Seven Steps to Mindful Breathing

Have you ever watched a sleeping baby or animal breathing?  If you have, you may have noticed that the entire body is rising up and down at a natural, even pace.   There are no restrictions, no holding back anywhere in the body. This is the basic mindful breath.

Most of us have forgotten how to do this deep belly breathing.  Sometimes our breath is so restricted that we actually trigger the symptoms of anxiety.  The good news is that mindful breathing is very easy to re-learn.

  1. Sit comfortably with a tall, but not rigid, spine, or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your collar bone and one on your abdomen, just bellow your belly button.
  3. Inhale from the bottom of your torso, causing the hand on your abdomen to rise.
  4. Continue inhaling until you feel the hand on your collarbone rise.
  5. Exhale.  Reverse the process on the exhale, feeling the upper hand, then the lower hand fall.
  6. Make sure you exhale fully.  This is where the body gets the message that “everything is okay.”
  7. Repeat for five to ten rounds.

After this short breathing break you’ll probably notice that you are more relaxed, that your thoughts have settled, and you can think more clearly.  Try repeating the mindful breath several times throughout the day.

We wish twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

For a deeper look at mindful breathing and the nervous system, check out Dr. Carrie Demers’ excellent article .

 

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