Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I know how tough it can be to start a fitness program.Reasons abound - good, bad and indifferent - for not embarking on this most wondrous of journeys into yourself. No time, low energy, too much work, in a bad mood, and so forth. Or my favorite: I don't feel up to it today. So I'll get crackin' tomorrow.

But I tell you, when you don't regularly engage in some form of physical activity, you're missing out on one of the most uplifting and personally rewarding habits you can ever develop. I know this from personal experience, and having been on both sides of the exercise - no exercise continuum.

I've often spoken of coaxing yourself into action.And this works quite well for many.

Start small, start short, and you may surprise yourself once you get into it: you're actually enjoying yourself.

The key is to stop while you still want to do more. Make it so you actually look forward to your next session. As opposed to cranking it up, going in full bore...and suffering severe soreness or injury. Over time, you will improve - I guarantee it. What was once hard becomes easy. What once seemed out of reach is within your grasp.

It's amazing the impact this can have on your life. Beyond the mechanics of getting started and maintaining a regular exercise program, there is one very important point that needs to be made:

Exercise is it's own reward.

I'm not talking about the health benefits that accrue, which I Know you've heard a gazillion times.I'm talking about the intrinsic and highly personal benefits you receive from giving of yourself - of your time, of your energy - to this life-sustaining, health-promoting activity. It doesn't matter what you are doing, or why.Perhaps you need to start exercising to help control high blood pressure. Or you want to lose weight, or build more stamina.

Maybe you are into yoga, or weight training, or you enjoy going for long walks

.And of course, you may be interested in how to develop your breath and energy to new levels, for enhanced fitness and health. And before you think, "Breathing isn't exercise", I have some news for you. Breathing can be the perfect exercise - the one that supports all other physical activity, makes it seem easier and less taxing. For example, you can perform the exercise series I teach you in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course,Volume II - - at varying levels of intensity, to fit your present mood and needs. But when you perform these exercise at "full speed and power", with focused intent - whew,let me tell you, you can really feel it. It is indeed an excellent workout, especially if you only have a few minutes you can carve out of your busy day. Whatever you are doing, use that time to focus on it. Put your full intent into the activity.

This doesn't mean to kill yourself. Exercise at a level of intensity that pushes you just a bit. Killing yourself, really pushing yourself, can come later, when you are fitter, tougher,or perhaps training for an athletic event or competition. For most of us, our minds are the primary driver during our days. We obsess, we get stressed, we are constantly thinking and worrying. We are rarely in the present moment. When you exercise, you put aside those thoughts and all that "monkey chatter", as the psychologists call it. You let your body be the driver for a change. When you are in the middle of a good workout, you forget about the worries of the day. If you do it with a level of concentration and care, you can lose yourself. And so find yourself.

The other benefit is the feeling of control and trust you gain when you exercise, push and refine your body on a regular basis. You feel more in control of every aspect ofyour life - your eating, your work, your relationships - when you develop the discipline to do something good and virtuous each day. And you begin to trust in yourself. You see, you've made a promise, a commitment to yourself, and you are fulfilling it. What a wonderful thing! You'll know you're experiencing the genuine thing when, once in awhile, you get that feeling of liberation.You feel it in your chest, your lungs, and your heart. It's a feeling of liberation and freedom that, ironically, discipline brings.

You Can Do It!

from the Karen Van Ness Newsletter

Luna's Note: Be certain to get your doctor's "OK" prior to beginning any exercise program. This is especially important for those who have been sedentary.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One Legged Exercise for COPD

Wonder if kicking my ex in the butt for about 15 minutes would count as one legged exercise?

By Will Boggs, MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Exercising one leg at a time can improve aerobic capacity more than two-legged exercise in patients who have stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a report in the latest issue of the medical journal Chest.
"We may have a new approach to enable patients with severe lung disease to improve their fitness," Dr. Roger S. Goldstein told Reuters Health. "Hopefully this also increases their mobility, activities, and quality of life."
COPD is a common, progressive lung condition that is mostly seen in smokers and former smokers. It is characterized by emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which obstructs air flow to the lungs. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
Goldstein from the University of Toronto, Ontario, and Thomas E. Dolmage note that shortness of breath limits exercise intensity for most COPD patients. "One-legged exercise," at half the work load of exercise using two legs, "places the same metabolic demands on the targeted muscles." However the stress on the lungs is reduced, permitting patients to increase their exercise capacity, the researchers point out.
They investigated the effects of one-legged training on the peak oxygen uptake on 18 COPD patients during stationary bicycle exercise compared with conventional two-legged training. "Two-legged trainers cycled continuously for 30 minutes, whereas one-legged trainers switched legs after 15 minutes." The conditions were otherwise the same in terms of training frequency and session duration.
Both groups were able to increase their training intensity over the duration of the training program, the investigators report, and both groups significantly increased their total work per session.
The researchers found that the improvement in peak oxygen uptake was significantly higher in the one-legged training group than in the two-legged group. The one-legged group also had a significantly greater increase in peak ventilation and lower submaximal heart rate than the two-legged group.
"Although the one-legged group exercised at a higher muscle-specific intensity," the investigators write in their report, "their overall exercise intensity remained below that of the two-legged group."

"This approach enables patients who would otherwise be too short of breath to exercise to train at a lower work load (one that would allow them to continue exercising for longer) by using one leg at a time -- in other words, by using a lower muscle mass," Goldstein explained.
The technique is "easy to do, inexpensive, and it's simple to modify a stationary bike," Goldstein pointed out. The best candidates for this program are patients with severe but stable lung disease who would otherwise be too short of breath after minimal exertion to participate in any meaningful exercise.
"Single-leg exercise has been used to study physiologic mechanisms for more than 30 years," writes Dr. M. Jeffery Mador, from the University of New York at Buffalo, in a related editorial. "The authors are to be commended for translating this type of study into exercise that is potentially adaptable to clinical practice and may benefit patients with COPD."
Whether this approach is "ready for prime time" or just represents an interesting study will require additional trials with a larger number of patients, along with evaluation of actual patient benefits, the editorialist concludes.
Goldstein told Reuters Health that his group does plan to test the method in a larger sample of subjects before recommending it as an exercise training program for COPD patients.
SOURCE: Chest, February 2008.

Monday, February 25, 2008


As COPD'ers, we are aware of how important proper nutrition is to us. The COPD along with the meds we take and the slower pace makes it so vital for us to consume proper fuel and plenty of antioxidents. I found the following to be a form of mindful eating for us and know that you will find it helpful and loaded with good information. It is worth the read!


Because our current approach to nutrition isn't working well for so many of us, as a nutrition researcher, educator, and health journalist, it appalls me that so much of the literature in my field continues to focus exclusively on only one of the six secrets: what to eat. If the dice in Las Vegas casinos were fixed so that only the same side kept showing up every time you rolled them, everyone would scream "cheat!"
We are being cheated nutritionally. Food constitutes a six-part gift, but all we're hearing about is one thing. But this skewed perspective, focusing solely on the physiological aspects of food, has become the norm. I call our one-sided, limited view the Dark Ages of nutrition. We think that nutritional science is at its pinnacle, but in fact, most of us are still in the dark about what can most benefit us about food. This is because we're ignoring the most important elements of food and nutrition -- the healing secrets of food -- that have served humankind for centuries.

They are:
1. Unite with others through food.
2. Be aware of your feelings before, during, and after eating.
3. Bring moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness to each aspect of the meal.
4. Appreciate food and its origins -- from the heart.
5. Create union with the Divine by "flavoring" food with love.
6. Eat fresh, whole foods in their natural state as often as possible.

All these elements count -- not just one or two in isolation.

From Secret to Celebration

As powerful as the healing secrets of food are, I am disappointed that experts -- from food writers to dietitians and religious leaders -- don't learn, practice, and teach what these secrets have to offer, emphasizing their valuable health-giving properties and benefits every opportunity they get.
I am disappointed that we consider only what can be measured in food, while we've forgotten that what is not so easily measured might be much more valuable to our health. I am disappointed that society as a whole isn't paying more attention to the healing secrets of food. Instead we choose to ignore a powerful truth: food has the ability to heal us in many ways -- if we take the time to tap into its powerful healing properties.
Where, I wonder, is the meaning, the invisible satisfaction in our food? The human connection? The pleasure? The delight? The soul satisfaction? Where are the missing "secret ingredients," what philosopher Huston Smith calls "forgotten truth" about food and its meaning in our lives? Author Ken Wilbur articulates this dilemma of objective scientific truth versus underlying meaning that cannot be measured objectively. In his book
The Marriage of Sense and Soul, he writes, "Science is clearly one of the most profound methods that humans have yet devised for discovering truth, while religion remains the single greatest force for generating meaning."
Our ancient ancestors understood instinctively the significance of putting meaning into meals. Throughout the centuries, people of many religions and cultural traditions have infused food with meaning in ways that are still evident today. For instance, devout Christians begin meals with a prayer of thanks; Indians refer to bhoga, a collective term for any food ingredient being used as an offering to God; with compassion for food animals as a guideline, Jewish dietary laws specify prohibited and acceptable food; and a reverence for, and connection to, nature and food is an integral part of Native American Indian beliefs.

When the meaning in our meals is lost, what's left is a list of rules and regulations that are not meaningful and therefore not motivating or sustainable. This truth became evident as my mom and dad struggled to overcome their heart problems. I knew they understood the heart-healthy dietary information I'd given them, but in retrospect, I realize that the underlying message was, "You should be eating differently. You should stop eating familiar and comfortable foods. You should assess and analyze what you're eating." Should.

Surely what we should do or eat isn't a great motivator (nor is it emotionally appetizing). Indeed, the dictionary states that the word should implies obligation. Is this what food is really about? Is it something we're obligated to eat, to analyze, to weigh, to judge, to avoid, to crave, to overconsume, to underconsume, to control, to love, to hate, to fear, or to revere?
When we assess the vast nutritional resources of our culinary heritage and merge this wisdom with what modern nutritional science has to tell us, our relationship to food becomes integrative and therefore optimal. In lieu of being tossed around in a storm of nutrients and numbers, you become empowered to actualize an eating style that holds the potential not only to nourish your physical health but also to enhance your emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Food becomes a celebration of life.
The Main Course
I'm calling for a renaissance -- a reflowering of the way we view food and nutrition. This new view asks that we pay attention to all the healing secrets -- and to demystifying, understanding, and practicing them every day. I'm especially thrilled to tell you about these long-lost healing secrets -- not only because of their timeless wisdom, but because they contain the answers we've been looking for -- but in all the wrong places.
Ultimately, their message is simple: the healing gifts of food are available to us each time we eat. As a matter of fact, every time you shop for, prepare, and eat food you have the opportunity to connect with the life-giving, life-containing mystery inherent in food. These activities are also opportunities to connect with loved ones, with the earth, with life itself. In this way, you can heal not only yourself but, ultimately, the planet.

This article is excerpted from:

The Healing Secrets of Food by Deborah Kesten.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New World Library, Novato, California.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living With Rhythm

Developing rhythms in sleeping, eating, and eliminating brings greater order. Eating before the sun goes down, and rising before the sun comes up, allows the power within and the power below to align with the circadian rhythms of the sun. When our neuroendocrine systems are aligned with the circadian rhythms of the sun, there is greater order, and therefore abundance of energy liberated purposefully. Benjamin Franklin spoke wisely when he said, "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
If we are arrhythmic in our cycles, we align our neuroendocrine systems with the ultradian rhythms of the moon. How surprised would you be to discover that in ancient times the sun was revered for its dependability and rhythm, while the moon was considered to be flighty and erratic in its cycles? No wonder that someone who is extremely emotional, erratic, and impulsive to the point of irresponsible conduct is called a "lunatic."

Did you catch that awesome Lunar eclipse last night?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Power of Breath

Life begins with a first breath and ends with a last breath. Air contains the electricity that charges our vital capacitor with energy. Breathing, posture, physiology, and function are interrelated in expressing our vital potential energy. Energy is infinite and is universally available to the one with greater order. Higher-ordered breathing transforms and liberates energy. Disordered breathing stifles and imprisons energy.
Breathing only from the chest is short, shallow, disordered breathing that depends upon several muscles of the neck to elevate the rib cage. It is the 80% effort that returns 20% results. It can literally be a pain in the neck because the muscles manifest tension due to the stressful breathing. Symmetrical, diaphragmatic breathing, which will be described shortly, is the 20% effort that returns 80% results.
Greater inhalations than exhalations excite. Greater exhalations than inhalations sedate. Balance inhalations with exhalations. Balance long slow breaths with short fast breaths. Both are useful.
Balanced, even, symmetrical breathing generates great energy and brings the power within and the power below into synergistic present-now consciousness with the Power on High. Uneven, unbalanced, asymmetrical breathing brings the higher minded power within and the lower-minded power below into a consciousness of guilt about the past or fear of the future.
The higher-minded power within directs our striated skeletal muscles. The lower-minded power below directs our smooth, involuntary muscles. If you are in future fear and past guilt, the lower-minded power below rules the higher-minded power within you and you omit what is purposeful and commit what is perpendicular or tangential to what is purposeful. Balanced, diaphragmatic breathing keeps you on purpose.
Have you ever noticed how a baby breathes? Babies "belly breathe" by innately utilizing their diaphragm. They continue their diaphragmatic breathing until they are about 12 years of age. Perhaps it contributes to their boundless energy. The diaphragm is the heart of the lymphatic system. Symmetrical, diaphragmatic breathing cycles pump the lymphocytes and fatty plasma through the lymphatic system, and surround and block off foreign invaders such as bacteria.
Symmetrical breathing cycles, which begin and end with the diaphragm, balance and bring order between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Symmetrical diaphragmatic breathing balances acid and alkaline pH. Symmetrical diaphragmatic breathing stimulates both the left and right cerebral hemispheres and activates the corpus callosum, the highest evolved, higher-minded part of the brain.
You can easily learn diaphragmatic breathing as you practice perfect breathing a little each day.
Begin by standing erect or lying supine. Place your hands upon your abdomen.
As you inhale through your nose for a slow count of seven, let your abdomen protrude. Feel it move with your hands.
Hold your air for a slow count of seven.
As you exhale through your nose for a slow count of seven, use your hands to feel your abdomen pull in.
Continue pulling your abdomen in and tighten it for a slow count of seven.
Repeat this cycle for a total of seven cycles.
Practice this exercise perfectly for one week and begin to add cycles until you can complete 12 perfect cycles. Keep practicing for 21 consecutive days. After 21 days of practice, you will have mastered diaphragmatic breathing to the point that you can easily experiment with both slow and fast cycles of breathing.
Practice diaphragmatic breathing for periods of five, ten, fifteen minutes, or more. If you feel like you are going to fall backwards, put your back against a wall. Notice the feeling you experience as you complete the exercise. Realize that as you control your breathing, you control your mental magnetic power to take action with energy now.

Dr. Richard Bellamy


I have noticed that some days, I wake early, full of energy and zest. I get up feeling ready to "take on" the world.
On the other hand, there are some mornings where I can't seem to get moving. Now, I am not talking of those mornings when I may be physically tired and need the extra sleep. I speak rather of those mornings when I've had enough hours of rest, yet can't seem to get motivated to "rise and shine".
At those times, I ask myself what it is that I want to escape. "What is it in my life that keeps me from feeling enthusiastic about the upcoming day?" Of course it is easy to lay the blame on someone else. It's so-and-so's fault I'm angry, it's their fault I'm depressed, etc.
Yet when I'm honest with myself it's always my action (or inaction) that is the source of my lack of energy. Sometimes, it is a call that I have been putting off because I fear it won't be successful; at other times, there is a situation or person that I don't want to deal with. There is usually something I am trying to avoid, and rather than have to face it, my avoidance is translated into a listless feeling of wanting to stay in bed. Rather than find a constructive way to deal with the situation, sleep seems to be the easier route. So I avoid taking responsibility by slipping into a state of avoidance, of listlessness.
The question is: is that really the easier way -- to procrastinate and try to avoid what we fear about the day ahead of us?
You can't put anything off forever. You may think that you can, that you have shelved something "forever", yet your sub-conscious will remember and keep reminding you in subliminal ways. You will carry that feeling of the `blah's' until you deal with what is causing you to feel that way.
Unresolved issues are a drain on your energy. It is as if you have a tube connected to the `problem' and energy keeps leaking from you until you sever the connection by changing your attitude, taking action, and resolving the issue.
Are you enthusiastic about life?
Do you wake up excited to face another day?
Are you interested in your work, and are you involved in it with intensity, energy, and zeal?
Are you doing what you would choose to do were you to make a completely fresh start?
Are you committing your time to activities you enjoy?
For one to live a happy and fulfilled life, the answer to these questions needs to be an enthusiastic YES. Otherwise, you are dragging yourself about, performing tasks which don't really interest you.
So, if you wake up in the morning and feel as if you don't want to get up out of bed, I would suggest you take responsibility for that feeling and ask yourself what it is you are running from and then deal with the situation.
Once you've get rid of those "unsolved mysteries", you will find that you've regained your lost enthusiasm and your life will be much more enjoyable. The avoidance of expected pain or imagined confrontations translates into a mediocre existence lacking in joy and vitality. Your level of vibrancy will be very different when you affirm and practice an enthusiastic and responsive approach to life.
Life can be joyful and happy. You can be like an exuberant child again -- eager to face the toys and joys of the day, and wanting to participate in all of the excitement life has to offer.
Take a look at your life and see where you are siphoning off your own energy. Fix your `leaky pipes' and live your life enthusiastically, always expecting the best, and looking forward to what each new day will bring.
Life's purpose is to live creatively, fulfilling our innermost and highest desires. Go for it!
When you reach for your dreams and jump into them enthusiastically, taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions, you will be a much happier (and healthier) person.

By: Marie T. Russell

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Magic Message

This is a story about a remarkable little bird and I hope you will see that its message applies to us COPD'ers.

Sometimes Mother Nature just astounds me. A case in point is found in an example I saw just the other morning. This occurred as I was going through my typical morning routine. One of the things I do every morning is fill the bird bath that sits on the rail off my deck. I always like to make sure my feathered friends have clean water to drink even though they occasionally take baths in that very same water. Anyway, I was standing at my sink filling the water jug when I looked out at the bird bath to see a sparrow sitting on the edge getting its early morning drink of water. I didn’t give it another thought until I went to the door a few minutes later to go out on the deck and fill the bath. It was then that Mother Nature took me by the hand and taught me the very valuable lesson that I am going to share with you today. Let me begin by telling you that this was no ordinary bird. But before I share with you what was so special about this little sparrow, let me give you a play by play. I stood at the door for a few more minutes to wait for the bird to finish drinking before I opened the door and scared it away. After standing there a few minutes, with the bird showing no sign of leaving, I got impatient and decided to go out there and fill the bath. I opened the door and stepped outside and was surprised that the bird didn’t fly away. So I slowed my pace and thought I would see how close I could get before it saw me and took flight. Well, it never flinched even as I got to within a few feet. As I crept even closer, it became obvious to me why this bird didn’t fly away. This bird had no eyes! I would guess based on how it looked that this was a birth defect, as the bird didn’t look hurt or injured in any way. It had been surviving like this for some time it appeared. I could have literally grabbed that bird if I had wanted to but then it suddenly flew away using its wings to feel its way through the tree above. I was amazed at that encounter and very impressed by this little bird. What does this have to do with wellness and healthy living? In a word, everything!Just as that sparrow had to adapt to survive, so must you. Adaptation, in my opinion, is one of the critical keys to successful lifestyle change. You see, as I watched this sightless bird feel its way through the branches with its wings, I was struck by the power of adaptation. Mother Nature has given that to us humans as a birthright but most people never truly test its potential. But, for those of you who want to turn that dream of healthy living into a real life experience, adaptation is the key. Even though this bird had the odds stacked against it, it was still able to find its way and live its life. Remember this little bird the next time you struggle with adapting to healthy living.