I don’t know about you guys, but when I used to work a corporate job I used to come home from a long day at the computer, and I didn’t have a single bit of energy remaining. Sitting and working all day long was exhausting, even though I didn’t actually move my body. I especially didn’t pay much attention to my breathing.
I would have grandiose ideas of coming home to meditate and exercise, but I was just too tired. If I closed my eyes in lotus pose, I would probably fall over and pass out.
This daily fatigue came to mind a few weeks back when I spent a week out of town working at my laptop all day long (instead of teaching throughout my day). In just 5 days of computer work (sitting in a library with a work station I couldn’t control), my back and neck hurt far too much. I had huge plans to visit the local baseball stadium, or go to a concert, and yet I came home every evening tired and satisfied to just eat dinner and chillax.
It’s taken two weeks to recover from this one week of a corporate lifestyle. This week reminded me what it is like to be in the shoes of the millions of people who do what I did; sit and work at the computer for hours on end.
This habit just left me too tired to add self care into my already busy, over scheduled, over technologized day.
So, today I want to share a simple breathing exercise that will offer you a lot of bang for your buck. This exercise kills two birds with one stone. It can get you two outs with one pitch. You get the picture.
Before I link the video, here are a few benefits from doing this easy, 30 second exercise:
- Improves blood circulation, through focused breathing, which in turn helps with energy
- Increases diaphragm and intercostal muscular awareness through controlled inhalation and exhalation
- Improves awareness of the back muscles thereby decreasing tightness in the neck muscles
- Increases meditative mental focus through counting and breathe awareness
- Improves TVA (abdominal) contraction which leads to a stronger core
Here is how it’s done:
- Start sitting or standing in good posture. If you are sitting, this means sitting up tall on your sitz bones at the base of your pelvis.
- Place a pillow, a sweatshirt, a blanket or anything soft under each armpit. Use your elbows to push into the pillow and keep those elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Pull your TVA muscle into your spine. Click here for details on how to do this.
- Focus on breathing into the pillows under each armpit. The goal is to make the pillows move apart on your inhalations, and move together on your exhalations.
- Push your elbows gently into your pillows, and push them down gently towards the ground and feel your armpit muscle engage. This action helps to pull the tension out of the neck muscles.
- Breathe IN 3 times through your nose, and breathe out 3 times through your mouth. When you breath out you can make a HA sound. This emphasizes the abdominal contraction. Take your time with each breath, but keep the movement rhythmic.
Here is the video. Watch the whole thing as it shows the exercise in 3 angles.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I aim to keep my tips short and sweet. I know you’re busy (I am too and feel you pain). Therefore, these exercises are meant to be snippets you can add into your day without taking too much time away from your to ever growing to-do list.
Grab some pillows and give it a try. Email me back and let me know how it feels. Or if someone around you comments positively on your percussive, rhythmic breathing. Be sure to comment below!