Giving time to ourselves is one of the most important things we can do. Sometimes all this means is a few moments of silence, with only ourselves. No technology or family or work distractions. No craziness or stress. Just a few moments with only ourselves.
Even this can sound like a lot some weeks. But it is so important to let ourselves recharge and be still. Too many of us run on empty, never pausing or slowing down. It’s part of our culture. It’s part of our upbringing. We’re taught to soldier on. To keep going. But every single one of us will eventually crash if we don’t give ourselves a breath.
Meditation can be a scary word to some people. But I want to wipe the preconceived images of what meditation is, and replace it with a simple idea. Breathe.
I started incorporating breath work into my yoga practice as I noticed how many students start a class in a tizzy. Rushing from work, dropping kids off, worrying about what’s for dinner, running into a class that starts in 90 seconds and still having to kick off the socks and shoes and unroll the mat. Hurry, hurry because this hour of relaxation is so necessary.
When we’re stressed or rushed, we tend to have shallow breathing. But by regulating our breath, being a nose breather and breathing in deeply we’re signaling our brain to calm down and relax. One of my favorite breathing exercises to use is simple, it’s 5-5-5 breathing:
Inhale slowly through your nose for the count of 5, hold your breath for the count of 5, then exhale slowly out of your nose for a count of 5. Repeat.
While I use this to open a yoga class, it can be used anywhere and any time of your day. Counting helps us focus on our breath, but also helps keep our conscious mind from running off. By taking just a few moments, we not only give ourselves a pause, we also give ourselves a little recharge and calm.
Your Sunday may not be a day of rest but is instead hectic and busy, just like any other day. But I challenge you to take just two minutes to breathe today.