Back to Basics – Just Breathe
As a person obsessed with learning “How we Heal,” I have read books, taken courses and learned many practices to support the body and mind to live Happy, Healthy and Well. I love knowing that I have tools to deal with the emotional and physical challenges in my life. I know the value of keeping my energy, moods, and nervous system in balance, yet I often get busy and forget to keep this at the top of my priorities list.
I recently took a basic mindfulness class with Meg Blinson, a Sagewood practitioner who wanted to share with us her program for the classes she will begin teaching in September. The first step is to work with the breath. Watch it, pay attention when your breathing becomes shallow, or when you are holding your breath. I was reminded that working with the breath is the #1 thing we can do to support our mental and physical health. I had learned this many times, but I may have let its simplicity trick me into forgetting its power.
Committing to just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Over the 4 weeks I noticed a greater sense of peace, more joy, and less reactivity to stressful situations.
There are many forms of breathwork to choose from, but here are 3 of my favorites:
4-7-8 Breathing (Dr. Andrew Weil)
Many use this counting technique to manage stress and anxiety.
This technique activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation, and suppresses the opposite system (sympathetic nervous system) that is responsible for the stress response – “fight or flight” reaction.
This is a powerful, yet simple, relaxation technique that can help to return breathing to its normal rhythm. This breathing exercise may help to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus.
Practiced for 10 to 30 minutes a day can help soothe stress on all levels.
You are likely familiar with these and other practices but maybe you have been forgetting too. Setting a time every day helps, especially in the morning to start the day off with intention. These techniques offer physiological benefits, but equally as important they move the mind off of the stuff of life to the inner state, which can offer peace amidst any situation.
Words from Sagewood Practitioners
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