June 5, 2020

Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

Breathing exercises are not for everyone, but if you are having trouble calming your nervous system or suffer from insomnia, here is a technique worth trying.

Dr. Andrew Weil, the noted alternative medical doctor, based his relaxing 4-7-8 breathing technique on the ancient yoga practice called pranayama. It may be done sitting, standing or prone. It is particularly useful to create a state receptive to sleep.

Here are some basic pointers in commencing a daily breathing routine:

1. First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth.

2. Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four in your head.

3. Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath (the most critical part of the exercise).

4. Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

5. You can do the breathing sequence up to 4 times per session.

6. You may work up to doing the 4 breath sequence up to 8 times, spaced throughout the day.


NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett

I continue to adore my WBEZ app which allows me to catch all of my favorite NPR broadcasts no matter the time or day.

One of the marvelous programs that concerns itself with philosophical, spiritual and metaphysical topics is On Being with Krista Tippett. As the web site notes, “We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Not only have I heard celebrities interviewed like poet Nikki Giovanni and actor Martin Sheen, but also academics, religious figures, artists, poets, civil rights advocates and thinkers of all stripes. Big questions about life, death and meaning are frequently tackled.
Seekers of audio fluff need to look elsewhere!

Four ways to experience On Being:

Live on air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 7 a.m. on WBEZ (91.5 FM)

At the WBEZ Web site: https://www.wbez.org/shows/on-being/53693dfa-bfc9-43ec-a09f-6f5de55e9e9f

as an On Being with Krista Tippett podcast

or add the WBEZ app to your smart phone or tablet.

One of my favorite recent programs is with Daniel Kahneman, author, psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. He discusses why we think and do what we do which sheds light on the current cultural and political scene.

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by Davie Michie

My sister gifted me with a charming little book entitled The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a seemingly simple story with meaningful ideas. The author, David Michie, writes predominantly about Buddhism in both non-fiction and fiction formats.

In this slim fiction volume, one reads about a rescued stray kitten that ends up in the household of the Dalai Lama. The cat known by many names, Mousie-Tung, Rinpoche, Snow Lion and HHC (His Holiness’ Cat) encounters people who have important life lessons to learn, thereby also informing the life of the Dalai Lama’s lucky feline.

Michie also leads “Mindful Safaris” to his native Africa  where voyagers are encouraged to discover both inner and outer places of beauty through travel and meditation.

His web site features well-written blog posts and free guided meditation sessions.


Simone Biles goes gold in the 2016 Olympic Games

Simone Biles has won 5 gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympic in all-around, vault and artistic floor gymnastics as well as being part of the team called the “final five” which also earned gold.

Biles, 19 years old, was born to a mother who had addictions to drugs and alcohol and could not care for her children. Simone was raised by her grandparents in Spring, Texas and switched to home-schooling for her secondary education so she could train more. She has verbally committed to attending UCLA after the Olympics. Bravo, Simone!

Please enjoy one of her 2016 Olympic artistic gymnastic routines:


TED.com makes you smarter

Thanks to friend Jerry Nerburn for recommending TED.com, a brilliant web site that features talks on a variety of topics, from architecture to medicine, to politics to environment. TED bills itself as an organization that presents “ideas worth spreading” and presents flesh and blood events and conferences throughout the year. If you have a spare $6,000, you could attend a global conference in Edinburgh, Scotland with the title “Radical Openness.”

There’s even an option on the web site to allow them to surprise you with talks, you choosing how many minutes you want to spend and what adjective describes what you are looking for: jaw-dropping, beautiful, inspiring, etc.

TED talks are now available on NETFLIX with package headings such as “Smart Laughs,”Defying Disease,” “Space Trek,” and “Crime and Punishment.” Just ten minutes will make you smarter!