Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Breathing Practice 3 Pause

"It’s not so much knowing when to speak, but when to pause."
Jack Benny

We’ll continue to build our breathing practice this week by hitting the pause button. There are times in our lives when we wish we had a pause button. Now, we will create one in this simple breathing exercise. By controlling breathing with a pause, we are creating a gap. In this gap we are creating space. We suspend the breath and are in control of one thing - this space, this moment.

  • Sit or lie down in your favorite quiet place with your hands in your lap or on your stomach. If you've been lying down, you may want to try sitting and vice versa. Relax your jaw and allow soft eyes.
  • Now simply begin to breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. With each breath slow the inhale and the exhale down until you reach a comfortable rhythm. Remember this is your time so allow your mind to relax. Let your cares and thoughts float away by coming back home to your breath and how it feels to breathe.
  • Begin welcoming deeper breaths slowly. Be aware of how you feel as your deeper breaths relax and expand your lungs.
  • After your next inhalation, hit pause and suspend breathing for 4 seconds before slowly exhaling. Experiment with hitting pause after you exhale. If this is going well, try hitting pause after the inhalation and exhalation. Become aware of which breathing pattern you are most comfortable as you bring conscious thought to your breath patterns.
  • Continue the rest of the exercise with the most comfortable pause pattern. There should be no gasping for air as each inhalation-pause-exhalation-pause flows into the next. If you are not breathing slow and deep enough (a common occurrence for all us shallow breathers) you may find yourself lightheaded, so breathe s-l-o-w-l-y. This is not a race!
  • Do this exercise for 15 minutes or longer each morning, throughout your day as often as you would like, and as you drift off to sleep. Adding more time will help achieve a successful breathing pattern over time.

When you are finished, whisper to yourself thank you - insert your name. We can go for days never hearing a thank you or even our name. Simple positive affirmations help acknowledge what it is we’re doing and go a long way in achieving the cornerstones of self-care. These breathing exercises hit pause and give you this moment which is a gift to you from you.

Again, let this be easy. Concentrate on your body and the ebb and flow of your precious breath as it moves in, pauses, moves out, pauses, and creates space. Consider each pause as you would a gap between thoughts. With each breath allow peace and mindfulness to flow.

Next time we’ll continue to build our awareness with each loving breath we take.

Stay safe, take care,

Pause button courtesy of Holly Ireland