Lose Weight By Accident with Sarah Jenks: BREATHE Away the Pounds

By Sarah Jenks

It doesn’t have to be so complicated. Last week we discussed how weighing yourself is actually making you fat, and this week I am going to give you a weight loss tip that is easy as breathing. Well, it actually is breathing. Yes, something this simple can help you lose inches instantly. (If you took Elena Brower’s 5-minute conscious daily breathing challenge, you are on the right track!)

Most women are CONSTANTLY stressed out, and there’s this idea that women who are stressed and busy lose weight.  But the reality is that stress is the biggest cause of weight gain.  Most women think that the only way to reduce stress is to completely alter our lives, but the reality is that it can take just 10 seconds.

Stress is actually meant to keep us alive. When we’re stressed we go into fight or flight mode; our pulse quickens, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow, we release hormones like adrenaline, insulin and cortisol, and our blood flow moves away from our abdomen into our arms and legs and into our brain. This makes us really good at running away from lions. Unfortunately our brain cannot tell the difference between a near death experience and an approaching a deadline.

When you’re stressed, not only is your body holding onto to extra belly fat because of the cortisol increase, your body’s energy is so focused on surviving a lion attack, its not going to spend any energy on digesting your lunch.  All this undigested food (even if it’s a salad) just gets stored as junk on your thighs, belly and face.

The best way to bring yourself into a relaxed state anywhere, anytime is relaxed conscious breathing. Just take 5 long deep breaths – or check out the video above for some hypnotic breathing exercises. If you consciously try to breath like a relaxed person (even if you are not) you will trick your brain into thinking something like “Hey! I thought I was a nervous wreck, but I am breathing like a relaxed person, so I must be relaxed.” This will move you from a state of low digestive force to high digestive force and reduce your cortisol levels before you eat, helping you to lose weight.

Easy as breathing.

Sarah Jenks, founder of theBreathtakingBride.com, helps women fall in love with their bodies and lose weight through exploring the emotional reasons of why we eat.

Sarah believes that you can talk about the benefits of broccoli until you are blue in the face, but real change won’t happen until we pull back the veil of fad diets and calorie counting to reveal the true cause of our over eating. Feeling lost about weight loss? Visit her website to download her free guide: “What to do if you feel fat, hopeless and ready to give up.”


5-Minute Daily Breathing: Challenge Completed!

If you are anywhere along Irene’s warpath, let Elena Brower’s Spa Week Daily Challenge, which officially ended yesterday, continue to carry you while rain pummels down on your roof and the winds howl past your window this weekend:


“Breathe consciously for 5 minutes a day” to be exact, is the grounding practice that yoga expert Elena Brower challenged you all to do every day for 2 weeks. Over 100 of you joined the Daily Breathing Challenge Facebook event to share your feedback, some of you even blogged it. Some of you reported that you found it to be a meditative escape, an instant destresser, a headache-reliever. Some of you found the ritual difficult with kids running around. Some of said you found it life-changing.

I’ll be the first to admit it: This was not an easy challenge. Life is hectic, minds like to race, and I found myself not getting my 5 minutes in until just before bed on most days. I’d try at my desk on some days, but 3 minutes later that “email” sound would awaken me from my moment. I even tried to rally the Spa Week office for a 5-minute breather during a social media meeting – strength in numbers! – but alas, the consensus was: “too much to do.” My yoga classes each Monday are my favorite ways to escape through breath; absolutely no distractions. I used final savasana to concentrate on this challenge, and it was… breathtaking. So, how did you fare? Read on for inspiration from some of your fellow breathers.

Rita R: Started your challenge and probably will do this the rest of my life. I work full time at a job I had always loved . . . Then came a co-worker with such negativity. Her spirit is evil and nothing pleasant comes out of her mouth. She is always mad and complaining about something. If the sun is out, she’s mad. If it’s raining, she’s mad. I have to do this challenge to find any form of inner peace before she gets to me. I want my work environment back and I do believe this small step is helping.

Kathy V. It’s helping me get through planning my daughter’s wedding…… Just breathe

Desiree L. For four days now for 5 mins a day I just breathe and I love it!! My body releases all the tension and I feel light and free. I forget how heavy my seven mnth twin belly is and breathe.

I’ve been doing my 5 mins of breathing and I still love it… Its actually getting me ready for labor and delivery in October. Those of u who haven’t started come on give it a try!!! Do it in the shower or before bed anytime is great!! In the beginning its a challenge but now its a routine.

Lisa Gay G. About a month ago, I started my chakra meditations again, listening to the sounds of Tibetan bowls as I do. Now when I’m done, I take an extra 5 minutes with no outside sounds at all. It’s amazing!

Eve L-G. Breathing everyday! :) and after the past year, & at a near 5 months of being a caregiver to my mom who’s in the hospital which can be & is so very stressful! That I been happy to find myself actually taking upto 10 mins at a time, I can tell I need this, as I feel better afterwards :) I even have the hubby doing it too! To bad we don’t have more time daily, to sneak away from all the life’s stressors one may have.

Katherine R. C. I am at an incredibly stressful point in my life, and slowing down, breathing, and clearing my head has been a great tool for me. I also have less headaches!

Misti R. B. This daily breathing has been such a good destressor for me and I find myself taking five minutes to just breathe several times a day

Laurie M. I am trying to do this. Keep getting distracted by 2 little boys who constantly fight and scream.

Juli-Ann W. Breath is so very important to me. As a singer, it’s such a good reminder.

Diamond T. Having 8 kids, this is such a stress reliever!! Did I mention the 18 mo old twins?

Myrna S. I’ve learned that breathing makes me slow down and focus on the task at hand!

Bella D. Much needed, THANK YOU…. 5min of PEACE & CALM…. tomor I will turn lights off first, try with only sunlight shining through window :-D

Barbara J. what a win-win… focus your mind, clear your airways, rest your spirit. All while doing something you need to do anyhow. NO excuse like “too busy” and “frivolous indulgence”.

once you start *breathing* it’s hard to stop… definitely a positive thing I learned and will continue. Thanks for giving me the nudge in the right direction towards more inner peace and balance

Cara W. H.This helps me get through a long day with my 2 year old!

And now… the two luck participants who will be rewarded $50 SpaWeek Gift Cards for breathing and sharing…

Rita R – who has used this exercise to combat negativity in the office, and Diamond T. who has 8 kids. Girl, you need this! Congratulations to both of you… and to EVERYONE who has taken a step in the direction towards a clearer mind and a new outlook on life.

Winners, please email stephanie at spaweekmedia dot com with your address and phone number within 3 business days to claim your prize.

Get ready for the next Spa Week Daily Challenge, being announced next week! Hint: You are what you eat.

Stay safe this weekend! No matter the chaos going on outside… think:


11 Tips for Being Remarkable – By Elena Brower

How remarkable do you feel today? Well, tomorrow kicks off Elena Brower’s Spa Week Daily Challenge to breathe consciously for five minutes a day, and we hope you join us. To prep you for the two weeks ahead, and more specifically, life in general, beloved Yogi Elena Brower has shared 11 tips from the heart. Perhaps you’ll save it to your desktop, tag yourself on it on Facebook, or print the list and hang on your cork board – whatever you do, always remind yourself that you ARE remarkable, baby.


Check out all things Elena Brower on Spa Week Daily:

Visit Elena on her website, Art Of Attention

Spa Week Daily Challenge: 5 Minute Breathing with Elena Brower

Welcome to the 2nd Spa Week Daily Challenge! That was fun last time, no? Joy Bauer challenged you to ditch soda for 2 weeks and so many of you succeeded, even extending your fizz-free commitment to a date TBD. Congratulations, we’re so excited to be able to inspire you to make such a healthy lifestyle change! This second challenge is a bit different. To tap into your mind-body wellness, we’ve partnered with one of the most beloved and sought-after Yogis in the country, Elena Brower.

Are you ready for CHALLENGE #2?

Here’s what to do: Pledge to breathe consciously for 5 MINUTES A DAY, every day for TWO WEEKS.

DATES: Friday, August 11th – Thursday, August 25th

Why and how? Elena says: Take 5 minutes per day to sit with yourself; no special place, no particular time. Just sit and listen to your inner talk, and bring more breathing to those five minutes, without judgement. This is the most grounding, healing practice any of us can do.

Who Says?

Elena Brower, Certified Anusara® yoga teacher, founder and co-owner of Virayoga, who’s brought large-scale yoga experiences to the MoMA, Wanderlust and the Great Lawn at Central Park on the 2010 Solstice. Elena’s writing can be found at Art of Attention, Huffington Post, and Crazy Sexy Wellness. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Yoga Journal, the Element Yoga for Beginners DVD series, FitYoga, ABC News, NBC News, and on Yogaglo.com. She is the voice of Deepak Chopra’s breakthrough upcoming video game project, LEELA, which blends meditation practice with game play. Known for her ability to weave the technology and heart of Anusara yoga with raw, compassionate honesty, her teaching will light you up and provoke you to bring your practice to your life.

What’s in it for me?

Besides clearing your head and enjoying all the new things you discover about yourself in just 5 minutes a day… join The Elena Brower Spa Week Daily Challenge Event on Facebook and share your success story or struggle. Once you RSVP and start sharing, you are automatically entered to win one of two $50 SpaWeek Gift Cards.

See the results!

On Twitter? Share the love!

#JUSTBREATHE – I’m taking @SPAWEEK & @ElenaBrower’s Challenge to breathe consciously 5 mins a day for 2 wks. http://ow.ly/604qv

Elena’s breathing tips:

TIP 1: Oxygenate as much as possible, breathing through your nose as much as you can, as that cleanses the breath most efficiently and leaves you with the gold.

TIP 2: Particularly when you’re feeling sad-mad-tense-scared-doubtful, breathe fully into your belly until you feel more settled in your heart and your mind.

If this challenge inspires you, you may want to check out The Art of Attention: a Yoga Retreat with Elena Brower, happening November 13-19. What’s included? Six nights accommodation at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, 22 1/2 hours of Yoga practice, daily breakfast, daily lunch and dinner from a specially prepared COMO Shambhala Retreat Menu, Welcome and Farewell dinner, round-trip airport transfers, and service charge/govt tax. Rates begin at $5,176 for single occupancy, $8,158 for double occupancy. For more information call 1.649.946.7788, email parrotcay@comoshambhala.bz, and visit Parrot Cay’s website.

Now it’s time to connect with YOU! 5 minutes, good luck, and deep breaths. Tying it all together, here’s one question we asked Elena for the road:

Elena, what does the spa and wellness lifestyle mean to you in your life, and how is it present in the yoga community?

In the yoga community right now, the spa and wellness lifestyle is becoming a crucial aspect of our lives. No longer a “luxury” to spend time on ourselves, creating an environment for listening and healing is becoming a part of our regular practice. In the past 14 years of teaching yoga, I’ve watched the world become fascinated by the yoga practices, for better or for worse, and the spa and wellness sector has grown significantly as a result, which is wonderful.  Rather than pretty places and incessant toxicity masquerading as a “vacation,” we are finding ourselves drawn to our own healing on our downtime. This is a trend I see continuing and spreading into other communities.