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One of the most common questions I get asked in my practice is

How can I stay calm and centered with everything going on?

The short answer is by bringing awareness to the breath. Becoming aware of the breath or learning to breath consciously seems to be consistently helpful with myself and almost all my patients.

Sometimes we just need a breather

Let me show you how to get the most out of it with this simple exercise.

When we get too busy and flustered we often forget to breathe

...and just be in the moment. When we stand back and become aware of our breathing, it helps to calm the body and mind. This calmness helps us be more aware of our thoughts and feelings and not get swept away by them.

Mindful breathing helps to relieve tension and restore energy. It’s the perfect antidote to stress. The breath anchors us, reminds us to get out of our minds/thoughts and tune in to our bodies – so we can bring awareness and feeling to our experiences.

As breaths come and go, they teach you to let go and go with the flow. And the same could be said about your life, the events also come and go. Nothing stays constant. Everything is changing. It is not possible to control everything and be perfect.

If you pay attention to your breath you can use it to get used to change

Most of us take our breath for granted, usually breathing 12-16 times every minute without being aware of it. The only two times we usually start noticing it are when something happens to prevent us from breathing normally or when we start meditating or being mindful.

Notice how the rhythm of your breathing varies continuously. When we are upset, anxious or exercising our breathing speeds up,when we are relaxed or sleeping, it slows down.

When you start paying attention to your breathing on a regular basis, your relationship to it changes dramatically. Try this now: breath shallowly and see how you feel – then breath deeply and feel the difference.

Breathing consciously is easy and convenient. It can be learned and practiced easily as opposed to other functions like maintaining a slow heart rate or low blood pressure.

Here are 2 easy breathing exercises you can do anywhere

Abdominal Breathing

  1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Get into a relaxed position whether lying down (better) or sitting up.
  3. Put your hands on your abdomen
  4. Close your mouth gently and touch your tongue to your upper palate and breath through your nose. If your nose is blocked for any particular reason it is fine to breath through your mouth.
  5. Inhale deeply and slowly, being aware of your diaphragm moving downward and your abdomen expanding. Your hands on your abdomen will feel the expansion like a balloon filling.
  6. At the end of the inhalation, don’t hold the breath – let your abdomen fall automatically as you exhale.
  7. Try get all the breath out of your lungs on the expiration. The expiration should normally be about twice as long as the inhalation when you are relaxed.
  8. Keep repeating this, keeping your focus on your hands rising on the abdomen with inhalation and falling with expiration.

Breathing to Release Tension

  1. Find a comfortable position.
  2. Do 10 abdominal breaths.
  3. Then with your next inhalation, think of a tense area of your body eg a tight neck or lower back, your head or your buttocks – wherever you may feel pain or tension - and breath into it by imagining your breath expanding into and nourishing that area.
  4. Then, with the exhalation, release the tension from that area, by purposefully, intentionally, letting it go – out your nose – with the air.
  5. Keep repeating this until the pain or tension starts to ease.

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