I'm in the woods today having some time to myself whilst the kids are learning at forest school. It got me thinking about good habits and about my own shittier ones.
So I'll hold my hands up. I'm a natural stress head. I have a propensity to talk fast and seem to be ruled- at least on some occasions by fight or flight response.
Since having kids, launching Skin Elixir whilst doing two other jobs and finding myself with the added responsibility of sole parenting, there have been testing moments.
Obviously with the added dynamic of a global pandemic it has been even tougher a time for us all. Fear of the unknown and the ensuing instability this can bring to our emotional selves is even more reason for us to master techniques that improve our sense of wellbeing and that we can call upon when things get too much.
In order to access calm I started looking more into the power of breathe and the role of the vagus nerve to improve wellbeing and quell anxiety and depression.
Here's some reasons why deep breathing is so important for us all to master so we can learn to better self regulate our emotions and bolster our immune health.
Every system in the body relies on oxygen. From cognition to digestion, effective breathing can help us sleep better, improve our immune response, give us greater clarity of thought and improve stress response.
In reality most of us have built the habit of breathing 'shallow and fast' which is indicative of the hurried lives we lead.
So how can we test whether we are breathing optimally?
A good way is to lay on our back, place one hand on our stomach and one on our chest. Then for a count of four, take a deep breath in through our nostrils. Our stomach ideally should be pushing outward first, and if we take a very deep breath, the chest should rise. If we breathe deeply in our upper chest, our shoulders will move. According to experts we should put our focus on being mindful of the stomach pushing out first and when we exhale we should be focused on visualising sucking the belly button into our backbone, exhaling out th weed mouth. It's really important to fully exhale so we can release toxins before drawing in fresh oxygen.
There's some great information here from Spirit Rising Yoga on the benefits of left and right nostril breathing.
An excerpt: "Here's an alternative rhythm you can use for left nostril breathing: Try breathing in through the left nostril as described using different "counts". Inhale for 4 beats, hold the breath for 4 beats, and exhale for 4 beats
Benefits: are numerous including sharper, clearer focus of the mind and a deep, full relaxation or sleep. It is said in the yogic tradition, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, that if a person breathes through the left nostril for 31 minutes a day for 90 days (the time it takes to plant a new habit into the subconscious), they will naturally change their metabolism in favour of relaxation and weight loss. A good starting time is 3 minutes".
I don't know about you but I feel determined to do the above for any least 3 minutes on waking.
That's all from me, have a great weekend and remember to #nourishtheskinyourein