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Breathe Easy!

Your to-do list likely has a million items on it. I'm going to encourage you to add one more; A BREATH BREAK!

In almost every mindfulness, wellness, dance and yoga class, your instructor will at some point bring awareness to your breathing. Breathing. An action that occurs in your subconscious that we rarely gain consciousness of unless instructed. "Breathwork", however, is a key component in making emotional and physical change as you release stress.

Let's take a breath break!

Because I said so! I'm kidding. Why do we want to include conscious breathing into our daily routine? Because our health depends on it. Studies show that focused or methodical breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and raises aortic pressure. In short, this means that breathing mindfully initiates a calming response through the nervous system which helps the body to relieve tension, calm anxiety and lower your heart rate. Also, by focusing on breathing, you welcome a positive distraction from your stressors. By now you're probably wondering...

Here's how!

1. Scan Your Body Ask yourself what does your body need. Remove yourself (if you can) from the space that is causing your stress and head to a quiet place. Close your eyes. Release the tension in your jaw. Let your shoulders fall.

2. Quiet Your Thoughts It is easier for me to quiet my thoughts when I have something else to focus on. For a moment, focus on counting your breaths. On average, individuals take 12-20 breaths per minute. When you get to 40 breaths, head to the next step.

3. Breathing Exercise

This is incredibly simple! Breathe in for 5-8 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and slowly exhale for another 5-8 seconds. Repeat. I generally spend about 3 minutes here or about 9-12 focused breaths. Depending on your level of stress, you may want to do more or less. When you feel that you have reached a more relaxed space, open your eyes and go be great! This breath break should only take 5-10 minutes and can be adjusted as needed.

How do we feel? Good? Great!


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