That means parties, family, food, and………… stress.
We have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my health, my home, where I work, my children, my new grandson, my friends, and you, my clients.
But sometimes holiday fun and the expectations that go along with the season can get to us. We get overwhelmed and…..we stop breathing.
Most of us aren’t even aware when we do it because it’s part of an autonomic response. We all know we do it because there’s no shortage of “experts” reminding of how to fix it:
Breathe in and out
Breathe in your belly
Breathe in your chest
Hold in your belly when you breathe
Don’t hold your belly when you breathe
We breathe because we are alive. It’s automatic, involuntary, and continuous.
So why are we always holding our breath, and what can we do to exhale again?
Be aware of your breath. Simple, but not easy to remember. The practice of being aware is step one for building a habit that makes for better respiratory health.
Breathing begins in utero, at about 9 weeks. The mother breathes for the fetus and oxygen is passed to baby through the umbilical cord. The fetus then makes breathing-like movements. This is for practice.
The more supple our body is, and the more we can recognize the movement in our ribs, spine, breast bone, hips, and pelvis, the deeper and more efficiently we can breathe. Moshe Feldenkrais said that “proper adjustment of these movements is necessary in order to breathe deeply and easily.” One can’t have good posture without good breath and one can’t have good breathing without good posture. Holding your breath will always make moving difficult. Try it. Inhale, then hold it and go for a walk, or reach, or bend. How is that? Now breathe and do those same things. If we hold our breath in our chest, belly, jaw, feet, or pelvis, we cannot breathe fully and we lose our freedom of movement.
So, breathe… and keep moving.
Keep your chest soft and pay attention to how it moves with every inhale/exhale. Be mindful of how stress is affecting your breathing, be mindful of how breathing affects your stress level. Do you not breathe because we are stressed, or are we stressed because we do not breathe.
Then breathe a sigh of relief, and have a wonderful holiday!
Thank you for being in my life,