Tag Archives: be intentional

The Value in Breathing Deeply

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part IV

iGnite_Journal_July3_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you make it a priority to breathe deeply?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Recently I read a great article where actress Jennifer Garner said something very true, which is, “Unplugging takes real discipline”. In addition to unplugging being difficult, I find that taking long, deep and slow breaths takes real discipline, too. Both unplugging and deep breathing are important to maintaining our health as well as keeping our stress at bay. This is why taking advantage of a holiday like today, July 4th, as well as the summer months where we can unplug, relax and breathe deeply is vital for energy, renewal and overall health.

During the spring and while in Austin, I had a shallow breathing experience. I developed a pounding headache for several days, along with mild chest pain and heart burn—both of which I have never had. At one point I even questioned if I was having a heart attack. It was weird! Thankfully I was able to see my friend, health adviser and mentor Jeff Ulery at Whole Body Health. After accessing my body and cringing when he touched my jaw, diaphragm and shoulders, he diagnosed me with shallow breathing. He adjusted my body, including my diaphragm and jaw, and as I laid and rested on his table for one long and amazing hour, I began feeling renewed. Both my headache, diaphragm and jaw pain eased. Not surprisingly, he recommended the same things he always does when I see him, which is adequate rest, daily prayer and mindful bouts of deep and slow breathing, rather than my normal shallow breathing.

Shallow breathing is thoracic breathing, or chest breathing, which is the drawing of minimal breath into the lungs, usually by drawing air into the chest area using the intercostal muscles rather than throughout the lungs via the diaphragm. Ultimately, my continual shallow breathing is what caused my neck, chest, shoulder pain and tightness, which is what led to the tension in my body. So, as simple as it sounds, my final recommendation to staying energized, renewed and balanced throughout the summer season is to be intentional with deep breathing. Here’s why:

  1. Detoxifies and Releases Toxins – Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body, you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.
  2. Releases Tension – Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.
  3. Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity – Oxygenation of the brain reduces excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.
  4. Relieves Pain – You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.
  5. Massages Your Organs – The movements of the diaphragm during the deep. breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.
  6. Increases Muscle – Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.
  7. Strengthens the Immune System – Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolize nutrients and vitamins.
  8. Improves Posture – Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.
  9. Boosts Energy, Improves Stamina and Elevates Mood – Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain
  10. Improves Cellular Regeneration and Nervous System – The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

Finally and very importantly, according to Hope4Cancer, cancer research is supporting that cancer cells thrive in oxygen-poor environments and when the body is deprived of oxygen, disease can set in. Also, according to Bo Forbes, whose research was sited in last week’s journal, cancer cells look for tight connective tissue and dehydrated cells to live in and spread. So, while it sounds ridiculously simple, I believe the key to fully embracing our freedom is through our health, and the ways we access great health, energy, renewal and balance is through daily movement, exercise, stretching, trying new things, staying hydrated, eating often and from the Earth, having fun, unplugging daily and breathing deeply.


Action Item:
Several times each day, make it a priority to unplug and breathe deeply.


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A Time to Have Fun (but don’t go crazy)

How to Stay Energized, Renewed and Balanced Throughout Your Summer, Part I

iGnite - June 12 journal pic

Point to Ponder:
What is something you have been hesitant to try, experience or say “yes” to?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

It’s summer!!!!, which means that you can take a deep breath, exhale, stay up late, sleep in, paint your toe nails and finger nails multi-colors and experiment with bright lipstick. I don’t know why it takes a change in season to give myself permission to do these types of things, however I suppose like in Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8, and also quoted in the song Turn!, Turn!, Turn! by the Byrds, there is a time for everything:

For everything that happens in the life–there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to collect harvest;
A time to kill, a time to heal; a time to tear down, a time to build up; a time to mourn, a time to dance;
A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up; a time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance;
A time to search, a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, a time to throw out;
A time to tear apart, time to bind together; a time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
A time to love, a time to hate; a time to go to war, a time to make peace.

Reading a little further, in Ecclesiastes (3, 12-13) it says, “What good comes to anyone who works so hard, all to gain a few possessions. I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God.” This is what I think summer is all about–it’s our season of harvest. A time to celebrate our seasons of hard work, to reap what we have sown, slow down, unplug, breathe, rest, be intentional with having fun, try new things, and chill out.

Throughout the next few weeks I am going to share a few tips that I hope will allow your body, mind and spirit to stay energized, renewed and balanced throughout the summer months. The objective is to minimize your need to achieve and be hyper-productive while maximizing the time you spend having fun and experiencing renewal.

My first tip is to Have Fun! (but don’t go crazy)- What I mean by this is to try new things and do more of what makes you laugh and smile. Paint your fingernails funky colors and experiment with shiny and different shades of lipstick. Turn music on throughout your house and play it loudly. Dance! Try new cocktails, eat ice cream and venture to new restaurants. Let go of self-induced expectations and judgments. Take a nap, read a book, and go to the movies. Be spontaneous. Say “yes” when you might otherwise say “no”. Say “no” when you might otherwise say “yes”.

Next, just as Amy Younkman suggested in the journal How Daily Discipline Can Set Your Summer Months Free, keep some structure throughout your summer. Even though you need to relax and focus more on fun, continue to prioritize your health. While on vacation, be sure to move. Embark in the organic activities within your destination, like hiking, and taking long walks and running on the beach, swimming, or exercising poolside or in a park. Long road trips as well as flying creates stiff and achy bodies, so be sure to stretch. (Click on our travel-friendly workouts: Pilates Stomach Series, HIIT Workout, Body Weight Circuit, 3-Step Workout, Swim Workout). (Click on our travel-friendly streches and yoga poses: Poses for Travel, Release Neck Tension during Travel, Tibetan Twisting, Flexibility Stretches , Heart Opening Yoga Series).

In addition, definitely splurge and indulge, but don’t over do it. Eat lean protein with each meal as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and/or cranberry water. Flying in airplanes cause dehydration. Clean eating and adequate hydration will keep you feeling energetic and renewed, rather than bloated and puffy. And, for cleansing purposes, it never hurts to start and end your day with a cup of hot lemon water (1/2 juice of lemon with 8 oz of hot water). Hot lemon water, along with proper hydration will keep your bowels healthy. I know…bowel movements aren’t a desirable topic, but for many women this is a problem, especially when our daily routines and diets are thrown off. And, don’t forget about our delicious and high protein and fiber travel snacks: Black Bean Brownies and Peanut Butter Protein Bars.

There’s no doubt that every season (fall, winter, spring and summer) is a gift and should be celebrated, but summer is the season where fun and renewal must be a daily priority. It’s the season of absorbing the sun’s energy and letting loose so your body, mind and spirit can illuminate and you can shine bright throughout the remainder of the year.

Shine Bright this summer with our *new* summer bundles, apparel and goodies and I hope that during the summer you will Try Everything!


Action Item:
Minimize your need to achieve and be hyper-productive while maximizing the time you spend having fun and experiencing renewal.

Less is More, so Let’s Celebrate First!

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“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”  -Oprah Winfrey

Point to Ponder:
Have you taken the time to stop, look back and celebrate all that you did in 2015, or have you already begun setting goals, resolutions and making changes?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s time to celebrate! That’s right, instead of setting new goals, and making resolutions and big changes, we are going to apply the proven strategy of focusing on less, rather than more. By simply sitting quietly for a short bit, we set ourselves up to have another meaningful, inspiring, intentional, productive and amazing year. What this means is we are going to celebrate and be grateful for 2015 first.

You may have noticed that I didn’t use the phrase, “set ourselves up to have our best year yet”. My reasoning is because our thoughts and words are power. When we use the term, “have our best year yet”, we are unconsciously putting an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves, while “dissing” last year (“diss” is slang for disrespect). And, saying “we are going have our best year yet” reminds me of my anticlimactic Junior and Senior Proms. The expectations were set so high that they could never be met, and the let down was inevitable.

You may have celebrated 2015 on New Year’s Eve, but it is likely that you were not alone during any part of the New Year. So, since there is no rush to plunge into big change, you can sit quietly and thoroughly think back….solely focus on you. Spend a moment looking through one whole year’s worth of photos, as well as through your day planner. That is where the real information and truth exists.

Interestingly, it is not human nature to start with gratitude, successes, unexpected wins and accomplishments of the previous year. Focusing on the one hundred things we didn’t accomplish, however, fogs the things that matter..the experiences that lay the groundwork for what is to come. So go to the proof that’s in the photos and planner, and you will experience exactly how meaningful, productive, inspiring and amazing your year really was. Without that quantitative data, we tend to look past the small but true events that create a very special and one-of-a-kind year!

So let’s do this — prepare for another memorable and important year by printing the handout and writing down (celebrate!) your 2015 accomplishments, unexpected wins and successes– no matter how big or small. And, to ensure you do it, find an accountability partner! I have one and I am happy to be yours too 🙂 I’m just a text or email away (neissa@igniteyourlifenow.com 512-413-8497).

Action Item:
Set yourself up for a meaningful, inspiring, intentional, productive and amazing year: Print the handout and write down your 2015 accomplishments, unexpected wins and successes— no matter how big or small.

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What Do You Expect, Desire, Respect and Admire?

A Road Map to Your Best Year Yet, Part IV

2015intention

Point to Ponder:
Do you have a goal, mantra or intention?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whether it be a setting a goal, mantra or intention for yourself and your year, all of them are equally important — IF you want a little say in your life.   Here’s why: we’ve all heard these sayings before: “Don’t exist, live!”; “Become intentional about what you want out of life or else life will happen to you.” and “Don’t wait on the opportunity, create it!”  We do have a good bit of control over what life gives us, which is not to say that life won’t at times spin us around, turn us upside down and completely overwhelm and disappoint us. However, the law of attraction is at play every second of the day, and we reap what we sow. So, it’s essential that we are specific and intentional about what we are sowing and what we want out of life. Taking the time to determine these things will increase our odds of getting what we want rather than leaving life to chance.

Admittedly, my goals in the past have been overwhelming because even though I thought about them and wrote them down, I had way too many. I’ve learned that less is more, meaning trying to tackle and apply more than three goals, intentions or mantras at one time is a recipe for confusion and non-accomplishment.  Last year for example, I finally got it right. I was knee-deep in what felt like literal quicksand. While trying to juggle work, a toddler and an infant, the thought of setting and trying to achieve one goal felt impossible (showering a couple of times a week and brushing my teeth everyday was as ambitious as they got!). So, I decided to be realistic about what I could do, and instead of setting a goal, I created a mantra: “I can do hard things!”  Every time I found myself feeling powerless and wanting to scream and cry (which was a lot) I repeated my mantra “I can do hard things!”  This seems simple, but my mantra became my inner dialogue and always eased my mind.  It helped me breathe, stand tall, be strong and not run away- ha (but seriously!)

Since January 4th, we’ve celebrated all of the amazing things we were able to accomplish and were grateful for in 2014; we’ve let go of our past or trying to become who we “once were”; and we’ve asked ourselves why we are interested in the particular goals we are considering setting for ourselves in 2015. And so, the last question for you this week is: what do you expect, desire, respect and admire in life? If you can answer one of those questions, you are on your way to setting a goal, mantra or intention for yourself, and we’ll take time in each class this week for you to write down one goal, mantra or intention on a special card.

Because sharing is what we do in iGnite, one of my goals is to participate in and raise money for the 5th and final Run to the Sun relay for Beyond Batten Disease Foundation which takes place April 11th/12th. Team iGnite has been created and we just won an RV for the overnight relay from Enchanted Rock to Camp Mabry!  This is no doubt a game-changing advantage! I’ll start my personal run training tomorrow 🙂  Amazingly, we also recently learned that due to the diligence in researching for a Batten disease cure, the doctors feel confident there will be a cure within Christianne Benson’s lifetime. Christianne is the precious sixth grader in Austin who in 2008 was diagnosed with juvenile Batten disease, which takes the body, mind and life of children. This news is nothing short of a miracle, but it also reminds me how important it is to be bold and set goals, for when we believe in our goals and become intentional about achieving them, anything is possible! Just imagine if the Benson family and their amazing community of friends who helped found the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation in an effort to find raise awareness, raise money and find a cure would’ve settled for the awful diagnosis and never pursued a cure. All goals are possible, but we must first have the courage to set them and have the determination and faith to achieve them, no matter how big or small.

Finally, because setting aside personal time to think about our goals and create a strategic plan for your goals, mantra or intention is very challenging, we’d love for you to join our Goals Workshop this Thursday morning or evening. It’s going to be fun, empowering, inspiring and very helpful. Plus, we want to be part of you creating the year and life you want!

Action Item:
Join us in class this week or attend our Goals Workshop so you can focus on your goal, mantra or intention.  If you don’t have one yet, ask yourself what you expect, desire, respect and admire in life. This will get your wheels turning and give you the goal, mantra and intention setting information you need.