great debacle of the 20th century—hormone replacement therapies during menopause—and its benefits and risks.
But I don’t want to talk about that right now. So, I decided to take action to meet my body’s needs and amalgamate experience with information. I sought out a degree in nutrition. I sometimes summarize my weekend homework with my staff or my family so that we all can share in the knowledge of geniuses like Dr. Andrew Weil, the father of integrative medicine. It quickly became clear to me that allopathic medicine will become a convention for dealing with illness. In my health coach class, we read about the primary and secondary foods—primary foods are everything that nourishes you off the plate, and secondary are the foods on your plate. One does not exist without the other; both are needed for balance.
The most important health tip that came from Dr. Andrew Weil centers on the basic principle of breathing: Inhale through your nose and not through your mouth while learning to extend exhaling, and make that equal to inhalation; in other words, get more air out than you get in and you’ll automatically get more in. Qualities of breath that you want to develop are to make your breathing deep, quiet, slow and regular.
Try it wherever you are right now. Why? It gives you great control over your mental and emotional state. The physiological benefits are vast: Deep periodic breathing exercises oxygenate the blood, get rid of carbon dioxide, lower blood pressure, improve circulation and digestion.
What we do in our lives affects our genetic expression—emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. While each person has unique, bio-individual needs— no one size fits all, and one person’s food is another’s poison. Ask yourself: How do you tend to your well-being? What fuels you off the plate? What recharges you? Alone time? People time? Yoga or a swim in the sea?
Contemplate the areas that affect health beyond the diet you adhere to. What’s your social life like? Relationships? Home environment and beyond? Home cooking? What career path are you on? Is it the one you want to manifest for yourself? (Better to fail at what makes you happy than what doesn’t.)
The word conspiracy derives from the Latin term conspirare, which means ‘to breathe together’—so let’s engage in a conspiracy for better health!