The road we travel will have hills, peaks, valleys, and some potholes. Luckily, there are many things we can do to maximize our health and our ability to navigate this journey with more peace, grace, and comfort.
THE FOUR PILLARS
Think of your health as a house on top of four pillars, one in each corner. Each pillar represents an important aspect of self-care in balancing your house, or health. If one pillar crumbles, the house will teeter. If two or more pillars crumble, your house will fall. We can reinforce each pillar to support our health.
· Most people need 7-9 hours/night
· Minimize looking at screens and eating close to bedtime
· Strive to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein
· Minimize sugar intake
· The average person needs approximately 2 liters of water per day, more with exercise
· Ideally 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 days/week
· This can be done in as little as 10-minute increments
The four pillars of our home are balanced on the foundation of our breath. Our Breath is our life source, and the quality of our breath affects our quality of life.
- Our harmonious breathing pattern may be affected by how we engage the demands of our everyday lives, the physical demands required, and the body postures we acquire while doing so.
- We can support healthy breathing by increasing our awareness on how our body is feeling throughout the day. This includes noting the tensions, energy demands, and potential negative habits that can affect our mind, posture, and breath.
- With increased stress, our breathing pattern tends to shift to mouth breathing, breathing high in our chest, and at a faster rate.
Our Breath is our life source, and the quality of our breath affects our quality of life.
It is important to stop frequently to ask, “What breath do I need?” In the moment of pause, there is the opportunity to notice and ask yourself, how am I breathing? Once you are aware of potentially poor habits, you can step back to that free, gentle, and harmonious breathing pattern. The more often you ask the question, the easier it becomes to return to a relaxed breath.
Surprisingly, healthy breathing requires much less breath than you think you need! Try the practices below as a starting point.
SIMPLE BREATHING PRACTICES:
- Do your best to only breathe through your nose. This may mean you have to slow down a bit. Be aware that wearing a mask increases the resistance and most people will switch to mouth breathing, but really try to stay in your nose. If you cannot, then switch to nose breathing when it is safe to take the mask off.
- Focus on the exhale. See if you can connect with the relaxing aspect of the exhale. When we are struggling, we tend to over-breathe which means we inhale too much, and don’t exhale well. Play with trying to have your exhale be one count longer than your inhale. Breathe only what you need.
- See if you can gently and lightly breathe into your diaphragm (low rib/belly region) versus breathing in your chest. Gently rest your hands on the sides of your low ribs, noting that as you inhale your hands move gently out, and as you exhale they gently move back in.
- Get moving. Exercising at a comfortable level with focusing on nasal breathing.