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A Woman who is having Stress Bo Yoga

The Three Types of Stress and How to Handle Them

The Three Types of Stress and How to Handle Them 730 330 Nate Guadagni

“You should meditate each day for twenty minutes. If you don’t have time, you should meditate each day for an hour.” — Zen Proverb

Take a moment now to close your eyes and breathe deeply and count to ten. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

Okay, now how do you feel? In just ten seconds, you can reduce your stress significantly and feel more relaxed. Yet, as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, in those same ten seconds, thirty-five people have died as a direct result of stress. That’s 110 million people every year. Stress is a sobering health risk that we are only recently beginning to understand.

The World Health Organization has called stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” According to the Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health, the workplace is the number one cause of life stress. Consider these statistics:

★ 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job

★ Nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress

★ 42 percent say their coworkers need help reducing stress

★ 40 percent of workers report their job is “very” or “extremely” stressful (Northwestern National Life)

★ 26 percent say they are “very often burned out by stress” (Yale University)

★ Stress is responsible for 30% of all disability claims
★ Stress costs American businesses an estimated $300 billion a year

What is stress, exactly? The term “stress” was coined in 1936 by Hans Selye, a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist who dedicated his life to research on the topic. In his later years, when asked to define stress, he told reporters, “Everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.” If nobody knows what stress is, yet it is causing so many problems, how can we deal with it better?

One definition of stress sums it up well: “Stress is the resistance to change.” To the degree that you resist the changes that are happening to you and around you, you will feel an equivalent amount of stress.

If you look carefully at what causes stress for you, you will see that there is always a situation requiring you to change, but you are not willing. Consider these scenarios:

  • Paul is late for a meeting and when traffic slows, he feels very stressed. In the next car over, Jason is listening to a book on tape while enjoying the sunset; he is not feeling stressed at all.
  • Carrie hates to speak in public and is dreading her presentation, yet Maria loves the spotlight and can’t wait for her chance to present.
  • Tina lives for deadlines and thrives under the pressure of monthly quotas. Her coworker Zach feels overwhelmed and often gets sick at the end of the month.

In each case, the level of stress reflects the level of resistance that each person has in relation to his or her situation. It may seem that stress comes from outside circumstances and conditions, but if that were true, everyone would feel the same way about a situation. Stressors are like the weather: It rains on everyone, yet some people are prepared to deal with it while others are not. If you have a warm house, car, or raincoat to protect you, then the rain isn’t as bad as it would feel without the protection.

REI’s clever motto states, “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” I say the same is true for stress. There is no bad stress, just inappropriate coping. If we enter the arctic with a t-shirt and shorts, we will surely die. Yet if we prepare for the situation beforehand, we can survive and even enjoy the journey.

Stress is no different, and the ability to adapt to change is completely learnable and teachable. While there are countless stressors, there is basically only one stress response. Instead of trying to control situations and people, it is much more effective to understand and manage our stress response.

The stress response is controlled by dual parts of the nervous system — the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic set of nerves creates the stress “fight/ flight/ freeze” response. The parasympathetic set of nerves causes the relaxation “rest/ digest” response. The important thing to know is that only one set of nerves can be active at one time. It is not possible to be in both states at once. If you had to choose, in which state would you like to spend most of your day?

The problem with stress in our society is that almost everyone is quite an expert at inducing the stress response, and they do it often. And if they don’t bring it on themselves, someone else will surely help! Unfortunately, the ability to induce the relaxation response does not come as automatically. However, it is not any more difficult to induce the relaxation response than it is to induce the stress response, and with some practice, a state of relaxation can be maintained.

Often people point to the positive benefits of stress, such as getting things done and making things exciting. Often a high-energy lifestyle is preferred, and people worry that if they relax too much, they will lose their edge or become boring, stagnant, or dull.

However, if you think of your body like a car, your dual nervous system is similar to the gas pedal and a brake pedal. One makes you go faster and one makes you go slower. One is not better than the other; they both are important. A good driver can seamlessly blend their speeds to suit their journey.

Striking a balance between stress and relaxation in our lives is paramount. If our own lives aren’t enough evidence, statistics show us that too much stress is a much bigger problem than not enough stress. The ideal balance of stress and relaxation is called “relaxed focus.” This state is attainable with practice and awareness. Bo Yoga gives the foundation for stress relief and the ability to manage our own nervous system. We may not be able to control the stressors of our lives, but we can do a lot better at managing the stress response in ourselves.

There are 3 levels of stress:
★ Acquired stress (from your past)

★ Potential stress (in the present)

★ Preventable stress (in the future)

The first level of stress relief deals with acquired stress, which you likely feel in your body now. This type of stress can include tension in your shoulders, tension headaches, back pain, or any other physical, mental, or emotional discomfort. Acquired stress is a current problem that you have carried over from your past, due to lifestyle, a sudden event, or injury.

Acquired stress is dealt with by directly working on your body to get rid of the pain and tension. Stretching, deep breathing, and guided relaxation, along with the gentle pressure and tapping of the Bo Staff, can all help to relieve the stress that you feel now. Without dealing with the stress of your past, you will have a hard time facing stress from the present or the future.

The second level of stress relief is dealing with potential stress. This type of stress is the kind that is happening right now. If potential stress is handled well, it won’t become acquired stress. The vicious cycle of stress leading to more stress will end. This requires the ability to recognize the stress response in yourself as you face the stressor. For instance, when you are in traffic, you can begin to assess your stress by noticing that your shoulders are tensing, that you aren’t breathing well, and that you are gritting your teeth. The easy part of this is that usually, when you realize what you are doing, the solution is quite obvious. If you aren’t breathing, start breathing again. If you are clenching your jaw, open your mouth a bit. The hard part is doing this frequently enough to make it an automatic habit.

Bo Yoga and mindful exercise helps this second level of stress relief; when you become more attuned to your body, you will more easily recognize the signs and symptoms of stress, and you will learn to quickly recognize and release resistance within yourself. Also, after you take a class, your mind and body will be like a clean slate, comfortable and relaxed, making it easy to catch small stress responses before they grow too big. Catching stress early and nipping it in the bud is very helpful. Just like it’s easy to pull out a weed from your garden when it is small, it will be much harder to deal with it after it has grown deep roots or has gone to seed. It is important to reduce potential stress as soon as possible before it adds to the pain and suffering of the actual stress that you will carry with you everywhere you go.

The third level of stress relief is preventable stress. This type of stress is when you have released most of your actual stress to the point where your body generally feels good, free of pain, and energized. At this point, you are also good at dealing with potential stress by managing your personal stress responses, such as breathing patterns, physical tensions, and letting go of negative thoughts. Now that you are feeling pretty good, you can get ahead of stress and begin to prevent it before it even happens!

If the Earth is your body, your ability to prevent stress is like the ozone layer. It burns up meteorites in the atmosphere and also shields the Earth from harmful radiation. Not only does it protect the Earth from outside threats, it also creates a layer of insulation that maintains a healthy environment within it, despite the fact that it’s floating in the middle of cold and desolate space.

Preventable stress relief means that your shields are at full power, negativity burns up in your atmosphere, and you maintain a happy and positive mindset, no matter how negative and dark your surroundings are. Preventable stress relief means that you have a buffer around you that gives you time to choose responses instead of reacting. As people and situations come close to you, you can feel and sense if they are good for you or not. You not only build a huge tolerance to stress, you know how to repair any damage to your personal ozone layer when it occurs.

If stress is caused by resistance, then stress relief is caused by the release of resistance. Multiple studies have shown that mind-body training is highly effective to this end. Bo Yoga includes the following types of mind-body training:

★ Moving meditation: The fluid movements of Bo Yoga are meant to be practiced in a state of relaxed concentration, not unlike sitting meditation, except you get to move your body, too, which most of us need to do more often.

★ After class relaxation: Class is typically concluded with a savasana, the yoga “corpse pose” position, which involves lying on the floor to release all tension from the body.

★ Fun and laughter: The proper attitude for Bo Yoga is not overly serious or up-tight. Having a great time doing it is really the only proper way to practice because fun and laughter release beneficial hormones and encourage continued practice.

★ Distraction from stressors: When you take some time to practice Bo Yoga, you forget about your troubles for a moment and just focus on yourself and your own health.

★ Positive social environment: If you are practicing Bo Yoga with others, you can be sure you have found other individuals who, like you, are committed to positive changes in their lives.

One of Bo Yoga’s main benefits is its ability to release physical, emotional, and mental resistance. Through it, you have a regular practice of body, mind, and emotional healing that recharges you and releases you from resistance. Bo Yoga’s effectiveness for you depends on how well you can use it to this end.

How to Breathe Like a Baby

How to Breathe Like a Baby 1200 800 Nate Guadagni

Breathing correctly is the key to better fitness, muscle strength, stamina, and athletic endurance.

— Dr. Michael Yessis, President, Sports Training Institute

Have you ever watched a baby while he or she is asleep? They sleep so soundly and seem so totally relaxed, most adults can’t help but envy them a bit. As they sleep, the whole abdomen and chest rises and falls with each breath.

Really, that’s how we all should be breathing — deeply into our abdomen. Unfortunately, the stresses and tensions of life cause most of us to breathe much more shallowly, often only using a fraction of our lung capacity. This leaves us in a state of perpetual oxygen deprivation. We breathe enough to live, but not really enough to thrive as we could.

Scientists agree that oxygen plays a primary role in our overall health and well-being. Dr. Otto Warburg, president of the Institute of Cell Physiology and the only person to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine twice, says, “Deep breathing techniques that increase oxygen to the cells are the most important factors in living a disease-free and energetic life… Remember: where cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not, cannot occur.” In his book Antioxidant Adaptation, biochemist Stephen Levine writes: “Oxygen plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the immune system. We can look at oxygen deficiency as the single greatest cause of all diseases.”

Oxygen is the most important nutrient to the cells in your body, and it plays an integral role in almost every body function. It is responsible for producing up to 90 percent of your body’s energy, and it makes up approximately 96 percent of your body’s nutritional needs. You can live without food for forty days, without water for about seven days, but without oxygen you will die in just a few minutes.

Although water makes up 65 to 75 percent of the human body, oxygen makes up 90 percent of the water molecule. Our brains, the most oxygen-hungry part of our bodies, make up two percent of our total mass, yet requires 20 percent of the body’s oxygen needs.

In our bodies, 80 percent of all our metabolic energy production is created by oxygen. Our metabolic processes work to rid our bodies of waste and toxins. Even our abilities to think, feel, and act require oxygen-related energy production. Oxygen also plays a vital role in metabolic functions such as blood circulation, digestion, the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of wastes. Sufficient oxygen helps the body in its ability to rebuild itself and maintain a strong and healthy immune system.

During exercise oxygen is moved through the body by two of the vital organs — the heart and the lungs. The lungs bring oxygen into the body, which provides energy and removes carbon dioxide, while the heart pumps the oxygen to the muscles that are doing the exercise.

Traditional Asian medical practitioners understood this long before it was understood by Western scientists. The Chinese character chi, which is commonly understood to mean “energy,” more literally means “breath.” The greatest benefits of chi gong, tai chi, and other energy cultivation methods comes through the focused breathing exercises that combine the power of the mind with the power of the breath. In Bo Yoga, breath, combined with stretching and movement, acts like a pump that circulates the energy through the body.

Bo Yoga facilitates proper breathing in three major ways. First, the physical structures responsible for breathing are all enhanced through regular practice. The lungs, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles are all stretched and strengthened through Bo Yoga, which develops a larger and more stable lung capacity to bring more oxygen in and to move more carbon dioxide out.

Proper breathing is also dependent on proper posture. As you are reading this, check your posture for a moment, especially your spinal position. As you notice your posture, do you naturally straighten your spine and inhale? If you are like most people, your posture is mildly suffocating you and restricting the flow of oxygen to your body, brain, and to all of your cells. Bo Yoga helps alleviate skeletal problems caused by poor posture by opening joints and realigning the spine, which in turn allows for better, more complete breaths.

Also, the dynamic nature of the Bo Yoga class cultivates better breathing habits. The moderately strenuous, fast-paced warm-ups increase your heart rate and stimulate your muscles, which in turn increase your breathing rate and move oxygen rich blood to your whole body. The deep stretches and relaxation at the end of classes allow the heart and lungs to relax and fully absorb the oxygen into the cells.

Finally, the Bo Yoga class is filled with conscious reminders to breathe deeply and to be aware of your breath, which brings mindfulness and self-modification to your breathing patterns. You will develop better breathing habits naturally as you practice Bo Yoga, but to begin, try improving your breathing capacity through exercises that open your chest and lengthen your spine. Work on increasing your oxygen circulation to all the cells of your body through moderate exercise, stretching, and movement. Give your heart and lungs a break by learning how to slow down your nervous system with meditation and relaxation. You will learn more about this in chapter 7 of Bo Yoga : Taking Yoga Further, which is about stress relief.

Breathing is a critical element in all meditation and mindfulness practices because the breath is one of the few vital functions of the body that can be managed consciously. Unlike your heartbeat, your digestion, and other vital functions, your breath can be improved and developed immediately. Simply taking deeper breaths will instantaneously improve your blood pressure, heart rate, and nervous system. There is no question that lack of oxygen due to improper breathing is one of the most important problems to address when seeking to improve your energy and health.

Finally, breathing is critical for the expansion of your awareness of self as an energy being. Ilchi Lee, founder of Dahn Yoga and author of Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential, writes: “If you close your eyes and begin to feel your breath, it will instantly become deeper and slower, and your mind will become calmer. Then gradually you’ll become aware of your body, or more precisely the subtle sense of energy inside and around your body. At that moment, you exist as Energy-Consciousness, not as names, jobs, duties, roles, desires, and so on.”

In other words, as you breathe in, you breathe in the energy of the universe and become one with the entire universe. As you breathe out, you return what you don’t need, and you ready yourself for the next breath. In this way, you become one with the constant ebb and flow that is high and low tide, night and day, waking and sleeping… the give and take that is the cycle of life itself.

Bo Yoga at Sunday Streets – Register Guard Article

Bo Yoga at Sunday Streets – Register Guard Article 750 1125 Nate Guadagni

Attendees at the Eugene Sunday Streets fair practice Bo Yoga in downtown Eugene on Sunday, July 31, 2016. (Adam Eberhardt/The Register-Guard)

Read the original article here.

Yoga can be practiced in a quiet forest or meadow. Or, as Nate Guadagni showed Sunday, it can be performed in a downtown square, even as people are bustling and live music is blaring.

Gaudagni did not have to contend with any revving car engines, however, as his yoga demonstration was part of the city of Eugene’s Sunday Streets gathering, a no-cars-allowed extravaganza now in its sixth year.

Several thousand people turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon for an event that did allow some wheels — if they were of the bicycle, skateboard, rollerskate or wheelchair variety.

The event provided a range of activities, all the way from Pearl Street and the Park Blocks to the east, to Monroe Park and Adams Street to the west.

Attendees enjoyed demonstrations, dance parties, vendors and live music while rolling or walking the 11-block stretch of Broadway.

Guadagni, of Eugene Yoga, led a Bo Yoga class in the middle of Broadway between Pearl and Oak streets.

“I love training outdoors,” Guadagni said. “It’s the best training ground.”

Bo Yoga is a mixture of yoga, tai chi and meditation that involves using a flexible padded stick called a Bo Staff.

As Guadagni led the class, some struggled to focus amid the live music echoing from the Park Blocks. But it didn’t seem to faze Hazel Jones from enjoying the free 45-minute class.

“It’s such a great idea,” Jones said.

Of course, it helped that the weather was “perfect,” she added.

The Staff and the Body – Eugene Weekly Article

The Staff and the Body – Eugene Weekly Article 400 267 Nate Guadagni

The Staff and the Body

Bo Yoga brings martial arts to traditional practice

LEAD STORY | DECEMBER 31, 2015 | BY DAEMION LEE


Instructor Nate Guadagni leads a Bo Yoga class. Photo: Todd Cooper

Read Original Article Here
Like yoga but with a stick, Bo Yoga combines elements of yoga with a bo, a wooden staff used in the Japanese martial art of bojutsu. Those familiar with yoga may recognize hints of familiar poses like table or warrior, but it is a unique discipline, incorporating tai chi and dance.

Nate Guadagni, founder and instructor of Bo Yoga, says he came up with the idea while trying out different kinds of bo staffs.

“I realized it allowed me and my students to do a lot more,” Guadagni says about the plastic-and-foam bo he uses in class. “The bo staff allows you to use leverage.” And that means it is possible to stretch more deeply with less effort and strain. The practice is particularly helpful for people recovering from injuries, he says, as well as improving balance and self-discipline.

On a recently rainy morning, Guadagni led a small class of students at the Core Star Center near downtown Eugene.

Soft music fills the room as everyone stretches. At first, the bo staff feels awkward, but at the front of the room, Guadagni demonstrates. He shows the class how to place the staff across the shoulders, arms looped over the top. Next, he puts one end of the staff on the ground and leans against it, encouraging everyone to follow suit.

“Experiment,” Guadagni says. “See what works for you.”

After stretches, he moves to the upper body. With deft movements, he swings the bo in a figure eight around his body. The students imitate the movement, with an occasional bo staff falling to the floor. This is when the soft padding that encases the bo becomes important.

“Don’t be afraid to hit yourself,” Guadagni says with a grin. “It takes practice.”

Now to the lower body. He explains that most people need to strengthen their hips and legs, so this part of the routine is more rigorous. Extending arms and legs in a series of kicks, Guadagni urges everyone to hold the pose to the count of ten, balancing against the bo.

The class wraps up with the students lying on the floor, feeling energized and relaxed at the same time.

“It’s a nice blend of movement,” student Le Shufflebarger says about the class. “It’s something really unique.”

“To me it’s fun because the whole body is working,” says Hazel Jones, another student. “I feel like it centers me.”

Bo Yoga is more than exercise for the body; it has a mental and emotional component as well, helping to relieve stress and anxiety. Guadagni says he is working on an e-book and a series of DVDs to complement the practice of Bo Yoga and help people learn at home.

“It doesn’t really feel like it’s my idea,” he says. “It felt like inspiration.”

Classes are currently offered in Oregon and Illinois.

Stick to it – Eugene Magazine Article

Stick to it – Eugene Magazine Article 1256 1631 Nate Guadagni

STICK TO IT

BO STAFFS IN YOGA ASSIST WITH BALANCE AND MOTION

By Mecca Ray-Rouse | Published October 2016

Photo Credit : Stephanie Kuecker / Vivien Chao

Read Original Article here

“Let the bo staff do the work,” Nate Guadagni, founder of Bo Yoga in Eugene, says to his students Thursday morning.

Framed in white Christmas lights, a mirrored wall reflects Guadagni’s students—each with a flexible and padded bo staff.

Guadagni has been teaching yoga since he was 19. In 2013, he began experimenting with bo staffs that he purchased for martial arts practice. He soon realized that this type of staff could be used in yoga. Wrapped in new material, the ancient weapon became a tool for restoring and strengthening the body.

“The modern material adds the flexibility and the padding, which makes it way more useful than a stick,” Guadagni says.

In 2015, he left the company he was working for in order to develop Bo Yoga. He began classes in October 2015.

“People just started responding,” Guadagni says. “It was an immediate, positive response.”

Guadagni’s three pillars for Bo Yoga are energy, balance, and mindfulness. At the beginning of the class his students focus on loosening up the upper body, where people tend to hold most of their stress. Working from head to toe, Guadagni leads his classes through a series of stretches, core work, and balance poses, ending with meditation. During a pose, students use the bo staff for balance or support, or as a way to deepen the stretch by allowing the muscle to relax.

With the bo staff, yoga is more accessible to people who need extra support for safety.

“I want Bo Yoga to feel inviting,” Guadagni says. Yoga can be too demanding, challenging, or intimidating for some people. Guadagni’s class is designed to be fun, uncompetitive, and very beneficial.

“You’re going to get a mixture of the challenge that the body needs to build strength, balance, and flexibility, with the support that’s needed to make sure you’re doing it safely, effectively, and easily,” Guadagni says.

Students attend Guadagni’s class because of their interest in physical and emotional well-being. Though Bo Yoga primarily offers a physical benefit, it also offers an emotional benefit through regulated breathing.

“This has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, digestion problems, sleeping patterns, etc.” Guadagni says. “The meditation we do at the end can help with stress, mental issues, [and] negative thoughts.”

Many of Guadagni’s students have experienced these benefits since beginning Bo Yoga. A few of his students who came to his first class in October have become regulars.

“I get things here I don’t get at other places,” Hazel Jones says. She had never taken a yoga class before starting Bo Yoga in October. She likes that Bo Yoga focuses on breathing, balance, and being aware of outside factors.

With regard to the bo staff, student Le Shufflebarger says: “It makes you feel really safe. I’m glad [Nate] started this.”

Guadagni also offers an instructor course for those wanting to obtain a license to teach Bo Yoga. He hopes the Bo Yoga staff will become a staple in every yoga class. In the meantime, Guadagni will keep developing his practice and expanding the bo’s use.

“I’m excited to see where it ends up,” says Guadagni.

Guadagni currently teaches Bo Yoga at Eugene Yoga.

3575 Donald St.

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245 E Broadway

541/520-8771

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