Practicing mindful breathing for a few minutes every day gives you an evidenced based tool to help you eliminate stress and stay focused on tasks. The exercises we will practice can be used regularly in classrooms and personal mindful breathing practices at home! Follow these tips to help you during your mindful breathing practice:
- Put everything else aside. Everything you have to do will still be there at the end of your practice. Take a break from your phone, your work, your to-do lists, and maybe even the people around you. It might help to move to a quieter place.
- Get comfy. Move to the edge of your chair or sit on a cushion on the floor. Keep your back upright, but not too stiff. Place your hands palms down on your legs or however most comfortable. Try to relax your jaw and forehead.
- Set a timer. Try to do breathing exercises for 3-5 minutes as you’re first learning. If that seems too long, try 2 minutes at first.
- Eyes open or closed? It’s your choice. Notice which one makes it easier for you to stay focused. If you keep your eyes open, try to focus on just one object without looking around.
- Try to focus fully on your breathing. Starting out, just feel the flow of breath — in, out — whatever feels natural to you. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. Maybe it’s in your belly, maybe in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of your breath, one breath at a time.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things and be 17 thoughts in before you even notice. If this happens, don’t get grumpy, its normal. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently bring your attention back to your inhales and exhales.
- Close with kindness. I always like to close with a good arms overhead stretch, a soft smile, and a gentle sigh
That’s it! That’s the practice. You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible again the next day.
I am trying because it does make a difference. It’s still hard, but doable. Thanks!!
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