Now that we have spent the past month CLEARING space, we will now focus in on the BREATHING.
1. the process of taking air into and expelling it from the lungs.
Breathing is one of THE most important things that we do. Our bodies require oxygen to function correctly, and breathing is the process that allows our cells to get the oxygen it needs. As if that doesn't already sound important enough, out exhales expel carbon dioxide, so that it does not rise to toxic and lethal levels in the body. Breathing is an involuntary process, controlled by the autonomic nervous system, therefore we are always doing it, in some form or another, whether we pay attention or not.
Have you ever noticed that your breath can often indicate the emotional experience you are having? Having trouble getting a full breath, and instead it is very shallow and labored? Maybe you are anxious. Breathing very quickly? Perhaps you are feeling afraid. Breathing in and out with ease? That could indicate a sense of calm.
As if Breathing isn't useful enough, it can also be an unbelievably helpful tool when working on grounding. Have you ever been told by a loved one, after feeling "worked up," to take a deep breath? It's actually GREAT advice. The active focus on the breath allows your nervous system to slow down, your emotions to regulate, and your mind to refocus. However, when you never practice active attention and focus on breathing, it can be a hard tool to access for the times you really need it. So let's work on changing this. Making grounding a regular part of your daily practice, means less moments where you feel un-tethered and dysregulated.
Over the next month, try to find some space to actively practice intentional breathing. Here are a few ideas:
1. Simply taking 10 deep breaths, trying to get your breath deep into your diaphragm. Perhaps you put your hand on your belly, and actively try to get your belly to rise and fall with each breath. Or, you could lay on the ground, putting a small cup or stuffed animal on your belly, watching it go up and down with each breath.
2. Practice squared breathing: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and hold for 4 counts. You can reduce or increase the count number, depending on what works best for you.
3. Nadi Shodhana breathing, or alternate nostril breathing. This is a technique where you will hold your right nostril closed, while inhaling into the left nostril, once you have reached the peak of your inhale, hold the left nostril closed and exhale through the right nostril. You will now inhale into the right nostril until you reach the peak, and then switch back to holding the right nostril closed as you exhale our the left. You will repeat this pattern, at least 10 full cycles, or until you feel finished.
4. Guided Visualization: Perhaps you would benefit from having a guide walk you through the process of relaxation and breathing. There are a number of downloadable applications and/or YouTube videos you can watch for this.
5. Spend time breathing: Over the next month, try bringing focus to your breath for at least 5 minutes per day. Maybe you just observe how it is, without trying to change it. Perhaps you employ one of the ideas listed above. No matter how you do it, try to spend a solid 5 minutes really tuning in and observing.
You can follow along as I share about my breathing experience on Instagram, using the #12monthsofgrounding. I look forward to seeing what creative ways you access BREATHING in your life this month!