Breathing Exercise To Lower Stress

Continuing with stress relief, let’s get onto eliminating a stressor.

Wrong muscles used and overworked cause chronic stress.  The little aches and pains in the shoulder, base of your neck as well as base of your skull.  Those small muscles were never meant to do so much work.

Full deep breaths should be 2/3 in lower belly, 1/3 in lungs.  In reality, it all goes in your lungs, it just feels as if you were breathing into your lower belly or upper chest.

The easiest way to practice is to:

– Lie on your back, knees bent, one hand on your tummy
– Fill up your stomach first, feel it rising up
– push the air down as far as possible
– Exhale ALL the air as you feel your tummy go down

Practice this for 3 days, best time is at the end of your day in bed, just before you fall asleep.  It helps wind you down.

On Day 4, at the end of each of your inhale to your belly, begin increasing the air intake into your upper chest.  You’ll notice you can take in quite a bit more air with just one deep breath.

Remember children breathing before they’re self conscious.  All the air goes into their belly.

What if I have trouble with breathing into my belly?  It’s impossible.

It is definitely frustrating in the beginning to overcome the millions of breaths you’ve taken the “wrong way”.  If you persist and continue practicing, you will make it through.  You’ll notice you’ll be a lot more patient the deeper you’re able to breathe.

One thing to be mindful of is if you take in more air than you usually do, you may get light headed but the additional oxygen.  This is a good thing, you just need to work up to it slowly.

Go ahead and give this a try for the next week and comment below this post on what improvements you notice, if any.

How To Reduce Stress In Your Busy Daily Life

Before I get into ways you can reduce your stress, let me emphasize the need for stress.  It is imperative we have some sort of stress.  It can be life saving.  We need it.

If there was no stress we’d accomplish nothing.  Someone’s internal drive is a form of stress.  It’s used for innovation, exploration as well as preservation.  The key is to have a balance of stress and relaxation.  If you’re going to play hard you must rest just as hard to keep things in equilibrium.

Luckily in today’s society, we rarely have to concern ourselves with having too little stress.  Heck, stress comes from everywhere.  Your mobile phone, the weather (too hot or too cold, rain, snow, hail, humidity), exhaust fumes from cars along with other pollutants in the air especially if you’re in a big enough city.  Rain adds stress to most people’s lives, so does traffic or crowds in public transportation.  Lack of money is a big one and so is work and most types of relationships too.

The curious thing is your body has little concern for the source of your stress.  It’s pretty much all the same to it.  It needs to release some hormones to save your life, then once the danger is gone, other hormones to relax you and get you back to where you were.

The problem these days is, before you could relax, another stressor hits you and your stress hormone levels never get to settle down.  This puts you in “over-stressed” mode for most of the day.  Always in survival mode without a break.  It’s the vicious cycle, which I’m sure you’ve heard of.  If you’re in this mode for a prolonged period of time, your body adapts and sees this as normal so it uses up more nutrients in your system to combat the oxidation your body is going through.  So you tend to deplete your anti oxidant stores quicker and without additional (or even adequate) nutrition, you start wearing your body down.  You become more susceptible to catching the common cold, you feel more worn down, you increase your chances of injuring yourself, be it doing regular daily activities or maybe something more strenuous.  Your energy levels drop and it’s a chore just to get out of bed to face the day.

At this point, you’ve “spent more of your life force than you have in the bank”.  The balance is literally like a bank account.  Stress is withdrawing money, rest is depositing money.  Ideally you would deposit more than you withdraw so you build up a reserve for times of unforeseen stress (for whatever reason they tend to happen frequently enough.)

I started writing this post to give you some ideas on how you can fill up that “health bank account” and become more resilient to the daily onslaught of stressors, of which there’s never a shortage.

I can read your mind from a distance saying something like “Oh crap, now he’s going to tell me to do something MORE”.  Partially, that voice inside is right.  The surprise is, you may even enjoy some of these.

Let’s start with


You can start with 1 minute of solitude a day where you’re alone with no one you know around or even if they are, you block them out (it’s easier to be alone at first, just a heads up)  You can sit on a park bench and close your eyes or in your car, with your engine off in a park or even just by the curb before you get home.  You can do it in your bedroom or even bathroom (sadly that seems to be the only time we’re alone these days – as long as you go in their without your cell phone!)


This is great if you’re a bit more adventurous.  It’s a sensory deprivation “chamber” where you lie in warm salt water for roughly an hour at a time.

Life Force Building Exercises (Like QiGong, Tai Chi)

The simplest explanation is it’s a type of moving meditation.  You have specific movements, breathing and visualization all at once to build up your life force.


You do this daily anyway, so doing it purposefully to reduce stress involves only a few modifications, then practice.


This is a big one.  Meaning it has a massive impact on some stressors.  The causes of your lack of energy could be your food choices.  Maybe even one or two things that create additional stress for you.

Avoid pro inflammatory foods

Avoid grains


Drinking too little (and sometimes too much) water can be stressful. Although I’ve only come across people who drink too little and therefore get dehydrated.

Walks in nature

This one self explanatory, sounds simple and easy yet it has a massive return on investment.  If you live in a large city, this is a really good “reset” for the daily hustle and bustle.

Doing what you love each day

Imagine carving out a part of your day to do what you love.  Doing it just for yourself for the pure enjoyment of it.  How would that make your day feel?


Reading can be very relaxing (especially if you’re reading something you’re interested in and want to.)

Avoiding the news

This is where I tell you to do less.  Go on a news-diet.  Avoiding bad news (since that’s all news seems to be these days) will actually help you feel better.

Avoiding alcohol

As “relaxing” alcohol feels, it’s the opposite in reality.  It wreaks havoc on your system.  Avoiding it for a period of time will lessen the stress on your body.

Going to bed earlier

This is one of the toughest ones to follow through on.  So far everyone agreed with me this was important to lessen your stress but actually doing it is another story.  This is definitely only for the hardcore.  The results and benefits are going to amaze you, though.


This seems hard at first except you get to choose your pace.  You can meditate any which way you like for as long as YOU are comfortable with.  1 minute is a good start.  Just sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize your stress leaving your body.

What’s your favourite way to relieve stress?  Comment below.

Causes Of Back Pain

Unfortunately, some people think you “catch” back pain like a cold, or it hits you when you reach a certain age or your predisposed to it because of genetics…

None of those are true.

The main reasons are due to imbalances.  Both physical and nutritional. 

It’s a lot less glamorous than being at the wrong place at the wrong time and falling victim to the excruciating experience of lower back pain.

Here are the obvious reasons for a physical imbalance:

Trauma.  Some type of accident where you hurt yourself and your back is in pain afterwards.

Wear/Tear: Repetitive movements wear out joints (including your vertebrae) overtime.

Less obvious ones:

Muscular imbalances due to overuse of certain movements and muscles.  Especially if you do the same thing over and over for an extended period of time.  

The obvious nutritional ones are:

Dehydration.  Depriving your body of fluids (water) reduces the discs between your vertebrae allowing friction between them, resulting in inflammation and eventually causing pain.

Food allergies and intolerances.  These also cause inflammation.

A less obvious and more insidious is the accumulation of toxins overtime.

6 Pillars To Health

The quality of your health and vitality can be narrowed down to 6 pillars.
If these 6 pillars are as solid as possible, you’ll have the most opportunity to squeeze the most out of what you’ve been given from your mom and your dad.  The opposite is also true, one weak pillar will break the collective bond.
The old idiom attributed to Aristotle “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” holds true here.  Each pillar is strong on its own but when you put them together, you have “wholistic” health and incredible vitality.
Let’s get on with it, shall we.  The first pillar is Thoughts.

1. Thoughts

Everything begins with a thought.  The more you think about something the closer it comes to fruition.  That thought turns into an action, many actions turn into progress, progress ends with a result.  Be it a chisel and a piece of rock turning into a statue or following a recipe for tonight’s dinner.  It all goes through a process that begins with a single thought.
When you wake up in the morning, your mind starts working.  For some a little slower than others, which is an indicator one or more of the pillars are less than their optimal.
Just imagine, that smartphone, laptop or tablet you’re reading this on, was once a thought.  They’re powerful beyond measure.
Your thoughts happen with or without your control and even your permission.  Meditation is a way to practice controlling your thoughts, some succeed, most keep working on it.
For improved health, less pain, increased vibrancy, you can practice refocusing and redirecting your thoughts.  Starting small and building on them is a true and tested way of improving the quality of your life.
Starting with setting a goal and basing some of your decisions on that goal will begin strengthening your mental muscles.
For example, writing this post started with a thought.  A question, actually.  “How can I best share the foundations to health with the most number of people?”  The answer was to write a blog post.  You’re reading the result of it.
Moving onto the second pillar to health.  Luckily for all of us, this happens even without having to think about it.

2. Breath

Without breathing, life ceases to exist.
It can alter your mood (for better or worse), it can increase your body temperature and also cool it down.  It can calm your mind, and get you anxious.  It can give you energy or take it away.  The good news is, you have full control over it.
As with thoughts, there are many who practice controlling breath.  You can use it instead of coffee to make you more alert by increasing the frequency and intensity of taking a breath.  You can also use it to help you fall asleep by taking slow and deep diaphragmatic breaths as you close your eyes for the night in bed.
Your breath is also an indicator of how you’re reacting to what’s currently happening with and around you.
Being aware of your breathing will give you the power to change it and with it your mood.  You can be in control.
The third pillar is hydration

3. Hydration

70% of our bodies is water.
It’s required for almost all chemical reactions in your body.  Most of each of your cells in your entire body is water.
At 2% dehydration is when you start getting thirsty, you get skin flushing and start getting fatigue.  So by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.  You also lose a bit of alertness and your urine starts turning darker.
At 3%-4% dehydration you lose 3% – 10% of your power and strength, depending on the intensity of the exercise.  This includes playing sports, which is why it’s imperative to be fully hydrated before and during any type of activity.
At 5% dehydration your sweating slows down to preserve fluids.  This, in turn, increases the work your heart and lungs have to do to pump and circulate a more sludgy, thicker blood around your body.
At 10% dehydration your muscles spasm and get spastic.  Confusion sets in, seizures are more likely and you can even lose consciousness.
The more cooked/processed foods you eat, the more water is required to process it.  Think of dried fruits.  They had their water content reduced to next to nothing.  Your body needs to rehydrate it to process it so it requires more water and your digestive system will “steal” it from other parts of your body to do its job properly.
Think of constipation and hard to pass stools as another sign of dehydration.
I must distinguish between hydration and water, though.  There are much better ways of hydrating yourself than with plain water.  Your body has a hard time assimilating H2O.  It needs to be bound to minerals in order to be optimally absorbed.
You want to make sure you consume the all types of fluids.  Fresh fruits and vegetables have high water content as well as electrolytes, minerals and trace minerals that help your body get hydrated.  Lemonade is great, anything with citrus fruits in it.  Soups, like bone broths are full of minerals too.  Apple cider vinegar added to your lemonade will also increase the enzyme and mineral content.

4. Nutrition

The food you eat gives you the strength and energy to be at your best.
You’ve heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, right?  Well, the truth is, you are what your body absorbs and assimilates.  Everything you put in your mouth has to go through the digestive process before your body can turn the food into usable nutrients and finally into you.
Certain foods can help you and others hurt you.  Some increase inflammation (the main cause of pain) while others decrease and even eliminate it.
You have the choice of making your next eye ball cell out of coffee and donuts or a piece of grass fed, organic beef (which is very easy to turn into human cells.)
Food and nutrition are a massive topic.  Hundreds (probably thousands) of books have been written on it so I’ll keep this section to the foundations.
The main point is quality always trumps quantity.  So instead of eating large volumes of low quality food, looks for the highest quality you can find.
Eat it as close to its natural form as possible to get the most nutrients out of it.  There’s this myth that your body needs calories.  The truth is, your body requires nutrients (they just happen to have energy that people measure in calories.)  The more nutrient dense your food is, the less you need of it.
The other point for you to be aware of is human interference.  Look for foods with the least human interference you can find.
Buying local and organic foods (with less chemicals on and in them) should be your first choice.
If you have any type of pain, avoiding grains would be a good idea since they’re extremely hard for humans to digest (which is why they grind them to a powder most of the time) and they cause inflammation in the body.

5. Movement

Life is movement.
Everything that’s alive moves.  No movement equals death.
The more you move the more efficient the pumps in your body become. This translates to better circulation, cleaner arteries, improved hormonal function, greater energy and strength, longer endurance as well as better and more restful sleep.
Your body was designed to be moved.  It improves with use and withers away from inactivity.  Finding a balance between too much and too little activity is key to health and longevity.
The types of movements that give you benefits are vast and what’s best for you depend on you current activity levels.  A simple walk can improve your digestion and circulation.  Sprinting will strengthen your whole body and help improve your hormone levels as well.  Playing sports improves hand-eye co-ordination, balance, bone strength and numerous other systems.
With technology today, we tend to move less as a society. Elevators, food delivery, online shopping, cars/uber/lyft bring things to us or take us places, eliminating the “need” for us to move.
You already know you feel better when you move so all you need to do is start small and the benefits you receive will keep you going.  You can start by parking your car a bit farther from the entrance or getting off the bus a stop or three sooner than you need to.  You could even take the stairs instead of the elevators.
What’s your favourite excuse?

6. Circadian Rhythm – Sleep/wake cycle

Nature’s natural daily reset so we can be optimal when we’re awake
Everything works in cycles.  The sun comes up in the morning and it goes down at night.  The moon has its own cycle.  Those are daily cycles.  There are also a weekly, monthly and yearly cycles.
We also wake up, take care of things during the day then go to sleep at night.
Your body is wired to work at peak efficiency through its optimal cycle.  Your liver works on regenerating itself at a certain time of the cycle, your cells get repaired and new ones built at regular intervals.  You need food at certain times a day, sometimes more, sometimes less.  You operate and your optimal effectiveness when you follow these natural cycles.  Skipping meals, staying up late, using stimulants all break the natural cycles and take away from your effectiveness.
You know what staying up late or having a little too much alcohol (which dehydrates you) does to your next day.
Flying to a different time zone also confuses your system unless you take some precautions ahead of time.
If you have ongoing, chronic pain or if cuts and bruises seem to heal too slow.  Check what time you go to bed and what the quality of your sleep is.  Going to bed late could be causing your system to work well below it’s full capacity.
Your cells repair physical damage roughly between 10:00pm and 2:00am, in line with the natural cycles of the sun and moon so even if you sleep in until noon, the next day after staying up to 4:00am, and get 8 hours of sleep, you still miss out on your body’s regeneration window.
Your psychological repair happens roughly between 2:00am to 6:00pm so taking advantage of deeps sleep in those hours will ensure you’re in your peak state the next day.
The previous pillars help with your quality of sleep as much as your quality and quantity if sleep helps with the other pillars.  This is why the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Everything is connected.  These are the foundations to a much higher quality of life.  Before reaching for that magic pill or silver bullet that will solve all your problems (at least according to the advertising that tells you they do) have a look at the bigger picture.  All of these 6 pillars are within your control.  They give you tremendous power.


They all may sound overwhelming at first, which is why I suggest you pick one of the pillars and start examining how you could improve it.  Take a few days and choose to change a small thing for the better.  Drink a home made lemonade instead of a can of coke, for example or turn off the lights 10 minutes earlier than usual.

Let me know how I can help you implement some of these to increase the quality of your life, one step at a time.

Lower Back Pain – The Back Surgery Alternative

Last week I got a more questions than usual about lower back pain.  It prompted me to do some research and I was shocked to find these stats.  I knew back pain was on the rise just from being in the industry and personally dealing with it since 2001.  Some of the startling facts are:

  • Roughly 80% of people in North America experience back pain.  (The scary part of this is 90% of them never know the primary cause.)
  • More than half of back pain sufferers work at a desk job so forget the overuse excuse.  This points more to underuse.
  • Lower back pain cases rose from 28.1% to 29% in people aged 18-65 and from 29.5% to 33.7% in 65 year and older between 1997 and 2013.
  • The impact of back pain spans anywhere from inability to do daily tasks, to exercise and even sleep!
The stories I hear myself range from “I was brushing my tooth one morning and all of a sudden I was unable to straighten up” and “I stepped off a curb and my foot slipped and I almost collapsed from the shooting pain” to “I literally just sneezed and my lower back was stuck and painful for a week.”

Some of my clients have missed work because they woke up unable to actually get out of bed!

Other symptoms of low back pain I’ve heard include:

  • Pain when bending forward
  • Hard to get up from chairs
  • Painful to even straighten up
  • Avoiding every day things due to fear of more pain
  • Missing out on social activities because of fear
  • Missing work because of way too much pain
  • Less effective at work because of pain
  • Every day physical activity suffers
  • Vitality decreases
  • Slight depression sets in
Some of these symptoms go well beyond just pain.  It affects you in multiple different dimensions because it robs you of social activities, connections with others and if you have kids it limits what you can do with them, especially activities that require you to be physical.

Unfortunately, you have 80% chance of getting lower back pain throughout your life.  The chances get greater as you age.  This is where an ounce of prevention is worth well over a pound of cure.

There are so many ways to get lower back pain, yet if you really look at the “cause” peeling back the layers, they all boil down to one thing.  Something being out of balance.  Discs are misaligned, muscles are atrophied or way too tight, lack of minerals or weak connective tissue…  It could happen due to trauma, overuse, underuse, inflammation and even dehydration or food sensitivities.

What is lower back pain?

Lower back pain is a debilitating state where the general area of your lower back hurts enough to prevent you from living your life to the fullest.  It could hurt in one spot, or could shoot down your leg or even both legs.  The pain refers out towards your extremities if nerves are trapped or irritated by the imbalance.  It prevents you from either bending forward or straightening up.  Sometimes it hurts so much you’re unable to walk or even move.

The medical definition is:

Low back pain is a common musculoskeletal symptom that may be either acute or chronic. It may be caused by a varietyof diseases and disorders that affect the lumbar spine. Low back pain is often accompanied by sciatica, which is pain that involves the sciatic nerve and is felt in the lower back, the buttocks, and the backs of the thighs.”

How can you prevent lower back pain?

1) Balance all muscle groups
2) Strengthen your inner unit
3) Learn to perform movements correctly
4) Learn to use the correct muscles for the needed movement patterns
5) Eliminate pro inflammatory foods that shut off core stabilizing muscles

How can you reduce lower back pain?

I hear you say, “That’s nice but what if I already have low back pain.  What can I do now?”
Here are some quick actions you can take immediately to reduce your pain:

1) Drink more water (this is definitely number 1!)

2) Remove inflammatory foods
3) Go to bed earlier
4) Add more anti-inflammatory foods
5) Discover and balance out muscle imbalances


How can you repair your lower back in the long term?

This will take long term diligence.
1) Consume collagen in different forms.
2) Eat nutrient dense foods to supply your body the building blocks it needs to repair itself
3) Strengthen your postural muscles through corrective exercise
4) Load up on anti inflammatory herbs
5) Make sure you’re getting your micronutrients, the “mortar” or “glue” holding everything together
6) Get my daily checklist for reducing lower back pain

How to deal after post lower back surgery?

“I found your info too late, I already had surgery….  What now?”
You still have the power to improve, even after having surgery.  You were likely sliced open and muscles were cut so you need to make sure you give your body all it needs to repair the intrusion so nutrition will be critical.
Rehabilitation is just as important because you want to regain the use of your muscles and motor control as soon as you can so you can avoid surgery in the future.
1) Water
2) Collagen
3) Protein
4) Amino acids
5) Anti inflammatory herbs
1) Corrective exercises appropriate for your current level of strength and abilities
And lastly, SLEEP!  The earlier you go to bed, the greater opportunity you give your body to repair itself when all the building blocks are supplied.

What if?

“My doctor told me I must have surgery…”
Always listen to your doctor as well as get second and third opinions since surgeries are a BIG deal *which is why you’re asked to sign waivers before them.  They’re also “irreversible” so the question I would ask any doctor is “what else can I do before committing to surgery?”  Some of what I’ve written already would be a few.  Correcting muscular imbalances are definitely on top of my list as well as hydration.
Keep a list of all the things you’ve already tried along with the results you got from them.  Reading that list will give you insights you’ll never get from anywhere else.  It may turn out all you need is some patience.

Action steps:

1) Get the daily checklist here:

Lower Back Pain Relief a daily checklist you can follow immediately

Sign Up now to get started relieving your lower back pain.

2) Drink the appropriate amount of water for you
3) Reduce inflammation by eating more anti inflammatory foods and herbs (fish oil, turmeric, withania, NRF2 activators)
4) Stop eating pro inflammatory foods (grains of all kinds, packaged/processed foods, processed sugar)
You can also contact me for a more in-depth analysis of the cause of your lower back pain and what actions would give you specifically the greatest improvement.
Leave a comment with what you’ve already tried and how it worked for you.

Beyond Self Sabotage – Workshop


The Benefits of Beyond Self Sabotage Will Help You:

  • Find authentic contentment in your life!
  • Succeed in your meaningful goals!
  • Effectively nurture yourself as you move beyond your comfort zone!
  • Make your life a tribute to your unique purpose!
  • Heal the reasons why you sabotage!

The door is open for you to join the Beyond Self Sabotage workshop!

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Super Early Bird Registration: $235 US (If Registered by October 31st)  Regular Registration: $295 US
  • 9am-5pm December 7-8th, 2013
  • Location: Primal Synergy, 1 Wiltshire Ave unit 105, Toronto, ON

In the Beyond Self Sabotage program, our sabotaging is viewed as a symptom. Through the concepts and techniques taught, we’ll direct our focus to pierce through the symptom and address the issues causing the symptoms of sabotage.

How do you sabotage yourself?

Would you believe that all people spend part of their time meeting their emotional needs in a way that is self sabotaging? How can it be that a part of us has learned to feel valued the more we block our own success? If the need to self sabotage is always a symptom perpetuated by unresolved emotional wounds or beliefs about self, what would it mean if you learned how to address the actual issues beneath the symptom?

What would it mean if you learned how to re-balance the issues that cause you to sabotage?

In Beyond Self Sabotage we will uncover the mysteries that pervade all of our lives when it comes to finding authentic success. We will lift the veil on the hidden parts of the unconscious that keep us stuck in frustratingly repetitive patterns of sabotage. Powerful holistic techniques will be taught on how to nurture sabotaging parts back into belonging to the harmonious whole of the individual.

How would it impact your life if you learned to discover and re-balance the sabotaging patterns that you are currently blind to?

Whether your definition of success is enriched health, relationships, energy, getting in shape, finances, or peace of mind, this class is intended to help you embrace the tools within to create a smooth flow of success.

Offerings of Beyond Self Sabotage Include:

  • Self discovery and re-balancing techniques to relinquish the need to block your own success
  • Develop a compassionate understanding for why self sabotage has been happening in your life
  • Learn to identify and holistically resolve the actual issues beneath sabotaging patterns and behavior
  • Learn about the non-logical emotional nature that causes one to seek the uncomfortable comfort of self sabotage
  • Specific tools and exercises to continually help yourself
  • Understand why control dramas govern our lives from a place of sabotaging reactivity and how to go beyond them.

Has your experience with attempting to go beyond self sabotaging patterns involved strategies using short term, fleeting bursts of egoicly derived will power that offers very little long term sustainability? Beyond Self Sabotage is different in that you’re invited to submerge into the intimate depths of your authentic self to connect with the sustainable inspiration in your own heart.

With the piercing concepts and techniques taught in Beyond Self Sabotage, you are invited to a place of awakening to a more graceful and meaningful relationship with your life. Beyond Self Sabotage is appropriate for both health coaches and the lay-person.

Register Online Here for the Super Early Bird Discount!

Super Early Bird Registration: $235 US (available until October 31st)

  • December 7-8th, 2013

You may also register by contacting JP at

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