One of the essential habits I help my Happy Healthy Habits course members implement in their lives is Breath-Body Practice.
I call it Breath-Body Practice instead of ‘exercise’ or ‘working out’ because it’s about connecting our breath with our bodies and honoring our need for movement, rather than subjecting ourselves to disembodied physical activity because we ‘should.’
In today’s culture, so many of us are pushing ourselves nonstop, working long hours and then unwinding with TV, social media, video games, etc. – all things that keep our minds wired and our bodies lethargic. This leaves our minds on high alert all the time, and at the same time keeps us totally disconnected from our bodies.
This disconnect from our bodies results in all sorts of health challenges, including autoimmune issues, chronic diseases, brain fog, exhaustion, and even a psychologically dysfunctional relationship with food, with exercise, with our bodies in general. Instead of tuning into what our bodies really want and need in order to make choices throughout our days, we’re relying on external sources to tell us what to do.
One way to create more connection with our bodies is to move first thing in the morning, and do it in a way that respects how our bodies actually want to move.
Starting the day by taking time to connect breath and body through movement can make such a difference in the quality of the rest of the day. It makes us more likely to ask ourselves what choices will make us feel good. It makes us much more apt to move our bodies the rest of the day, whether that’s getting up from the desk and taking a lap around the office, pausing for a one minute dance party, or stretching while waiting for the bus. It makes us more present to our days, more likely to enjoy the little pleasures of life.
10 Tips for Implementing Your Own Breath-Body Practice:
- Schedule it in your calendar and/or set an alarm to do it first thing.
- Pay attention to your breath. In order to get the most bang for your buck, you want to pay attention to your breath while you’re moving. You’ll be amazed by how much more connected you’ll start to feel to your body once you start noticing your breath! That’s not to say you can’t listen to music or a podcast, or use a workout video, but I would suggest doing part of your movement practice in silence to focus on the breath, even if it’s only for one minute.
- Start as close to the same time every day as possible. But don’t let that deter you from doing **something** at any time if you miss that window! Remember: done is better than perfect.
- After hydrating and eliminating in the morning, go right to breath-centered movement. Don’t delay or you risk distraction.
- Aim for consistency. A ten-minute daily practice is exponentially better than a two-hour weekly practice.
- Make sure you’re well-rested before increasing your exercise intensity. If you’re not well-rested, sleep!! Then walk or do something gentle.
- Get out any equipment you may need the night before, whether that’s a yoga mat, weights, your car keys to get to the gym, your workout clothes and tennis shoes… or maybe you need to pull up a workout video on your computer or TV so it’s ready to go in the morning!
- Set goals for yourself and track your progress. Plan your workout times and what you want to get done weekly in advance. This doesn’t mean planning out every single day and sticking to it without fail. Instead, plan out what you want to get done that week, and then base your daily workouts around which of those things sounds appealing that day.
- Go with what appeals to you each day unless you’ve been in a rut. When we’re out of balance, we often crave things that bring us further out of balance. So beware of that, and notice when you might need to do the opposite of what your mind might try to convince you it wants. You’ll likely know when this is the case, because it won’t actually leave you feeling that good.
- Switch it up! If you’ve been doing gentle yoga for a while, do some more challenging strength training, and vice versa. Expand your repertoire of movements, fitness, skills, and healing exercises so you become more body adept
What movement is your body craving? Let me know what you plan to do to make it happen!