Just Stop!! Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Life is moving so fast at the moment. I'm not sure you have noticed the whir of activity and the busyness of life?!! It feels relentless! It's more than just the silly season and the hectic energy that accompanies it every year for most. Did you know that we are exposed to more information in one day than someone living in the 15th century experienced in their entire lifetime?
There are of course numerous articles, blogs and talks about the importance of relaxation and de-stressing, of taking time out, unplugging, and alternative paths like the back-to-making-your-own bread/clothes/knives/slow food (insert any other creative, probably very satisfying and definitely very clever thing here) movements.
But what if you just stopped? For a day. Or even a week. Would the world collapse? Not stopping so you can catch up with your online courses, Facebook / Pinterest / Insta / Twitter feeds, flagged articles, recipes, Ted talks. This would be ideal - I suspect that we probably all need a week to do nothing. In the meantime, what about just noticing your breath?
Awareness of breathing in... and... of breathing out. Pretty sure if you have even been within ear shot of a yoga studio you would have heard this. It is a simple formula really. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
When you start to breathe slowly and deeply you send all sorts of messages to your body to relax. To de-stress. To calm. To soothe the fight / flight response. This is hardly new and amazing information right? But even as someone who has been practicing yoga for nearly 25 years and been teaching yoga on and off for about 10 - I still need to remind myself - deep breath in, deep breath out. Repeat. We all need to remind ourselves all the time. I see the breath as both an anchor (keeping me in the now moment) and a tool (deliberating changing my breathing to invoke a specific state of mind). It is also an excellent barometer of my moment to moment wellbeing.
Try this: practice counting the length of your breath, slowing it down as much as is comfortable without straining. Try extending the exhale for count for one or two more than the inhale. Notice the pause at the top of your in breath and at the bottom of your out breath. There's something quite magical about that in-between time of the breath - rather like when you are in a plane taking off and it reaches that point where it feels like you are weightless for a moment as the plane plateaus.
Maybe today you might not be able to take the whole day off to stop, let alone a week, but you can always breathe. So please. Stop for a moment and find your breath. Come back to it again and agin through the day. Start to develop a love affair with it. On the bus, in traffic, in a cue for coffee, before a meeting, waiting for your kids at their afternoon sport practice. Anywhere. Everywhere. DONT pickup your phone. Have a breath break. It's always available.
Check out some of Embody Wellbeing's pocket practice meditations here: www.embodywellbeing.org/connect