Learning to breathe more fully and developing a mindful breathing practice can enhance your life in many ways. A regular mindful breathing practice can support you as you move toward your health and wellness goals. I am so excited to offer you this short taste of mindful breathing! The following information is a combination of knowledge and techniques drawn from my experience singing in professional choirs, my training in yoga and Pilates instruction and my education and practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic. These diverse experiences are combined in the techniques and ideas found in my new book, Breathe Easy: mindful breathing made simple. Keep reading to learn a bit more about mindful breathing and try a short guided breathing experience.
Mindful breathing is great because you can practice anywhere, and you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment. You can practice mindful breathing at any age or fitness level to improve your well being right now.
Your breath practice will enhance and support you in whatever other activities you’re already doing. Mindful breathing is also a simple tool with profound effects that can help us get out of the swift current of thoughts flowing through our head and into a grounded experience of life in our body.
All it takes to begin is your loving dedication and shining the brilliant light of your awareness on something that we all take for granted on a daily basis… our breath!
WHAT DOES BREATHING DO FOR ME?
With every activity that requires time and dedication, most people have one question… What’s in it for me? We’ll touch on the basics of what breathing does for our bodies now and if you like, you can explore in more detail by reading the book, or in a workshop or private sessions.
Breathing brings fresh oxygen into the body and gets carbon dioxide out of the body. When we breathe in, oxygen comes into our lungs as we inhale and it is transferred to our blood, which carries the oxygen to all our cells and tissues. The blood then picks up carbon dioxide and other waste products from our cells and carries it back to our lungs, where it is released as we exhale.
In this way, efficient breathing keeps our cells and tissues fresh and energized. Breathing well also helps to keep our thinking clear because the brain, even more than other organs, really needs a steady supply of oxygen to do its job well.
We could even think of our breath as the most important element in maintaining our health. If we think about the things that we typically associate with a healthy lifestyle, like food, water, and sleep for example… and we compare these things to the breath… the breath always comes out on top for vital importance in maintaining our health and even sustaining our life. Another way to think about this is that we can go for quite a while without food and still survive (maybe a few weeks)… we can go slightly less long without sleep and water (maybe a few days) and still recover… but we can’t survive more than a few minutes without breathing.
LEARNING HOW TO TUNE IN TO YOUR BREATH – AN AWARENESS BASED EXERCISE
You can make the choice to either be sitting or standing for these exercises. In whatever position you have chosen, feel your feet flat on the floor, a comfortable distance apart.
If you are sitting, feel your sitting bones –the bony points at the base of your butt- press downward gently into your chair. Sit with your back upright and away from the back of your chair if you can.
If you are standing, maintain that grounded connection with your feet and allow your knees to stay soft, keeping a little microbend in your knees at all times.
Allow your spine and the crown of your head to lengthen upward toward the sky from this firm foundation. If it helps you to focus on your breathing, allow your eyes to gently close. Take a moment to feel your breath right now without changing anything.
Simply by bringing your awareness to your breath you may notice that it is already beginning to change… if your breath becomes more full and deep, make a mental note that this is what your body is naturally calling for when you make the time and space to listen to it.
Now we are going to try an experiment… there is no right or wrong here and no judgment. This is all about just noticing what is. In this experiment, you are a scientist objectively observing your breath.
Become aware of the rate of your breath, whether it feels fast or slow.
Notice the depth of your breath, whether it feels shallow or deep.
Check in with the quality of your breath, noticing whether it is flowing smoothly or has rough edges.
Notice if there is any sound associated with your breath.
Are there are any emotions or feelings associated with this experience of your breath.
Allow yourself to suspend any judgment about whether the way you are breathing is “good” or “bad” and let your self be fully present with what is.
Notice where you feel your breath moving in your body.
Take 3 more breaths like this.
Maintain this connection to your breath and when you feel ready, gently blink your eyes open if you have closed them.
Notice how you feel after taking this moment to connect with your breath.
If you like how you feel right now and want to learn more about how to build your own mindful breathing practice, keep reading to see what other resources are available to help you build this excellent skill set.
More Breathing Resources for You!
If you would like more practical, down to earth resources to help you learn more about how to breathe better to improve your health and life, my program, Breathe Easy: mindful breathing made simple, is now available in workshop, private session, ebook, audiobook and softcover form! Check out the ebook and audiobook here and the softcover here. There is more information about workshops and private session packages below, too!
Breathe Easy 15 minutes for 15 days – #BE15for15
#BE15for15 is a free, fun, challenge. Sign up for the Back In Body e-newsletter (sign-up form is at the left side of the bottom of the page) and prompts for your mindful breathing practice show up in your email inbox for 15 days, beginning on the first day of the month. The goal is to commit to practicing mindful breathing for at least 15 minutes for 15 days in a row. This can be done on your own by setting a timer (or using an app like Mindfulness Bell or the Universal Breathing Room on doasone.com) for 15 minutes and drawing your attention to your breathing. If you would like more guidance and support, I have created a 15 minute guided mindful breathing practice audio track that can be purchased with the Breathe Easy audiobook on Amazon/Audible and iTunes that walks you through your practice. Using the guided practice, all you have to do is claim your dedicated 15 minutes out of your day and press play. I also highly recommend keeping a journal about your mindful breathing experience and any interesting things that you notice during this process. The next round of #BE15for15 will begin on June 1st. I will be using daily email prompts to help you stay engaged with the challenge. Please consider adopting this simple and powerful habit for 15 days – and invite your friends and family to sign up and play along, too!
Breathe Easy Private Instruction Package!
The Breathe Easy Private Instruction Package includes (10) 60 minute sessions with Martha, a softcover copy of Breathe Easy: mindful breathing made simple, a CD with a guided daily Breathe Easy practice and a bonus guided relaxation track, as well as a list of other great breathing related resources you can use to deepen your understanding and practice. In these personalized sessions, you can address your questions and concerns while working toward your goals with ongoing support, encouragement, and tips from someone who has been there and understands the obstacles to – and joys of – developing a regular mindful breathing practice. This is a great option for people seeking to make a deeper level of commitment to their breathing practice and to be held accountable for their own practice between scheduled sessions. If you are interested in purchasing this private instruction package, please call me at 612.321.6913 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation. Please include the words Breathe Easy in the subject line of your email. The price of this package is $1000.00. All 10 sessions must be used within 12 months of purchase.
If you would like the opportunity to explore your breath with one-0n-one support, and are not sure if you are ready to commit to (10) 60 minute sessions, you can schedule individual sessions here. I encourage you to begin with a 60 minute session for your initial visit for best results.
Breathe Easy Workshops!
I have had great fun offering Breathe Easy workshops at various locations around the metro. I am currently looking at my calendar and planning and scheduling the next round of offerings. I will share more information on dates and locations through the Back In Body e-newsletter and the Back In Body and Breathe Easy Facebook pages.
Martha DeSante DC, CYT