Happy October! It is an incredibly joyous month for me, as I get to spend it with my brand spanking new baby boy. I am smitten!! I’m going to keep this quick, so I can get back to him…
I am writing this 4 days postpartum and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for this month’s resolution. The theme of the month…just breathe.
Breathing exercises are something I have long recommended to my clients as a part of a holistic lifestyle. They are said to:
- balance the left and right brain
- decrease stress
- decrease blood pressure
- alkalize the body (to help prevent disease)
- switch you out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest”
- increase oxygenation to the tissues
- improve sleep quality
- help get you through tough situations…like labour and all the other aches and pains that come after childbirth
- overall enhance well-being
During prenatal classes our instructor often commented on my excellent breathing techniques. My husband and I often joked that I’d been doing it (breathing) since the moment I was born, it’s no wonder I was so good. If you watch a baby breathe…my favorite new hobby, they take deep belly breaths, the kind I am going to recommend you try this month. Deep belly breaths tell your body “everything is okay, I’m calm, relaxed without a care in the world”. It is thought that we lose this quality as we get older and more stressed, and conscious of our bellies looking too big, so we start to develop short, shallow, chest breathing which tells our body a completely different message. This sends the message “everything is not okay” hang on to food, hang on to water, perhaps we’re in a drought, a famine, a war and we need to protect our internal organs.
Any mamas out there will know there is no better time to use your breath than during childbirth. And although I didn’t necessarily receive the beautiful, natural childbirth I had so desired due to unforeseen complications (this story to come, if you are interested), my breathing got me through some incredibly tough moments.
The moral of the story: tell your body everything is okay. Breathe – deeply, consciously, daily. It will listen and benefit you in ways you may not have thought possible. All by doing the most simple task we all do thousands of times a day.
The challenge of the month – do 1 of the following 3 breathing exercises 1 to 2 times per day.
My three favorite breathing exercises:
The 4, 7, 8 breath
Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 counts, slowly blow out for 8 counts. Repeat this 4 times in a row. Do the exercise twice a day.
Alternate nostril breathing
Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.
Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril
Step three: Pause for a second
Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril
Step five: Exhale through your right nostril
Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril
Step seven: Pause
Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril
Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril
Step ten: This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase.Never force.Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.
Deep belly breathing
Keep it simple. Just sit still, close your eyes, focus on your breath and feel your belly move out on the inhale and in on the exhale. Do this for 5 minutes or as long as you want if it feels good.
Have a happy, healthy, safe October and always remember…just breathe!
Lots of love from an incredibly happy brand new mama!