Breathe. What did you think I was gonna say?

“Breathe. Cool. Yeah. Got it. Um… How?”

If I just read your mind, if a deep, steady, calming breath is a mystery to you, please know you’re not alone. Like self-empathy and emotional regulation, breathing well will revolutionize your life and personal power but so few of us are ever taught how.

It’s assumed we know how to breathe. Truth is, it’s easy to forget. Our bodies close around trauma and grief and poor posture and all of a sudden we’re straining to breathe with our neck and chest instead of letting our powerful diaphragm do its job.

Why bench our Most Valuable Player? Don’t we want to win?? And did you know your heart rests on your diaphragm???

Allow your diaphragm to move through its full range of motion and you not only free up your ribcage and spine, thus increasing your breath capacity, relieving back pain, and improving digestion…Take that, Sad-Office/Couch/2020-Body!…

Allow your diaphragm to move through its full range of motion and you gently (rhythmically, primally) stretch your pericardium, the membrane surrounding your heart.

Make more room for your heart.

Anxious breathing begets anxiety. Calm breathing begets calm. 

Practicing breathing in this way has transformed my mindset, life, and emotional wellbeing. 

Let’s practice. And then I’ll tell you a secret.

01

Focus on the Center of Your Belly

Let your thoughts go. Simply don’t follow them. Allow energy and focus to drain from your head (scalp, forehead, eyes, jaw), throat, neck shoulders, down down down…. focusing all attention between your navel and your spine. 

02

Pull Air All the Way Down into Your Belly Center

Breathe in and out. Slowly and deeply. Allow your belly to soften forward, low back to relax, ribs to widen. I like to imagine a faucet, in the center of my lowest band of ribs, wide open and gushing air down into my belly, filling it like a water balloon.

03

Follow Your Breath

Keep breathing. Deeply and slowly. Follow your breath as it flows in through your nose, down your throat, into and through your lungs, and into your belly. Stay fascinated on it as it flows back out again. 

“You’re not actually breathing air into your belly, but it will feel that way.”

04

Keep Breathing

Aim to practice breathing in this way for five minutes. Aim to practice every day for at least three weeks. Do what you have to remember. I recommend tacking this practice on to another action you already do every day, like waking up, walking your dog, or brushing your teeth. Our tomorrow is shaped by what we practice today. 

Nice work. Ok. Secret time…

If “deep breath” is a frustrating mystery to you, I’m only so confident that “you’re not alone” because I “forgot how to breathe,” too. It’s true. There’s this misunderstanding that yoga teachers are unimpeachably “Zen AF,” when the reality is that most of us “found” yoga as a path to healing our own physical and emotional tension. 

I feel like I’ve been anxious breathing as early as infancy… or maybe it dates back to that shellfish I choked on over three decades ago.

In fact, and not for lack of trying, I couldn’t figure out how to “belly breathe” until I read My Grandmother’s Hands… THIS YEAR. Side note: If you have any room at all on your plate, please read Resmaa Menakem’s transformative book on generational and racial trauma and healing

Anyway, I mention that to 1. let you know that his brilliant work informed the above description, and 2. remind you that you are not alone. And that there’s hope. Loads of it. 

Need Some Help? Mindfulness & Movement Are Pillars of My Private Coaching


 

Think your coworkers could benefit from a few deep breaths? 

 

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