Slowly, bring attention to your breath. Breathe in through your nose, pause and out through your nose. Let your shoulders lower. Unclench your jaw. Slowly continue this breathing for a few more breaths. Feel yourself beginning to relax. How do you feel now? A little more relaxed, I hope!
Has this exercise just made you realise that you’ve been holding your breath for the past 12 months? You are not alone! We are a quarter of the way into a new year and a full year into a global pandemic, predominantly spent in lockdown so it’s natural if you have found these past few months stressful and a little challenging.
Fortunately, we have an incredible, inbuilt way of being able to self regulate and calming our central nervous system, it’s called breathing! Breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation and exhalation, signals our parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down. Long, deep breaths can also manage our stress responses to help decrease anxiety, fear, racing thoughts, a rapid heartbeat and shallow chest breathing*, which can leave us feeling dizzy. And yet so often we find we do not take advantage of this incredible resource.
When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit. Goraksha Shataka, an early Hatha yoga text, written in around the 10th century in the tantra tradition.
Someone else who knows all about the amazing benefits of good breath work is the fabulous Aimee Hartley. Aimee has devoted her career to sharing and educating children and adults on the amazing power of breath and good breathing technique. Click here to try one of Aimee’s wonderful exercises. Or, to learn more about your breathing ‘style’ and the various exercises you can include in your day to day life to help keep you in balance, Aimee’s book Breath Well is available to purchase online from Amazon. And for some inspirational posts, lovely, quick breathing exercise videos, why not follow Aimee’s Instagram @breathe.well
Why not introduce aromatherapy into your breath-work and your day. Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell. Molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass to the lungs, and from there, to other parts of the body. In this way, essential oils can have a subtle, yet holistic effect on the whole body. Formulated using four pure essential oils chosen for their anti-inflammatory and restorative qualities, and created with the intent for healing, Our Angel Oil, Original Blend is a wonderful allrounder. Simply dab a few drops on your pulse points as needed. Or massage all over before a hot bath for a wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
And to help reduce your stress levels even more, don’t forget to join me for a FREE Healing Meditation on Wednesday 14th April at 4pm GMT, 5pm EU and 8pm UAE. Registration is free, and easy, simply click here and fill in a few details. You will then receive a confirmation email containing a Zoom link to the meditation session.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
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PS I am offering guidance and healing sessions over Skype/Zoom/Facetime/BOTIM/Facebook Messenger etc. get in touch if you'd like to book an appointment! Just click here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Dubai clients, I've found that Teamviewer and ToTok also work very well.
Source: www.cbc.ca | Photo credit Max van den Oetelaar