Humor me here and set your phone alarm today to…breathe. I’m totally serious.
I know you’ll be on the go today doing all sorts of errands, perhaps the Farmers’ Market, shopping, taking the kids to the park, dry cleaning – you name it – and you probably won’t rest until late this evening.
But I want you to do me (and yourself!) a favor today – don’t fight or chase time this afternoon (you know that feeling where you’re constantly checking the time to see if you’re late…), use time. Use it to check in with yourself and to rest + reset your nervous system – even while you’re on the go today.
I’ll share this with you. For years I actually had a sharp, piercing pain in my neck. I thought it was because of the long hours in front of a computer at the office, followed by late nights working from my laptop at home (and I’m sure this factored into it…) I went to the doctor and the chiropractor. It got a little better…
But it wasn’t until I started to make a consistent effort to consciously breathe (I’m talking about “soft belly breathing” or diaphragmatic breathing – the “correct” way to breathe) that the pain dissipated.
Without going into too much detail here (I’ll actually be covering diaphragmatic breathing in an upcoming free video series!), but a good majority of stressed, overworked adults simply aren’t breathing correctly. Shallow, sharp breaths from the upper chest area (and not from the belly/diaphragm) can lead to neck stiffness/pain over time (among other things!)
So, set that phone alarm!
Have it buzz you every few hours. When that alarm goes off, I want you to consciously and deeply breathe for 1 to 3 minutes (and breathe from the belly – your belly should rise + fill on the inhale, and contract on the exhale).
Most of us are running around all day on overdrive with our Sympathetic Nervous Systems leading the way (I’ll also be covering this in the upcoming video series! It’s the system responsible for the “fight or flight” responses in the body – hello adrenaline and cortisol!) If you’re in that “go, go, go” mentality most of the time, the SNS is most likely running the show.
And you don’t want it to be (unless, of course, you’re in actual danger.)
That said, we need to actively engage our Parasympathetic Nervous System (the “rest and digest” system) to allow our bodies to reset + recuperate.
And here’s one of my favorite, fast-acting techniques to quickly get thatParasympathetic Nervous System into gear – and you can do it almost anywhere (if you’re driving, though, safely pull over, please!)
The Kundalini Yoga One-Minute Breath Technique:
This technique will help you to:
- Balance both hemispheres of the brain (next time you have a headache – try this and you may not need that Tylenol!)
- Reduce anxiety + feelings of stress/overwhelm
- Regulate the oxygen flow in your blood, making you more alert + focused. (I use this whenever I find myself procrastinating on a project…)
It works like this:
- 1 cycle per minute
- 20 seconds to inhale (inhale for a full 20 counts) Inhale slowly and steadily, filling your lower abdomen/belly, then going up to your lungs and then all the way up the chest.
- 20 seconds hold (hold it for 20 counts; if you have high blood pressure, please consult your doctor first.)
- 20 seconds to exhale (exhale – slowly, gently and steadily for 20 counts)
- Repeat cycle – do this for 3 minutes and then go about your day!
- Start at 4 to 5 seconds for each step and work your way up to 20 seconds if needed – you’ll still experience the benefits.
Wishing you lots of HIGH VIBES and lots of full, deep (belly!) breaths today.