Breathe... Just Breathe
Any idea how many breaths you’ve taken today? If you’re an adult, chances are you’re taking about 23,040 breaths per day. Noticed any? If you’re like most of us… probably not. But it’s there, always has been, creating the steady back beat of your life. It’s also there allowing you to feel more rejuvenated, relaxed and in control…if you know how to let it.
This short breath awareness exercise shows you how:
Find a quiet space and sit down resting your hands in your lap.
Get comfortable. Try not to fidget, just try to simply be.
Now…turn your attention to your breath-- without making any changes to its cadence or rhythm.
Feel the cool air coming into your nose as you inhale…and then feel the breath circulating in the body.
Notice the air coming out of your nose as you exhale.
Feel the rise and fall of your chest.
Now do 3 rounds of breathing this way and with each round allow your breath to get deeper.
Soon you’ll notice your body letting go.
Now try evening out your breath, here’s how:
Do a two count inhale 1, 2. Followed by a two part exhale, 3, 4. Try breathing this way for 5 rounds.
Take a moment and notice any changes you feel in your body as you sink deeper into your chair.
Now lengthen your exhale by one count (a longer exhalation lets your body relax more and more deeply.) So… inhale 1, 2 and exhale 3, 4, 5. And again, do this for 5 rounds of breathing.
Now go back to your natural breathing. But you’re going to finish big, so now…
Take your biggest inhale, and then… sip in even a little more breath, this one you don’t need to hold so much as you need to do a big (very big) exhale…your big finale.
How are you feeling now? Maybe you feel more relaxed, or calm? Maybe you’re feeling less tension, or pain.
You have one sacred body and you honoring it… no matter what is going on in your life…is essential. And you’re doing just that when you take a few minutes to stop and bring your attention to your breath. This simple mindful breathing exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety and promotes a sense of relaxation and clarity. And next time? Try doing it with your eyes closed.
There are so many things in life we can’t control, but all of us do have the power over our breath. And it’s amazing what our breath can do for us, when we stop and notice.
Urban Zen Integrated Therapist
After graduating from the University of Texas, Amy Kahan moved from to California where she worked in the entertainment industry before marrying and becoming a mother to three sons. Becoming a mother was transformational both personally and professionally. It was then that Amy realized that working with new mothers and babies could not only be a career, but also a meaningful one. Today, Amy works as a post-partum doula, a lactation consultant and as an Urban Zen Integrated Therapist (UZIT) for Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital.
Amy widened her scope and created a practice beyond the hospital. Her multilayered wellness consultancy is based upon her belief that we can all benefit from the integrated therapies of Reiki, breath awareness, meditation, aromatherapy and adaptive movements from Yoga. For those leading an active, often hectic life, Amy offers an opportunity to pause, focus inward and maintain good health and well being. And for those who are facing illness, sessions can aid in the healing process.
Amy has worked with post-partum women, individuals with anxiety, depression, in recovery from illness and those suffering from severe grief and loss. Her clients see their sessions as a way to restore balance, calm, control and provide a sense of well being.
When not working, Amy enjoys spending time with her family and friends at the beach, collecting sea glass, hunting for treasures at local flea markets, travelling and making every breath count.
“Amazing lives are lived when we put our minds--- and our breath--into them.”