We know that we deserve and are meant to live an inspired life that rises above mere existence, but how? In A Life Worth Breathing, yoga teacher and spiritual philosopher Max Strom shows us the way. This is an excerpt from that book:
These techniques are to be done in tandem, and results should begin in two weeks or less. But this is more than a two-week experiment, these are new habits to aid you in staying relaxed as a new way of life. Becoming more relaxed will not disempower you or cause you to be less mentally sharp, conversely, living in a more relaxed state will empower you, and help you to not only focus, but know what is important to focus on.
1. Listen or read the news once a week – no more. You will notice a difference in your nervous system in just a few days and you may be surprised at what an addiction the news can be. From my own observation of others and myself, I believe that another one of the most insidious sources of anxiety and stress is watching or reading the news everyday. It is 99% negative andwhen you really step back, you already know what the news is going to be next time your see it.
Since, it’s going to be essentially the same every day, why do we bombard ourselves religiously with such dark images of crisis? Only the names and locations change. And after drinking a triple latte then going on the freeway and listening to horrifying news each and every day, it’s no wonder so many people are on anti-ulcer drugs and anti anxiety medication. Does this mean we should go into denial and ignore the problems? Absolutely not. Take action and do what you can to help. But in the rest of the week do not obsess about the negative. If anything really momentous happens, you will hear about it, everyone will be talking about it and then you can consult the media if you choose. In that way, you can stay be informed but not in a constant state of anxiety. The news plays up fear and conflict. Is that what you want to reinforce each day upon rising? Or the last thing you want to put in your imagination before sleeping? One of the most important contributions we can make to a trouble world is to give it more love, hope, and joy.
2. Read inspiring, life-affirming books before going to sleep at night. Books by or about the greatest souls in history. Whether it is the Bible, the Upanishads, the Torah, the Koran, great philosophers, or great poetry. To go to sleep with hope and inspiration will improve the quantity of your sleep and dreams.
3. Watch no violent or disturbing images in TV or movies. No explanation is necessary.
4. Get to sleep by 10 p.m. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the period of time between 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. is the most vital for the body to replenish and repair itself.
5. Give up caffeine gradually. Sorry, but it is important. You need to stop triggering the fight or flight response and somehow expect new results. Do so in steps, not cold turkey. Drink it only in the morning. Drink half a cup of coffee or latte and then pour out the rest. Switch to green or white tea with only water, no milk or soymilk. Then if you can, gradually eliminate the tea as well. What will amaze you is you will find you have more energy, not less.
Max Strom founded and directed the renowned Sacred Movement Center for Yoga and Healing in Los Angeles. There he taught more than four hundred students a week for over four years, building the program into one of the most respected centers in the world. In 2005, he sold the studio to Exhale Spa, which continues to thrive. Last year he taught and lectured in more than thirty-five cities in nine countries. Max is recognized by the Yoga Alliance at their Advanced Teacher Level (ERYT 500). He has taught tens of thousands of students; trained several hundred teachers; and recorded two videos, Learn to Breathe, to Heal Yourself and Your Relationships and Max Strom Yoga—Strength, Grace, Healing. Max has also immersed himself extensively in spiritual learning. Before his 20th birthday, he had studied Taoism, Esoteric Christianity, Sufism, and was practicing meditation and Chi Gung diligently. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon.
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