What can help us through stressful times, make our minds sharper, decrease risk of dementia and fight brain mass loss? Here’s a hint, we do it all the time, and it’s FREE! It’s called breathing.
Mindful breathing takes practice, but not because it’s complicated. It take practice to stay focused, to bring your mind back to the moment when it wanders. For this reason, it is recommended that newcomers keep it short and simple. Before we start, let’s review some mindful breathing rules of thumb:
- Find a comfortable, quiet space with natural light.
- Use a bolster to help maintain posture.
- Try not to force your breath. If the count is too much, shorten it. If holding the breath is a struggle let it go.
- You will be distracted, expect it. When you catch yourself, go right back to counting and leave thoughts about why you were distracted behind. If you can’t stay focused, try counting the rounds on your fingers.
- If you start to feel light headed stop. This is likely a result of forcing your breath; take it down to a 2/1/2 if that continues to happen.
- If you fall asleep when you practice mindful breathing, it might be a good idea to take a nap.
1) Find a comfortable place to practice. Before you start, scan your body from head to feet and let go of any excess tension that you are holding.
2) Inhaling through your nose, count slowly to 3. Retain your breath for 2 slow counts, then exhale out your mouth with your lips relaxed and teeth parted for a slow count of 3.
3) Repeat this 3/2/3 breath work 10 times, then go back to your normal breathing. Once you have rested, feel free to repeat this drill up to 3 times.
As you become more consistent with the practice of mindful breathing, your lung capacity will build. Over time, working up to higher ratios is ideal, but should happen organically and without force to reap the benefits.
Let me know if you try this and how it goes.
Cheers to Day 10 of the 2020 challenge!
Read more about the science behind mindful breathing HERE.