Riddle me this: What’s the one thing that our body does for us automatically, but that we often forget to do for ourselves?
That’s right – your body takes in air, circulates it around your body, then you exhale. But when life gets tough, or really busy, it’s hard to remember to just stop and breathe.
For instance, my life is ridiculous busy right now. I’ve applied to massage college and I’m waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted. I’m planning a wedding and a social. I’m doing personal training, health coaching and I’ve just launched a business selling chemical-free cleaning products and personal care items. Plus, I work full-time. And other life stuffs. And you know what? I think I just need to stop for a minute and take a good, deep breath. I bet you do too, because we’re all busy.
So today’s little homework, if you will humour me, is to do this simple but very effective breathing exercise that I learned from Dr. Weil.
This exercise is super simple and takes almost no time. You can do it pretty much anywhere!
Sit with your back straight, place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
• Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Don’t forget to keep your tongue stuck behind your teeth!
• Hold your breath for a count of seven, again keeping your tongue against your teeth.
• Exhale completely through your mouth with your tongue still in place, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
• This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
This exercise is calming to the nervous system. Do it at least twice a day every day this week – that’s your challenge!
You cannot do this exercise too often, so if you’re having a very stressful day, do it as often as you need. Use it to calm down whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of tension building inside of you. You can even use it to help you fall asleep (just to the breaths laying down).
Have an awesome week, everyone!