It's late evening on Christmas eve, but I'm keeping to my promise. 1 Tip each day until 2011.


Today's tip is quite perfect because this is literally the first chance I've had all day to relax.

It's late. I'm tired from a long day, a long week and a loooooong year.

I work retail and run my own business. I have wonderfully rich and challenging relationships. I am a Gemini and I am blessed with an active imagination and I am in touch with my emotions.

All of these combined make for many wonderful opportunities to breathe deeply in order to relax, slow down and/or get perspective. Oh and it's the holiday season. And winter is upon us. And it's cold...

Not all breathing is the same, and from what I have learned--it's important to do it right. And you'll know when you're not. A client recently asked me during a meditation session: "what is this actually doing for me?"

While involuntary most of the time, we can (and should) make breathing an intentional act as often as possible, particularly when we feel stressed, tired, challenged or as a way to practice when we aren't feeling any of those things. Physiologically, breathing correctly brings much-needed oxygen into our lungs, blood and brain. Next time you feel stressed and have a headache, try to stop and notice your breath. Have you taken in enough oxygen in the past 2 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? Hmm...

How about interpersonal experiences? How many times have you taken a deep breath before responding to "that person" who always has a way of triggering you? A work associate? A parent? A sibling?

This is what I do with my clients. See how it works for you:

Belly Breathing 101
  • lie flat on your back or sit up really tall in a chair
  • place your hand on your lower belly
  • take a deep breath in and instead of raising your shoulders when you pull air into your lungs, instead push out your gut so your hand moves an inch or more. I know. It feels weird. Do it anyway.
  • as you exhale, pull your belly back in toward your spine.
  • REPEAT the inhale.
  • REPEAT the exhale.
  • REPEAT the inhale.
  • REPEAT the exhale.
  • Teach this to someone else and practice it as often as possible.
Breathing correctly and intentionally can positively impact your mental and physical health in many ways. Notice how you are or aren't breathing from minute to minute, day to day. Make small changes when and where you can.
See what happens.
Good night and Merry Christmas.