We live in a day and age where we are constantly on the go: Running around, rushing around, always trying to get from one thing to the next. We even do this with our life goals: Once one milestone is reached it’s always on to the next one.
Although we might be used to it, this constant running around, this constant hurry, and this lack of ability to sit quiet and still can get in the way of our serenity and our peace of mind.
Let’s face it, I’m sure you’ve had days in which you feel completely overwhelmed from all the things you are doing and you start to wonder if you might be losing your mind! If you’re noticing that those days are getting more and more frequent, it’s probably time to slow down.
Our bodies have a way to telling us when we are in overdrive and we need to take a step back. Some of the ways in which our bodies tell us include: catching a cold, feeling stressed out, getting back aches/headaches/or other aches and pains, becoming forgetful, feeling symptoms of anxiety, getting easily irritable, feeling a lack of a sense of peace in our lives, etc. If any of these sounds like you, it’s probably time for you to pause, take a step back and find a moment of peace.
You might be thinking: "But HOW can I do this? It’s so difficult to find TIME to find peace. Lack of time is one of the main reasons I am experiencing the lack of peace in my life. Gosh, Shirani, don’t you get it?"
Yes, I do get it. And that is why I am here to tell you that you don’t need to dedicate a TON of time to finding peace; you just need to dedicate a moment. That’s it. It’s that simple. Just one moment is all it can take to find some peace in your life. Sure, if you could focus for more than a moment, that would be great. But for now, just one minute is enough to help get you started.
Ancient wisdom has known about the importance of focusing on our breathing for millennia, but recent research from scientists at top tier schools, such as Stanford and Harvard, are starting to show the incredible benefits of simply breathing. Allowing ourselves to take very deep, cleansing breaths can instantly clear our energy and bring us a sense of peace.
When doing this breath work, it is important that we breathe from our bellies. I like to call it “belly breathing,” but the technical term for it is diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing from the belly is important for a number of reasons, one being that breathing from the belly, slowly and deeply, is our natural way of breathing. Think about it, when a baby lies in its crib, does the baby’s chest move or does its belly move? If you said “Belly,” you’ve chosen the correct answer.
What happens to us as humans is that over time, we lose the ability to breathe naturally from our belly because we “unlearn” that behavior and learn the behavior of shallow breathing from our chests. This shallow breathing is often a reflection of our busy lifestyles—we are just too busy to even breathe properly. To help you learn how to take a deep belly breath, I have outlined a how-to below. It is helpful if you can imagine that your belly will be like a beach ball that you are inflating and deflating with each breath. (Just a little tip, this exercise is easily done while waiting for a red light to change. So there you have it, no excuses for not having enough time!)
The best way to take a deep, cleansing, peaceful breath is as follows:
- Sit in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Ideally your body should be at a 90 degree angle. If your back is not straight, use a small pillow behind you to help.
- Place your hands gently on your belly.
- Take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose, straight down to your belly. You should feel your hands gently rise with your belly, as though inflating a beach ball.
- Hold this breath for a second or so.
- Now, slowly and gently exhale this breath through your mouth. You should feel your belly contract, as though deflating the beach ball.
- Repeat at least 3 times.
Although my suggestion is to repeat 3 times, which if done properly, equals out to about one minute, I often find that my clients love it so much that they find themselves starting to sit in their breathing exercise for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually what starts to happen is that you start to notice the benefits of this style of breathing and you start to find yourself breathing with your belly more naturally. These are some of the long-term benefits of starting with just taking one moment of peace.
So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and take your moment!
If you are a woman who lives in Silicon Valley, check out the Center's new Meetup group to help you learn more about mindfulness and meditation: Women's Mindfulness, Meditation, and More Group-South Bay.
If you are ready to experience more peace and serenity in your life, contact us by phone at 408-502-6790 or email today for your free initial consultation.