This One Skill Will Change Your Game
For years I’ve heard people say “take deep breaths” and each time I heard this I was always a bit skeptical. I was skeptical because I was frustrated. As if taking in a deep breath would really change anything. Well, turns out that it does change my game and that I was internally battling self-judgment. Because really why is it so hard to take a deep breath? For me it meant vulnerability. And vulnerability means letting your guard down and if I did that then - then what? I wasn’t willing to find out until a couple of years ago when I was having a hard time relaxing while breastfeeding my newborn. When I asked an acquaintance at the park how she was able to pump milk with such ease at work and she told me “I just take a deep breath" - it clicked for me in that moment. Perhaps it's because I admired her. She said it as if it was a no-brainer. I didn’t know that being a strong woman can also and needs to incorporate vulnerability to some extent. Because if I’m not breathing deeply because I’m scared of seeming weak, then wtf?
So this is why I, as a former non-breather-believer, am crossing over to breath-work as homework.
Relieve tension with your breath.
Most of us walk around with tension somewhere in our bodies whether we notice it or not. Some of us hold more tension in our upper shoulders (or the upper trapezius muscle) while some of us hold tension in our hips, lower back, knees, or even feet. Sound familiar? It’s ominous. However, most of us don’t notice this thin layer of tension that is within our bodies perhaps on and off all day long until it builds into pain.
STRESS MANAGEMENT IS REAL.
Being able to manage how you experience stress may define how healthy you are. Anxiety and tension are hard on the nervous and muscular systems. Using your respiratory system to better calm your brain and body is a skill you can learn so that you have a healthy way of coping with stress as it comes your way. As a healthy habit, with time, you get better at using your breath to calm your body and mind. Because let’s face it - life can be hard and we will always be thrown challenges. How we respond to each challenge effects our mind and body. Being able to take in a deep breath when the moment feels like too much is a skill. And it is always readily available to you.
Slow down your aging process through relaxation.
The tension we sometimes feel and at other times barely notice is shaping our bodies into that fixed, misalignment. Because that misalignment can lead to faulty movement patterns which typically lead to injury, it is important that we continuously try to release tension as we can find it. That tension needs to dissipate somehow. And that somehow might just be shifting your breathing habits.
Try taking a deep breath in through your nose and at the very top of the breath, take in just a sip more of air before you start to exhale out through your mouth. Breathe out just a bit more breath before you take that next deep breath in through your nose. Repeat 2-3x in all. Notice how your breath starts to elongate the more breaths you take. I like to think of my breath as an oblong circle. I breathe the air in through my nose and as I feel the cold air go up into my sinuses and down the back of my throat I am then pushing it out through my mouth. I feel the rise of my rib cage with the inhale and the pushing down of my lower abdomen with the exhale.
Being able to relax the body through the breath is priceless. It is a tool that you can use at any moment of the day. This is a skill that will help you have less tension throughout your body on a daily, hourly and moment to moment basis. Breathe in to change your game.