When we are caught up in a moment of anxiety, fear or anger, often the last thing we think of is to take a moment and remember to breathe, try to calm our minds and work the situation out in a rational way.  Perhaps an hour later or by the next day, whatever you were freaking about is over, dealt with and forgotten. 

After the fact, do you remember to take a moment to close your eyes, inhale a couple of deep breaths and let that stress go or do you simply push it down, plough on with your day and wait for the next shit-show to arrive at your door?

By allowing one stressful episode after another to build up can leave your body and mind exhausted and this is where illness can creep in.  Holding your breath traps the energy inside your body, so we need to breathe it out. 

At the core of all forms of exercise including yoga, Qi-Gong or Tai Chi, you learn to breathe correctly.  After a class, how many of us walk out the door and return to our old habits?  Why wait until your next class to practice it again?  It is said that if you practice something for 21 days it transforms it into a natural habit.  Re-program your mind so it sticks and becomes part of your daily routine.  There will come a point where you won’t even have to think about it, it will happen automatically. 

In times of stress, most of us tend to only breathe into our upper chest.  Breathing correctly and deep into your lungs and stomach circulates oxygen and sends it all around your body, into your blood cells, heart and vital organs.  It also clears your mind so you can focus more quickly. With that, comes positivity, a new energy that propels you forward so you are ready when Mr. Stressy Fuck shows up and throws all your balls up in the air!

It is a health practice.  It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that breathing calms your mind, body and soul.  Inhale! Exhale! Repeat!

 So why not practice deep breathing several times a day for the rest of your life? It works and it’s free!

Try sitting in an upright position with your spine straight and both feet planted firmly on the ground. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in through your nose and as air INFLATES into your lower lungs, your stomach will rise, as you slowly breathe out through your mouth, your stomach DEFLATES.  

The goal is to have your stomach moving more than your chest.  When you’re lying down at home, practice the technique of inflating your stomach as you breathe in, by placing a book flat on your stomach.  As you breathe in and inflate your stomach, you can physically feel the weight of the book rising as your stomach pushes the book up and then lowers as you exhale.

If you find it difficult to allow your breath to reach your stomach, start by focussing on the air from your chest slowly moving further down into your lungs with each breath. Pay attention to how your belly and chest moves as you breathe.

Perhaps practice a short positive mantra to go with it, one that’s easy to remember and resonates with you …

I am calm and relaxed

I am calm and relaxed

I am calm and relaxed

Even if you’re not really feeling completely calm and relaxed, keep saying it.  It will come together with practice.

Love Rosie

NB: Key words: Breathe, Practice

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