Remember to Breathe!
In this article, I’d like to share with you a very important idea I learned while at a weekend retreat at The Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA. When our group of 40 gathered on the floor, our first instruction was to take a deep breath. Now this might sound simplistic, but I’m much more used to shallow breathing and hyperventilation.
I had never taken more than one or two deep breaths at a time and here we were doing them for many minutes. It was difficult to focus on just my breath. My mind so desperately wanted to multi- task and think of other things. Closing my eyes helped. I continued to breathe deeply when instructed, which was frequently during the weekend. When the retreat was over, I felt incredibly calm, relaxed and mentally clear. I could talk without searching for the right words and my thoughts were mono-focused.
Since then, I have taken up yoga and have begun to incorporate this breath idea into my workshops on conquering overload and getting back control. It is such a simple, cost-free and effective way to find peace in this crazy world. Here’s how to do it:
- Sitting erect, place your hands comfortably on your lap. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen to feel the air entering and leaving your body.
- Breathing through your nose, inhale steadily, first filling the lower part of the lungs by pushing out the abdomen. Then fill the middle part of the lungs, pushing out the lower ribs, breastbone and chest. Then fill the higher portion of the lungs, protruding the upper chest by lifting the chest and upper ribs. Your inhalation should feel like a continuous movement, not three separate movements.
- Retain the breath for a few seconds.
- Exhale slowly, holding the chest in a firm position, and drawing the abdomen in a little and lifting it upward slowly as the air leaves the lungs.
- Repeat five times.
Congratulations! You have just taken a real deep breath. As you practice this, you will be able to enlarge your lung capacity so that you can inhale more air than you did before.
Remember to take complete breaths after intense concentration, to ward off stress and/or to just relax! You just may find the world just a little easier to live in.
Abby Marks Beale
About the Author:
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to www.TheCorporateEducator.com.