Take a Breath…
Historically, I’ve never been a big yoga or meditation buff. My inner monologue was always like: “Meh. It’s stretching and breathing. I already do that when I’m asleep.”
Now, I’ve always theoretically known in my head that it would not be a bad idea to practice meditation or some deep breathing — my work in mediation has proven that taking a pause before entering an emotionally fraught situation is usually an excellent plan. But somehow, the lasting benefits of doing so did not really resonate with me until I got deeper into coaching.
Being forced to center myself as a part of my coach training proved to me that yes, centering and even longer meditation exercises can be pretty awesome if you want to increase your calm and relaxation in life, and decrease your stress. For me, I found it easier to start by incorporating simple and short centering exercises into my daily routine, rather than diving into longer meditation sessions.
It’s kind of crazy that taking a deep breath can have such a positive impact, but the research is growing. So, below are a few very simple centering exercises to try in your life — see if any work for you!:
1. First Centering Exercise: Close your eyes, and put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. Focus on listening to your heart beat under your hand, and slowly count the beats as you breath deeply in and out. Imagine your shoulders relaxing, and then your body slowly sinking further into your chair, starting with your back, then your legs, and finally imagine your feet sinking into the floor. Continue until you are fully relaxed, and you can feel that your heartbeat has significantly slowed down. Open your eyes.
2. Second Centering Exercise: Close your eyes, and sit comfortably. Breath in for five seconds, and then breath out for five seconds. Do this 3-5 times, and then open your eyes.
3. Third Centering Exercise: Pull a chair up next to a window and watch the clouds. As you watch, just relax your mind and think of nothing but taking deep breaths. Keep watching and breathing, and just focus on the clouds. As thoughts enter your head, let them go by and keep breathing. Do this for as long as necessary. Can be as short as 1-2 minutes, or as long as 10-15. Up to you!
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