Just Breathe

When clients come to me for a treatment and ask if there’s anything I can give them to work on at home, the number one response I have is “breath work.” I’ll say this and most of the time, the client says it with me… they know. Breath work is SO SO SO important. Think about it. Breath IS life. You take your first breath when you are born, your last when you die and every breath in between is what keeps you alive.

I wanted to be a professional singer growing up and when I started studying energy work, I was shocked to discover that my day would start out pretty much the same way; breath work. I am forever thankful for the years of breathing exercises my voice teachers put me through because it saved my behind in healing school.

When you start to do breath work, a few things usually happen. You get bored, you feel a resistance to breathing, you get dizzy and feel sick to your stomach, or you have an emotional release. All of these things deter people from persevering and breaking down that wall that allows them to fully realize the benefits of breath work.

Breath work can calm mind chatter, reduce blood pressure, calm nerves and anxiety, wake up your chakras and meridians, and so much more. I found that I became more productive throughout the day, slept better, and had a much sharper mind early in the day. I’ve listed a few simple breath exercises below; try a few out for a few days and see if you notice any changes.

Easy breath work techniques: 

1. Alternate nostril breathing:

Take a finger and hold the right side of your nostril closed. Breath in through the left nostril slowly, perhaps on a count to five. Release your finger on your right nostril and breath out. Repeat this about 5-10 times and then switch nostrils and do the series again. This is excellent for balancing left/right brain activity, masculine/feminine energies, clearing mind chatter, reducing anxiety, and obtaining clarity of mind. This ideally should be done at least once a day, but any time you can spare to do it will definitely help.

2. 3rd Chakra Fire Breathing

Lie on your back or sit comfortably with your back straight. Use you diaphragm to quickly take a strong inhalation through your nose and then back out. You will want to make sure your air is fully expelled when you exhale and you will automatically breath in once all air is released. Do this for about 2 or 3 minutes at first and see if you can work your way up to 10. This is excellent for clearing mind chatter, activating your 3rd chakra and revving up personal power.

3. Counted breath

This one is very simple. On a count to 5, breath in slowly. Exhale on a count to 5. Repeat. I would start with a count to 5 and then start challenging yourself to work up to higher numbers. This I find to be the most calming breath exercise. I feel deeply peaceful, calm, and balanced when I do this. Make sure you aren’t breathing shallow. Bring your awareness to the lower lobes of your lungs, the sides of your torso and your heart center. Make sure you are completely filling these areas with air.

4. Liver breathing

The liver holds our anger and can sometimes even hold deep seated grief. If you’re feeling irritable, having pre-menstrual mood swings or discomfort, breast distention, dizziness or maybe even just hung over, try this to stimulate your liver and get some every flowing. Breathe in slowly through your nose until your lungs are full. Try to initiate the breath from the lower abdomen and place your awareness just below your rib cage. Exhale using an open mouthed “haaaaa” and stick your tongue out. This would be the kind of release or exhale you may do to someone after you’ve eaten tons of garlic and want to share your fumes. It’s reminiscent of a dentist’s “say ah,” but more breathy. If you’re having trouble, just think less voice and more breath. The breath is always the most important part.

I have no time to do breath work!

I hear that all the time. Sure you do. When you take a shower, when you sit in traffic, 2 minutes before bed or right before you get out. Once you start to do it, you’ll find time to do it. Everyone starts out somewhere.

Again, breath work is SO important. I can’t stress this enough. The more you do it, the more you realize the potential it has to truly transform you and break down limitations. We exercise our bodies through physical activity, we exercise our minds through learning and communication, breath work is like weight lifting for your spirit.

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Celebrate the inner child

I advocate for silliness. I believe that every person has an inner child that is bursting with uninhibited joy, capable of laughter that is infectious and creativity that knows no bounds. I have a dear friend that exemplified this inner child. Whenever I hear her laugh, I picture baby angels laughing on animal cracker clouds, connected on bouncing sparkling rainbows, surrounded by unicorns.

Not many of us have had the gift of a trauma-free childhood and thinking back to our younger years may seem like a painful reminder of all we did not have. Yet try, for a minute to find a time when you were young, carefree and fully engaged in whatever world you were creating for yourself. I used to think if I played pretend hard enough, I would make my make-believe world my reality. I didn’t realize how smart a statement that really was.

Years go by and disappointments, embarrassing moments in my teens and early twenties, ego-centered behavior kicks in and I forget this. My world is no longer colorful and imaginative, but bland, banal and full of problems. Other people’s problems that make my life difficult. I was so obsessed with myself that I had lost myself. I was not the creator of my world, but rather a victim of it.

Inevitably, more years go by. Finding myself so concerned with what other people think, I really had lost myself. It wasn’t until I went to Burning Man and called out to the universe to show me something! It answered back in a flood of synchronicities that led me to meet the inner child.

My inner child was scared, lonely and insecure. Through journaling from her perspective, playing and showering her with love during meditation, and re-visiting those traumatic events in my life that made my inner child hide away for many years, she started to come out.

Pillow fight! This is why at 28 I hosted a backyard ultimate pillow fight. Creativity flourished and I discovered that I can make art. I remembered how instantly you can become a tiger and growl and play.

A process I’ve come to enjoy as a method for getting in touch with your inner child is a simple meditation. Sit in meditation and perhaps (as some have reported to find it helpful) have a moment of your childhood that you can easily recall and picture vividly in which you were playing, open hearted and free already determined.

Observe yourself playing. When ready, engage in the play with your inner child. What are you playing? Offer love and listen to anything your inner child says. Continue this for whatever time period seems comfortable; 20- 30 minutes should be adequate, but take more time if you need it. When you close, hug your inner child and let them know you are here for them if they ever need you. When parting, if you have dealt with fear of abandonment, you may want to focus on making your inner child feel safe as you leave. Record anything you uncover as you bring your awareness back into the room. As always, make sure you practice keeping safe energetic boundaries and set your intention before going into meditation.

The inner child connects us to joy. Joy is a high state of awareness that knows no judgement. As we focus on raising the consciousness of those around us, focus on areas of our life that bring us joy. Can we create more of them?

Energy shield

If you’re like me, you pick up on other people’s feelings and energy very easily. Sometimes it’s difficult to not take these feelings or energy on as your own as you continue to be in the presence of a specific person or group. Maybe you are unfortunately a witness to a burst of anger from someone, a fight, or a traumatic event. How do you protect your energy field from absorbing something unwanted?

Throw up your shield. Place your fourth finger tip to the center of your palm on both hands. This strengthens your etheric web which filters out harmful, unwanted energies. This is a very simple, easy to remember action that will increase your ability to stay grounded and safe. Try it.

This is especially helpful if you work in customer service or anywhere where you have to work with individuals in public. I’m sure we’ve all encountered a person or two who comes directly at us and starts to throw unhealthy energy our way; the irrationally angry person who projects their emotions onto us for no apparent reason. Throwing up your shield will keep someone from being able to drain your energy and establish a safe, healthy boundary.

Wake up your meridians!

In my study of energy work and vibrational medicine, I’m always looking for ways to help my friends or clients get a quick energetic pick me up on their own. The first little exercise I call the meridian morning wake-up. It’s an exercise that gets all of your meridians buzzing and you feel a great burst of bright energy in just minute or two; it’s a perfect addition to any morning routine. It also reminds me of warming up in drama class which has that nice nostalgic feel to it.

Here’s how you do it…

1.Ground yourself (stand with feet about shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly, bounce here gently if it helps for a second and visualize those roots from your feet growing down into the earth, securing your place).

2. Reach up both arms high towards the sky, drawing down the energy from above and take a few deep breaths here.

3. Roll down so your arms and neck are dangling loosely and visualize drawing the energy up from the earth.

4. Pat pat pat! Start at your feet and give yourself rapid pats with both hands up one leg, down the other and work your way up the torso, around the back as much as you can, down each arm, your neck, shoulders, and head. Do this until you feel you have sufficiently patted all areas of your body. You can pat with as much pressure as you feel you need as long as it’s not uncomfortable.

5. Reach back up towards the sky and shake it out rolling yourself down as you go.

6. Stand in stillness and find your ground again.

Now who has a nice little buzz going on?

Doing this when you feel you are low energy will give you a little boost of energy and can even make you feel more confident. I also found that doing it before exercising has helped me sustain my energy and feel less muscle tension afterwards.

How do you feel?