I don’t believe in coincidences, but I do believe in the synchronicity of the Universe, and that we can see signs of this if we are open to looking. When sycnchronicities happen in my daily life, they feel like treasured gifts bestowed upon me, as if the Universe is trying to show me that it has my back.
I had one of these experiences just before I wrote this post. Last night I was thinking of what to write about, and I settled on sharing some different breathing techniques. Just before I sat down to write, I received an email from one of my students. Part of it said:
“This is how you know you’re a really good teacher. Because just a couple of random things you said the other night have really stuck with me. The first is that just 3 deep breaths resets your body regulation (or whatever you called it?). Now, all day long, whenever I have a chance, I take 3 deep breaths. The great part is that it sometimes turns into 5 breaths or 10, or even 30. But knowing all I’m committing to are 3 makes it so easy to do.”
I just love this woman. She was one of my very first students, and my first “regular” in classes, and now she is also a friend. She was referring to the fact that three long, slow, deep breaths can reset your nervous system. Her kind words mean so much to me, AND receiving this clearly told me that breathing techniques was the perfect topic for today, so let’s get to it!
Have you ever done belly breathing? It is extremely relaxing, and a great thing to do in the moment if you feel stressed, or right before bed. The more you do it, the more it will become a habit and you may find yourself breathing like this all the time.
Many people take short inhales without noticing it, often raising their shoulders, which can cause stress in the body and actually activate the fight or flight response. Instead try to first fill up your belly with air when you breathe, then your lungs, then your clavicle area.
The easiest way to do this is by pretending that you are blowing up a balloon in your belly when you inhale. You want to fill up that balloon all the way with a nice comfortable inhale, and then on the exhale let all the air out. You will feel your belly expanding and contracting as you breathe. Just for now, place your hand on your belly and really feel the expansion and contraction. You can match the length of your inhale and exhale, or just take nice comfortable breaths without counting. I often do this ten times before I fall asleep.
Another relaxing breath is called 4-7-8 breathing. To do this you:
inhale for a count of 4
hold your inhale for a count of 7
exhale for a count of 8
repeat 4 times
It can feel very relaxing to make your exhale longer than your inhale. On the exhale you can feel your shoulders drop away from your ears as your entire upper body relaxes.
Let me know in the comments which breathing exercise you enjoyed the most, and when you think you will use it. Maybe it is before bed, during a meditation, standing in line at the grocery store, or before you get your kids from school. Anytime is a good time! Remember, when all else fails and you forget what to do to balance your self, you can never go wrong with a few deep breaths 🙂