My breathing sessions (for announcements, see Instagram and Twitter or sign up for my newsletter) are a gentle practice to come home to yourself; a transformational exercise that increases your brain plasticity, calms the mind, and strengthens your emotional resilience. Let your breath ground your body and elevate your spirit.
These are challenging times and we all need some way to restore our energy and to be present with whatever is going on in our lives. Whether you are an essentiall worker out in the field, working from home, just lost your job, taking care of kids in home schooling, in really close quarters with family, or feel really lonely – we all go through waves of emotions that want to be dealt with. One way of dealing with them in a simple but effective way is to breathe deep.
You may hear that often – when you get upset or angry, first take a deep breath. Oftentimes that may not be enough, so some ancient traditions focus on using the breath as a means to positively influence your physical body, your mental state, and your emotional wellbeing.
We work with a respiratory technique that benefits your nervous system, so it has a relaxing effect on your body and mind and it may get you into a deep meditative state. While I give you the basic pattern on how to breathe and will hold space for you, you let your breath be your teacher, and trust what comes through.
Here is how to prepare and set yourself up for them.
- Food: A full belly restricts your room to breathe, so I suggest to not have your last meal before the session at least two hours ahead of time and to eat something on the light side.
- Space: Decide where to do it – quiet space, safe, where no one is walking in on you while you meditate, and put your phone on silent.
- Surface: Choose the right surface to lay on – that could be a yoga mat, blanket, pad, or your bed. I prefer to do it on a surface a bit harder than a bed, because it might be too comfy and you get sleepy.
- Comfort: Have a blanket handy because you may get cold, and a bolster, big pillow or rolled towel for under knees if you have a tense lower back.
- Eye cover: Have something to cover your eyes, because our visual sense is very stimulating for the brain, and so it helps you go inside if you keep your eyes closed. The easiest way to make sure they stay closed is if they are covered. That could be eye pillow or eye mask (like on airplane) or a scarf, I have even done it with a headband or a dark sock.
- Water: Have some water close by, maybe with a spillproof lid, because you will probably be thirsty when you come out of the meditation.
- Atmosphere: I suggest to slightly darken the room if that is possible to support the turning inward before you cover your eyes. If you like, you can light a candle or incense to get into a peaceful mood – completely optional.
- Visual for me: If you are joining from where I can see you, for example Zoom, then take a small towel that contrasts the colors you are wearing. So, if you are wearing light clothing, choose a dark towel and vice versa, and then lay that towel on top of your chest and belly. That way I can see your breathing pattern better. And then make sure that I can see your entire torso from head to belly on the camera.
During the sessions:
We usually breathe 3 times 7 minutes, take little breaks in between, and at the end, we relax for close to 20 minutes.
All the breathing happens via the mouth. The breathing pattern is a two-part breath. You breathe into the belly, then into the chest, and then exhale all the way. Into the belly, into the chest, exhale.
This is a gentle practice, so there is no need to work hard. If your mouth gets super dry, just tell your saliva to start flowing, or close your mouth for a moment and swallow if needed and then get back to your breath. If you feel a tingling sensation, that is normal, and if you feel something gets really tight, see whether you can breathe through it, and if it gets too much, just relax your breath and take a little break.
Let your thoughts float away and just be with the sensations in your body, no attachment to them, just relax into your body and trust that your breath guides you well. You may get into a deep meditative state, but if you have trouble sliding into it, then just keep breathing and drop each thought when it pops up, because ‘trying hard’ will just keep you stuck in your mind. Roll with whatever comes up, and just breathe.
Here are suggestions for some aftercare:
At the end of our active meditation, come back gently and just let that experience be. If you feel like you want to process it, then do some journaling, or just be present and let it sink in.
Over the next few hours, make sure you drink plenty of water as you probably moved a lot of energy. Get outside and put your feet on the earth so that you ground.
It may feel great to take an Epsom salt bath or at least a nice shower to further support some rinsing off old energy.
Some people get really hungry doing this practice, others not at all, either way is ok. If you are hungry, eat some natural light food – fruits and veggies and nuts will probably make you feel better.
If you have questions and want to go deeper in this, reach out to me.