I once told a client that we were going to do a mindfulness breathing practice, he responded with “Well you’re in luck! I already know how to breathe.” He was just being funny, but he was also telling the truth. We all know how to breathe. It’s automatic (autonomic). We don’t have to think about it, and it happens naturally. We can’t go more than a few minutes without taking in a breath of fresh air, but how often do we think about how we’re breathing?
Did you notice how you were breathing? Did you try to shape it, or change it? It’s ok if you did, but depending on your personality the idea of “mindful” breathing may put you into a state of panicked “AM I BREATHING PROPERLY!?” There are techniques behind breathing, and there will be another blog post on the physiology of breathing, but for now I’m going to keep this post on how to do THIS mindfulness breathing exercise.
This is a great practice to do when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, or in physical pain. It’s also a great exercise to break up your day and give you a few moments of calm to yourself. I personally enjoy doing this practice as I fall asleep. If you’re Type A, following the video, or the instructions, on how to do this exercise will help you not get wrapped up in the “am I doing it right” mindset. And to help you ease your mind, there is no wrong way to do this practice <sigh> 😅
This practice can be done anywhere and during any time of the day. The practice could be as short as one minute, and as long as you would like. If you have other things to do throughout your day, I recommend setting a timer between 2 to 5 minutes. The video practice is 3-minutes long and you don’t have to set a timer, but you may want to skip the intro and ending after you try the practice a few times. I recommend doing this practice at least once per day every day, although you can do it as often as you would like. And remember, there’s no wrong way to do this practice.
Not so bad right!? This practice is simple, yet powerful. When we pause to notice our breath it can take us out of the thinking mind and it brings us into the present moment. We know that when we live in the present moment we find more joy and pleasure in the things we are doing, in the moment and throughout our day. Bookmark this page and the video so you can easily come back to the practice as often as you would like. Sign up for my newsletter below for the latest yoga and yoga therapy tips and techniques, and you’ll also be emailed when the physiology of breathing is posted.
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