When things go awry: Just BREATHE

Breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. Regulate breath, and the body and mind will follow.

There are moments when things happens. You get so upset you get tunel vision, you start hyper ventilating and...yes, you do/say/write something stupid. Believe me, I know. I've been there. Not one. Not ten, but hundreds of times. I used to work in advertising, an industry where things got awfully bad, awfully fast and for awfully stupid reasons: a celebrity didn't like the hem of a dress, a nail got chipped, your boss hated the font you used on a presentation.

Tired of so much drama creating havoc in my body, I tried loads of methods to calm down quickly. Many sucked, but these 3 simple breathing exercises really helped me regain a certain sense of calm and balance amidst emotional chaos. And the best, they work even if you don't have a meditation or Reiki practice!

BREATHING IN CALM
Sit down with a straight back, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through the nose as you let your diaphragm expand outward, like an inflated balloon. Let your breath spiral downwards through your chest into your ribs, filling up your lungs. If your mind starts to wanter, keep returning to the sound of your breath. Exhale deeply through the mouth, guiding the navel towards the spine and release. Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes. 

RELAXING BREATH OR THE 4-7-8 BREATHING EXERCISE
This one is from Dr. Weil and it works wonders: it's like a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. On the plus side, it's super simple and can be done anywhere, On the con side, the whooshing sound it creates may want to make you scramble for privacy.
Sit with your back straight. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. 
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of FOUR.
Hold your breath for a count of SEVEN.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of EIGHT.
This is one breath, now repeat the cycle 3 more times for a total of 4 breaths.
If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep the ration of 4:7:8.

BEE RELAXED
This breathing exercise is called Brahmari Pranayama. Brahmari in sanskrit means bee (you'll see why soon) and it's utilized to relieve stress. 
Choose a comfortable seating posture. 
With your index fingers, close your ears.
Hold your elbows up at shoulders level and close your eyes. 
Inhale deeply through your nose.
Exhale through your mouth while creating a humming sound like a bee (come on, don't take yourself so seriously) until your lungs empty.
Inhale again through your nose and repeat this breathing exercise for 10-15 mins.

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, a group of professional Reiki practitioners supported by life coaches, clinical herbalists and yoga teachers in New York City and Miami. 

Photo credit: Ashley Rose via Flickr

If YSL can't hide those dark circles under your eyes... you may be more than just tired.

You slept 8 hours and woke up tired. Your digestion is playing tricks, your mood swings are taking you on a bumpy ride, and—no matter what you do—those dreadful black circles under your eyes won’t fade.
You may be suffering from early stages of what experts are calling Burnout Syndrome, a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress.

 But worry not; here are 7 tips to help you get back to your radiant, bubbly self:

 1) Forget meditation, just breathe: Sit on a chair with a straight back and your feet on the floor. Inhale deeply to the count of 4, retain your breath to the count of 4, and exhale to the count of 8. Repeat this 5 times.  Breathing patterns can help reduce stress and provide a nice boost of oxygen to your brain (and skin!).

2) Try Reiki: A 60 minute session can help you relax deeply. It’s like a natural reboot. It makes most people feel renewed, recharged, balanced and hopeful. And the best part: you don’t need to do anything, just lay down on a lovely massage table.

3) Give a clinical herbalist a quick visit to fight digestive troubles that can be ruining your mood and your skin: Herbal supplements and tinctures help balance stress hormones and support your digestive system. Do make sure your herbalist has a clinical background, especially if you take medications, to avoid any kind of negative interaction.

4) Don’t try to outrun your problems on the treadmill: Running like a madwoman will keep you from chocking those pesky colleagues that are making your life miserable and keep you fit. But it will also drain you from valuable energy at a time when, let’s be honest, you don’t have a lot to go around. Stick to gentler exercise like stretching, walking or Hatha yoga.

 5) Pave the way to a good night sleep with a Restorative yoga class: Try it on Friday evening to relax and disconnect from the workweek and get a full night of repairing sleep.

6) Try something old, something borrowed, something new: Reconnect with yourself. What small things do you enjoy? Ask your close friends what makes them tick in a good way, and borrow their secret happy routines. They may work for you. And lastly, try something new. Step our of your comfort zone and do something opposite of what you usually go for. If you always use pink lipstick, try red. If you always go jogging, try a cycling class. It will feed your brain with new stimuli and keep it active.

7) And the most important one, GO EASY ON YOURSELF: You are suffering from burnout because of driving yourself too hard. Give yourself permission to slow down a little bit and smell the roses this spring.

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, a group of professional Reiki practitioners supported by life coaches, clinical herbalists and yoga teachers in New York City and Miami. 

Photo credit: YSL Touche Eclat advertising.