Updated: May 29, 2020
My friend Fay Al Najadah has shared her beautiful journey as a guest blogger "How breathing helped her" Its a great example that we don't have to spend hours and hours on the mat to get benefits from yoga
Douglas Pagels once said in his book, “Wonderful Things to Always Remember… and One Thing to Never Forget”, “A popular phrase in today’s world is … “Just Breathe.” In reality, it sounds like too simple a solution for all the things that might ambush us, distract us, or cause our anxiety to rise. And it’s not a cure-all but rest assured: “Just breathe” does have its benefits. There’s obviously more to it than those two words alone can say… “Just breathe” also means to just unwind and clear your mind as much as possible of the thoughts that cloud up your days. “Just breathe” means to find a way to be comfortable in your body, to give yourself the gift of acceptance, to quiet the noise outside, and to celebrate who you are inside. “Just breathe”. An exquisite bit of advice.”
We often stay too long in our head overthinking our past, present, and mostly our future. We need to treat our mind like an untrained dog (Discipline) but when he is trained, we can manage it easily. Especially when we realize the power of breath. Today “Just Breathe”. Even when you don’t know what will your future entails. You have the ability to create your own rainbows and a future full of possibilities.
Did you know!!
Anxiety is held in the body because of the lack of the number of breaths per minute. Using slow 10 breaths per minute or less (4 breath per min using your belly) will help you calm.
Once upon a time, my journey of learning to inhale and exhale became alive through yoga, meditation and breathing classes. When I was young every time, I wanted to join an activity that requires high breathing levels such as Diving or playing the Trumpet I couldn’t, and I was always told because of my asthma. I continue believing in this myth. Then when I became a university student. I had to live abroad in the States and handle many responsibilities by myself. I used to attend yoga classes in my school gym and feel the effect of it by shifting my negative thoughts into positive and relaxed thoughts. From feeling overwhelmed into “I can do it” mindset. Then my friend introduced me to (hot yoga) and I fell in love. I continue attending Yoga classes for two years.
Then things started to get busy as I got closer to my senior year and I was in charge of many organizations and leadership roles. I started to commit to do my daily yoga at home before having breakfast. I also used the mediation room at my school to have breathing time especially when I have a long day.
As well as mindful walks, I love being outdoor observing my surroundings and enjoying the moment, the weather, birds, and the beauty of my surroundings which used to be the source of my inspirational and meditative writing. I am trying to get back to it.
In addition, during that time I was part of the running club at my school. One day I got injured and I had to have physical therapy for a while. I found out that some of the exercises/ poses that my therapist gave me were focused on breathing techniques taught in Yoga and Pilates. After a couple of sessions, I decided to stop and do them at home. Doing this phase I experienced the effect of breath to release tension and inflammations held in the body. I started to believe in it more than before.
Then I took voice classes where we learned the effect of breathing to warm up our vocal folds. As well as stretching using some yoga poses to stretch our body. Because when you have tension in your neck and body it affects the quality of your voice as well. Everything is connected in our body that we don’t even realize it. My voice teacher required that I stick to a breathing habit because the better is my breath the more freedom I have with my voice. During the same semester while practicing daily breathing I realized there is no need for me to take my allergy medicine anymore. Breathing was helping me a lot to release stress, open my nasal, and be more focused. So, I didn’t completely stop my allergy medication, but I reduced it gradually until I didn’t need it. I thought that I had to adapt longer to my allergies while living in a city that is ranked as one of the highest in the States in severe allergies. In fact, I learned that sinuses problems are mostly due to stress and learning about the power of breath transformed my life. Now every time I get sinuses problem, I know I can treat it with a habit of continuous breathing, reducing my sugar intake, and sleeping. (Note: this might not work for everyone, but you can try it and understand how your body behave with it)
I believe that: the disease is held in the body by thoughts, thoughts generate emotions, when emotions stay in the body and are not released, they can cause inflammations and disease. So, it’s our responsibility to take care of our mind and body by creating healthy habits in our daily life.
Putting it into actions:
We normally make excuses for not giving ourselves a chance to slow down and breathe. I have a list of Yoga, Breathing, and Meditation recommendation that will help you make it as part of your daily life. Challenge yourself to stick to it for a month but first try it for a week and you will realize a tremendous change in your thoughts, Energy, Sleep, and overall wellbeing.
Yoga, Breathing / Panama & Meditation:
Daily Yoga: Workout & Fitness
5 Minute Yoga Workouts
Meditative Writing is like creative writing and its one of my favorite techniques to release negative emotions
5-10 minutes of daily meditative writing will help you tackle your life challenges.
How to do it:
1- Take deep breaths for 5 minutes and set the intention to focus for 5 to 10 minutes without being interrupted.
2- Sit in a quiet place and set the timer for 5 to 10 minutes and start freewriting without correcting anything. Allow yourself to relax, free your mind of any thought, and write anything you want until the timer stops. “Release the writer within you”
3- After the timer stops Breath for 3 minutes then re-read what you wrote loudly to yourself.
4- Highlight the sentences that surprised you but don’t judge yourself or think of why. You can use the sentence for your next meditative writing to reflect on it.
The Second Meditative Writing technique that I love is to write about a happy moment or a country that you traveled too. Describe the emotions, food, colors, beauty, culture, use the senses, and creativity to describe the whole picture. As you are living the moment now or sharing it with a friend.
I love Pranayama and my favorite techniques are:
Single nostril breathing
Alternate Nostril Breath
Breath of Fire (In Kundalini Yoga)
Today You have the choice to Just Breathe Inhale love exhale hate Inhale compassion exhale judgments Inhale abundance exhale scarcity Inhale acceptance exhale resistance Inhale gratitude exhale criticism Inhale positivity exhale negativity Inhale confidence exhale fear Inhale calmness exhale stress Inhale peace exhale worry and …. Just Breathe I hope you start to believe in the power of breath and enjoy the journey of transformation in your overall wellbeing/ health.