My Favorite, Most Underrated Superpower
Hello dear friends and happy spring!
Summer is around the corner (although what is up with this cold front?!) and I have some major summer pep in my step. That could be due to the weather, but I think a lot of it has to do with this awesome retreat I attended last weekend (so awesome it inspired me to get my booty back to writing).
I’m so glad I did because after contacting her and learning about her Master Your Life retreat, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
I learned SO many things during this retreat, many of which I hope to unveil here. But I’ll start with something that I think we all could use a reminder of. And I want you to really take in what I’m about to say here, because it’s SO powerful, but only. if. you. use. it.
If you read it, roll your eyes, then forget it, you may as well not even keep reading. But if you want to some magic to happen...just try this one thing. What do you have to lose? And I promise there’s a world of gain waiting for you.
Ok, ready for the secret weapon?
Just hear me out…I know it’s not some cool new superfood or expensive under eye cream. But it is so freaking cool guys.
Your breath has incredible power. It can literally change the way your brain works and the signals your body is sending and receiving at that very moment. It works INSTANTLY. What other remedy can tout those abilities? (Okay maybe coffee but like even that takes a few minutes unless you’re me and your sensitivity to caffeine is next level and it also dehydrates you and messes with your bowels and gives you anxiety and drains your adrenals etc etc you get what I'm saying).
My way of incorporating breath into my life is two fold:
#1: I take time every morning to breathe through some leg and back stretches, two areas that are always super tight for me.
#2: (This is super important), I take 4 deep breaths (breath in for 7 and out for 7) before I eat. And not just your avg deep breaths...I'm talkin DEEP belly breaths. Breathing into your buddha belly (no judgement here!) and calming all the nerves that may be riled up around your digestive tract. Expand your abdomen while you breath in letting your breath flood in slowly and fill up every crevice. Then slowly release it, imagining your body relaxing into a new state of calm.
Try it now. Do this four times and see how you feel.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
Most of the time, our bodies are in fight-or-flight. We’re overstimulated and our minds are racing. This state sends all the blood out to our extremities (arms and legs etc) and makes it very difficult for us to actually digest and absorb the nutrients in our food. When we pay attention to and lengthen our breaths, we are signaling to our nervous system that we are safe, that we are ready to recover, ready to digest, and that we can more closely listen to what our body is saying back to us--something we often ignore by constantly consuming new information (see: instagram, snapchat, facebook, netflix, etc).
If you take a moment to calm your nervous system, calling the attention back to rest and digest, you can actually benefit from those kale salads, green juices, or chia puddings you’ve spent good money on!
Many of us suffer from issues that can be related to digestion and nutrient absorption--anemia, food sensitivities, bloating, IBS, anxiety, the list goes on and on. This is a great place to start supporting your gut health (and PS-the gut is the second brain, didn't you hear?)
Not only can deep breathing help us digest our food, but it also can help rid our body of toxins, relieve pain, clear head fog and calm anxiety (I used to take long deep breaths before service working the saute' station at a super busy restaurant and I felt like it gave me magical multitasking powers), and boost energy.
We have such trouble--myself included--simply being with ourselves. It’s something human beings were meant to do. So we have to give ourselves the time and space to do it.
But listen--these are the practices that work for ME. It’s important to find what works best for you. If 10 breaths as soon as you open your eyes feel good, do that. Or before bed, that’s good too. If you can find one time during the day to connect to yourself through your breath, you will be giving your body a much needed break and also a moment to check in with yourself through all the chaos of your daily life. And you may even find yourself wanting more and more time to do that! My practice grew slowly and out of an organic want to reconnect to that part more and more. My brain craved it!
Maybe guided meditation is more your speed--so check out Headspace the app or book a meditation class at MNDFL or Inscape.They have lots of options from shorter 33 minute meditations to longer 44 minute sound meditation sessions. Does that sound nice?
Again, only you can figure out what works for you. But don't be an idiot and try nothing--your super power is waiting for you!
Lots of love,