Monday, December 22, 2008

Breathe In.... Breathe Out.....

Good Morning Beautifuls!

I hope that all is well in your world. Mine was a bit chaotic but I managed to work with it. Fortunately, I was able to do everything without losing my head. One thing I did begin to notice, amongst all my ripping & running, was my breathing. I know this may sound strange but can we talk about this for a moment..

During this past week, I especially noticed that I was not fully breathing all the time. In other words, my breathes were short and shallow. I know that this can be a sign of stress/anxiety. Not a good thing. So this is part of the reason that I've put "Take up yoga" on my 2009 To Do List (future post). I happened upon an article regarding this very topic in a recent issue of Jewel magazine. It stated the following:

Experts tend to agree that breathing can be a very effective way to make a noticeable change in your state of mind. "With just a few healthy, deep breaths, the stress chemicals in your body begin to disappear", says Dr. Gay Hendricks (author of "Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery"). "On the negative side, unhealthy breathing can turn on the stress chemistry in your body very quickly." Conscious breathing is a cheap, quick and effective de-stressor.

Here are a few pointers for those of you who may want to give "Conscious Breathing" a try:

First, fold a firm blanket into a pillow about a foot wide and three feet long.

Lie on your back w/your butt on the floor and support your head on the blanket.

Simply observe your breathing without trying to change it, says Richard Rosen (author of "Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals"). Pranayama is literally defined as "life force extension" or sometimes, "breath control".

Your breathing (and stressed mind) should slow down and smooth out.

Now slow your exhalations. "Count the length of your exhale, then increase that time by three or four counts.

At the end of the exhalation, extend the natural pause by about three or four counts, paying attention to what happens in the mind when the breath stops.

Here"s where I tend to struggle at first.."Be sure not to "grab" the inhalation by tensing the throat or belly or "explode" the exhalation by pushing out the breath with a sudden burst.

After about 10 to 12 minutes of this practice, remove the pillow and finish by lying with your torso flat on the floor for about five minutes.

For those times that your on the go:

Try Dr. Hendricks two-minute "reset button" technique. This can be done in traffic or when you're out and about trying to meet a deadline of some sorts. Or just when you just need to.

First, slowly and gently exhale. When you're finished, pause until your body tells you it needs a breath. "You might wait 30 seconds or more, but don't wait so long that it feels effortful, " says Dr. Hendricks. This "centering breath" will allow your oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio to balance itself. When you're ready, inhale gently and breathe normally for a few cycles. Repeat this process two times. In the end, you should have done three centering breaths in total.

This has really helped me. If you do this or something similiar, do share your experience. Given the current economic state of affairs on top of daily living, we need all the stress relieving help we can get.

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