Be In the Moment

Are you present in the moment?

Or are you doing one thing and thinking about something else? Or thinking about what you’ll do next? Or worrying about some future event that may or may not occur?

A fundamental teaching of the major religions – especially Eastern traditions such as Daoism and Buddhism – is to be present in the now. Fully live and experience life by being present with whatever you are doing.

This is wonderful advice if you are looking to improve your performance in any area of your life. Whether at work, developing a new skill, spending time with one of your kids or grandkids, or doing something simple like washing the dishes…being fully present and doing ONE THING AT A TIME is a secret to doing that thing better, AND enjoying it more.

And how many times have you worried or ruminated about someone, something, some event that might occur or that you might have to deal with. Only to find the event or terrible thing did not occur as you had feared. How many wasted minutes and hours have you lost doing this…have I lost doing this?

As Mark Twain famously said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe. I have spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened.”

Pets Are Great Teachers

I find the best teachers of the principle of being in the moment are our pets. Dogs and cats provide wonderful examples of being fully present, giving unconditional love to those around them, and being fully invested in whatever they are doing. Could be walking, could be playing, could be taking a nap. Doesn’t matter, they are 100% there! And they usually are having a jolly good time too!

We are blessed with two dogs and four cats. Here is our youngest – the baby of the family – Ciara (which means “Dark-Haired One” in the Celtic language):

Here is Miss Ciara on the move in our back yard. She’s practicing her scary face as she, through play, learns her hunting skills. (So far no kills!) She runs and climbs and plays with her sister cats – what experts call “The Zoomies” – for a half hour, hour at a time. Then…

Time for a nap with big sister Stella. And she is OUT for an hour or more.

It’s Even Biblical

Jesus taught the importance of being in the moment and fully present. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”

Being fully present in the moment is a skill or capability you can develop. When we practice our Qigong, do some deep breathing, or engage in deep prayer or meditation, we focus internally and fully inhabit the present. When we find our thoughts drifting to “What’s next?” or “What should I have for lunch?” or “How the heck am I going to deal with X problem?”…we gently coax our thoughts back to our practice – our breathing, our intention, our movement.

Yes, you can be happy and content TODAY. You can be grateful in this moment. You can inhabit the present and invest your attention and energy in such a way that you feel relaxed, you feel the flow, even as you allow yourself to experience FREEDOM from anticipating and worrying about what’s ahead.

The Faster, Easier Way to Balance Your Energy

What’s a surefire way to turbocharge your Qigong or Breathwork practice? The fastest and easiest way to balance the energies in your body?

It’s what we call “Tree Qigong” (or “Tree-Gong” for fun).

Your overall constitution, which is a huge driver of your health, resilience, outlook, energy levels, and how fast you age (or how young you remain), is a compilation of your three main energy centers or dan tien:

-Lower Dan Tien: Physical

-Middle Dan Tien: Mental and Emotional

-Upper Dan Tien: Spiritual

When you practice your Qigong and Breathwork, you are building up your constitution so you can be healthier, enjoy more energy, have a more positive attitude or outlook on life, and just generally be more adaptable and roll with the inevitable punches and problems of life.

And making Tree Qigong a regular part of your practice or self-cultivation is a wonderful way to fast-track your development. You’ll increase your awareness of energy and improve your ability to remove blockages or stagnation and open the energy channels that flow throughout your body.

When I provide my clients or patients with prescription exercises, I often recommend performing centering, grounding, and basic breathing exercises in the vicinity of trees. (For a wonderful introduction to these practices, as well as several other foundational energy exercises, check out this course. It will help you transform stress, center yourself, and improve your health and energy in four short weeks!)

Better yet, find a tree that resonates with you and get close to it. Standing in the vicinity of its roots and under its canopy helps create an energy capsule of protection and good feelings.

IMPORTANT: Don’t just walk up to a tree and begin doing your thing! Take a little time to “introduce yourself” energetically to the tree and see if you can sense how receptive it is (or is not) to your approach. If it’s not receptive, no worries, just find another tree (or come back another time). If it is receptive, spend a few minutes just sitting or standing with the tree so you can begin to pick up on its energy.

What Type of Tree Works Best?

Depends on what your current needs are. If you’re feeling down, lethargic, a little under the weather or blah…or you just can’t seem to get moving on important projects or work…work with a tree that is more YANG in nature.

Generally, this means trees that are fast-growing. Aspens, Weeping Willows, Poplars, and Cedars are all fast-growing trees. Here in Texas, the Sugar Bush or Hackberry tree is an excellent YANG companion. The Cedar (or Juniper) tree is a close second.

On the other hand, if you need to improve the health and energy of your internal organs, especially due to chronic issues or after surgery, chemo, or radiation…or if you’ve been feeling too scattered or hyper, ungrounded, and/or can’t seem to settle down and focus… work with a tree that is more YIN in nature.

Yin trees include most Oaks, Hickory, and Beech trees. These trees are slow-growing and take years to establish a tap-root and build their root structure before they begin to grow to any significant height. Therefore, any medium to large trees of this type (I’m thinking of the beautiful oaks and live oaks that are prevalent here in the Austin area) will make for an excellent YIN companion.

Here are a couple of MY favorite trees (friends) with whom I share energy and “Tree-Gong” on a regular basis:

This beautiful willow tree lives near Lake Travis in one of our more natural park settings. A stream and wetlands area are just to her left in the photo, so there are always a lot of birds and other critters around. When I’m feeling a little blah or like I need a pick-up, I hang here. The combination of the tree’s YANG energy and proximity to the lake combine to help energize and balance me.

This lovely, stately lady is one of my favorite trees. Her energy is just incredible, you can feel it walking toward her. She exudes calm, cool, healing YIN energy and is very receptive to sharing energy. For many years, she has provided a home and shelter to birds, squirrels, and other critters. I love to hang with her when I’m into serious cultivation or simply need a quiet space for reflection.

I encourage you to find your own tree or trees with which to practice your Qigong. It’s likely to become one of your favorite things to do!

Want to Live Longer? Live Near Green Spaces…

...AND make friends with a tree

The Washington Post published an article yesterday titled, “Living Near Green Spaces Could Add 2.5 Years to Your Life, New Research Finds” (you can read the article here).

They go on to discuss an article in the journal Science Advances which suggests long-term exposure to more greenery where you live can add an average of 2.5 years to your life. The study looked at long-term exposure to surrounding green spaces among a group of more than 900 people in four U.S. cities. They found that being near green space causes “biological or molecular changes that can be detected in our blood”.

Well, I’m happy that modern science continues to catch up with ancient medical wisdom. For centuries, our Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) paradigm has educated us on the importance of staying close to nature. Taoist practices have had a major influence on CCM and Taoism is all about simplicity, staying close to nature, and following nature’s rhythms and cycles.

In CCM, we teach that the blood and the Qi are synonymous and how important it is that both flow without obstruction or stagnation. Blood and Qi are energy, information, communication, and alimentation (i.e., nourishment) for every structure in our bodies and brains. One of the wonderful benefits of our Qigong practice is an increase in the circulation of blood and qi along with a concurrent decrease in stagnation or blockages. So it’s interesting to hear of a study that identifies actual markers in the blood that indicate a younger biological age due to living closer to green spaces.

When I teach Qigong, I make sure that the participants and I center and ground in every single session. It’s such an important skill, not just in our energetic work – it’s an essential life skill too! As the students in my group and private classes will tell you, I often encourage them to go outside in their bare feet and engage in a few minutes of conscious breathing, centering, and grounding. It’s much easier to feel or become aware of the Yin energy coming up from the earth and to get into a grounded state when you connect directly with the ground. It’s such a pleasant, wonderful feeling too!

Say Hello to Your Big Friend

To turbo-charge your practice, choose a spot close to a tree. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart or in your Wuji posture and follow your

process of breathing, focusing inside, centering into the lower abdomen (or heart center if you prefer), and ground via the Kidney 1 (Bubbling Well) point in the bottom of each foot. Imagine your feet are projecting a tap root down into the earth, so you feel fully rooted. And see or sense your tap roots are becoming intertwined with the roots of the tree.

Feel the energies of your root system commingle with the energies of the tree’s root system. Then inhale deeply into your lower abdomen. At the same time, allow the Yin energy of the earth to come up through your roots and your Kidney 1 point, up through your legs, and into your lower abdomen (lower dan tien or energy center). Gently “fill up the bathtub” in your lower abdomen.

With each exhale, allow the energy to drop back down through Kidney 1 into the earth. As the energy drops, release and purge any unwanted stagnation, stiffness, tightness, blockages, emotional content, or thoughts that are not serving you well. Let it all drop into the earth.

Then take a fresh breath and repeat the cycle.

Obviously, there are some subtleties and finer points to doing this. But don’t worry about that for now. Keep things simple.

As you repeat cycles of inhalation and exhalation, pulling energy in and allowing energy to drop and release, you may get into a profound state of grounding. You are also sharing or cycling energy with your new friend, the tree. This results in profound physical, mental, and emotional benefits, which we will discuss in our next post.

In the meantime, get back to nature, find a new friend – er, tree – and allow yourself the pleasure of interacting in a whole new way.

The Glue Connecting the Conscious and Unconscious

In our last post I promised to discuss the quickest, most direct way to change your thoughts, emotions, and physicality.

This method does not require any special tools or apps. It’s not a hack. It’s not expensive, nor is it time-consuming. It’s the world’s most advanced anti-aging technology. And it’s accessible to you right here, right now, right where you are.

I’m talking about your breathing, of course!

Many people take breathing for granted. They don’t realize that their breathing can be one of the most powerful stress management, performance-enhancing, and anti-aging tools they will ever find. Many people breathe up in their chests. They rarely experience the wonderful, energizing sensations of taking a full, complete breath, one that fully expands the lower abdomen and back, thoracic area and chest. This type of complete breath feels great! And provides the following benefits (this is just a partial list):

  • Enhances your physical and mental energy by bringing vital oxygen into your bloodstream, as well as ensuring you are exhaling more of the CO2 and other waste products out of your system.
  • Releases negative, toxic emotions, memories, self-doubt, as well as tightness in your body.
  • Helps bring your awareness into the present moment so you can focus better.
  • Provides you with a sense of personal control, especially during difficult situations.
  • Entrains other important autonomic processes, such as lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, slowing your breathing rate, reducing the level of cortisol (stress hormones), and facilitating fuller digestion and elimination.

You may think you don’t have time to breathe. You’re rushing, stressed, busy, on the move. But you can breathe any time and any place. Remember, as the Dalai Lama says, if you think you are too busy to meditate, that’s exactly the situation where you really NEED to meditate.

The same goes for breathing. When you “think you don’t have time” is exactly the time when you really need it! All it takes is a minute or two of full, relaxed, complete breathing, in and out through your nose, to completely change your state.

In fact, all it takes is 16 seconds – the time of the typical cycle of inhalation and exhalation – to transform yourself. Transformation not only at the conscious level, but transformation at the autonomic level…indeed, transformation all the way down to the cellular and sub-cellular level.

A wise karate master once said, “Breathing is the glue connecting the conscious and the unconscious”. Through your breath, you connect and ground your conscious self with your true self – that wonderful, fascinating, full-of-potential YOU. Complete breathing helps you transition from being overly conscious and critical of your performance (i.e., how do I look, how am I doing, do I sound dumb, etc.) to unconscious mental control, which is automatic, accepting, and trusting. Which helps you tap into the innate wisdom, energy, and capabilities inside you.

So give yourself the gift of breathing this holiday season. Leave the rushing, to-do’s, obligations, family issues, etc. aside. Take a little time out to breathe and go inside for a moment or two. Get centered, get relaxed. Consider and appreciate the power and the wonder of the season and the holidays.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! And Best Wishes to you and yours.

Feeling Holiday Stress? Remember This Important Connection

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some combination of the above, you are likely already into that annual whirlwind of events, parties, shopping, cooking, baking, etc. etc.

This time of year can also be tough emotionally for many of us. We may miss family members and friends who are no longer with us. Or we may feel nostalgia for past holidays, such as Christmases when the kids were still young, or even for our Christmases when WE were young.

In my work with clients, I often discuss the mind-body connection as an important pillar of human performance. It’s real and you can either use it – like helping you get through stressful or tough emotional times – or you can be used BY it.

Merry Christmas wreath

The term “mind-body connection” first came into use in the West during the 1960s and 1970s, which was a period of tremendous social and ideological change. At first, people associated this type of concept with yoga and meditation, which was becoming increasingly popular. It became really publicized through the work of doctors and scientists, such as Herbert Benson MD’s classic work, The Relaxation Response. Through his studies and experiments, Dr. Benson demonstrated that ordinary people could use their breathing and thoughts to cultivate a calm, serene emotional state, which in turn affected physiological processes such as breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure – with significant implications for helping folks stay healthy or even heal faster from surgery or disease.

Dr. Benson’s first book was published way back in 1975. So you think we would all be mind-body experts by now; that mind-body meditation or breathing techniques would be part of the standard school curriculum; and that we would all routinely tune into our physical state and emotions at various times during the day. Unfortunately, some 47 years later, the idea that your state of mind can have significant effects on your physiology, and therefore on your performance, your health – indeed, on how you experience your life – still has not caught on.

Most people ignore this connection. Many numb out to avoid going inside and fully connecting to and feeling what is going on in their bodies. Unfortunately, they are missing out an important fact: your conscious thoughts have a huge influence on your physical state, which in turn influences your thoughts and emotions…all of which affects pretty much everything you do.

There is no neutral or middle ground: your thoughts and emotional state are either positive or negative, which in turn drives your physical state. Wouldn’t you rather spend most of your time in a constructive, positive state? How could this transform your life? Imagine changing from a “getting through the holidays” to an “enjoying and loving the holidays” mentality.

In our next post, I will discuss the quickest, most direct way to change your thoughts, emotions and physicality. So stay tuned…

Are You Focusing Enough on This Critical Area?

I live in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas. (Notice how
I capitalized those terms? That’s how special Central Texans think
this area is.) Our little community on the shores of Lake Travis
is blessed with lots of woodlands and natural beauty.

Along with our healthy habitat comes a plethora of flora and fauna
that never cease to fascinate and entertain.

For example, one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen –
and I’ve been to some places like Costa Rica that seem to have
invented beautiful flowers – is the yellow flower on the prickly
pear cactus.

And one of the cutest animals I have ever encountered is the
baby aramadillo that meandered into our back yard one time. Poor
little guy just wanted to dig in the mulch. He dug in, held on
and made little baby grunting noises as we tried to pick him up
and move him to a safer area outside of our back yard (where our
dogs and cats roam).

We also have a very healthy deer population. Many towns and suburbs
are overrun with deer, and I know this can be a topic of
contention for many people who have seen their shrubs and flowers
get eaten, seemingly overnight.

Our yard borders on a well-trod deer path. We have kept the lot
next to our main yard wooded and in a natural state, so the
deer can traverse the area between our neighborhood streets
in safety. So we see quite a few deer moving through our yard.

Yet imagine my surprise when I went out to get the papers one
Saturday morning a few weeks ago, and I saw a baby fawn deposited
on our front lawn, not 15 feet from our front door!

Baby fawn in our front yard
Baby Fawn in Our Front Yard

We’ve seen baby fawns before, including last year when one was
lying under a tree just on the other side of our street. No,
the mama deers are not bad mothers. Apparently they leave the
fawns so mama can go forage and eat. The fawns know instinctively
to stay still and not move. In most cases they are well
camouflaged. And these newborns lack any kind of scent, so they
are actually safer without mom because coyotes and other potential
predators can’t smell them.

However, right smack in the middle of our front yard seemed
kind of nuts! The fawn definitely was visible.

We resisted the temptation to pick the little thing up and hide
it someplace better. We looked out and checked on it a few
times. Eventually mama deer came back and took the fawn along
with her, down the deer trail.

I’m happy to report that mom and baby are doing great! We see
them every morning and every evening as they make their way
along the deer path. They’ve been joined by a few other does
and fawns too, and we enjoy watching their antics as they
learn the ropes.

As I watch the fawns jumping and leaping, bounding and running,
I’m struck with how powerful they are. That kind of power –
to be able to start on a dime, jump and bound with great force,
and accelerate quickly – demonstrates the tremendous potential
energy they store in their muscles and tendons.

Same thing with our pets. We have two dogs and two cats. (And
they all get along just fine.) Our dogs tend to want to nap
and lay around, in particular they like to lay on their dog
bed here in my office and hang out while I am working.

Our cats are, well….cats! Which means they also lay around
and nap quite a bit.

But rouse any of one of these puppies or cats with something
interesting, like the rabbit that runs through our yard (the
dogs’ current obsession), or a bird or butterfly flitting
by (the cats, of course)….and they fire into action.

In a heartbeat, they can go from resting to full sprint.

Young children demonstrate the same capability. My son and
his friends can go from zero to 60 in an instant – from
laying around reading to sprinting into the back yard with
their nerf guns, ready to attack “the enemy” in their pretend

They can stop on a dime. They can sit and stretch and hop
without any warm up at all.

The key to this type of flexible power and quick starting
ability is in all of us.

It’s dictated in large part by how flexible we are.

We see this unhindered flexibility in young children. We can
continue to cultivate is as young adults. But then….

It seems to go away. As we get older, we lose our flexibility,
as well as our ability to start fast and accelerate quickly
without a warm up – AND without pulling a muscle or putting
oour backs out.

Our muscles and tendons get tighter. Our joints get tight or
even painful. Our backs ache.

This loss of physical flexibility is echoed in a loss of
mental flexibility and emotional resilience. In fact,
many bodyworkers and energy practitioners have linked
cognitive challenges and moodiness to a lack of flexibility.

Of course, these are unwanted results. I think you probably
agree that you would rather maintain flexibility of both
body and mind. But how best to reclaim your god-given
flexible power?

On the positive side, even if you’ve lost that youthful
flexibility you once enjoyed, you can still get it back. The
human body has amazing regenerative powers.

And improving your flexibility results in a number of
positive side effects, including mental and emotional

Dogs and cats, children and fawns actually stretch all the
time. And they stretch in a particular way.

It makes sense to consider this as you work on your own

I think flexibility is one of the most important areas you
should focus on, especially as you get older. But most people
don’t understand how important this is…or how best to
get started.

I’ll devote my next few tips to addressing this important

You Can Do It!


“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

I Want To Send This To You – and It’s On Me

Best Breathing Exercises logo
The Best Breathing Exercises Letter
There’s a lot of mumbo jumbo out there about breathing and energy
exercises, about “secret” techniques and methods, about how you
have to study and practice for a long time before you get to the
really good stuff.

The reality is this: you can pick up quite a bit of technique and
skill by starting at a basic level, practicing and experiencing
at that level, then building from there.

It’s similar to teaching any new skill to anyone, from music to
martial arts to macrame.

First, you provide a basic foundation of knowledge, initial skills,
and a few key techniques.

You then have the student practice these, over and over, so they
actually experience them and therefore learn them. The experience
part is critical. Just reading about something won’t make you good
at it, or allow you to understand it.

Actually DOING THE THING, even if it’s at a basic level, pushes you
forward toward competency and, eventually, skilfulness.

At the same time, an instructor will work to ensure their student is
progressing in increments or steps that make sense: steps that
challenge the student just a little to keep it interesting, but
don’t overwhelm so much that the student gives up.

I know from experience teaching martial arts and breathing exercises
that too much time spent in explanation is boring.You have to
explain the basics, then let the student work with it and practice.

Once they have some experience, you then add the next layer of
explanation, detail or complexity.

Move the performance level and knowledge base up, step by step….
and you have a winning formula for progress and learning.

(And, as one of my favorite martial arts instructors always says,
“Repetition, repetition, repetition – plus enthusiasm – is the key
to success in all your endeavours.”)

I can teach and explain quite a number of wonderful exercises to
you in these email tips. However, because of the length at which
I have to keep these (so you will actually read them), I sometimes
struggle with how much detail to include.

How best to resolve this?

Well, for one thing, I have created a number of information
products which go into greater depth on specific areas of
breathing, energy cultivation, stress management, and flexibility.
(Visit to
see a complete listing.)

Here’s another thing I used to do: early on, when I first started
the Best Breathing Exercises website, I published a short, two to
four page newsletter that I sent out each month to my customers.

Yes, a PRINT newsletter which I mailed out.

I know I know, not common in this day of digital everything. But
I tried it out anyways.

And I was pleasantly surprised at the response. My customers
loved it!

They loved that I could devote more space to really digging into
a specific topic, or even cover off a couple of topics, in more
detail than I usually can through a blog post.

And I loved being able to share even more information, insights
and inspiration with my customers.

I eventually stopped doing the print letter. Not sure why, now
that I think of it.

But, I’ve decided to start up me ol’ letter again. And you,
my friend, are the beneficiary.

As I said, the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter” will be written
for you and mailed to you each month.

It’s like a letter I would write to a good friend, one who wants
to learn more about improving health and energy levels,
transforming stress, being more focused and confident, and
becoming more resilient.

And, because it’s a print newsletter, I don’t have to edit
myself at all, like I sometimes do when posting online. So I can tell
you what I really think!

So, how do you get on my list?

Here’s the deal:

I initially planned on including only customers in my newsletter mailings.

However, I’ve got a lot of devoted readers of my blog, and I would
love for you to also benefit from the newsletter.

Therefore, I have also decided to open up this new version of the “Best
Breathing Exercises Letter”
to readers of this blog.

If you’ve been reading for a long time, or for just a few days,
and would like to receive the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”,
simply give me your mailing address and you will be good to go.

Here is the link to provide your current mailing information:

(A number of folks have already signed up – if you have already
input your mailing address information, you do not have to do
it again – I’ve got it!)

Only sign up if you are truly interested in receiving and
reading the Letter. I want people who will actually USE and
therefore BENEFIT FROM the information I will be providing.

And I want to hear back from you, including your recommendations
for additional topics you would like me to cover.

I’m betting you are one of those people, Dear Reader. You want
even more information, insights and inspiration to help you live
the full, active, joyful life you deserve! So don’t delay –
take two minutes to type in your mailing information at

Thanks for your support!

You Can Do It!


“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. Yes, you too can receive and benefit from even more breathing
and energy exercises and instruction, and deeper insights
into the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of
abundant energy, health and fitness – by signing up for my FREE
monthly print newsletter, the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”.

In the next few issues, I will be exploring the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of breathing and visualization.
And I will share more details on several of the most productive,
yet easy to learn, exercises that I have enjoyed over the years.

To input or update your mailing address info, go to

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

It’s the Best Time of Year For This

In our modern, always-on society, we often lose track of natural
cycles which affect our health.

As we move into summer here in the U.S., I’d like to remind you
that now – late Spring / early Summer – is THE BEST time to lose
weight, if you have weight loss – or more specifically, fat
loss – as a health goal.

(Apologies to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere – I will write
something geared toward Fall and Winter for you soon.)

Anyhoo, right now your metabolism is at its peak and your body is
oriented toward shedding winter’s fat and bloat and leaning out.

The days are longer and brighter, which automatically improves
your mood and revs up your energy levels…so you feel more
motivated to engage in physical activities, such as heading
outside, exercising, doing yard work, swimming at pool or beach,
and so forth.

Seasonal fruits and veggies are bursting forth. Our garden is
doing awesome this year, with various sorts of peppers and
tomatoes already gracing our dinner table. At this time of year,
your body naturally craves more nutritious, water-rich fruits,
vegetables and juices – ideal for cleansing, healing and slimming

But here’s the deal: NOW is the time to take advantage of this
natural cycle and leverage it to lose weight. NOW is your
window of opportunity. So don’t delay!

Unfortunately, late summer is not so amenable to weight loss
and slimming down. In late summer, our bodies begin to move
into fat storage mode as we prepare for winter, and the cycle
pushes us to fatten up to help our energy stores last through
winter, when (at least theoretically) we will have less food,
and less fresh food, to eat.

Of course, that’s not really the case anymore for most of us.
But your body works based on 10,000 years plus of evolution.

It makes sense to ride the wave when you can, doesn’t it?

This means get busy now!

You Can Do It!


“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. “I believe that if a person can maintain enthusiasm long
enough, it will produce anything!” (Frank Bettger)

Stoke your enthusiasm with the inspiration and the certainty that
come from knowing what to do, and how to do it, to successfully
reach your health and fitness goals. My Special Report, “Ten Universal Strategies for
Optimal Fitness” covers – in a concise, easy to understand, and easy to implement
way – the most important elements  of an efficient, effective and
ENJOYABLE approach to getting fitter and feeling healthier than
you ever imagined.

The information in this report will point you in the right
direction and show you exactly what to do to get maximum

If you’re intersted, you can pick up a copy of my at and
ride the summer cycle to improved health, fitness and weight

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Last Day of School – and My Son is Sad?!

Today is the last day of school in our town. The kids are going
nuts with excitement, as you might expect.

They’ve had a fun week: assemblies, end of school parties, field
day. I volunteered at field day to help run one of the stations
for the third, fourth and fifth graders. Not surprisingly, every
kid I spoke with was ready for summer.

I still vividly recall that feeling of relief, excitement and
anticipation that always came at the end of the school year,
especially during elementary school.

The promise of a long, hot, wide open summer with the freedom to
read what I wanted, play with my friends all day, spend some
relaxed time with my parents, and even a family trip or two to the
beach….ah, heaven!

I still get that feeling today, even though it’s been many many
years since I had a summer off.

As we drove to school this morning, I asked my son Miguel if he
was psyched that it’s the last day of school.

He said, “Yea. But I’m also sad.”

“why? I asked, a little surprised.

“Because I will miss Mrs. Olson”, who is his third grade teacher.

How sweet!

When we went into school to give Mrs. Olson her gift, I thanked
her for all of her work and kind attention this year. And I
shared with her what Miguel said.

I could tell she really appreciated it.

Miguel has really enjoyed being in her class this year. He has
struggled at times with math, but overall his love of learning,
reading, doing projects, and helping out in class have continued
to grow.

And when I look back and compare where Miguel was at the
beginning of the year with where he is now, I can’t help but be
impressed with the amount of progress made, knowledge learned,
and new skills mastered.

Mrs. Olson is known as a teacher who expects a lot from her
students and really pushes them. She employs a solid routine,
good structure, and makes sure the kids are working on the most
important things each day and week.

On the other hand, she is also a lot of fun. She lets the kids
do “read-ins”, when they bring in their blanket and favorite
books and read most of the day. She is kind and encouraging to
each of them, letting them know SHE knows they can do it.

And, as my son likes to remind me, “Mrs. Olson can do The Worm!”

(He is most impressed by that particular talent….)

I think Mrs. Olson’s approach to running her third grade class
provides a good example for each of us, in terms of how to
approach our own fitness and health regimen.

It’s a combination of five key factors:

(1) Have high expectations for yourself. No matter what your
age or present physical condition, you can make astounding
progress and enjoy significant results, if you put in a
consistent effort. So think big.

(2) Set a few key goals for yourself – goals that are personally
meaningful to you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many. And
while setting a general timeframe is good, don’t box yourself
into the “Must lose 20 pounds by X date” mentality.

(3) Make a plan, make a schedule for how you are going to
weave your health and fitness practices – including exercising;
breathing and energy exercises; meditation or prayer; taking
time to prepare and enjoy healthy meals; getting enough sleep,
etc. – into the fabric of your daily life. In other words, keep
a good routine.

(4) Hold yourself accountable. Keep track of how you’re doing.
BUT – see yourself with kind eyes. Don’t get too down on
yourself if you miss a workout, or eat crappy for a few days.
Picture your own inner “Mrs. Olson” giving you a little pat on
the back and saying, “You can do it!”

(5) Have fun! Enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy the process. Just
as Miguel has been blessed with a love of reading and a love
for learning, you too should learn to embrace the process and
embrace this healthy lifestyle…And realize that this process
has merit in and of itself.

Here’s the deal: For most of us, the most difficult part is
the start.

Because, if you’re doing it right – and not falling victim to
some crash diet or weight loss gimmick – it will take a little
time before you see results.

Don’t get discouraged by slow results, or seeming lack of
progress up front. It’s been my experience that you will start
to FEEL better before you actually LOOK better in the mirror, or
on the scale.

To keep yourself motivated, consider this:

Weight lost quickly will just as quickly reappear. A sudden,
drastic decrease in calories will set off alarm bells in
your body and brain.

On the other hand, slow and steady weight loss ensures you are
losing fat, not lean mass, as well as bypassing your body’s
natural urge to compensate and cause you to pig out.

Also – fitness gains achieved quickly based on some crash course
in exercising can also disappear quickly – usually because you
are unable to sustain the effort or the time investment

On the other hand, slow and steady increase wins the race,
because, over time, you are building a foundation of aerobic
capacity and strength.

Positive expectations…slow and steady….good routine….
continual improvement, bit by bit….having some fun along
the way….

Not only a recipe for third grade. A recipe for life!

You Can Do It!


“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. A good exercise routine can literally rocket launch you to
improved health and fitness, higher energy levels, better brain
and cognitive function, and enhanced productivity. Unfortunately,
many of the recommendations and conventional wisdom out there
are not very helpful, and can even be detrimental. Even worse,
they’ll have you spinning your wheels and getting no result.

Plus, there are so many fitness fads and gimmicks out there
today. What’s realand what’s BS? Where should you start?

I wrote my Special Report, “Ten Universal Strategies for
Optimal Fitness”, to help answer these questions. I cover – in
a concise, easy to understand, easy to implement way – the
most important elements of an efficient, effective and
ENJOYABLE approach to getting fitter and feeling healthier than
you ever imagined.

The information in this report will point you in the right
direction and show you exactly what to do to get maximum

The revised and improved version of the report is coming off
the presses in a few days. Claim your copy today at the (still)
low introductory price (plus access to a special bonus offer)
by clicking HERE.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014

Tap Into This Secret Source of Strength

One of the most exciting discoveries of the last 200 years is that
each of us has the ability to change our life by changing our

Our attitudes of mind, our typical ways of thinking, our way of
looking at our life and our world….each of these impacts us
every day, in ways both obvious and unseen.

We live and operate in the physical world. Yet physical force or
effort is the lowest form of energy. Mental and spiritual forces
release the higher form of energy.

Your inner world of mind and spirit helps to drive and determine
your outer world of circumstances and results. If there’s some
aspect of your life that you would like to change or improve,
look to your inner world first.

A great way to do this is to sit still and be quiet for a few
minutes each day. Meditate, pray, or simply relax and let your
thoughts roam for a bit.

Release your worries, relax, and quietly think about what you
would like to bring into your life. You can think broadly
over various areas of your life….or you can focus on a
particular area that is vexing you, and picture the changes
and new reality you would like to have appear in that area.

We are all seeking “peace, sweet peace” as that old Christian
hymn says. We intuitively crave and seek peace of mind, because
we intuitively know that a peaceful state of mind leads more
easily to health, happiness, abundance, and spiritual growth.

Many people equate peace of mind with some ultimate or end
state of being – something we all aspire to, but never quite
attain, given our busy lives, the pressures of responsibilities,
the never ending quest for more.

Here’s a little secret: the people who are the most peaceful
are the most powerful.

In your peace lies your power.

In his book, “As A Man Thinketh”, James Allen writes about
the strength that comes with serenity:

“Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom…
self-control is strength; right thought is mastery; calmness
is power.”

You want to get into a calm, peaceful, serene state of mind,
particularly in times of stress and strain.

But wait a minute, Karen. When I’m stressed and strained is
exactly when I find it most difficult to become calm and

Ah yes, I know. I’ve been there! Just thinking you SHOULD
be calm and serene is a lot easier than actually BECOMING
calm and serene.

There’s an old saying, or story actually, in Chi Kung. A
student asks the Chi Kung master how often should she practice
in order to make progress. The master tells her she should
practice every day for 15 minutes.

But I lead a very busy life including work and other
responsibilities, says the student. What if I don’t have time
to practice every day?

“Ah,” says the master, “At times when you are very busy and
don’t have time, you should practice 45 minutes every day!”

In other words, the less time you have to focus on yourself,
to take a time out and get peaceful….the more you need to
TAKE the time and gift yourself with a few minutes of

Here’s where integration of your mental, emotional and physical
powers comes in. Combining breathing and energy exercises
with specific types of visualization, affirmations and
positive emotions can help you to master your emotional
state and carve out a zone of calmness, even in the midst
of chaos.

When your inner and outer selves begin to operate together in
a more organized and synchronous way, then you’ve really
started tapping into significant power.

The strength and mastery of your peaceful state of mind is
like a healing balm for the situation. It helps bring order
and right results.

Remember this: When you are in a peaceful state of mind, you
are the master of the situation, no matter how negative it

I often use the Prayer of Serenity as my cue to re-orient
my own thinking, focus and energy back to a more peaceful
and calm state.

Here is a way of interpreting that famous prayer, providing
additional meaning which I find quite helpful when I am
facing a particularly tough day or situation:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”
(calmness is power);

“Change the things I can” (Self-control is strength);

“And the wisdom to know the difference” (right thought leads
to mastery).

In such mastery is your strength and power for good.

You Can Do It!


“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. You can receive and benefit from even more breathing and energy
exercises and instruction, and deeper insights into the physical,
psychological and spiritual dimensions of abundant energy, health
and fitness – by signing up for my FREE monthly print newsletter,
the “Best Breathing Exercises Letter”.

In the next few issues, I will be exploring the fascinating
psychological and metaphysical background which informs and
contributes to the effectiveness of breathing and visualization.
And I will share more details on several of the most productive,
yet easy to learn, exercises that I have enjoyed over the years.

To input or update your mailing address info, go to

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014