HOW TO BREATHE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS
This can be a difficult time of the year. There are so many expectations put on us, and so many that we put upon ourselves. It’s impossible to meet them all, but
There have been times when I have had to have clients just take a few deep breaths, especially during holidays. Deep breaths are like little love notes to our bodies. It’s even more beneficial when I teach my clients how to breathe properly. Most of us have been shown how to do this as I had been many times, but when I had to have physical therapy, I was introduced to a sort of core-expansion breathing I had never learned before and it made all the difference in my breathing. Maybe it will help you too.
- If you have ever watched a baby breathe, you will notice that their stomachs rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation. This is the proper way to breathe. I suggest practicing this first. I call this exercise taking Baby Breaths.
- Once you get the hang of it, exaggerate it, making your stomach look like one of the many depictions of Buddha we often see. When teaching clients how to breathe properly I refer to this step as taking Baby Buddha Breaths.
- When you’ve mastered that, put your hands on your waist partially encircling your lower ribs. Your thumbs should be pointing to your spine and your fingers to your belly button. It is like putting your hands on your hips, but on your waste instead, so you can feel your lower ribs. Now turn your hands upside down. Your thumbs should be pointing to your stomach and your fingers toward your spine. Forget about breathing into the stomach for now. Concentrate only on breathing into your ribs in such a way that you can feel them expand and contract in your hands as you inhale and exhale into them. Allow your hands to be gently moved in and out by your ribs. I call this taking Core or Rib Breaths.
- Having mastered that, now breathe into your lungs the way we usually breathe all the time, except now do it as deeply as possible. I call these taking Lung breaths.
All Together Now
Now, for the hard part, putting them together. Think of your body as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloon. Start breathing into the core of your body and inhale the air into all the areas we discussed slowly, but filling each area at once much like a balloon being filled with air. Sometimes it is easier to add one step at a time. Do Buddha and Baby Buddha Breaths then add Ribbing
This is the most beneficial way to breathe because it facilitates deep breathing, which is much healthier than the short shallow breaths we often take; usually caused by the stressful lives we live, especially during the holidays.
The Trick To Make Those Deep Breaths Really Calming
Breathe in through your nose, using the above techniques and count the number of seconds it takes to reach a full capacity of air. Then take twice the number of seconds to exhale through your mouth. Be reasonable, don’t count to 40 seconds inhaling, and try to exhale 80 seconds. Just inhale gently and see how long it takes then try to double it on the exhale. Do this three times and notice how much calmer your entire body is. Don’t do this more than three times the first time you try it. You can increase the number of repetitions, as you get more comfortable with it. If you have a breathing condition, consult your physician first and if you feel like you may faint, stop and consult your physician.
The Science: How And Why It Works…
Studies corroborate that shorter inhalations and longer exhalations combat the body’s fight-or-flight stress response, and improves fluctuation in beat-to-beat intervals of the heart rate, referred to as HRV (Heart Rate Variability). Higher HRV is associated with, lower chronic stress levels, better overall health, and improved cognition.
The next time you need to take a deep breath for any reason from preparing to meditate to distressing during the holidays or even just trying to get to sleep, try breathing this way. It will relax your body and calm your mind.
This is the time of year when all the craziness comes up even though the story is that we’re supposed to be happy, happy, and happy. Are you finding your regular stress levels are amped up due to the holidays? Schedule your FREE EXPLORATORY SESSION here. I promise, there will be no hard sell. I have no personal attachment to the outcome of our conversation beyond your feeling better for our having had it. For more information about living authentically, click here and get your FREE copy of my “GUIDE TO AUTHENTIC LIVING: Ten Things People Who Live Authentically Know And Do…And So Can You.”