Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's Your Breath Trying to Tell You?

Do you find yourself holding your breath throughout the day? Could the breath be trying to tell you something? It’s amazing how the breath can reveal what’s going on in our minds and perceived situations in our daily lives. Maybe you've been cut off in traffic and your breath has become shallow and choppy. How about when you get called into the bosses office and you hold your breath the entire time you're there!

The more you can tap into and become aware of your breath, you can start to tune into the many clues your breath is continuously giving you throughout the day and start to consciously create more ease. 
As you read, take a moment and listen to the quiet underneath the noise in the room. As you focus, you may have already unconsciously slowed down and deepened your breath.

Here's a few clues your breath may offer. If you notice your breathing is...

1. shallow breath - feeling anxious 
2. unconsciously holding your breath - you may be having thoughts of anger or fear
3. strained and choppy- you may be feeling rushed or stressed
4. deep rhythmic belly breathing  - calm and at ease

Here's a few tips for practicing more deep belly breathing throughout the day...

- Place your hands of the lower belly. As you inhale feel the navel move away from the spine. As you exhale feel the navel draw back towards the spine.

- Relax the upper body as you breathe. When you find yourself stressed, you may also find the upper chest, throat and jaw gripping. As you practice belly breathing imagine these areas soft, relaxed and quiet. 

- Allow the breath to be smooth and seamless. As you breathe, listen to your breath, imagine it coming in and out like gentle waves on the ocean.

- Take your time to fully exhale. In stressful situations, the breath can be short and choppy. When you feel calm, the breath extends and lengthens. Begin your breathing with equal counts: in-one, two, three, four; out-one, two, three, four. For a deeper state of relaxation, try extending your exhalations so eventually your exhale becomes twice as long as the inhale. When ready, change to a count of four in and eight out. Take your time, let go of any effort. Tip: start by extending the exhalation by one or two seconds until it feels easy. 

As you practice being mindful with your breath, you can start to create more space in every part of your life. The key is to remember that whatever shows up, you have a choice to simply pay attention, breathe and allow yourself to be with what is. If the drama and trauma shows up, you can choose to go into overwhelm or you can step back and take a slow, deep breath. From awareness and allowance, you can then consciously choose how you respond and open yourself up to new possibilities!