There is only one constant in this world right now.
Only one thing we can truly control.
That is our breath.
Through it and with it we can influence our own bodies in very powerful ways.
How are you breathing?
Is it shallow, just to the chest? Or can you get the air to your BELLY. Low and deep and slow.
Can you breathe with a smile on your face?
Sometimes, and especially right now, it seems as though we are at the mercy of our circumstances. However, there is a peace within you – even in the midst of the most tempestuous storm – but you can only access it through the breath.
Breathing allows you to move into the calm NO MATTER WHAT IS GOING ON.
If you can be conscious of your breathing, you can step away mentally from what physically might be going on around you or distance yourself from the chatter in your own mind.
The trick for me is to be able to bring conscious breathing into everyday moments. It’s lovely and wonderful to meditate in complete silence in a dark room with soothing music. But honestly, it’s those moments of friction where returning to the breath truly is empowering.
Yesterday, Cash, my 9-year-old, was being unbearably stubborn about finishing his writing assignment for school. I could feel my temper rising. But I didn’t want to be angry as I knew it would only end up in wasted time and both of us feeling frustrated.
So, I went inside myself with my breath. I focused on how I wanted to feel. I let go of trying to “win the battle” with an outside force.
The battle was within me… because it always is, you know. Breathing is winning.
It’s not just Woo-Woo
If you’re more influenced by science, there are many benefits to paying attention to the breath. Here’s a few points to consider:
- It reduces anxiety, controls your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases oxygen flow and expels toxins from our bodies.
Breathing in and out through the nose helps us take fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body.
- The lower lung is rich with the nerve receptors associated with calming the body and mind. It’s like giving yourself an “internal massage.”
- The goal is to take full deep breaths, with belly and lungs expanding and then exhaling to get read of stale air and bringing fresh, new oxygen to the body. You really want to actually see the belly rise and fall.
For me, personally I like breathing patterns that are shorter inhales, holding for a moment and then longer exhales. I may or may not count. Exhaling is really powerful and should be ACTIVE; meaning you want to push out all the air in your lungs and use the belly muscles to help with this.
If you need to count, it can simply be: 4 seconds of inhale, hold 4 seconds, exhale 8 seconds.
You’ll be surprised at how much stale air is in your lungs.
Easier said than done
It’s funny to me that we always have this “tool” at our disposal, but we’re always looking for fancy tools and tips and tricks. And then here we have this gift with us all the time. I’m challenging myself and you to use it. Not to have a two-hour daily meditation practice, but to simply start becoming AWARE of your breath.
Next time you get the mail, take a deep breath with a long exhale.
When you get a text message
When you put a dish or silverware in the dishwasher
When you ask your kid to do a chore
When you let your dog out
When you walk to the bathroom
When you put your head on the pillow
Think about your breath.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 and exhale for 8.
It’s a Habit
Our lives are a series of habits. May you let conscious breathing become one of yours.
Here are a few resources.
A short 3-minute video for some tips on putting breath into your daily life by author and teacher Justine Froelker,
A few different types from Dr. Andrew Weil
Free daily breathwork; this is more of a breathing and healing practice.
Taught by my coach, Kristen Kalp at 9:30 am most days (on Instagram)
Taught by Josh Solar – check his facebook for times
I help stressed out working professionals stop destructive habits and be healthier and more joyful, so you can make lasting changes and achieve goals, even if you are busy. I do this through one-on-one coaching packages that provide a customized visual gameplan that you can actually use. Just fill out the contact form to talk to me about scheduling a complimentary breakthrough session to get started on your personal plan.