in the june edition of "i've got your back" on wtip, we talk about the importance of rest and taking time for ourselves in the busy summer months! try this simple breathing practice for a little self-regulation when things feel hectic
:: notice the weight in your feet ::
or your seat, or on your back if you're laying down. the first step of this is just to notice where your weight us landing on the earth - it's easy to get caught up in what's around us and lose touch with our internal landscape! so this brings us back to ourselves and our bodies
:: find your heartbeat ::
maybe you can do this just by listening to what your body feels like on the inside. can you get still and quiet enough to feel that gentle beat from your center? if not, no worries. you can put a hand on your neck, fingers just below the angle of your jawbone, or on your wrist to find your pulse. then tap out that rhythm with one of your fingers, and notice when your pulse slows down or speeds up - it's not a perfect metronome so listen closely!
:: sync the breath ::
if you're ready, you can begin to link your breath to your heartbeat. start with an equal number of beats for the inhale and exhale - depending on how fast your heart is beating, i'd recommend 4(ish) beats for each. your breath should've feel rushed or overly stretched though, so adjust as needed!
:: take a beat ::
once you've married the breath to your heartbeat in a 1:1 pattern, you can begin to add an extra beat or two to the exhale to gently lengthen it. for me, this often means 4 beats for the in-breath and 6 beats for the out-breath, but find what works for you. never go longer than 1:2 ratio for the breathing. you want this to feel good and calming, not like you're forcing the breath to lengthen, so be kind and gentle with this practice.
notice how your heartbeat changes as you take these longer, deeper breaths! and if you get lost or overwhelmed, just go back a step. sometimes being in our bodies or just getting still enough to find our heatbeats is all we need.
listen to the full interview here and stay tuned the last wednesday of the month for "i've got your back" at 8:20(ish) on wtip.org's north shore morning show!