Deep breath, here we go!

Dear Gray Bird readers, in this busy season of short days and many demands on our time, I wonder if you might be in need of a quick, to-the-core centering? I know I am.

Here goes:

Let your eyes close down (or don’t – you’re reading! but when you try this again, do)

 Everything is just right. Perfect.

As it is, and therefore as it should be.

Rest one hand gently on your belly, the other on your chest (lying down is nice but not essential)

Breathe in slowly, filling your belly so that your hand lifts with the expansion

Continue that gentle breathe until it spills out of your low belly and into your ribcage, expanding it side-to-side.

With the end of your inhale, feel the hand on your chest rise slightly.

Pause; A count of two or three will do.

Slowly, savoring the delicious oxygen you’ve just given your hard-working body, exhale.

Pause; count one, two, three.

Repeat as you like.

When you’re done, release your hands and let your body relax into breathing in whatever rhythm it naturally takes.

Open your eyes.

****

Nothing is as real as that inhale/exhale, whether it’s conscious (as in the three-part yogic breath above) or it’s your body breathing itself while your mind does other things.

Whenever your mind feels cramped, tight, uncomfortable this holiday season (or any time), notice where your breath has gone. If you’re like me, it’s up in your shoulders and your body is in full fight-or-flight mode.

Maybe the tightness stems from your introvert self feeling on conversation overload. Or your extrovert self agreeing to one too many parties. Or that relative landing a judgement solidly on your head in the midst of gift opening. Or your self-recriminations for not “getting enough done.”

Take a little moment to be kind to your hard-working, well-intentioned body and mind. Place your hand on your low belly and invite a gentle inhale. Uncle Willy won’t even know you’re doing it, and you’ll be able to stomach his political diatribe with much more grace and detachment.

May we all be gifted with breaks in the chaos of our minds and lives this week, and every week – even if only long enough for a single inhale, exhale.