Let Stress Be Your Guide To Stillness

Society tells us that we must remove stress from our lives. Leading us down a vicious cycle. We spend time trying to remove stress from our lives, and then stress out even more when the exact opposite occurs. What if stress was good? What if, instead of removing it you are able to increase your capacity to manage the stressors that are currently in your life, as well as the surprise challenges that occur at the most inopportune moments?

Perception is Reflection

Perception is Reflection

We cannot remove our body’s reaction to the challenges in our lives, we should be thankful for them and learn to find calm and relaxation as much as possible to counter-balance the “fight or flight” response that occurs daily. If we are always in constant stress and never fully relaxed how are we able to gauge how much stress is really in our lives? We must bring awareness to the way our mind and body respond to a certain situation, and then be able to release the emotion (anger, frustration, anxiety, etc) or physiological response (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc) as soon as it occurs.

Our bodies are our instruments, our minds are the remote, the breath and central nervous system program and connect the two.  Think of stress and relaxation as a continuum, the breath is how you regulate between the two. It is important to have a wide capacity for both stress and relaxation. To know stress is to know peace.

So you may now be asking, “Great, so I need to use my breath more. How do I incorporate this into my every day life?”

It is simple. Begin by placing your hand over your belly button, THINK about expanding the belly button into your hand and gently press the belly button in on the exhale, image you are using your abdominal muscles to press the air out from the bottom of the lungs. The lungs can be filled up like balloons, it starts by filling up the deepest part of the balloon, expanding in all directions till it reaches it capacity, at the top, the point of entry for the air.

shallow vs full breathing

This may not happen right away, you may get frustrated because the air just goes into your chest, you will have to THINK about bringing the air into the belly. After a few or many tries, at that exact moment when you are able to breathe into your hand, finally, something will click, you will become aware, and you will have control. Autopilot turned OFF.

To hear more about deep belly breathing watch the video in my previous post HERE

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Primal Coding: Deep Belly Breathing

 

My journey with the breath began a few years back. I was in search of something within me that I had not yet uncovered. My outlook was changing and my mind was in need of a rest, always racing day in and day out. I was in search for something to stop the chatter. I began to practice breath-work and meditation on my own and then discovered Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a deep spiritual practice and not for the weary, but for those who are not afraid to challenge the body and mind. As I begin to practice Kundalini yoga and get deeper into my meditation and breathing practices I began to notice how the breath was enabling me to push past the discomfort. I had finally taken control of the chatter. Today,  I utilized the knowledge gained from the numerous books that I have read, kundalini yoga, and all the experiences from my personal practice to teach others how to control the breath and take their mind and body off auto-pilot. Pranayama-3

The foundation of ALL pranayama (breath-work) is the ability to breathe into the abdomen and utilize the appropriate muscle to breathe. The abdominals, diaphragm, and intercostals (muscles between the rig-cage) are the muscles we are suppose to use with each breath. The problem is when our mind is cluttered with stressful thoughts our breath will be come stressed and then move up into the chest. If we are always stressed then we are always breathing only into the chest. This causes us to use the muscles of our neck and shoulders, which leads to headaches, back and neck pain, along with low back pain due to tightness within the diaphragm (attaches to lumbar spine and rib cage). In the video below I explain WHY, WHEN, and HOW to breath into the belly. Enjoy!