How to start a fasting routine that works for you?

feeling energized.
Fasting activates the rejuvination process!

I believe that each and every person on this beautiful planet, including you, was born with a unique purpose or calling and to achieve this purpose we must equip ourselves with a sound body and mind and take the necessary steps to live for as long as possible. My purpose is to get to my 100th birthday, feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled. Fasting is one of my primary strategies and whether you do it daily, weekly or monthly, this ancestral practice is probably the most important and potent tool to promote healthy ageing and longevity, as well as improve and maintain ideal body composition (weight loss), optimize performance and just to feel energized and amazing.

Now that we got the belief part out of the way, the real question in everybody’s mind is: How to start a fasting routine that works for you? By the time you finish reading this week’s blog, you will see why you should fast, learn the various forms of fasting and intermittent fasting that anyone can start and, most importantly, how to implement fasting in your routine.

Why Should We Fast?

Three years ago if you had asked me to skip breakfast, I would have laughed and walked away! Like most people, I was grazing all day, having snacks, energy bars and power drinks between my meals and to give me a boost for my daily workouts. Little did I know at the time that this constant feasting mode could have some serious long term implications for my health and my longevity, such as…

  • Increased risk of inflammation
  • Inefficient digestion and elimination of waste
  • Always using sugar for fuel as opposed to fat 
  • Increased fat storage, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor defenses
  • Prevention of the body’s natural process of rejuvenation .

At that time, when a friend of mine told me all the benefits that a simple 12 hour fast could have on your body I started being interested.

intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting and excercise will keep you in optimal shape!

 Here are a few of the benefits of fasting:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased fat burning and the mild ketosis
  • Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
  • Improved mental clarity and concentration
  • Increased energy due to increased fat metabolism and ketone production.
  • Reduction of brain fog
  • Possibly increasing growth hormone.
  • Can contribute to a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Depending on the length of the fasting, activation of cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy which is the cellular self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules and cellular organelles.
  • Better blood lipid markers including cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and blood pressure.
  • Get lean without losing muscle mass by stimulating growth hormone and testosterone.
  • Potentially increase longevity, as when you are fasting your body finds ways to extend your life.
  • Normalise appetite by regulating ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • Improve sleep quality

This is like taking a magic pill that extends lifespan and promotes anti-ageing effects. So what is fasting?

What is Fasting and intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is probably the most popular way to get the benefits of caloric restriction without starving yourself. In simple terms, Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different intermittent fasting times, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.  Water, black coffee and unsweetened tea during the fasting period are typically fine.

  • Time-restricted feeding: Consuming all foods within a 3 to 12-hour window, so you have at least 12 hours of fasting daily. That’s right, just by changing your mealtimes and reducing the number of hours you eat, you are already getting most of the benefits of fasting. This is not a diet, and during your feeding time, you don’t count calories nor restrict them. 
  • 12:12 Overnight fasting; Fast all night long for 12 hours Feed during the day in the remaining 12-hour window.

14:10 Fast for 14 hours, feed in a 10 hour window.

16:8 The 16/8 method, also called the Leangains protocol is probably one of the most popular ones for weight loss, where you skip breakfast and restrict your feeding window to 8 hours, such as from 12.30 to 8.30 pm. Then fast again for 16 hours.

 8 hour feeding window is one of the most popular ones.

  • Alternate day fasting (ADF): As the name indicates, you eat normally for 24 hours and then not eat ( fast ) for the next 24 hours. Dr Jason Fung outlines that ADF in humans has been found to both improve metabolic health by promoting improved blood glucose management, blood lipid profiles, and metabolic flexibility, while also reducing weight. However, this is not recommended as a long term approach for most people. 
  • Eat – STOP – Eat, is one of the simplest fasting methods as you fast for 24h (for example, fasting from 8 pm to 8 pm the next day) once or twice a week. This a more manageable approach, I used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Mondays were easier to do as weekends were my feast days.
  • Warrior diet: Fast for 20 Hours, feeding window 4 hours;

The Warrior Diet is quickly becoming a common option and choice among fitness experts for losing fat and gaining lean muscle. The diet itself was created and researched by Ori Hofmekler, it extends the fasting window to 20 hours and compresses the eating time down to just four hours. The warrior diet encourages some snacking throughout the day, by munching on things like raw fruits and vegetables. Then, it suggests a feast at night, usually in the form of a large dinner.

  • One Meal A Day (OMAD)Fasting window: 23 Hour and only 1 hour eating time

This is one of the most controversial dietary options due to its limited food intake throughout the day. However, the OMAD diet has been proven to be beneficial for the human body.

Feed: Choosing your feeding window is important. It may be best to eat breakfast or lunch to ensure proper sleep. If you choose dinner, ensure it’s at least 3 hours prior to bedtime.

  • Fasting mimicking diet( FMD): For 4 to 5 days reduce your calorie intake to about 40 per cent of your normal food or calorie intake. Then go back to normal.

OPTIMAL TIMING

A 12-16 hour fasting window seems to be ideal for most people. Females tend to do better with longer feeding windows, like 10-12 hours. My most preferred window is also the 16 hours fasting between 8 pm and 12 am because it fits with my working schedule as I simply ignore breakfast and carry on my fast till lunchtime.

Prolonged or Extended Fasts

Amongst the fasting experts, it is believed that the most dramatic anti-ageing benefits are attained if the fast is prolonged between 3 to 10 days. It’s recommended to work with a medical provider before undertaking a fast longer than two days. In essence, the real benefit of prolonged fasting (more than 3 days) is to fully activate the rejuvenation response associated with fasting. Dr Valter Longo believes that this is the time frame when autophagy up-regulates and cellular regeneration peaks. Cognitive function improvement is also frequently reported.

In Jason Fung’s book “The Obesity Code”, he outlines two example methods of fasting; 24 hours & 36-hour fasts. Find out here 2 PDF download.

How do you do intermittent fasting?

Just to quote Dr Michael Eades “Diets are easy in the contemplation, difficult in the execution. Intermittent fasting is the opposite –  it’s difficult in the contemplation and easy in the execution.”

If you have never gone more than 10 hours without eating, you will need to be introduced gently into intermittent fasting.  Gently means that you should do it at your own pace, it is a trial and error practise that must fit around your busy schedule. But the chances are that in your lifetime you have already skipped a meal and therefore have already been introduced to this fasting notion.

Before you start your fasting, make sure your last meal contains protein, fibres for slow digestion and fats to provide you with a long-lasting energy source.

1 – Start by 12 hours fasting and, for me, the easiest was from 8.30 pm to 8.30 am the next day. In truth, pick the time that suits you best, just after your evening meal, add 12 hours and that’s the time you can refuel with breakfast. Then once you have mastered the 12 hours fasting gap, over a 2 week period, then increase it by one hour every 2 weeks. See how you feel, take your time,  this is not a race, and if you want to stop at 12 hours, this is a great achievement.

2 – Regardless of when you fast, stay well hydrated with water and drinks such as herbal tea throughout the day.  Some people recommend black coffee, no sugar, no milk or cream, to stave off the hunger pangs during the fasting time. Needless to say that the water quality that you drink during your fasting is of the utmost importance. So pick some good quality glass bottled water or get it from a countertop reverse osmosis filtration system.

Black coffee is a great help when you start fasting!

3 – On fasting days avoid strenuous activities like a heavy gym session, CrossFit or long-distance running.  Instead, opt for low-intensity cardio, like a long walk or a light yoga routine.

4 – During your eating period, it is recommended to eat several small meals and snacks to stabilise your blood sugar levels and to keep your hunger under control.  The quality of your food is crucial and you should avoid the wrong calories, including refined carbohydrates, sugar/fructose and grains.

5 – Once you have extended your fasting window from 12 to 16 hours, I would recommend maintaining it for at least a month, so it becomes a new habit. I would typically have lunch at 1 pm at work and enjoy my evening meal with my family at around 9 pm. Breakfast was typically a meal that I would eat on my own, so skipping it wasn’t a big deal. Do whatever works for you. 

6-Once you are comfortable with fasting for 16 hours a day and have done for at least a month, then jump to 24 hours fast is your next goal. I’ve done 24-hour fasts in the past, there is a wide range of variations and options but making it work into your schedule was by far my biggest hurdle. For example, in my case after skipping breakfast, if I was to skip lunch or work through my lunch hour, I would then refuel in the evening. Another perfect opportunity to throw in a 24 hour fast is during a long day of travel or the day after a big holiday feast. 

7 – There are many reasons why people fast, mine was merely to promote healthy ageing and longevity, maintain my ideal body weight, feel energized and amazing most of the time. So with this in mind, I came up with my ideal weekly fasting routine. This routine was simple but effective for me.

 Monday 24 hour fast, from sunday 8.30 pm to monday 8.30 pm

Tuesday 16 hour fast, from monday 8.30 pm to tuesday 1.30 pm

Wednesday  16 hour fast ,from tuesday 8.30 pm to wednesday 1.30 pm

Thursday 24 hour fast, from wednesday 8.30 pm to thursday 8.30 pm

Friday 16 hour fast, from thursday 8.30 pm to friday 1.30 pm

Saturday and Sunday, feasting time, I allow myself to eat whenever I feel like it !!

I would follow a 80 to 90 % varied plant based diet. 

plant base diet
Plant based diet.

Frequently asked question?

How long do you fast for? Simply put, it means you stop eating completely, or almost completely, for a certain stretch of time. A fast usually lasts from 12 to 24 hours, but some types continue for days at a time. In some cases, you may be allowed water, tea, and coffee or even a small amount of food during the fasting period.

Is fasting good for your health? Regular fasting can decrease your low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol. It’s also thought that fasting may improve the way your body metabolizes sugar. This can reduce your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, which are both risk factors for heart disease.

Is it safe to fast for 3 days? While fasting for 3 days is relatively safe for most people, it can be quite dangerous for some people. These exceptions include patients with diabetes, as it can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar, pregnant women, new moms or breastfeeding women.

Should I intermittent fast every day? This cycle can be repeated as frequently as you like — from just once or twice per week to every day, depending on your personal preference. 16/8 intermittent fasting has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, especially among those looking to lose weight and burn fat.

How many hours should I fast to lose weight? While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours.

Conclusion

During these difficult times, where many of us are forced to be at home, it is easy to revert back to overfeeding, snacking, and constant grazing. I am not here to blame or judge, as my carefully planned feeding week went completely out the window during my first lockdown. Now home again for the second time this year, I didn’t want the same thing to happen again, so I tightened my schedule, injected a bit of discipline and came up with my new lockdown routine. 

I would love to hear your take on fasting during lockdown, and what works best for you?

Take care my friends, eat well ( but not too much) and see you next week.

Smart Living To 100.

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Why we should support young music artist in 2020?

Do you think the world of music will ever return to normal? In the grip of the Covid 19 pandemic, some say the music scene as we know it is gone forever, while others offer a more gradual and positive view and are convinced we will return to as it was, or it will evolve to something better. Although online consumption has risen, music makers are still struggling. With cancelled concerts, tours and festivals ruled out, venues and gigs closed down, the young music artists are out of pocket for 2020 and possibly the best part of 2021. So, why should we support young artists in 2020?

Today, I want to share a video cover from a promising singer-songwriter called Matilda Gracia. Yes, she is my daughter, and yes I am biased, but like many other musicians she has had her career in London come to a halt because of this pandemic. Now she is back in Mallorca out of pocket but still producing music videos on youtube, writing numerous new songs and using this pause in time as fuel to keep her creativity flowing. As a way to support her as a young music artist, I wanted to share with you one of her latest videos, that we filmed at a beautiful location, on top of a mountain in the north of Mallorca.

Just like Matilda, millions of people around the world have turned to music to help them through the crisis. From balcony-based sing-alongs to megastar global broadcasts, from listening to the latest hits to learning a new instrument, music has become embedded in our responses to disrupted lives. For many people, it might have even been their lifeline to sanity whilst in isolation.  During my first lockdown, thanks to Spotify, I have rediscovered some older artists that I had completely forgotten, it has helped me punch through countless hours of training on my 2m square mat, and finally, music has made time feel sweeter than it really was.

This is hardly surprising, as music has so many health benefits ranging from improving mood, reducing stress and anxiety, improving memory and cognition, and has been proven to help autistic children and premature babies.

So how can we help young music artists?

  • Spare a few coins and donate to a local busker.
  • Do you miss live performances?

I know I do, we can still watch our favourite artists live stream from the comfort of our homes and, even better, donate the price that you would have paid for a ticket directly to them to show appreciation for their art. 

And if times are really really tough for you and you can’t donate anything right now there are still many ways to support independent artists. Sharing their music and videos on Facebook, Instagram, youtube or social media platforms, commenting and sharing directly to friends and family members. There are so many ways in which we can support the music industry, it’s important to support in as many ways as we can. 

I know I’ll do my best to support young music artists as they are the future of our music industry. I am not an avid music follower, but it has always been such a help to me especially during difficult moments.. boosting my morale, energising me and relieving some amount of stress.

So I would put music on my list of essentials, on my journey to 100.

Take care my friends, I hope you enjoy this video, and until next week.

Smart Living To 100

How can I optimize my sleep time?

How can I optimize my sleep time? I have asked myself this question many times…Maybe you have too. Maybe you spend long stressy hours at work and don’t seem to be able to wind down. Maybe you love staying up past midnight, eating and watching your favourite TV series on Netflix and can’t seem to get up in the morning. Maybe being busy parents all day long, you just feel tired and drained all the time. Whatever the case, lack of sleep or a night of poor sleep, can lead to inflammation, lack of energy, brain fog, and inhibit creativity, memory and cellular regeneration.

So, during my trip towards my 100th birthday, a good night’s sleep has become one of my most important travelling companions on the road to becoming a centenarian.

What does it mean to crack the code on sleep? In today’s blog, I will cover a few simple habits that you can implement before bedtime and what to do to limit the damage of a night of poor sleep.

Dog waiting for owner to wake up

How to prepare for a good night sleep?

1- Hack your sleep environment!

  • Your bed has to be comfortable!! Ensure your mattress is not too old.  Experts recommend changing it every 8 years to keep your sleep and rest quality in optimum condition.
  • Make sure to have comfortable pillows and a diffuser/ humidifier that gently releases soothing and relaxing essential oil fragrances. If you don’t have a diffuser just put a drop of your preferred essential oil under your pillow. Lavender works wonders for me. It slows me down immediately. Recent research found that lavender increases slow-wave sleep, instrumental for slowing heartbeat and relaxing muscles. Subjects slept more soundly on a lavender night and were feeling more energetic the next morning. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool or even chilled. I sleep with the window open even in winter as it helps me to sleep better. If you live in a cold climate, keeping the window open may not be a good idea and if you live in warmer countries you could sleep with a chill pad. 
  • Others like a weighted blanket, like our grandparents, had!! Those heavy quilts would pin you down to the mattress and prevent you from moving.
  • If you live in warmer climates having mosquito nets at the windows or over your bed could drastically reduce sleep disturbance. Living in Mallorca, this a necessary precaution if you don’t want to be up all night chasing those annoying flying creatures.
Sleep disturbance
A big meal before bed could disturb your sleep

2- How light affects your sleep?

It is so important to respect your body’s natural rhythm, the sleep-wake cycle, also called a circadian rhythm. This is a biological clock that is controlled by a part of the brain called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, a group of cells that respond to light and dark signals.

Going to sleep at the same hour every day is so important! This will send a regular message to the body’s internal clock and will optimize your sleep quality. In practice, this means that you need to go to bed when you feel tired and wake up naturally at first light. Ideally, we should sleep between 7 to 9 hours every night, and whenever possible I like to be in bed by 10.30/11 pm in order to wake up at 6.30/7 am. This is not so easy to fine-tune but it is worth spending some time working on this to optimize your sleep quality. 

As you wake up, it is a good idea to go for a light to moderate walk for 10 to 20 mins. This very simple habit will get you moving and quick start your serotonin production. During the day, as you increase your sunlight exposure, your levels of serotonin rise in order to keep you awake and sharp until night time. Melatonin is the sleep hormone your brain produces when it is dark in order to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. As night time approaches, the production of melatonin increases to make you sleepy until it is daytime again. The precursor to melatonin is serotonin, so the more serotonin you produce during the day the more will be converted into melatonin at night, and the better you will sleep.

At night, avoid bright screens for at least 1 hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer screen, TV etc, prevents and/or delays the production of melatonin. So make sure your bedroom is a dark, restful place, and that no electronic devices are allowed in!

If you must stay up later than usual, wear blue light blockers. These special glasses block this blue light. It does take a few days to get used to the orange glow of those glasses, but once you have, you will notice a soothing and calming effect on your vision and eye muscles coupled with a slight mellow feeling.

Finally, stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights two hours before heading to bed. This last recommendation might make you smile…I have to admit, ever since we have Netflix, I haven’t been able to stick to this one. So I wear my blue blockers!

3-How Smells Affect your Sleep

The smell cells in our nose are directly linked to the limbic system. This is the oldest part of the brain and governs emotions, behaviours and long term memory. In a study held at the University of Heidelberg, participants that were exposed to pleasant smells (flower scents) had positive dreams, and those exposed to unpleasant ones (Sulfur lead) had bad dreams or nightmares. So why not use our sense of smell to improve your sleep quality?

Lavender, Rose and bergamot are 3 natural olfactory compounds that induce relaxation as they activate the “rest and digest “ parasympathetic nervous system ( PNS). Once activated, the PNS inhibits activity in organs related to the “fight or flight” response and excites organs used to “rest and digest” in order to calm and relax you.

coffee expresso
I would not include this expresso smell on the following list…

These scents can help you sleep better 

  • Rose: The smell of roses can actually lower blood pressure and the number of breaths you take per minute, which makes falling asleep easier.
  • Lavender: A classic soothing smell, lavender has been proven to lower anxiety, stress levels, pain and more by reducing your heart rate.
  • Geranium: If you are worried or nervous about something before going to bed, Geranium has a relaxing effect on the mood and is often named as a natural antidepressant.
  • Clary sage: Clary sage is different from regular sage, specifically regarding its effect on sleep, as it is considered to be more calming. A study also found clary sage had antidepressant effects for menopausal women.
  • Sweet marjoram: Once a staple fragrance of upper-class ladies, sweet marjoram is one of the most pleasant and classy scents around. There are multiple forms of marjoram, sweet marjoram being recommended specifically for insomnia due to its calming qualities.
  • Jasmine: Another bedtime classic, Jasmine has a rather sweet scent that studies have linked to reduced anxiety levels and higher sleep quality.

I love the smell of Lavender, it’s my all-time calming smell and to be honest one drop is sufficient to help me to drift off and breathe my way to a better night’s sleep.

4-How Sounds Affect your Sleep

As the saying goes, silence is golden. Sleeping in a noisy space not only disrupts the quality of your sleep, but it can also leave you feeling less satisfied with your overall sleep experience and unrested. At some point, you’ve probably laid awake, listening to the distant sound of sirens, barking dogs, noisy neighbours, and a myriad of noises that encroach in your nighttime sleep.  Part of the reason is that during sleep, the brain continues to register and process sounds, affecting everything from heart rate to blood pressure, which in turn can trigger you to wake up.

One of the most effective ways to dampen all those noises is either earplugs or special wrap-around headphones that can play relaxing nighttime sounds to lull you to sleep. 

Binaural beats are another sound hack for enhanced sleep, as they trick the brain into tuning to a specific frequency that will induce a state of sleep.

Coffee can help you stay awake

5-How a cool room improves your Sleep!

Ever since I started the Wim hof method, I am a great advocate of cold showers before my bedtime. This works wonders, especially if I had a big meal, or if I stayed up later than my normal time. As you probably know, the body temperature drops by as much as 2 degrees Cº while you sleep. Your core temperature is high during the day and drops at night. As you sleep your metabolic rate falls and you generate less heat.

So after a busy day of going to meetings, working out, eating too much, etc, it is important to have a cool down time to lower your body temperature before bedtime.

Other than the cold shower, some people prefer a warm shower, a hot-cold contrast shower ending on cold, cold air, or the use of chilipads. These Chilipads use water to generate a cool surface to sleep on. Just slip the pad underneath the sheets of your bed, “ et voila” you have an immediate cooldown effect… Whatever you use, just cool your body before sleep!

How to limit the damage of a night of poor sleep?

1- The first thing as you get up and start your day, is to rehydrate. Your cells need both water and minerals to maintain an aqueous balance, especially after a night of poor sleep. So it is important to drink plenty of water, consume good quality sea salt, and some sort of trace mineral drops.

2-Get moving out in the sun! One of the best ways to reset your biological clock is to get outside and catch some rays of sunshine and start moving. Whether you do a yoga session, a light aerobic workout, or simply a long walk, it’s all good! The subtle combination of daylight, light exercise and vitamin D will help to realign your circadian rhythm.

3- 20 min nap! So if you have missed a chunk of your ideal 7 to 9 hours of sleep, napping can be a good solution to help you get through sleep deprivation. It is advisable to limit your nap to 20 mins. Any longer and you run the risk of interfering with your next sleep cycle. If you feel one nap is not enough, take a second or a third one, as long as you keep it under 20 mins. This works for me, however, some sleep experts advise against it! I suppose because we are all different, the best you can do is try it!

4Limit your caffeine intake! After a night of poor sleep, your first reflex might be to consume large amounts of coffee. I have done that in the past and think” the more coffee the better”! Wrong! Although one to 2 cups of coffee might help your state of alertness, overconsumption of caffeine will interfere with your next night’s sleep, and will only contribute to deepening the sleep deprivation cycle.

5- Eat well! Avoid at all costs opting for refined carbs and fats. This will only make you more tired. Instead consume veggies, nuts and seeds, berries, eggs, porridge, fresh fruits, and if at all possible replace coffee with green tea. 

Sleeping
Sleep what a wonderful gift…

How can I optimize my sleep time FAQ

A-How can I get maximum slepp in less time?

Tips to sleep less

  1. Give yourself time to wind down. The goal here is to train your body to fall asleep when you’re tired. …
  2. Turn off your electronic devices. …
  3. Limit alcohol consumption at night. …
  4. Avoid caffeine late in the day. …
  5. Cooldown your bedroom. …
  6. Reduce noise. …
  7. Stick to a routine. …
  8. Buy a new pillow.

B-How long does it take to ajust to your sleep schedule?

Make adjustments in increments.

If you have less time to prepare for your new schedule, try 30 minutes, she said. (But no more than that.) Give yourself at least three or four nights to get comfortable with the new schedule. If it’s going well, on the fourth or fifth night, shave off another 15 minutes.

C-How can I fall asleep in 10 seconds?

The military method

  1. Relax your entire face, including the muscles inside your mouth.
  2. Drop your shoulders to release the tension and let your hands drop to the side of your body.
  3. Exhale, relaxing your chest.
  4. Relax your legs, thighs, and calves.
  5. Clear your mind for 10 seconds by imagining a relaxing scene.

D-Is sleeping naked better for your health?

Lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

By sleeping naked, you may increase your ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep, which could make all the difference when it comes to your health.

E-Is 4 hours of sleep enough?

For most people, 4 hours of sleep per night isn’t enough to wake up feeling rested and mentally alert, no matter how well they sleep. There’s a common myth that you can adapt to chronically restricted sleep, but there’s no evidence that the body functionally adapts to sleep deprivation.

My take on Sleep

For many years I haven’t paid attention to my sleep simply because I was able to slip under the duvet, close my eyes and drop off like a log. Ever since the first lockdown, I seem to have lost this magical ability. I suppose these uncertain times are a cause for worries and possibly have contributed to me having a lighter sleep than before. 

Nonetheless, after applying some of the strategies listed above and paying attention to my pre nighttime routine, this has been a game-changer for me. Sleep is so important, and it’s not until you experience poor sleep that you appreciate how really essential sleep really is.

With my new revised pre-sleep routine I feel ready to have much more quality sleeps before my 100th birthday.

Take care my friends, and until next week I wish you sweet slumber!!

Smart Living To 100.

DIVING IN EERY GHOST SHIP – 39m Wreck dive, MALLORCA.

For this week’s blog, I am going to take you underwater, for a deep dive to almost 40 m. As a dive instructor, I have taken many divers down below the surface to discover the wonders of this blue planet. Although I have enjoyed almost all of them, for me there is nothing like diving with your family. Today I will be diving with my daughter Matilda. It’s her first dive below 30 m, so she is very excited! It is a perfect day to dive, light southerly wind, sunny, blue skies and calm sea! All this promotes excellent visibility!

Matilda all ready for her descent into the deep blue…

And if that’s not enough, this deep dive will be centred around a wreck with a mysterious history!! This wreck is called the Andrea Ferrara, an old wooden trawler approximately 25 m in length, and in her heyday used to float around Puerto Pollensa bay. Approximately 15 years ago, she totally disappeared from these beautiful waters. Two years ago some local divers performing their exploratory dives found her at the bottom of the sea, right slap bang in the middle of the bay in very good condition, but this time surrounded by thousands of fish and covered in underwater flora. To this day nobody really knows what happened to the “Andrea Ferrara”!

Chilling before our dive…

I hope you enjoy diving deep down with us. Personally, I love diving and snorkelling so much that I am going to keep visiting the underwater world for as long as possible, at least till my 100th birthday or more.

Thanks for watching, take care my friends.

Until next week.

Smart Living To 100.

12 health benefits of snorkelling!

If you live far from the sea, the only time you hear the word snorkelling is during your holidays. It’s surprising that snorkelling is not a more popular form of exercise. To enjoy snorkelling you just need a mask to see underwater, a snorkel to breathe without lifting your head, and possibly a pair of fins and all of these are fairly inexpensive. Without these, you’re just swimming. And as I dug deeper into this subject, I was amazed to discover 12 health benefits of snorkelling, making this popular water activity one of my most favourite form of exercise.

Just imagine meeting one of those while snorkeling…

So if like me you are interested in snorkelling and why it’s good for your body, mind and soul, just carry on reading this blog! Maybe these are enough reasons for you to consider this recreational activity as your main form of exercise. I am lucky enough to live near the coast, in Mallorca, a small village called Puerto Pollensa and I have managed to weave this activity into my weekly exercise routine.

Ready , set, go, in no particular order, here are the 12 health benefits of snorkelling!

1- Strengthens your muscles

Moving through water is no easy task! Whether you have fins or not, snorkelling will require your whole body to put in the effort, in order to propel you forward.

Snorkelling allows you to exercise almost every muscle group, including quads, hamstrings, calves, ankles, hip flexors, core, and shoulders. Water produces resistance to your body that demands strength and stamina in order to move.  This entire process is an excellent way to strengthen your muscles. If you snorkel with fins, they add some resistance which your legs have to work against. The type of water you’re snorkelling in will also affect how much it impacts your muscles. Rough water with more waves will require you to make a greater effort to move, which will strengthen your muscles even more. Similarly, it takes more force to move through colder water, and the more you exert your body, the stronger your muscles will become.

2-Helps achieve a better cardio

Sea creatures are constantly on the move from one spot to the next, so you’ll never encounter the same fish, octopus or moray eel. It’s always a unique, exhilarating experience. When you’re snorkelling, you will always be seeking to see something different in the water. This adrenalin rush will cause your heart rate to pump blood faster. Snorkelling is good for your heart, as it increases the heart rate and strengthens the heart muscle. Improved cardiovascular fitness helps decrease the risk of certain health problems, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

3-Improves your breathing ability

When you’re snorkelling, you’re breathing through a tube and you need to regulate the rate at which you breathe in and out. This limited airflow demands you to breathe more efficiently and calmly than normal. In order to breathe efficiently, it is advisable to take deep long breaths to fully exchange and renew the air in your snorkel with each ventilation cycle. At first, deep breathing may feel unnatural because your body isn’t used to the feeling.  This is like a full-on workout for your lungs which improves your oxygen intake and in the long run, will increase your aerobic fitness. A smooth and well-organized underwater breathing increases your lung function and lung capacity. 

Improved lung capacity reduces your chances of getting heart diseases and facing other respiratory problems.

Find here a simple deep breathing exercise that will help you for snorkelling but also is particularly efficient at reducing stress:

  • Lie on your back on a bed/mat with a pillow under your head, you can also perform it whilst sitting.
  • Put one of your hands on your chest, and the other on your belly, so you can feel the movements of your rib cage and diaphragm, respectively
  • Inhale with your nose for a count of 4.
  • Exhale with your mouth for another count of 5 and keep your lips lightly pursed as if you were blowing a kiss
  • Focus on keeping the hand on your chest from moving as little as possible, concentrating your breath on the movement of your diaphragm/belly

4-Improves overall fitness

Not dissimilar to swimming, snorkelling requires you to move through the water. It is a great way to keep in shape, as it works out quads, hamstrings, calves, ankles, hip flexors, core and shoulders, improves oxygen intake, and strengthens your heart muscle. Snorkelling in itself improves overall strength and endurance, reduces stress and burns about 300 calories an hour.

5-It helps you be more relaxed

Snorkelling is one of my most preferred ways of disconnecting from the day to day stresses. The soothing effect of water, the deep slow breathing at the surface and the physical effort of swimming against currents, waves or tides, all add to a total mind and body experience. Popping your head underwater will further relax you as it is all quiet and peaceful below the waves.  Exercise, including snorkelling, can help relieve stress and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. Trust me, you will never realise how free and relaxed you can be until you spend some time underwater observing the fauna and flora.

6-It prevents you from becoming stiff

People with joint pain and weight problems sometimes find it difficult to perform regular cardiovascular exercises when they are on land. Snorkelling doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints and is a great way to get you started and loosen your body up.  If you’re dealing with muscle or joint pains, even slowly wading through the water can loosen your body.

Exercising in the water reduces the impact forces generally associated with other cardiovascular exercises like walking and jogging. If you have trouble exercising because of movement restrictions, consider snorkelling to start with your exercise program. The buoyancy of water eases joint pain and stiffness, facilitating workouts to improve flexibility and endurance, once you regain some mobility, you can move on to other more traditional exercises or increase the frequency and intensity of your snorkelling workout.

7-Be in a Better Mood

With all types of exercise including snorkelling, the brain releases copious amounts of endorphins that can elevate your mood. The deep and slow breathing that is practised during snorkelling further helps to relax you and put you in a better mood as well. Finally, it’s a great way to connect with people. Observing marine life, and sharing it with your family and/or friends will give you such a feel-good sense.

8-Overcoming the fear factor 

If you fear water, or you are dreading your next dive, snorkelling is a great place to start. You can begin by simply floating in shallow water, and start relaxing in the company of friends or family. If you feel panicked just stand up, catch your breath and try again. Once you have gained a bit more confidence just venture in deeper water, relax and enjoy the snorkelling experience. Snorkelling is helpful in overcoming a fear of diving or water, which is one of the psychological benefits.

9-Enhances athletic performance

Many swimmers or triathletes use a snorkel to build up their capacity to get through the water and the ability to breathe through the mouth. Front-mounted snorkels allow a swimmer to practice body position and arm pulls through the water without worrying about turning or raising the head to breathe. Triathletes, in particular, use the front-mounted snorkel as they work out in the pool with freestyle drills such as side-kick-switch and sculling. The ability to move through the water and to breathe throughout a drill smoothly can build lung and leg strength in a swimmer. When the weather does not allow me to go to sea, I train in an outdoor pool. Find here an amazing underwater workout to enhance your athletic performance.

10-Burn calories to lose weight

Snorkelling will definitely help you burn fat and lose weight. Because you’re mostly working your glutes (the largest muscle in the body) to flutter kick and propel through the sea, you’ll still get a decent calorie burn at 346 calories an hour. Depending on sea conditions and how intensely you snorkel you’ll also use your quads, hamstrings, your arms and shoulders. If you do decide to pop your head beneath the surface and swim a few meters underwater you will be burning even more calories. This is a perfect combination to lose weight. Plus, once underwater you’ll be so mesmerized by the scenery that you won’t get bored, it won’t feel like an obligatory exercise and you’ll want to repeat again and again. So while snorkelling you’ll get to explore incredible areas of the underwater world, you’ll have fun sharing this experience with friends, you’ll take care of your body and lose weight, all in one.

11-Not tough on the body

From age 7 to 97 or 100, snorkelling does not discriminate, there are no strict requirements on physical stamina, skills, and age all you have to do is jump in. I know for sure I intend to keep snorkelling until my 100th birthday or more if my body and mind still allows me to.

Children under parent supervision, as well as the elderly, can snorkel.  The Wolters Kluwer Health Clinic recommends swimming for people with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, conditions that cause inflammation, limited mobility and shoulder and neck problems. Using a snorkel and mask allows arthritis sufferers to limit painful neck movements so they can stick to an exercise routine. Even non-swimmers and beginners can go snorkelling after a bit of practice.

Oldests scuba diver

12-Connect with nature

In our modern way of life, most of us spend too much time sitting indoors, in front of screens, surrounded with artificial light, and totally disconnected with nature. 

There are many ways to reconnect with nature, hill walking, mountain climbing, cycling, and snorkelling is also one of them.  Getting to see these ocean creatures and plants while snorkelling is a great outdoor activity that not only works the body but tends to free your mind.

 Underwater etiquette is compulsory. Whenever you’re snorkelling, just make sure that you don’t try and touch the animals, take some empty shells, damage the coral or pull at the plants. Such actions can be detrimental to the ocean’s ecosystem.

My take on all these benefits

Well, I don’t know about you but I am very convinced that snorkelling is an interesting way of staying healthy and fit, an opportunity to see the beauty of the underwater world and fun activity you can engage with your family during your holidays. 

This ticks all the boxes for me and is definitely in my list of activities to propel me to 100. 

Take care my friends, until next week.

Smart Living To 100

Must watch !! 100-year-old scuba diver breaks world record!

How inspiring! Bill Lambert, 100 years old, celebrated his birthday with a dive, becoming the oldest scuba diver in the world. On the 25th of September 2020, he claimed this world record by completing a 27-minute dive at a depth of 12m/ 40 ft, at a lake in Illinois. He was guided by a member of Lowes Park Scuba dive centre and followed by numerous local news cameras and his daughter.

Oldests scuba diver
The point of SCUBA diving is not to focus on yourself; it’s to focus on the beauty of the underwater world. There’s nothing to accomplish on dives.

“It’s been pretty insane,” said Lambert’s daughter, Deb Steinfeld. “And the fact he’s still doing it and he’s still healthy enough to do it at 100 — he is an amazing guy.”

Bill Lambert’s message is clear,” try new things regardless of age”.

He started scuba diving at the age of 98. Then took a dive trip to Cozumel Mexico but did not submit for Guinness recognition. This time was his second attempt at the world record, having already dived at the age of 99, in the same location, Pearl Lake Illinois.

Bill says before he started scuba diving he was alive, but now, he is living his fullest life. And now his goal is to “live to 101 and break it again!”

Lambert’s final message to the local news was simple: “People should try it. If they like it, pursue it,”

Well, that’s it my friends, I have found my scuba diving role model.

Take care my friends, until next week.

Smart Living To 100.

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish!!!

Climate change is accelerated at an alarming rate. We have now entered a time in history where we need to act quickly for the survival of our planet and, eventually, the human race. The sea is suffocating with plastic, all debris floating on the ocean surface accounts for only 5% of all the plastic trash dumped into the sea; the other 95% is submerged beneath the surface… Having spent many years as a dive instructor in various oceans around the world, I have seen first hand the damage done to the sea. Being aware is not enough. I had to take action NOW.

At first, I wrote a blog, “ Shocking!!! 13 facts about marine plastic pollution!” but as you know, images speak louder than words. So Matilda ( my daughter ) and I have prepared this video that we wanted to share with everyone. 

I hope it inspires you to take action too! ” One plastic bag at a time”, we can all leave the sea a cleaner place.

Take care my friends. Until next week.

Smart Living To 100.

Do you have a caffeine addiction?

Well, the answer to this question is a bit tricky. Some will claim that they need three cups of coffee in the morning in order to start functioning well, others will limit their consumption to one cup a day and some will consume this substance anytime… I personally limit my coffee intake to one cup, in the morning around 11 am, after my 15/16 hours fasting along with a substantial brunch. What is your magical coffee formula?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. But this blog will help you decide how much coffee is right for you, taking into account its chemistry, benefits, addictive effects, and some simple advice to control this powerful stimulant.

Coffee and biscuits
It’s not the coffee he is after…

How does coffee affect us?

Let’s rewind 40 years… I am 15 years of age, on holidays in Spain with my aunt Maruja. I had just demolished a huge plate of delicious homemade paella. I felt packed. For the first time, I was offered an expresso coffee. Feeling like a grown-up, I was delighted,  added sugar, stirred it a few times, smelt it (just to copy the adults) and swallowed it in one go. To this day I can still remember the whole experience, the social acceptance, the wonderful aroma, the bitter taste, but especially the massive rush of energy that invaded my whole body. This was the start of my relationship with caffeine, with its ups and downs.

Caffeine is both water and fat-soluble, which means it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Caffeine acts on a chemical produced by your brain, called adenosine. According to neurologist Ajay Sampat, M.D., “Adenosine is like a sleep-inducing molecule that your brain makes while you’re awake. The longer you’re awake, the more adenosine you have in your system.”

coffee expresso
I love the smell of an expresso coffee…

The molecular structure of caffeine closely resembles that of adenosine. When we consume caffeine, it binds to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking its effects, with the side benefit of allowing dopamine to flow more freely. That can bring on feelings of well-being, energy and alertness. With its receptors constantly occupied by caffeine, the body has to produce more adenosine to make you feel tired. To a nerve cell, caffeine looks just like adenosine, but caffeine doesn’t slow down cellular activity as adenosine does, instead it speeds it up. So in time, you need more and more caffeine to bind to those new receptors and block the effects of adenosine. 

Caffeine also causes increased neuron firing in your brain, releases hormones that tell your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine), a “fight or flight” hormone.

Caffeine also affects dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates pleasure centres in certain parts of your brain and makes you feel good…

An important point to remember is that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 6 hours.  This means that having a cup of coffee at 3 pm will still leave some caffeine roaming about your body until 9 pm. In the long run, this could affect your sleep quality, the body’s healing process, disrupt the learning or memory consolidation process and finally create a vicious cycle in which you crave yet more coffee the next day.

Coffee can help you stay awake
She could do with some caffeine…

Why is drinking coffee good for you?

The benefits of coffee are undeniable, from superfood for the brain, performance enhancement, fat loss, and the reduction of heart disease and much more.

Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee.

A single cup of coffee contains:

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Manganese and potassium
  • Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3)

Some of most important benefits of a high quality coffee are:

  • Can improve energy levels and make you smarter.
  • Can help you burn fat: Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement, and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning.
  • Can dramatically improve physical performance: Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, increases epinephrine (adrenaline) the fight-or-flight hormone, and prepares your body for intense physical exertion. Caffeine is a performance and endurance enhancer, it also strengthens muscle contraction, reduces the exerciser’s perception of pain, and increases fatty acids in the blood, which supports endurance. 
coffee before exercise
Caffeine is a great stimulant before a workout…
  • Can lower the risk of type II diabetes: Studies found that people who increased their coffee intake by over one cup per day had an 11 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researcher Kun Huang, PhD, a professor of biological pharmacy at the Huazhong University of Science & Technology claims to have found three compounds in coffee that seem to block the toxic accumulation of a protein linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. These three major coffee compounds can reverse this toxic process and may explain why coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  •  May protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This condition usually affects people over 65. Several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • May lower your risk of Parkinson’s: Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition, right behind Alzheimer’s. It is caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in your brain. Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, with a risk reduction ranging from 32-60%.
  • May protect your liver: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.
  • Can help you fight depression: Caffeine blocks mood-depressing chemicals in the brain. As we have seen before, Caffeine blocks receptors in the brain from binding with a chemical (adenosine) that causes fatigue and depressed mood.
  • May lower the risk of certain types of cancer: Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in your body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer: liver and colorectal cancer.
  • Increases Longevity: This is my favourite subject, I suppose all the previous benefits contribute to living a longer life with fewer diseases and a lower risk of premature death. Also, people in the Mediterranean blue zones are big fans of drinking coffee. So all these reasons are convincing enough for me. 
Coffee time is very social
“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
― David Lynch

Why is drinking coffee so addictive?

Caffeine is one of the world’s most popular drugs, by far. If you feel as though you cannot function in the morning without a cup of coffee to kick-start the day, you likely fall into the category of someone who has experienced addiction to caffeine. That was me 12 years ago… within 24 hours of trying to quit coffee, I would feel mentally foggy, with a lack of alertness, general muscle fatigue with no apparent reason, and a vague sense of irritability. Over time a throbbing headache would set in, nausea and other flu-like symptoms making it very difficult to concentrate and to function properly.

Soon after you drink your coffee, it gets absorbed by the small intestine and dissolved in the bloodstream. As we have seen before, it enters the blood-brain barrier and tightly binds to the adenosine molecule. With these receptors blocked, the brain works overtime to produce some of the body’s own natural stimulants, dopamine and adrenaline. So regular coffee drinkers build up a tolerance over time, they produce more adenosine receptors, and in turn require more caffeine to block a significant proportion of them and achieve the desired effect.

The good news is that compared to many drug addictions, the effects are relatively short-term. To kick this habit, you only need to get through about 7-12 days of symptoms without drinking any caffeine. 

How to drink coffee wisely?

  • Keep coffee consumption within safe limits: Too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and anxiety and have profound effects on sleep and quality of sleep, and can also cause stomach upset in some people. So the recommendations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are to consider 300 milligrams (around two cups of coffee) the upper limit of a moderate daily dose, more than 600 milligrams on any given day ( around four cups of coffee) every day of the year, can very likely be categorized as an addiction.
  • Delay having coffee for at least an hour after you wake in the morning. Soon after waking, your body produces cortisol, a natural energy booster, so save your coffee breaks for mid-morning or the early afternoon, when cortisol levels dip, advises Dartmouth University neuroscientist Steven Miller, PhD. However, Caffeine can interfere with sleep when consumed six hours before bedtime, reducing sleep by an hour and interfering with sleep efficiency and REM patterns. So it is wise not to consume coffee after 3 pm if you are planning to sleep around 9 pm.
  • If you don’t habitually drink coffee, consider drinking it only when you really need a functional boost, such as working late at night.
  • Consume caffeine before exercise as it is effective in increasing alertness especially for your morning workout or before an endurance athletics performance. The sweet spot tends to be no more than 2 cups of coffee prior to the workout or race.
  • It is important to give the body a bit of time after caffeine consumption, say about an hour, before starting a workout or race.  Just monitor its effects on your own body, since those will be highly individual, especially how your GI tract reacts to the coffee intake.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Back: Despite its benefits, caffeine is still a substance with side effects, especially if you have a sensitive stomach or cardiovascular issues. So cutting back or giving up caffeine altogether may lead to a better quality of life.
coffee and longevity
“Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.” ― Terry Pratchett.

Summary

In the last 40 years of coffee adoration, I have had to quit this habit several times. My longest spell with no coffee was 3 years. Now, I have one cup a day and tend to give it up for at least a week every 2 months. This works for me. 

I think from a longevity point of view caffeine in moderation is a wonderful substance, with many benefits for our mind and body. I will definitely drink this poison for many years to come. I hope this helps you to find out for yourself what are the best ways to intake caffeine.

What is your experience of drinking coffee?

Take care my friends, until next week.

Smart Living To 100.

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

The 5 Tibetan Rites! Are they key to longevity?

It’s 6.25 am, I’ve just woken up 5 minutes ahead of the alarm clock. This is my best, waking up naturally and letting my circadian rhythm kick in with the first rays of light piercing through the shutters. This is a very special time for me, as all is quiet and peaceful, no cars, no noises, no talking, my body is rested and my mind is still carrying those sleepy brainwaves. After 30 minutes meditation, and my Wim Hof breathwork, I start activating my body and mind with a series of backbends, neck bends and twirling, each one a holy and ancient practice passed down from one Tibetan monk to another. Every day I practice these stretches, called 5 Tibetan Rites, they help me stay in a happy mood, feel energized, and expand my lung capacity. In this blog, I will explain what they are, what are the associated benefits and how to practise them, so that you too can feel their physical, mental and spiritual benefits.

Tibetan monk
The 5 Tibetan rites have been practised for 2500 years.

According to these monks, with only 10 to 15 minutes of daily bending and breathing,  these stretches can expand your lung capacity and increase your longevity. 

In 1939,the author Peter Kelder described these techniques in a booklet called “ The eye of revelation” that he published later. At the time only a few people read it and even fewer believed it. He wrote that these lung expanding stretches dating back to 500 years BC, were used by Tibetan monks for millennia to improve physical fitness, mental health, cardiovascular function and, of course, to extend life. These monks had understood intuitively that our ability to breathe full breaths and increase our lung capacity was literally a measure of longevity.

In 2000, researchers from the University of Buffalo compared lung capacity in a group of a thousand subjects over more than a decade. Their conclusion was identical to the monks: “Larger lungs equalled longer lives”.

As we age from 30 to 50, our lungs will gradually lose about 12 per cent of their capacity. From 50 onwards they will carry on degrading at a faster rate. If we are lucky enough to make it to 80, we will have lost 30 per cent of the lung capacity we had in our 20’s. We are therefore forced to breath faster and harder, and these bad habits will lead to high blood pressure, immune disorders, anxiety and more chronic health problems.

But what Tibetan monks, and now western science, have discovered is that these internal organs are malleable, and can be strengthened at any time of our life. So ageing doesn’t have to turn into an inevitable decline in poor health but more into a journey of health, growth and continuous discovery.

According to these monks, the practice of these exercises is based on the body’s energy.  The body has seven energy fields or vortexes, and they control parts of the endocrine system, a network of glands and organs that regulate many of the body’s functions, including the ageing process.

5 Tibetan rites

Now let’s explore what are the benefits of the five Tibetan rites and most importantly how to perform them.

Reported benefits include:

• relief from joint pain and stiffness

improved strength and coordination

better circulation and weight loss

• reduced anxiety

• better sleep

• improved energy

a youthful appearance

How to do the 5 Tibetan Rites

The Five Tibetan Rites are an ancient yoga practice that consists of a sequence of five exercises performed 21 times a day.

While each rite is meant to be practised 21 times a day, you can begin by doing them less frequently.

During the first week, practice each rite 3 times a day. Add 2 repetitions per rite the following week. Continue adding 2 reps per rite each week until you’re doing 21 rounds of each rite every day.

Rite 1:

Stand straight with your arms outstretched and parallel to the floor, palms facing down (your arms should be in line with your shoulders).  Staying in the same spot, slowly spin your body in a clockwise direction. Without bending your head forward, keep your eyes open and cast toward the ground. Gradually increase the number of spins from two to 21.

5 Tibetan rites spinning
Stand straight and start spinning clockwise 21 times.

Breathing: Inhale and exhale deeply as you spin.

PS; It’s best to start with a few spins at first and stop when you feel slightly dizzy. It’s best to avoid excessive spinning, which is said to overstimulate the chakras.

Rite 2:

To do this rite, you’ll need a carpeted floor or yoga mat.

Lie flat on the floor, face up and palms on the floor by your side. As you inhale, lift your head tucking your chin into your chest. At the same time raise your legs vertically, knees straight (If you have difficulty straightening your knees, bend them as needed. Try to straighten them each time you perform the rite), feet flexed. Slowly exhale and lower your legs and head back to the prone position.

5 Tibetan rites bend

Breathing: Breathe in as you lift your head and legs, and exhale as you lower them.

Rite 3:

Kneel on the floor with your forehead tucked down toward your knees. Put your hands on your lower glutes or thigh muscles. Tuck your belly button up towards your spine. Slowly lift your chest and tuck your chin in towards your chest to bring your body erect. Move your head back while extending and opening through your quadriceps, belly and chest – Camel Pose.

Camel pose.

Breathing: Inhale as you arch your spine to open your chest and exhale as you return to an erect position. Like the second rite, the third rite requires deep rhythmic breathing. You can also practice this rite while closing your eyes, which helps you focus inward.

Rite 4:

The fourth rite, sometimes called Moving Tabletop, is also done with rhythmic breathing. If possible your hands and heels should stay in place during the entire exercise.

Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Your palms are on the floor alongside the sit bones and your fingers are facing toward your feet. Tuck your chin to your chest, drop your head back and raise your torso towards the sky so that your knees bend while your arms remain straight. Hold this ‘tabletop position’ for a few seconds and return to the seated position. Rest for a few seconds before repeating this rite.

Tabletop pose.

Breathing: Breathe in as you rise up into the pose, hold your breath as you tense your muscles, and breathe out fully as you come down.

Rite 5:

This last one is a combination of two standard yoga poses; upward facing dog and downward-facing dog. To start,  lie down on your belly with your palms face down and in line with your chest. Press up into an upward-facing dog by curling your toes under, lifting your heart, and drawing your shoulders back. Look straight ahead of you. Then draw your hips up and back, extending your spine, into downward-facing dog pose. Flow-through the poses back and forth concentrating on your breath and alignment.

Breathing: Breath in as your rise up into upward-facing dog; breath out as you push back into downward-facing dog.

General safety tips

Like all exercise programs, the Five Tibetan Rites should be done with care. Start with gentle movements and a low number of reps.

Take extra precaution if you have:

Heart or breathing problems. Before trying these exercises, talk to your doctor to find out they’re safe for you to do.

Neurological disorders. Disorders like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can cause poor balance. If you have one of these conditions, these exercises may not be safe for you to perform.

Conditions that cause dizziness. If you’re prone to dizziness, talk to a doctor before trying the first rite. The spinning motion may aggravate various conditions, including vertigo, circulatory issues, or nausea from medication.

Pregnancy. The spinning and bending movements may not be safe if you’re pregnant.

Recent surgery. The rites may cause complications if you’ve had surgery within the last 6 months.

My conclusion;

I believe these 5 Tibetan Rites are the perfect combination of yoga and breathwork. They allow me to maintain high levels of energy right up until bedtime. They only require a yoga mat, 10 to 15 mins per day and they are a great complement to my daily fitness routine… 

In a nutshell, I love them, as they have increased my lung capacity, improved my fitness and free diving capabilities.

As you know living to 100, in a happy, healthy and fulfilling way is all about stacking many modalities, like fasting, exercise, meditation, etc… and much more. I believe finding space to do these amazing 5 Tibetan Rites is essential for your longevity.

I hope you enjoy practising them and share them with friends and family. Until next week, my friends.

Smart Living To 100.

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

How to conquer your Fear of Failure

Do you avoid situations where you will have to try something new in front of people?

Do you ever put off doing something you know will improve your life, because you are unsure what people will think if you fail?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, you’re not alone. Most people are in this self-sabotage boat with you. But there is a way to get out.

 In this blog, we’ll examine fear of failure: what it means, what causes it, and most importantly how to overcome this immobilizing fear so that you can enjoy life to the full, embrace all the challenges and opportunities that come your way.

What is Fear of failure?

“If something is important enough, you should try it even if the probable outcome is failure.”
― Elon Musk

 Fear of failure (also called “atychiphobia”) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals.

 In reality, we all have our own definition of failure, simply because of our different belief systems, values, goals and benchmarks. What looks like a failure to you could be a win for someone else.

Failure is defined as “a lack of success.” We can also think of it as “coming up short.” If we say “he failed,” all we’re really saying is “he didn’t succeed.”

Maybe we should be asking; how much did I fall short by? What am I lacking to succeed? What standards am I reaching? By which metrics am I failing?

This will give us a more concrete view of what you did achieve, and what has yet to happen for you to succeed.

Why do we have fear of failure?

The only real failure in life is not to be true to what one knows best. – Buddha

Disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness, regret and confusion, are some of the first feelings that you could experience when failing. These basic emotions are easy to handle but the underlying cause of our fear of failure is essentially our fear of shame. So failing makes us feel a deep sense of shame, and this is why we have to avoid failure at all costs… even if it means missing out on a lifetime opportunity.

Fear of failure can be linked to many causes. For instance, having critical or unsupportive parents is a cause for some people. Because they were routinely undermined or humiliated in childhood, they carry those negative feelings into adulthood.

Experiencing a traumatic event at some point in life can also be a cause. For example, giving a presentation in front of your school friends and totally freezing… or doing very poorly and being a laughing stock… The experience might have been so terrible that you became afraid of failing in other things. And you carry that fear even now, years later.

What many of us really fear is failing to do something right the first time. This is totally unreasonable as most of us need several attempts to master something that they are trying for the first time. If you recall your school years, giving the “ right” answer the first time is the only action that was rewarded, whereas coming up with the wrong answer was only seen as a failure, given a low grade, a reprimand and even worse contempt from teachers and peers. No wonder most of us still carry this illogical fear of failure into our adulthood.

However, when it comes to starting a business, any successful entrepreneur will tell you that the fastest way to succeed is to jump in, make things happen, and be at ease with failing repeatedly. 

So how do we  train to embrace failure as a key step in learning.

How to overcome our Fear of Failure?

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. – Henry Ford

1- Failure stops us only if we let it!  Instead of seeing failure as the end of the world, we can choose to see it as an incredible learning experience! Every time we fail at something, we can choose to look for the lesson we’re meant to learn. These lessons are very important; they are how we grow, and how we keep from making that same mistake again. 

2- Analyze all potential outcomes – Many people experience fear of failure because they fear the unknown. Remove that fear by considering all of the potential outcomes of your decision. 

3- Learn to think more positively – Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and neutralize self-sabotage.

4- Think of the best, prepare for the worst! – In some cases, the worst-case scenario may be a genuine possibility. So although you never set up to fail, you must prepare for the worst-case scenario and how it actually may not be that bad.

5-  Have a contingency plan  – If you’re afraid of failing at something, having a “Plan B” in place can help you feel more confident about moving forward.

6-  Set up a few small goals for yourself! If you chunk down the big task, into small realistic, achievable and less challenging goals, you actually increase your chance of getting them all done and are designed to help boost your confidence.

 7- Don’t focus on the end picture! Taking one small step at a time will help build your confidence, keep you moving forward, and prevent you from getting overwhelmed with visions of your final goal.

8- Use self distancing! This is my most favorite technique

“Self-distancing gives us a little bit of extra space to think rationally about the situation,” says Rachel White, assistant professor of psychology at Hamilton College in New York State. It allows us to rein in undesirable feelings like anxiety, increases our perseverance on challenging tasks, and boosts our self-control.

In a nutshell, the idea is to create space between you and the situation that made you feel bad. Imagine that you can float out and above your body, look back at yourself and see the back of your head. You become the observer and immediately have a different perspective on the situation at hand. With a new perspective, you feel dissociated from the situation and no longer connect with those negative feelings. 

9- Adopt a learning mindset! Ditch your failing thoughts and replace them with a learning mindset.

In conclusion

Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure. – Napoleon Hill

Everyone hates to fail, but failing is part of life. The sooner we learn to see failure as a lesson as opposed to a threat, the sooner we can stop avoiding failure and put our motivation, time and efforts to succeed.

I hope this helps you in your future adventures.

Take care my friends, until next week.

Smart Living To 100.