The Importance of the Breath

Written by Kristen, kids yoga, vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, and yoga twist instructor at Hot Feet Fitness.

 

I often have my clients ask me why it is so important to practice breathing. Like because they do it all the time it has lost any value or intention and is just automatic and disconnected from everything else. However, the opposite is true. Breathing is the easiest way of understanding our underlying emotions and of our physical experience. It creates opportunity for transformation because it connects us so completely with all that we are capable. 

 

How are you breathing right now? 

When you take control of your breath, take control of body and mind. 

Direct the breath down into your tummy. Put your hands on your belly. Feel it move. It gets bigger as you inhale and smaller as you exhale. Inhale deeply and exhale completely just once and you can notice the mind is calmer and more peaceful. 

 

Direct the breathe into the ribs. Wrap your thumbs around the back of your waist and try to feel you breathe with your fingers. The ribs move like an umbrella, opening on an inhale and closing on an exhale. This wider breathing can support space between the middle and lower back, giving posture support where we need it most. Try it and notice that the core has to turn on and be more supportive, not to mention this requires focus and intention. So we drop into a different frequency of consciousness, no longer riding the waves of thought, but getting still and aware. 

Now direct your breath into your chest. Bring your fingertips under your collar bones and feel the breath down at your sternum. The shoulders become more relaxed, if they were not already, and the neck feels less burdened, because the head will naturally come back into better alignment when we breathe into the chest. 

 

Naturally the way we breathe supports good posture and even a good mood. These things are not disconnected. Feeling good comes from breathing good, just like observing how your breathing can be labored or shallow with stress. 

 

One of the easiest ways to support good posture is to breathe well. Not just breathing into the tummy, but to breathe into the sides and back of the ribs as well as the chest. This three-part breathing will enhance your proprioception, interception, and general self awareness. 

 

Please don't take my word for it. Don't just believe what I am saying. Challenge yourself. Transformation starts in the transition from inhale to exhale and exhale to inhale. Do you want to feel better? Start by breathing better.

Practices To Help Cope With Stress

Written by Diana, barre instructor at Hot Feet

 

Right now, many of us are experiencing a whole range of uncomfortable feelings – sometimes all of them in one day. It’s pretty much a roller coaster.

But if you know to anticipate the turbulence, learn how to ride the rough patches and have strategies ready for when you’re experiencing those feelings, you can take good care of yourself as you navigate this new territory.

First, remember to let yourself feel your feelings without judgment. Your responses are totally normal.

 

 



If you’re feeling fear:
- Put your hand on your heart & take several deep breaths.
- Check in with yourself: Do you need to connect? Do you need to cocoon?
- If you need support, reach out. Call a trusted friend.
- If you prefer to be alone, say to yourself out loud “I’m here for you. We will get through this.”

  - Ask for wisdom from your wisest self/higher power of choice. Grab a pen & write down what comes.  

If you’re feeling sad:
- Let yourself rest. This is important.
- As you’re able, look for moments of meaning. There’s a whole lot of kindness going around right now.
- When you’re ready, ask “What can I do to spread kindness? How can I offer meaning?”

If you're feeling irritable:
- Remember, many people are on edge right now.
- When your loved ones lash out, can you try to respond with gentleness?
- When you’re the one feeling irritable, can you try sharing how you’re feeling?

We really can’t avoid the experiences and feelings that we’re having. But we can take good care of ourselves -- and good care of each other -- as we navigate new territory together.