Updated: Jul 1, 2021
I think it's pretty amazing that it took me until my late twenties/early thirties to realize the power that our breath holds. I know if you're here, you probably didn't know me before my fitness career. Or maybe you did and you see as much of a change as I do. Or maybe you don't and that's okay, too.
My point is that I was in the "I can't meditate" and "I am breathing, aren't I?" "Breathing supplies oxygen and I am capable of doing that, am I not?" But I was constantly stressed out, anxious, depressed in a rush, thinking about the next thing. I never stopped to smell the roses, or even notice that they were there because I was always in my head. Working towards... I'm not even sure what. An idea of life that I have been programmed to think mattered-- what I did for work was my identity. What other people thought, mattered more than what I thought. I wanted to be productive and successful. But at what cost to myself?
Fast forward to maybe a year ago. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure when I recognized the importance of breath and slowing down. It may have started in 2019 and early into 2020 when I started actually feeling the benefits of meditating daily after starting my "fitness journey" in 2017. I began to recognize the level of preoccupation I had faced for as long as I can remember. I learned it is literally a key to getting better at resting, slowing down and being in the moment. To turning off the body's fight, flight or freeze system, even just temporarily. Down regulation. I never knew I needed something more than I needed that -- my type A, anxiety-ridden, and tense self could finally take a deep breath for the first time and actually feel what that means to some people!
So, my first recommendation to anyone who has stumbled upon this -- is to slow down. Take 10 breaths for yourself--
Count to four as you inhale, hold that breath while you count to seven at the same tempo, then exhale that breath as you count to eight.
Try to do that anytime you think of it. Don't have time for 10 breaths? Do 5! This takes no time and you can do it anywhere! Try to do this at least once per day for a full week and see how you feel. Circle back and let me know and next week I'll go into some more nerdy details about this topic.
I plan to use this blog space to open up about my own journeys and bring up the topics that after 3 years of a total career change -- I think are truly important. I always say I'm not like most trainers, and what I mean by that is that we are complex creatures with a ton of systems working (or not) together to make us feel our best. When we don't slow down to look at everything and we just focus on one aspect, like fitness, we find the ebb and flow of motivation and often times participation. My goal is through education and habit formation, to get my clients to a point where they don't have to think about diets or the next fad workout to try. They know what they need and they are capable of hearing the messages their bodies are telling them.