Man. Last week was exhausting. I’m not sure if you watched the Senate Judiciary Committee question Dr. Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh…but wow. I watched almost every minute of the 8 hours of testimony and found myself sad, frustrated, and completely exhausted. I struggled for several days with focus and concentration as my mind processed what is unfolding. For a while I was not even able to accurately articulate my thoughts or emotions related to all of it. To be honest, I’m not even sure I’m able to now.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics. What I realized last week, along with many across the world, is that there is a lot of fucked up stuff going on. We need to pay attention, but we also need to be sure we take care of ourselves. It’s good to learn and to feel and to process and to talk, but it’s also necessary to set that shit aside and come back into yourself. This allows you to “fill your cup” especially after something that drains it.
Today we are going to focus on the breath. So simple, so basic, but so important. There are a bazillion breathing exercises to find online, in a yoga class, or in a book, but today we’re going to keep it simple. We are just going to focus on two things: breath and sensation. You need no special tools, just yourself and your lungs. Don’t forget your lungs.
Read through this and then set it aside, close your eyes, and breathe. Set an alarm on your phone for however long you’d like. I suggest even starting with 5-10 minutes.
Find a comfortable position. You can lie down, sit up (feet on the floor, please), or stand. Close your eyes. First, just take a cleansing breath. A deep breath in through the nose, and a full exhale out of your mouth. Do it again if it feels good. Now, close your mouth. Notice your breath. Don’t judge it- just notice. Notice what it feels like entering your nose, entering your throat, and filling your lungs. Notice what it feels like as you exhale. Your chest condensing, warm air escaping your lungs. What does it feel like? Repeat this. Don’t change anything about your breathing. Just notice. Take in new oxygen filling your lungs, delivering what is needed to each part of you. Breathe out fully, ridding what your body no longer needs. Keep breathing. If your mind wanders to something else that is ok. Just gently pull it back to the breath noticing each inhale and each exhale.
I wanted to share this little exercise with you as it gotten me through the past few days. I needed periods where I was able to focus on nothing but the present and recenter myself. Breathing is awesome because you can do it anywhere: at home, at work, in the car (just keep your eyes open!), and experience the benefits. My hope is that this is helpful to you as well.