“Our breath, like our heartbeat, is the most reliable rhythm in our lives. When we become attuned to this constant rhythm, our breath can gradually teach us to come back to the original silence of the mind.” -Donna Farhi
Every day while my laptop is powering up, I dab essential oils on my wrists, close my eyes and take three gargantuan breaths. With each big inhale and (obnoxiously loud) exhale, I push a re-set button; I update and restart again with a fresh perspective.
I’m a big believer in pranayama practice, which is the fancy Sanskrit name for “breathing practices” from the Yoga Tradition. I try to do a five to ten minute practice daily; but even a shortened breathing practice with just three big inhales and exhales before I open my inbox, is my go-to routine for self-care because it helps me transition from distracted to focused.
Maintaining a daily routine of anything (even eating 3 meals a day) is difficult for me; but when I do, I feel more balanced and whole. In the Yoga Tradition, living a balanced lifestyle is called brahmacharya. I wrote about this concept on my blog in these articles: “yes please!” and “balancing self-care: brahmacharya
Brahmacharya shows up in our lives when we create routines that lead us away from distraction and instead bring us closer to the reliable rhythm of breath and inner contentment. As yoga teacher Donna Farhi reminds us in her classic Bringing Yoga to Life, our breath and our heartbeat are constant rhythmic reminders to return to our inner knowing. She writes, “our breath, like our heartbeat, is the most reliable rhythm in our lives. When we become attuned to this constant rhythm, our breath can gradually teach us to come back to the original silence of the mind.”
Looking for a re-set button to reduce stress and increase focus? Try these pranayama practices:
Cleansing Exhale Practice: 7-5-3
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes.
- Take 3 comfortable inhales and exhales.
- Inhale through the nose for a count of seven.
- Retain the breath for a count of five.
- Exhale through the mouth, loudly and fully for the count of three.
- Repeat this 7-5-3 pattern three times.
Pause for a moment, breathing in and out of your nose without effort for a few rounds of breath. Notice how you feel. Gently open your eyes, refreshed and re-set.
I encourage you to add this to your morning routine; building a balanced and whole lifestyle starts a few minutes at a time, daily.
Find additional Breathing Practices on this page: Pranayama Practices
Pranayama Guided Teachings