Guest Blogger: Sheena with an introduction from Marny
Sheena Bounsanga is dear friend of mine who I have gotten to know through our daughters at school. She is the founder of Blue Bamboo Holistics…..and for me, just someone who has a wonderfully calming effect in my life (I mean that in a good way!)
I know that during my grief journey, my emotions very easily got the best of me and I could go from 0-60 in 2 seconds flat…..which never got me very far! Having to apologize for my actions never seemed productive for me. When I was able to take a breath and pause, I was able to control my behaviour and subsequent actions in a much more effective manner.
Sheena has written about the importance of breathing – something that we just do, all day, every day. Something that if we do a little deeper, a little slower, it will have huge health benefits for us… and it doesn’t cost us any money and we don’t have to leave home to do it!
The Art of Breathing
Life starts with taking a breath… Are you doing it right?
Deep breathing has many health benefits which include relieving stress (yes, please!), strengthening the immune system (HELLO!), accelerating the healing process (that’s an Rx I can handle!), burning calories (a little off the thighs please), rejuvenating and oxygenating organs (natures natural facelift), and promoting peace of mind while filling the whole body system with the ever amazing life-energy-oxygen-Chi (om mani padme hum). And that’s just my short list!
Simply put, deep breathing makes you look and feel great, both inside and out! So why are 83% of you doing it wrong!?!
83% of the general population are only using a tenth of their lung capacity. A TENTH!! Why? Because they just don’t know any better. That’s why I’m here. Let’s learn how to deep breathe.
Rule #1 – Breathe from your belly, not from your chest.
Rule #2 – *see rule #1.
Rule #3 – The same as rule #2.
Okay, you get the point. Unfortunately, most of us are accustom to shallow breathing which only fills the upper area of the lungs with air. And although shallow breathing is easier, deep breathing is the proper way of breathing if you want to achieve all the awesome things I’ve listed above.
So, now that you have the rules down, let’s exercise! No, no, no… not the ‘make you work and sweat’ exercise, this is a ‘get comfortable and relax’ exercise… my favourite kind!
Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. I use this with almost all of my clients, young and old alike. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
Sit in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out and feel the hand on your belly go in.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
*For children, place a favourite stuffed animal on their belly. They can watch for the rise and fall of their special little friend.*
Studies show that just observing your breathing is known to alleviate stress. Start each day with 3-5 deep cleansing breaths before you even get out of bed for better health and well-being.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Gently close your eyes and take a few deep belly breaths.
- To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
- The next time you exhale, count “two”, and so on up to “five”.
- Once you hit “five”, begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Try to do 10 minutes of this mindfulness breathing at least once or twice a day.
Never count higher than “five”, and count only on the exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight”, “twelve”, or even “nineteen”.
Just 10 minutes, twice a day will greatly decrease stress and tension, while increasing vitality and strength.
Chi, Ki or Qi is frequently translated as life energy, lifeforce, or energy flow. Simply put, it’s what makes us tick. As a Reiki Practitioner, I work with Chi on a daily basis.
- Sit in a comfortable position and gently close your eyes.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs, your Solar Plexus Chakra; and the other hand on your chest, your Heart Chakra.
- Inhale through the very top of your head, your Crown Chakra; think of taking in the life-energy-oxygen-Chi down into your body.
- Circulating, moving, and breathing Chi in you, through you, and then back out into the world.
- Exhale through your Solar Plexus and visualize this vital Chi energy surrounding the outside of your body like a giant bubble. Growing bigger, thicker, and stronger with each exhalation. Feel your Chi Bubble grow.
- Try to grow your Chi Bubble for at least 5 minutes. Inhaling Chi down through your Crown, and exhaling Chi out through your Solar Plexus.
Not only will this Chi Bubble enhance your energy flow within yourself, but as people come in contact with you (at work, at home, etc.) your high vibrational Chi will raise the life energy vibrations of others around you. It’s contagious!! In a good way!!
Sheena Bounsanga, creator of Blue Bamboo Holistics
Registered Reflexologist, Advanced Level Reiki Practitioner
Children’s Meditation Facilitator and Early Childhood Educator