Renew Your Life By Building An Intimate Relationship To Self

Breathe New Energy In and Rediscover How Amazing Life Can Be

When was the last time you felt truly alive? Do you associate the feeling with an experience you had as a child or do you refer back to the first time you did something that completely moved you? Has it ever occurred to you that you can feel alive – full of wonder right now, on this average day where nothing life-changing is happening? All it takes is the right breathing practice to drop you into the ever-present moment and open your senses to being fully alive. 

It’s easy to feel invisible and unimportant in a culture that is focused on youth, beauty, and wealth. When you compare your lives to others or try to live up to an expectation of media it steals your joy and takes you out of the richness of your life.

You can create that feeling of something new by changing your energy. And you can change your energy by changing your breath. And you can change your breathing patterns. And you can begin that process right now!

By combining strong circular breathwork with the right mindset, you can invite new purpose into your day. A half-hour of dynamic breathing can clear stagnant energy (prana- breath) stuck in your body and dislodge thoughts of worthlessness, shame, or regret. With new energy (prana- breath) floating through these channels, you can invite opportunities for new experiences that help you feel alive in your body.

Dynamic breathing helps you access the sacred vibration of the current moment.

If you’ve never done dynamic breathing before it can feel both exciting and scary. Tingling throughout your entire body brings up a whirlwind of emotions, sensations, and thoughts. When approached with curiosity it can open you up to see the infinite being that you are. With practice, you can transform your humdrum day into one that is creative and full of passion. 

Breathwork is a gateway that helps open you up to an intimate relationship with yourself. 

You have been molded your entire life by the outside world of expectation. 

As children, we learn by observation. We find a sense of community in modeling what our family does. We are taught right from wrong and are too often plopped in front of a television that shows us what is valued and what isn’t. 

We spend very little time actually looking inside and deciding the right path for our unique life. We are molded by our schools, our wardrobe, our friends, our religions, our media. By the time we are 18 we are completely programmed into a world designed to push an agenda of doubt, fear, and lack, leaving us with high stress, higher anxiety, and suicide rates that are on the rise. 

Collectively we realize something is off and that something must change, but how?

Could it be as simple as looking inside and finding our breath?

It’s a start. 

Yin Yoga was my entryway into breath. I didn’t truly understand what was happening but I could feel this intimate relationship with self starting to bloom. In stillness, I could feel my inhalations work into the tight spots in my body followed by long slow exhales that allowed my body to melt deeper into these sensations. I was feeling my body for the first time in years. Breathing life in and out, I started viewing every sensation as a reminder of being alive. 

When you start to connect to yourself through your breath you gain access to a profound sense of intimacy. You begin to discover your body in a new way. You understand that to feel is to be alive. You discover that you’ve been limiting your breath and stopping its flow to avoid the discomfort you feel. As with all intimate relationships, breath reveals you to yourself, slowly, calmly, and from a place of compassion. If you are willing to be brave enough to allow all the sensations of the body to be there then you begin to open up to a deeper understanding of life. And it begins from the inside out. 

It is possible for you to experience life again with new eyes. A renewed understanding of…

  • Joy in your body
  • Self-worth
  • Creative inspiration
  • Lust for life

All the things that help you live a more fulfilled life are waiting to be touched, and it’s all inside of you right now. 

Exposing yourself to breath is simple enough to begin, but it takes patience and a willingness to be uncomfortable too. It’s through the sensations of the body that you’re able to…

  • Uncover limiting belief patterns
  • Clear away your negative mind-chatter
  • Lean into the life you’re really looking for
  • Expand outside of your normal activity
  • Release thoughts and sensations that no longer serve you once and for all

There is a thrill in awakening your senses through breath.

Passion is ignited, but this time it’s for yourself as you look further in and discover the most intimate relationship you will ever be in–the one with yourself. 

Your ordinary life has the potential to take on more meaning, and it can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day to start.

Breathwork is a gateway to understanding how energy moves through your body.

If you are ready to unlock this intimate journey into self then look no further than your breath.

  • Step outside your comfort zone with ease
  • Feel what’s like to have a body
  • Connect to your higher self
  • Walk with inspired thought
  • Realize you are the energy you seek

An enriched life begins the moment you decide to take a look inside, and your breath can lead you there.

If you are interested in learning more please check out my YouTube channel for simple videos to follow and sign up for my 4-week breathing course, Breathe Mindset. Take the first breath in a new direction and enter the next phase of your journey with more presence and purpose.

The Big Lie About Meditation and How to Break the Myths

Achieving Bliss During Meditation is not what your think. 

You’ve probably been told a lot about meditation as a source for generating more mindfulness into your life. You probably even have stories you tell yourself about your capability to achieve such “enlightenment” from these practices. 

Most people I talk to about meditation have this feeling that they are doing it wrong, or that it is something only achieved by the super spiritual or highly dedicated. People brush it off after trying it only a couple of times. 

I can easily see why. 

It is incredibly hard to sit still. Our minds our full of chatter about our day, our world, our relationships, and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are in relation to these things. 

Who has time to sit still when all this is going on?

We have been fed a lie about what meditation is and how it’s supposed to be achieved. 

Because I get asked about meditation a lot, I find people are always surprised at my thoughts about it. And, of course, my thoughts are a reflection of my personal experience with it. 

  1. Consistency is the key 

I believe people do give up on meditation too early. Consistency is how we learn to still the mind. Like any practice, it must be practiced! Sitting in meditation takes a lot of willpower. Continually calming the mind and body to be still takes work.

It can be challenging to…

  • not get up and check your phone
  • not lose your mind to stories you play on loop in your head
  • not scratch your itchy nose
  • not adjust how your sitting
  • not start planning dinner 
  • not think of the 108 things you must do right now!

You have been living with a busy mind your whole life. You shouldn’t expect it to change overnight. It’s a practice and one that needs consistency to access those moments of clarity.

My advice: Start small. Set an alarm for 3-minutes, then 5-minutes, then 7-minutes. Build up to a 10 or even 20-minute practice in small increments. 

If you try to do a 30-minute meditation on your first time out the gate, you are setting yourself up for failure. 

Every time you can calm your mind and body down during a meditation practice it’s a win. Every time you can consciously bring your awareness into the present moment you are meditating. Even if it’s just a practice of continually guiding yourself back to the present 50 times in that 3-minute timeframe. You are building your mindfulness muscles. 

  1. Stillness Comes in Many Forms

Sitting in a meditation seat (cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion) doesn’t work for everybody. The last thing you want is for your legs to fall asleep or start giving you trouble a minute into your practice. For some laying down is the way to start, and for others seated in a chair. 

There is no hierarchy of meditation. How you find stillness within your mind and body is your business. 

My advice: Focus on what brings stillness to the mind and the body will follow. 

Your mind and your body are like two peas in a pod, it’s hard for one to not match the other. If the body is relaxed the mind will soften, and if the mind is at ease so too will be the body. 

If the thought of sitting in stillness is overwhelming or causes you to have anxious thoughts, then perhaps a walking meditation is the best place for you to start. 

Yin Yoga is what brought me to meditation. I love it because the poses are slow deep holds that typically range from 3-5 minutes each. An hour of yin yoga gives my mind and body plenty of time to find stillness and focus with the luxury of knowing that every 3-5 minutes I have an opportunity to move, to wiggle out any nervous tension before settling back into the next pose. 

Letting go of expectations of how stillness is found can be a powerful and positive way to bridge the gap in your mind about your ability to meditate. 

  1. Your Breath Is Your Anchor

When you consciously connect to your breath you are anchoring yourself into the present moment. The only moment there truly is. The place where all discovery takes place and the only time change can occur. When you are ready to open your life to a higher awareness your breath is a great place to start. 

My Advice: Quit putting pressure on yourself to think of nothing, and instead think about your breath. Focus on the inhales and exhales. This anchors you into what is happening in the moment. 

Breathwork is Meditation

How many times have you “tried” to meditate and heard yourself saying…

”It’s impossible for me to think about nothing.” 

Well… good news. 

I totally agree with this statement. 

I have been meditating regularly for years and it has never once been my experience to have a completely still mind free from all thoughts. 

Never once. 

In fact, this is the very thing that held me back in my meditation practice for years!

It wasn’t until I realized that breathwork was meditation that I was able to move past this myth. 

Now I’m not saying it isn’t possible. I’m only saying it hasn’t been possible for me. 

Breathwork helped me to see my thoughts as part of my meditation. The trick was to learn to not hook on any one thought or story and instead see them as a leaf on a stream just passing by. Not hooking to anything. This is where my work was; constantly bringing my mind and body into the present. I quit berating myself for having thoughts and allowed them entrance, but nothing more. 

Developing a strong breathing practice is my anchor. It keeps me in the present as I dance in the sensation of each inhalation and melt deeper into myself with every passing exhalation. 

The pause at the top and bottom of the breath become moments of luxury to which I find myself floating endlessly in this stream of breath. Allowing the breath to be my anchor broke down the walls of myth I had attached to meditation. It has allowed me to build new ideas and thoughts about my capability to achieve enlightenment.

Below is a Breathwork practice that consciously brings you into the present. I invite you to try it with this new sense of possibility and let go of old myths about meditation. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Find a comfortable place for you to achieve stillness. Turning off all alarms, phones, or beeping and buzzing computers and screens around you. If just for the next 5 minutes. 

Remember your place of stillness could entail a walk in the park, or getting into your zone by deep stretching or crafting, or whatever. 

If you plan to be more traditional, lay down or take a comfortable seat. Your seat can be cross-legged on the floor or hips to heals, perhaps seated on a cushion for support. If you are in a chair, move to the edge so you can firmly place your feet on the floor, hip-width distance apart and allow your spine to be free from any support so it can grow long.

Once you are set up we begin.

  • Ground into the earth beneath you. Feeling supported
  • Close your eyes or soften your gaze to one focal point in front of you.
  • Settle in by asking yourself…
    • What kind of awareness have I brought into my day?
    • What are the quality of my thoughts?
    • Have I spoken to myself and others in a positive way?
    • Am I aware of the words I’ve choosing to use?
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now, and allow all emotions to be present, knowing they can change at any time and allow them to.
  • Bring your attention to the tip of your nose and begin noticing the cool air as it flows in and the warmer air as it falls out.
  • Bring awareness to all sensations of the breath
    • How does it feel in your body?
    • Where can you feel it vibrate in your throat, lungs, and diaphragm?
    • Does it move with ease? Or does it feel labored?
    • Where does it naturally want to travel?
    • Are there any pockets of tension that restrict your breathing?
  • Pay attention to the expansion each inhale offers and pay attention as stress and anxiety dissolve with every exhale. 
  • Guide your attention to your spine and feel it float tall on an inhale and ground down on an exhale. 
  • Get curious about where your breath is traveling
  • On your next inhale direct your breath deep into your belly allowing it to balloon out nice and round
  • On the exhale actively release any tension around this area. 
  • Next breathe into your ribcage, allowing your side body to naturally widen on the inhale and contract back on the exhale.
  • Staying curious about any emotion or sensations that come up during movement. 
  • Let go of any expectations of what you think should be happening and just experience what is.
  • Now breathe deeply into your heart center. Filling up through the emotional center of your being. 
  • Exhale out any tightness of tension in the area. 
  • Continue to move the breath into your back body. Allowing the inhales to expand into your entire back as the shoulder blades gently and naturally separate and contract. 
  • Notice how each area of your body receives the breath and responds to the exhales. 
  • Moving with curiosity
  • If your mind has wondered, it’s ok, simply guide it back to your breath. Slow and steady.
  • Experience this current inhale and exhale
  • Be receptive to all the subtle movements and sensations you’re feeling
  • Feel your body naturally open and release
  • Let it be loose, unclench your jaw, and release tension from your brow
  • Notice the natural flow of your body. 
    • How does your body move with the breath?
    • Does it feel soothing?
    • Are the places of discomfort and pain dissolving? Lightening? Releasing?
  • Where are your thoughts?
    • Are they passing through with ease?
    • Do they seem anxious?
    • Are you aware of kindness and openness to the moment?
    • Mindfulness is about cultivating awareness to our thoughts not disconnecting to our thoughts.
  • Become aware that you are aware.
  • Notice all sensations and thoughts as an observer. Not reacting. Just becoming aware. Being engaged in the experience of this ever-present moment.
  • Allow kindness to flood in on your next inhale and wash out any residue of stagnation with the exhale
  • Inhale in a vision of what you want from life and exhale out any resistance to this desire.
  • Notice how these new and nurturing thoughts feel in your body
  • Inhale in gratitude for showing up for yourself today
  • Exhale out any lingering expectations
  • Continue to breathe into this new awareness for as long as feels inviting for you and when you are ready you can blink your eyes open and continue on with your day. More mindful, more present, and with more focus. 

When you commit to showing up and consciously breathe for 3-5 minutes per day you are building an awareness that guides you into a deep meditation practice that previously eluded you. 

As your practice develops you will cultivate a deep awareness that gradually changes your perceptions of the world and your place in it. 

You will begin to see more kindness in the way you speak and interact with yourself and others. Mentally, emotionally, and physically you will shift your observations into a life more intune with your true nature. 

It’s time to let go of the meditation lies and open yourself up to the meditation practices that best suite you. Meditation is possible. No matter how busy your day or your mind. Don’t let the myths behind meditation hold you back from experiencing the joy and enlightenment that can come from a deep understanding of self. 

Keep consistent, find your stillness, and anchor into your breath. Sometimes it just takes a perspective shift to open us up to new heights. 

What Autumn Can Teach Us About Gracefully Letting Go

Accepting What Is and Releasing What Has Passed

Autumn is here and with the changing season comes an opportunity for change within our own lives. Fall teaches us how beautiful it can be to let go. To let the leaves of our past transform into vibrant red, orange, and yellow memories – Memories we shed without fear knowing new revitalization is on the way. The days are getting shorter and we prepare for winter by watching nature release to the earth what no longer serves. What a great example and leader for our own lives. 

Let us be like nature and gracefully let go. Accepting the circle of all things that arise and dissipate in this life. All things have a beginning and an end. 

Our breath is fluid within us from the first inhale to the final exhale. A constant reminder of the ebb and flow within our own internal ecosystem. Fall is a great time to get outside and breathe deep into our lives and let go of what no longer serves us so that we too can transform.

Accepting What Is

Acceptance is the answer to all things. It puts in the ever eternal now and helps us be at peace with all that is. If you seek lasting joy and happiness then the wisdom of acceptance is part of your path. When we attach to anything too much it ends up owning and controlling us. This includes the ego, our internal source of all dissatisfaction. 

Taking a walk beneath the changing colors of autumn reflects to us how joyful release can be. In spring we wonder at the new growth of the tree so delicate and fresh, and in fall we explore the crisp rich colors crunching beneath our feet. The air is fresh and we find ourselves another year older. Now is a great time to ask ourselves…

  • What am I ready to let go of?
  • What am I ready to accept?
  • What areas of my life need change?

We tend to hold on to things, people, jobs, and memories as though they define who we are or our importance in this world. We forget that all things flow like a leaf breaking from a branch to float along a stream. Change is inevitable. You must choose to either accept what is or resist and be angry when change happens without your acceptance or permission because it will. To live in the beauty of this moment you must let go of fear and stand in harmony with the cycle of all things.

Willing to Let Go

Trees are so beautiful and strong. Confidently they shed their lush covering and allow themselves to be exposed to the harsh world of winter. The trees understand that in shedding what no longer serves them they can draw more energy within to help them survive all winter so that in spring they can begin the process again. 

There are things in your life right now that are holding you back. Things that are stealing your energy and preventing you from making the necessary transformation and growth in your own life. Now is the time to ask…

  • What am I afraid will happen if I let this go?
  • Where is my energy better spent?
  • What inside of me is ready to transform?

Letting go takes trust. Autumn is a reminder of the earth’s promise to us. We know that every season will be followed by the next, yet we have a challenge accepting this in our own lives. A new day is waiting, but we must shed the old growth to make room for the new. 

Reflect on your life right now. Everything in your life is a result of new beginnings and things you’ve let go. The house, the job, the relationships, all of it a cycle in and of itself. We can see this in nature and our own lives, but we all get stuck on what is possible when we focus on comfort over growth. 

Winter is dark and cold but promises renewal if we are willing to risk being exposed to the hard truths of life. Allow fall to help you let go, find strength, and prepare for what’s to come. 

Breathing Into Fall

Autumn is a time to reflect on what has come to pass. A time of harvest, and a time to clear out stagnation in our internal landscape to prepare for a new season. Breathwork helps move trapped energy through our body. It’s a way of processing unresolved emotions and suppressed feelings without having to relive trauma. It is a way for our internal world to support us through the seasonal changes of our own lives. 

We can use our breath to release from our body and mind what is no longer needed. We can let go and focus our energy on growth, joy, acceptance, and gratitude. Mindful, conscious breathing is a way to move out the trapped emotions of your past so you can let go and confidently move towards new growth. 

Below is a guided breathing meditation. It is written to be done seated or lying down at home. You can also modify it to be used while walking through the autumn fall – A way to help move stuck energy and allow yourself to gracefully let go and move into acceptance of what is. 

Guided Breath Meditation for Letting Go

There is an audio recording of this guided breath meditation on my YouTube Channel. You can access it here. 

  • Take a comfortable seat or lay down. Allow your back to float long and find ease in the body. 
  • Soften your gaze and bring your attention to the tip of your nose. Becoming aware of each inhale and each exhale.
  • Slowly begin to lengthen each inhale through the nose. 
  • Exhale out the mouth, slow, long, and mindfully.
  • Mindfully bring each breath deep into your belly as you allow it to expand on the inhale and relax on the exhale.
  • Let your breath be the most interesting thing in your world, allowing thoughts to float in and out of your mind like clouds passing on a summer day.
  • Notice your body relaxing more with each exhale.
  • Close your eyes and see yourself in nature. 
    • Notice the colors
    • Notice the temperature
    • Notice the smells
    • Notice the sounds
    • Notice all you can about your scenery
    • Notice the emotions you are feeling
  • After you have settled into a clear vision, focus your thoughts on one thing you would like to release attachment from.
  • Keep focused on that one thing and deepen your breath around it. Use every inhale to bring in gratitude for all it has given to your life and use every exhale to gracefully release it to the world.
  • Continue this for 10 or so rounds of breath.
  • Now shift your attention to the transformation. 
    • Imagine your life once you’ve let go of this one thing. 
    • Imagine the positive impact this change will have.
  • Dwell here in this new reality as long as it feels good. When you are ready to end this breathing meditation, take a few deep rounds of breath and move into a final stretch
    • Circle sweep your arms wide and up to the sky on an inhale, bringing your hands together in prayer.
    • Exhale as you guide your hands down through your center line and allow them to rest in your heart center for 2-3 more rounds of breath.
  • When you are ready, blink open your eyes, and allow the sensations you are feeling to guide you into acceptance.

Breathwork is a great way to let go and heal. If you are interested in learning more follow me on Instagram at Breath_Mindset and join my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset. 

Is Too Much Social Media Putting Your Nervous System on High Alert?

It Might be Time to Take a Stimuli Break. Here’s How.

The Internet has brought the world into our homes and has inundated us with a constant thread of news to absorb or ignore. Social media platforms have become a hub of information designed to fit our personal lens on reality. With the average of 3 hours a day spent on these platforms, one must question if this constant dopamine drip is a healthy activity or a complete waste of time.

It’s so easy when you have 15 minutes to spare to just open the apps and see what’s happening with your friends and family. It’s fun watching all the kids grow up and having cherished family moments. It’s nice to see friends sharing adventures and all the pets they love. As you mindlessly scroll you begin to drown out the ads that pop up in between every third post you see. But they must be having some sort of affect on your brain chemistry. Ad after ad sprinkled in with family and friends you get to appreciate from afar. Nothing too close, nothing too real, nothing to sincerely and honestly engage with. 

It’s safe to judge and like from your couch while your brain feels scattered and your concentration dwindles. 

Nervous System on High Alert!

This constant stream of stimuli has a direct affect on your nervous system. And as we are becoming more and more programmed by our devices to feel that immediate dopamine high, we are allowing side effects to creep in. Things like…

  • Spending more and more time on social media.
  • A quick 15-minute check-in turns into an hour-long scroll.
  • Jumping from one social media account to the next out of boredom.

Today we can’t focus on one thing too long without looking for a new distraction, and this causes stress. And stress creates unhealthy pathways in your nervous system. 

Stress and the Nervous System

We are all wired differently based on a variety of things from our past and our general demeanor, so these stress patterns will look different for everyone. 

Stress enters our body as a result of our natural (and programmed) reactions to… 

  • How safe you feel
  • Your sense of belonging
  • Your sense of Identity
  • How well you create or state personal boundaries

Social media platforms are a great place to express yourself with easy access to quotes and memes and images that can easily be shared. But only when someone feels safe to do so and this comes as a result of how our needs were met or not met during our developmental years. 

When threatened, our body goes into a fight or flight state, and our stress skyrockets! When this sympathetic side of your nervous system is triggered you might find yourself easily frustrated, annoyed, and irritated by what you see online. 

When you post something you might feel anxious or overstimulated by the responses. Or you may find yourself completely frozen in what to do in life so you use social media as a numbing agent to avoid responsibility and keep you in a procrastination mill. 

These are all emergency responses caused by trauma in the body. In our busy modern world, we are becoming more and more accustomed to living in a continuous state of stress.

We need to allow our nervous system time to find balance. 

It’s time to push against our social media habits and use our time and energy towards the pursuit of becoming a more present and calm human. 

It’s time to take a break from social media. 

Taking time to step away from the constant momentum of social platforms is challenging because self-care doesn’t come with any instant rewards. It takes time to slow down and tune in to what you need. 

For the next seven days instead of continually checking your phone, challenge yourself to take a break. It’s a great way to find out if you have an addiction and a refreshing way to identify where some self-care is needed. 

Here are 3 tips to help you break the habit for seven days and unplug.

Create a Goal

We are so programmed to mindlessly check our social accounts that we may find ourselves on an hour-long drone without even realizing it. That’s why it is practical to create a goal for your social media break. Make it simple and write it out where you can see it. Consider things like…

When I feel the urge to check social media I will…

  • Go for a walk
  • Pick up an old hobby
  • Write out the grocery list
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Call a friend
  • Read

Depending on how much time you find yourself on social media it is a good idea to have a list of things to do instead to keep your mind productive. Try things that keep the phone out of your hands to avoid any accidental peeking.

Delete the Apps!

Okay before you freak out, I’m not suggesting deleting your accounts, just remove the app from sight. Create steps between you and the platform. If Instagram isn’t on your phone then you have to log into your computer to get into your account, and who checks Instagram on their computer? 

At the end of the week, you can simply re-download the app and sign back in. (If you decide you want to.) 

At the very least, turn off all notifications for the week. Set yourself up for success by removing those beeps, buzzes, and flashy notifications. 

Announce the Break

This is helpful because you are openly letting others know of your intent. You can include things that let your support group know that you need their help. Encourage them to reach out to share news or go for a walk. It’s always nice to share your challenges and successes with others, and a break from social media is no different. 

Find Your Breath

Taking a break from the socials helps you to be more present in your life and breathwork is a great way to help you engage in the moment. It’s simple and effective. 

As part of your seven-day detox, I invite you to try breathwork. In my online course, Breath Mindset,  I have students do breathwork 3 times a day, every day for one month. 

  • 5 minutes of energizing breathwork in the morning.
  • 5 minutes of balancing breathwork in the afternoon.
  • 5 minutes of calming breathwork in the evening.

By doing 15 minutes of breathwork a day you start to create a more balanced nervous system and the brain fog seems to dissipate into clarity. 

If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, reach out! I have a ton of resources and it’s a great way to set your phone down and stay present in the moment. 

Breathe in Nature Ends with a Trip to Mason Lake

Come Explore a Variety of What You’ve Been Missing!

It’s hard to believe Summer is coming to an end. The kids are heading back to school, Fall routines are taking flight, and just like that, there is a hint of Autumn in the air. It seems like just yesterday we gathered for the first Breathe in Nature adventure back in April. Yet, here we are, arriving for our final adventure of the season. A variety of experiences and high elevations await us for this last and most challenging of hikes. 

Last March when I was first putting Breathe in Nature together I had no idea the impact it would have on the participants, the instructors, or myself. I learned a lot about planning an event outside in the questionable weather of a PNW spring. I didn’t consider people getting sick, and I jumped in without a backup plan. 

Lucky for me, everything and everyone was as delighted as myself just to be in communion with other humans for the first time in over two years. Every event came with its own set of challenges. From heavy rainfall, unexpected last-minute location changes, and even an army of mosquitos! Despite all that it couldn’t break the spirit of this crew. 

It seemed that every adventure came at the right time and attracted exactly who needed to be there. 

Every meetup since April has been building in length and/or elevation, all leading to this final variety pack of experiences that will guide us through an all-day affair. 

Here’s what to expect…

Foraging with a Pro

Mason Lake will be a journey through all the highlights. As we start out on this 7-mile hike we will reflect back to the first time we met in April. It was freezing and wet, but all came to enjoy Alissa Allen and her expert advice on foraging. We even went home with a guidebook and warmed our tummies with some fresh needle soup. 

Although Alissa won’t be joining us for this final retreat, her knowledge will carry on as we talk about foraging mushrooms! What to look for in early fall and when and where to forage. 

Gong Immersion

Jill Mattern was up next in what was supposed to be an outdoor gong bath under the full moon. The forecast had other plans that led to a last-minute indoor move that ended up being a cozy way to let go and open up to the sounds of the gong. Jill stepped in again in June after Jess got sick for another last-minute swap which led me to believe that Jill is one of those amazing humans who can adapt on a dime. And this time it was as intended, and set in the great outdoors.

Both gong experiences were soothing, and on our way up to the Lake On Sunday, Sept. 11th Jill will delight us once more with the sweet sounds of her gong as we take a break to refresh our bodies and minds before moving into the steep switchbacks leading to our destination. 

Photography in Nature

As we trek up the high elevations of the day we will revisit the tips and techniques presented by Matthew Brashears. Using the panoramic views of the climb we will take our time (and preserve our energy) stopping to take photos as we check off some of our favorite perspectives from that educational adventure.

Glacier Dip

Once we crest the high rocky peaks we will begin the descent into the cooler side of the mountain as we walk through lush green lands to arrive at Mason Lake. This stunning lake is surrounded by trees that offer privacy and an inviting atmosphere to jump on in and cool off after a long sweaty incline to get there. 

Lynar Deluca will be there to guide you through another cool dip if you choose. Helping to push you past your limiting perspective and safely guide you out of your comfort zone, Lynar offers great support to help you feel safe in the chilly glacier waters. 

Don’t forget your suits! And yes there will be a private changing station.

Nature Journaling

The amazing Jessica Winters was supposed to join us for a day of nature journaling that never came to pass. That darn covid had other plans for Jessica and the series was forced to move forward without this adventure. 

As we spend time soaking in the sun at Mason Lake there will be an opportunity to pull out your journal and get creative. Drawing, writing, or just reflecting on the day. This is your time to do as you will and you can bet Jess will be back next year to delight us with her wisdom. 

Breathwork, Lunch, and Closure

Breathwork is a huge part of this series and something we’ve done in conjunction with each outing. This will be no different. Along the route, we will practice a variety of breath practices to keep us moving and focused.

Once at the Lake we will do some dynamic circular breathwork to clear our minds and open our hearts. This will prepare you for the chilly water should you decide to get in for a spell. After which we will enjoy our lunches, good conversation, and amazing scenery before making the long haul back down the mountain. 

Here we will close the series for the year. Having a wealth of information to grow from and new friends to cherish. 

If you are interested in joining us there is still time! Here is the link with all the information. We will meet at the trailhead at 8am to beat the crowds, and plan on spending the whole day on the mountain. Returning to our cars, and life around 4pm.

This is a great way to see what you’ve been missing and get an idea of what is in store for Breathe in Nature 2.0 coming next spring. 

See you on the mountain!

The Beginningless Circle of Life and Breath

Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth

There are few things that happen in life that are so impactful that you remember every detail of the event. Those moments that quite literally take your breath away, when time stands still and every sensation in your body feel heightened and alive. These are the moments that often change who you are. From recalling a collective moment in history to the birth of a child, or the moment you realize you’re in love. These events all have one thing in common: your breath. 

This past Monday I was busying myself with creating another YouTube video for my business. I was fiddling with the lights, setting up my backdrop, writing notes to look at just off camera, and practicing the routine. It was pretty mundane. All the while I’m focusing my thoughts on the importance of staying consistent with my business and fighting off my inner demons of doubt.

I barely even took note when the text came in, too busy in my own little world to slow down, I merely flicked the text off to the side to read later.

Finally, after 90 minutes of prep, I was ready to begin filming. I pulled my phone out to put it on silent and froze. 

Before even reading the text, the sender’s name was enough. 

My friend’s 3-year battle with cancer was over. My breath rose to my chest, and the fight against my tears began. 

Suddenly nothing else mattered. Instead of filming, I sat and allowed myself time to cry. I cried for my own selfish loss of a friend. I cried for her husband who had kept so positive during the whole cancer journey. I cried for her two young boys who would grow up without their Mom. I cried for her mom who had just lost a child, for her sister who had lost her best friend. I cried for our community to which she had given so much.

I remember every detail of the moment. 

When my phone beeped for a second time I didn’t hesitate to jump, expecting another detail into this beautiful human’s passing. What I got was unexpected. 

Another friend shared the birth of her perfect baby boy. Again my breath jumped high into my throat, and I had to work for a few minutes to bring it back into my belly so I could handle the wave of high and low emotions flowing through my body. 

Breathwork is the flow of the eternal

Breath is our constant companion in life. Here from our first breath and traveling in direct relation to our emotions until our parting exhale. 

In the matter of one hour, the breath of one departed and was replaced into the life of another. And so continues the beginningless circle of life. 

In Buddhism the Wheel of Samsara (which is a huge amount of theory that I have little knowledge of) speaks of the continual flowing. Moving on, from one moment to the next, including from one life to the next. 

Yoga philosophy says “samsara is the energy that keeps us trapped in human existence – experiencing birth, life, death, rebirth, and so on.” 

Breath is Beginningless

You and I are breathing the same breath today as our ancestors breathed before us. 

  • The intelligence Steve Jobs exhaled out is available for you to breathe in. 
  • The heart Mother Teresa exhaled into the world is here for you to breathe in.
  • The courage Martin Luther King Jr. exhaled to his people you can choose to inhale into your life.
  • The leadership Nelson Mandela exhaled out is waiting for you to inhale in.
  • The compassion Jane Goodall shows for all life is welcoming you to inhale it deeply into your being. 

Whatever you are breathing out into the world is here for others to breathe in. It is a beginningless circle of who and what we are. 

It connects and divides us. 

And in the big moments that change our lives, it is what we hold onto just so we can make it through. 

Your breath is in an ever-changing flow of inhales and exhales, of receiving in and offering out. You are part of the flow, and when the dance that is your life ends another will be waiting in the wings to start their own. And so the dance continues. 

The beginningless circle, Samsara, the wheel of life. 

Breath and your life

Prana is breath. Your life force. 

  • Every breath you have is directly connected to the thoughts you think. 
  • The thoughts you think play a huge role in how you view the world. 
  • How you view the world determines so much of the emotions you connect to
  • Learning how to control your breath helps bring focus onto what you want in your life. 

With so much emotion running through my nervous system this week it was vital for me to dip into my toolbox of breathing techniques and find balance when I wanted to curl up and cry. 

Continuing to sit with my breath in my daily practice became super challenging when all I wanted to do was run from my thoughts. But my commitment to a healthier mind and outlook kept me showing up and ultimately helped me feel the flow I needed for peace. 

My dear and beautiful friend is not lost to us. She is here for us to breathe in her love for community. She is there for me whenever I need the courage to stand up for what is right. She stands with me whenever I feel doubt and offers me her breath of confidence.

And as for the new baby boy with his blank slate of experiences and emotions. With every inhale he is taking in the same breath as his ancestors, guiding him from the past so he may step into a future dance that is waiting for him to embrace and continue the dance we are all swirling in. 

From our first breaths to our last, we circle through the dance of life, and we will be here again and again in many different forms in the beginningless circle of life and breath.

If you are going through grief or are hurting in any way, know that those you hold dear are always available to you. You can breathe in the best parts of who they were and carry that into your life and your experience. The cycle is never-ending and we are all just walking each other home. 

Breathwork for Depression and Anxiety Relief 

Which is the best breathing practice for you?

Have you ever found yourself spiraling into a bout of depression? Or found your head spinning out of control about one thousand things you have zero control over? It’s a normal Tuesday afternoon and suddenly you find yourself paralyzed with negative mind-chatter preventing you from being of any use to yourself or others. 

It’s so draining!!! But you can’t stop. The stories in your head are locking you into another spell of self-doubt and pity and you can’t find your way off this runaway train. 

There is a way to help, and you already have full access to it; it’s your breath. The trick is learning the right ways to utilize it for your best outcomes. 

Breathwork is amazing because it works for everybody. However, not all breathing patterns are right for everybody. 

There are literally hundreds of breathing patterns and ways to manipulate this very natural flow of energy. The best breath practice for you will vary and most likely change over time. As a general guide, there are 3 things you should look at when you decide to use breathwork as a way to relieve the stress factor associated with depression and anxiety. 

  1. Identifying your triggers
  2. Identifying your personal coping mechanisms
  3. Identifying what breathing practices feel most innately supportive to your nervous system

Taking a close look at these 3 things can help you find a starting point that will set you up for success in your breathing practices. The harder part is continuously showing up daily to do the breathwork. Breathwork is similar to meditation as it is developed over time and the more you show up, especially on the days you’d rather not, the closer you come to breaking barriers in your life that have previously held you back and kept you stuck.

Identifying your triggers

Triggers are those things in our environment that send our brains into survival mode. When you are having an emotional reaction to something or someone that feels out of your control or induces a strong desire to harm yourself or others you’re being triggered. If you have been through any trauma, then you understand how any reminder of that event triggers an emotional reaction that feels like you are experiencing the event all over again. 

As you start to identify your triggers you need to ask yourself if something is truly a trigger or if you are just uncomfortable, which would fall more under the lines of comfort zone barriers. Verywellmind.com has a great article that takes a closer look at triggers and what they mean that I found helpful. 

Not only will identifying your triggers be helpful for your personal growth, it is also the first step in narrowing the breath practices best suited for you. How you cope with these triggers is the next identifier to narrow even more. 

Identifying your personal coping mechanisms

Throughout your life, you have learned different strategies to help protect yourself when you sense danger. When your triggers signal the alarm your brain immediately starts putting things into play designed to keep you safe. Often these mechanisms are outdated and end up holding you back from growth. In turn, you end up full of unnecessary anxiety or become depressed. 

Survival mode looks different for everyone so it’s important to get to know how you cope. 

When you feel triggers do you…

  • Get angry and start moving into an aggressive state? 
  • Get frustrated and feel completely overwhelmed?
  • Fall into self-loathing and allow the thoughts of worthlessness to set in?
  • Feel hopeless and fall into destructive behavior?
  • Put on a happy face and bury all the pain until you feel like you might burst?
  • Feel victimized and look for someone else to blame?

Odds are you do one or many of these things. Other less common coping mechanisms might look like…

  • Netflix binging
  • Over or under eating
  • Procrastination
  • Excessive cleaning
  • Not getting out of bed

There are a ton of reasons we resort back to our patterns, and it stems from our reptilian brain working in survival mode. Becoming aware of how you cope when things feel out of control will give you a starting line for your breath journey. 

Breathwork is designed to support you

To simplify, when you get triggered your emotional center either rises to a head spin of thoughts and you get anxious, or you collapse, and start self-isolating, resulting in a more depressed outlook. 

When you invite breathwork to the table as a healthy way to cope and break free from these patterns, you will find that what works best for a more anxious system is different than what works best for a depressed system. Gauging on where you currently stand will be helpful. 

  • Do you hang out more in the fight or flight realm? 
  • Or the rest and recover realm?

Let’s take a look at both.

Fight or Flight

If you are someone who is easily anxious then we are talking about the Sympathetic Nervous System, or your fight or flight response system. The better place to start breathing is with more relaxed patterns. These calming practices help to guide your nervous system out of chaos and into a more relaxed or balanced state. 

For instance, if you are someone who copes by getting angry or gets overly anxious, then a more calming breath practice like 4-7-8 or 5×5 breathing would be more productive practice than something like circular breathing or breath of fire where you are consciously speeding up your breath. 

Allowing your exhales to be longer than your inhales slows down the mind and brings you out of panic and into balance. Balancing breathwork is always a great go-to when feeling triggers. Equal parts of inhales and exhales help both sides of the spectrum find balance. 5×5 breathing or 3-part breathing are both great starting points. 

Rest & Recover

The other side of this coin is those who carry a more depressed nervous system and lean towards the rest and recover or Parasympathetic Nervous System. Those who lose all energy when triggered. More active breathwork that brings the energy up will be the more effective way to start. Breathwork that activates the system like bellows breath that uses your stomach as a way to pump air quickly in and out, as well as more holotropic practices that double your breathing rate. Practice breathwork that really drives up your body’s energy and activates your nervous system. 

Bringing your energy levels up is going to be an important part of breaking patterns. You want to activate the heart by increasing the air and blood flow moving through it. This helps release feelings of lethargy. 

Breathwork is about learning how to live a healthy life by utilizing the power of your breath. Something we all have access to and with practice can more actively control. 

Any mindfulness practice comes with a certain amount of allowance. If you want change, you have to do something different, and this is where people get stuck. 

This is not an overnight pill out of anxiety or depression. Breathwork is a tool to add to your box to keep you mentally sound when you feel triggered and find yourself prone to certain unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

When you are interested in learning more and want a breath coach to keep you accountable, then check out Breath Mindset, my 4-week online breath course designed to help you breathe into a life you love. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with a Glacier Dip at Mount Rainier

Experience the Transformative Power of a Cold Plunge with Lynar DeLuca

When was the last time you treated yourself to a day at Mount Rainier? The lustrous mountain that can be seen from almost all points of King County. We live so close, yet can go years without a visit. Join Lynar DeLuca of The Breath Academy, and myself, for a day of exploring the Naches Loop Trail with an added Glacier dip down at Dewey Lake. A day that won’t soon be forgotten. 

There is a reason that this is one of the most popular trails on Mount Rainer: 

  • The stunning views
  • The light elevation gain
  • Wildflowers galore
  • Easily accessible

Every time I find myself here I am captured by the beauty of Tahoma. A stunning reminder of this place we call home and a humbling reminder of how small we really are. 

When you join us on Sunday, August 14th, you too will experience this stunning hike, as well as the added bonus of a trip down to Dewey Lake.

Dewey Lake

This is the most challenging part of the trail and almost doubles the length of the hike from 3.2 to 6 miles in total. The added elevation gain keeps most explorers from traveling down. 

Not us! 

This is the fun part, not to mention the cooling-off part. 

Because we will be starting early, to beat the crowds and enjoy the peaceful morning, we will miss the midday heat. That being said, the trail does have some stretches of full sunshine. Proper sun protection should be considered as well as sturdy hiking shoes for the descent, and climb from the Lake. The summer sun also brings one other element…

Mosquitos!

Lynar and I decided to do a trial run of the event this past week and found to our chagrin that the lake hosted an abundance of tiny (and not so tiny) bloodsuckers. This did not stop us from enjoying our time at the lake, but it did put a damper on our breathwork. Because of this we strongly recommend a mosquito hood for protection as well as lightweight long sleeves and long pant attire. 

Time To Take The Plunge!

Once at the lake the fun begins! Well, I mean besides the army of mosquitos. The hot August sun has warmed this lake, but the melting snow keeps it at a refreshingly cool temp.

Here in this scenic retreat, you will be guided through some circular breathwork. Preparing your mind and body for the refreshing, cold glacier waters.

The breathwork will help to calm your nerves as your adrenaline begins to rise. After which you will have an opportunity to get your suits on, (yes, there will be a private changing space), and take a horse stance with us in the shallow end. As your feet take in the cold your mind will settle into focus. 

Now you are ready to take the plunge. 

Lynar is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Teacher and Breath Coach who has a passion for cold exposure and sharing its incredible benefits with other people. She has been practicing cold dips since moving to Washington almost 15 years ago and has been practicing breathwork for 5 years. Various breath practices have helped her relieve stress and anxiety, while cold exposure has helped her push past the limits of what the mind thinks is possible. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! And your opportunity to get comfortable being uncomfortable. During your 2 minutes submerged in the lake, Lynar and I will be with you the whole time. Breathing, humming, focusing, and guiding you through. Allowing you the time and space to find your inner stillness and come out stronger on the other side. 

After everyone has had an opportunity to feel the power of the cold, we will dry off, get dressed and head back up to the main trail to be rewarded by panoramic views of the mountain. Together we will enjoy some snacks and good conversation before finishing off the loop and heading home. 

Breathe in Nature

If you are looking for something fun to do this August and want to stretch yourself in a powerful way then this is the adventure for you!

This is the 5th installment of the Breathe in Nature series and one that all the members have been looking forward to. There are only a few spots remaining and we would love for you to join us. 

Read more about Breathe in Nature here and join us before it’s too late.

30 Seconds to Better Confidence 

Simple Shifts that can lead to big changes

The biggest breakthrough in your life comes when you are feeling confident. It’s impossible to accomplish greatness when your confidence is low. It’s those times when you are not questioning and second guessing yourself that you start seeing all the blessings flow into your life. Why is that? What factors determine where your confidence is?

Most people struggle in this area, and it’s easy to understand why:

  • Economic uncertainty
  • Rising gas prices
  • Inflation

With so much uncertainty it’s easy to feel like our lives are spinning out of control. When things seem to be spiraling downward it can really shake your confidence.

All of these things happening in the world are very real and it’s no wonder collectively we are struggling. Why then do some people seem to thrive despite all the turmoil surrounding them?

It’s challenging to stay confident and self-assured when your outer world feels like a dumpster fire. But only if you are putting your faith in the outer world.

If you are stuck on the never ending roller coaster of outer world tragedy then you will never achieve true confidence. By harnessing the true power and confidence you hold inside, you will be able to turn on your confidence when you need it most. 

Making the Confidence Shift

Shifting your confidence takes work. We have spent years piling on many layers about who and what we are. We learn what is and isn’t okay from our parents, siblings, teachers, and community. Heck, I was told I had chicken legs by a kid in school whose name I can’t even remember! Yet it affected me so deeply that I didn’t show my legs for decades, and still brush off any compliment I’ve gotten about them as someone just being kind. Talk about a confidence buster. I have many I continue to work through.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to start making the shift…

  • What are you doing that hijacks your confidence?
    • Gossiping
    • Watching the news
    • Scrolling social media
  • Do you ever find your mind wandering to all the possible negative outcomes?
    • Failure
    • Regret
    • Loss
  • Do you get caught up in the “What if’s” of life?
    • What if this doesn’t work out
    • What if they laugh at me
    • What if I lose everything

The good news is, if you’re thinking these thoughts it’s because you can see more for yourself than you currently have. You understand that some faith is required to take the next step and with faith comes confidence. 

Confidence > Doubt

When you are ready to step into a more fulfilled experience you are bound to be faced with all kinds of emotions. A battle begins to take place between confidence and doubt. And the one that wins is the one you feed. 

Anything worthwhile is going to bring up uncertainty because it’s outside your comfort zone and that’s a good thing. It shows that you do have confidence and on some level are toying with the idea of stepping into the unknown. 

This should bring up questions! The challenge is listening to how you answer those questions. Do you lean towards doubt? Or towards success?

So much of your success comes from the confidence you put behind your work. Asking questions is a great way to see where your confidence is so you can begin to navigate it towards growth. 

And you can do this in 30 seconds or less by focusing on these 3 things.

  1. Pay attention to your self-narrative

Begin to notice the stories you are playing in your head throughout the day. Notice your role in those stories. 

  • Are you a victim?
  • Are you kind?
  • Do you see yourself winning or losing?
  • How do you view others around you? As friend or foe?

How you see the world is how you see yourself

Your perspective on the things in your life shapes how you approach life. If you believe people are looking to hurt you or rip you off then that is what you will see. Likewise, if you see the universe as abundant that is what you will see. 

If you are feeling low on your confidence, take a look around and start to rewrite these stories. Catch yourself in the middle of a self-sabotaging narrative and ask yourself, “Is this helping me or hurting me?” And adjust it accordingly. Write yourself into a world that is supportive of you and you will begin to see evidence of that.

  1. Focus on what you’re good at

When looking to build your confidence it’s best to focus on what you already know you’re good at. Too often when faced with big challenges we start to focus on all the reasons why this is hard or why you can never be, have, or do whatever it is. Instead…

turn your focus toward the things you know you can do. 

When I opened my first business I was paralyzed by the taxes. I was certain I was going to mess everything up and end up owing my life in fees. I was so focused on it that other aspects of my business were taking a back seat and I found myself angry and thinking this isn’t what I want to do! Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to. I could pay someone to do my taxes, and it was well worth it too. Not only did I know that my finances were being taken care of, but I didn’t have to stress, cry, and lose sleep over it. It allowed me space to focus on what I am really great at: sales, people, relationships. The things I knew I had down and the things that brought me joy and reminded me why I went into business for myself in the first place. 

Whatever you are working on it is essential to keep your head in the right mindset. When you are feeling good confidence will pour out of you.

So what are you really good at?

  1. Step away from negative conversation

When you engage in gossip or join the “This place sucks” crowd, you are fertilizing your brain for judgment. For no reason you feel superior, placing yourself and your life as much more worthy than that of another. 

This type of toxic behavior keeps you stuck in the energy of entitlement. Idle conversation is for those idle of mind. If you want to be more confident then it is imperative that you start walking away from toxic conversations. 

We have all done it; finding ourselves steeped in the good tea and enjoying it. Maybe even passing the tea along to another because it was so good. 

If this is you, the first step is to recognize it and then learn to keep your mouth shut when it is not your business to tell. Like all things, this is a practice, but the sooner you adopt it the sooner your inner confidence will shine. 

Confidence Comes from Within

Believe it or not, just talking yourself up, or setting out to achieve a new goal instantly boosts your confidence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Focus on what makes you great, and start moving with that in mind. 

Even if it feels odd at first, the quickest way to build your confidence is to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 

Life will continue to come at you with curveballs and unexpected adventures. It is up to how you choose to meet these inevitable outer circumstances that will determine a lot of how you see yourself in the world. 

A tool I use is breathwork. And in my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset, we dive into using your breath to build a better mindset and with it confidence to go boldly in the directions of your dreams. 

Going Against the Flow with Viloma Pranayama

Change Your Mental Patterns by Changing Your Breath Patterns

Pranayama is the yogi way of saying breath control. It comes from the root words prana, meaning life force or energy source, and yama, meaning to control. Put the two together and you get life energy control. It is also well established that your breath is the bridge between your inner and outer world. As we continue to link this further we begin to understand that if breath is your life energy that you can control and it moves between your internal world and your external world, then essentially you have the power to expand your prana to make purposeful changes in your life. 

Breathwork has become very popular these days, which is super cool, but it’s more than just learning how to manipulate the breath in different ways. 

Pranayama Breathwork is about enhancing your health, changing your energy levels, and finding balance in your mind. 

Viloma pranayama

Viloma means to go against the natural flow. This is a basic breathing technique designed to help you expand the breath cavity. It is done by interrupting the natural flow of breath consciously to cultivate control and awareness of being. 

Deliberate pauses are inserted into each round of breath. Not only does this technique help you to take deeper fuller breath, it also helps bring your mind into focus. Whenever you hold your breath, even for a second, your mind becomes hyper aware and all other thoughts take a back seat. These deliberate pauses put micro amounts of stress on the body to prepare you for more dynamic pranayama techniques. Many of which entail longer periods of breath retention and holds. 

This practice sets a solid foundation for your breathing practice. 

Any time you consciously manipulate your natural breathing pattern you need to be aware of potential side effects. Those who have hypertension or heart disease for instance, shouldn’t hold their pause in a Viloma practice for more than a second or two. If you have epilepsy, are pregnant, or have any health concern that demands attention, you should check with your health care provider before doing any breath holds longer than two to three seconds. 

As we go through the practice below, know that for our purposes here we will not be asking you to practice holds longer than 3 seconds. 

How to Practise Viloma Pranayama

Viloma Pranayama has three versions or stages. Each one builds upon the last. What makes Viloma unique is that the three versions can be done in one session as you build through the stages, or it can be practiced as three separate techniques. 

The three versions are…

  1. Viloma 1- Breath is interrupted on the inhalation
  2. Viloma 2 – Breath is interrupted on the exhalation
  3. Viloma 3 – The breath is interrupted on both the inhalation and the exhalation

Three-Part-Breathing is a helpful and simple technique to understand and have some practice in before attempting Viloma pranayama. The basics of 3-part-breathing is simply inhaling through your nose into your belly, out through your ribcage, and up into your chest. Then exhaling out the chest, through the ribcage, and emptying through the belly. Like an elevator, 

Inhale – Belly, Ribcage, Chest

Exhale – Chest, Ribcage, Belly

You can watch my youtube video here

Viloma 1

In the first stage, the breath is interrupted during the inhalation followed by a long smooth continuous exhalation. This is where I like to incorporate 3-part-breathing because it helps identify markers for the pause, or interruption. Basically, you will breathe into the belly, pause, breathe through the ribcage, pause, and up into the chest, pause, and then exhale slowly. 

Stage 1 builds tension during the inhalation while allowing you to get a full deep breath. After this tension has been built both your mind and body enjoy a nice release on the exhalation. 

As you practice Viloma 1 you will increase your lung capacity while training your body to let go of tension. Everyday micro decisions build small amounts of tension, and in life there are times when it is helpful to pause and recognize what’s happening in the body. This technique helps you let go of that tension before you hit a boiling point. It is a mental rehearsal in letting go. 

Let’s try it.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your focus to the tip of your nose. 
  • Begin noticing the natural flow of breath moving in and out through your nose. 
  • After a couple rounds start consciously dividing your breath into 3 parts.
    • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, and chest.
    • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • Once comfortable with this division we begin by inhaling for 3 seconds into the belly about one-third of your capacity and pausing for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling for 3 seconds as you consciously widen through your ribcage bringing yourself to two-thirds of your breath capacity, then pause again for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now fill up completely as we expand out into our chest with full lungs for 3 seconds and pause one last time, 1-2 seconds more.
  • Then release on one smooth exhale — slow and steady for 9 seconds. 
  • Do 5 – 10 rounds.

While it is important to fill up to your full lung capacity, it is equally important to not add undue stress by creating strain in your shoulders, back, or throat. As you notice your body through this practice see that you are not feeling tight in your head and that your body is relaxed. 

Viloma 2

The second stage of Viloma is done in the same way but the interruption comes on the exhalation. Beginning with a nice steady inhale and letting air in 3 parts on the exhale. 

As you move into this stage take time to notice how you feel changing the point of tension from the inhalation to the exhalation. During this stage you get to enjoy the sensations of a nice full deep breath in. It is in the exhale that you mentally experience the response to releasing tension in a controlled manner. Here again it relates to life. Noting the importance of cautiously and slowly letting go of tension. Sometimes under stress we tend to react without thinking, and Viloma 2 reminds us to slowly release tension in a mindful manner. 

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath. 
  • Notice any tension still remaining in the body after Viloma 1, and continue to release it with every exhale.
  • Return to 3-part breathing
  • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, chest.
  • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • After a couple nourishing rounds take one long steady inhalation for a full 9 seconds, allowing your lungs to fill completely.
  • Now exhale out of your chest for 3 seconds, allowing about a third of your breath to go. As your chest drops, keep conscious that your ribcage is still lifted and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Exhale another third of air from your ribcage for 3 seconds and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now let the final third of air go completely as your navel naturally hugs back towards your spine and naturally hold until the body feels called to the next long smooth inhalation.
  • Repeat 5-10 rounds.

Be cautious that you are making this an unhurried process. Keep the rest of your body loose while maintaining stillness. With practice, Viloma 2 will increase breath capacity while managing mental tension, allowing you to be more responsive instead of reactive.

Viloma 3

By the third stage you should be feeling a deep connection and control over the flow of your breath. Your breathing should resonate deep into your belly and your body should feel relaxed. Once this is true for you, you will be ready to move into stage 3. Viloma 3 is revitalizing! You will interrupt the breath on both the inhalation and the exhalation, maintaining control over the entire breath cycle. Filling up in 3 parts with a pause, and exhaling in 3 parts with a pause.

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath.
  • Do a couple rounds of long steady inhales and exhales.
  • Begin the third stage on an inhale, deep into the belly for 3 seconds, and pause for another 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling up into your ribcage for 3 seconds, and pausing once more for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of your breath will move into your chest for 3 seconds bringing you to a full breath. You will hold here at the top for 1-2 seconds.
  • Begin to exhale out from your chest for 3 seconds and about a third of the way through your breath. Hold here, keeping your sternum up for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue exhaling out the ribcage for another third of your breath and hold once again for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of breath leaves your body in the final 3 seconds of the round. This time followed by a longer hold. Unforced but pleasantly empty of air until your body naturally inhales into the next wave of breath.
  • Continue for 5-10 rounds.

Another way to look at Viloma 3 is like a ladder where your breath is moving up and down like steps. It could also be helpful to take a natural inhale and exhale between each round.

With each round the breath capacity develops and with practice the pause and hold times can become longer. This slows the breath and the mind, helping you to open up to the subtlety of your body and navigate through thoughts in your head with more clarity and focus. 

Putting it all together

Now you should have a pretty good understanding of the three stages of Viloma pranayama. Check out my YouTube Channel for more information.