As a man living in a hectic and highly competitive world, it’s not enough to establish proficiency in one or two aspects of life. You need to take a more holistic approach if you hope to gain that all-important edge. That’s why we’ve put together a panel of experts to give you some quick and easy tips in the fields of meditation, brain health, physical fitness, and nutrition—soul, mind, and body. By incorporating their expertise into your morning routine, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, and more productive life. Our experts are: Mas Vidal, the founder and director of Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda (DSYA) in Los Angeles; Cynthia R. Green, Ph. D, a leading expert in memory fitness and brain health, and the author of the forthcoming book 30 Days to Total Brain Health; and Mark Sisson, the bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint and 21 Day Total Body Transformation and one of the most ripped 58-year-olds you’ll ever meet.
Relax, lower your blood pressure and improve your concentration with these quick and easy breathing techniques.
Step 1: Mas Vidal’s Three-part Breathing Exercise (two-three minutes)
Choose a quite place, and take a seat. When you’re ready, breathe in while silently counting to seven. At the top of the inhalation, hold your breath for a count of seven. Then slowly exhale for a count of seven. Repeat the cycle for two to three minutes, increasing or decreasing the count depending on your breath capacity. According to Mas, this exercise will relax your body and mind, lower your blood pressure, and improve your concentration.
Step 2: Mas Vidal’s Tensing and Relaxing Exercise (less than a minute)
Remain seated, and take a long, deep breath. Hold your breath at the top and tense your body completely for three seconds. Then open your mouth, exhale, and completely release all tension in your body. This exercise will improve your concentration and release tension and anxiety—a good way to begin the day.
Boost your brain’s performance by challenging yourself to think outside the box and maintain focus.
Step 3: Dr. Green’s Tips for Better Brain Health (no extra time)
On Monday, wear your watch upside down. On Tuesday, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand (i.e. if you’re right handed, use your left hand). Have an early conference call on Wednesday? Then doodle while listening in. On Thursday, eat your breakfast with you non-dominant hand. On Friday, tune in to a foreign radio station while getting ready for work. Whatever you do, make sure to throw your brain a little curve ball. According to Dr. Green, when we challenge our brains, we force our neurons to make new connections (and doodling helps improve the brain’s capacity for attention and memory).
Step 4: Dr. Green’s Focus Challenge (no extra time)
Rather than rushing through your morning meal and thinking about work, family, or the news, focus on the food before you. What does it look like? How does it smell? How does it taste? What does it feel like in your mouth? What does it sound like as you chew? This is a form of mindfulness meditation. By focusing your attention on your immediate experience, you’ll improve your memory and begin to function at a higher level. (Note: this can be done with nearly any experience, not just breakfast.)