The Power of Breath
Today is a big day here in Bellingham, WA as I prepare to head down to the the 5th Annual Awareness Walk for Gastroparesis & Digestive Health. As exciting as it is to meet everyone and be a part of such a great cause, it can equally feel overwhelming. With my husband traveling and some close friends unable to make the event I woke up with a bit of a panic. We aimed to make this year simple, a casual meet-up at the scenic Boulevard Park on the bay, a nice stroll down the trail to the farmer's market and back, just a few small boxes of items instead of a full blown auction. Then why is it that my heart was beating out of my chest and my hands felt shaky?! Oh yeah, I need to breathe!
I'll be sharing more about the event and funds raised for Wisdom by Nature but for now let's talk about this thing we call breath; what Chalyce has taught me about bringing a sense of calm back so that I CAN do things like walk out the door and host this event!
"The essence of health is inner balance."
- Andrew Weil, MD
When faced with numerous responsibilities and tasks or the demands of an illness, relaxation techniques may take a back seat in your life. But that means you might miss out on the health benefits of relaxation.
Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms by:
Slowing your heart rate
Lowering blood pressure
Slowing your breathing rate
Increasing blood flow to major muscles
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
Reducing anger and frustration
Boosting confidence to handle problems
Sa Ta Na Ma: A Quick Meditation for Stress and Anxiety
This is a simple way to balance your day, and what I now practice daily, used in the V.A. hospitals for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Using the Relax and Release blend may help you further relax during this meditation.
You may try this for 1 minute up to 10 times. It may also be beneficial to start by just listening to it while using Relax and Release blend to help learn this meditation.
Give it a try, you have nothing to lose but your fear!
Begin your session by sitting cross-legged on the floor or seated upright in a straight backed chair. Rest your hands on your knees with palms facing upwards. While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.
Chant the syllables Sa, Ta, Na, Ma - lengthening the end of each sound as you repeat them with...aaaaaaaaah.
Touch your index finger tip to the tip of your thumb as you chant Sa (aaaaah).
Touch your middle finger tip to the tip of your thumb as you chant Ta (aaaaah).
Touch your ring finger tip to the tip of your thumb as you chant Na (aaaaah).
Touch your pinky tip to the tip of your thumb as you chant Ma (aaaaah).
Repeat 5-10 minutes out loud, with a whisper or in silence.
You can start by listening to the music by searching YouTube for examples.
Remember that learning relaxation techniques is a skill. And as with any skill, your ability to relax improves with practice. Be patient with yourself — don't let your effort to practice relaxation become yet another stressor. If one technique doesn't work for you, try another. If none of your efforts at stress reduction seem to work, talk to your doctor about other options.
"I have found that it quiets the mind, takes away fear and builds the courage to face the day and slowly everything else falls into place. I do my best to do this 3 mins every day. We can all find three minutes, right?!"
- Chalyce Macoskey