VAL IS BACK!
As you know, Val worked on The Skinny Confidential team for about 3 years. She was such an asset & one of the most amazing team members I could’ve ever asked for. She recently had to leave us ( so sad ) to move to Bali. She was exploring some new endeavors & going on her own journey. Val is so smart & well-spoken so I love it when she is on the blog.
Today we’re going to discuss how breathwork & meditation can help you become more mindful, less stressed, & less anxious. Her last post was about how to find friends & become part of a community when you move to a new city/town/country. You gotta check it out.
Val is a real star when it comes to self-care & wellness so I couldn’t be more excited to have her back on The Skinny Confidential. I absolutely adore her.
With that, let’s welcome Val back to TSC.
For over 13 years I struggled with mental dis-ease from eating disorders, chronic depression, & substance abuse. Meditation is the habit that saved me from me. I started meditating by accident. Inspired by my eating disorder, I walked into my first yoga class at age 18 ready for a ‘workout’ that would make me thin & attractive. Little did I know the journey I was about to embark on. Now, I won’t go & say that meditation is the only thing that helped me; however, it was the foundation of my healing & STILL IS the cornerstone of my fulfillment & happiness.
The meditation practice provided me an opportunity to transform my life from one of self-destruction to self-fulfillment. Through meditation, I learned that we are not our thoughts. We get to choose which thoughts we want to accept & which ones we want to let go of. We can consciously construct our reality & perspective of the world.
There are many meditation styles that I use however, my go-to meditation practice is breathwork. Breathwork is a style of meditation that is ACCESSIBLE to everyone. Really! If you thought meditation wasn’t for you- it’s too hard, you don’t have time, you’re not sure if you’re doing it right – then breathwork meditation is your ANSWER. It’s meditation for people who ‘can’t’ meditate.
It is now my privilege to share this powerful tool with people & support them in becoming their most magical selves. I guide people through breath journeys & support them in creating a sustainable meditation practice.
Today I am going to share what meditation is & its benefits, why you want to try breathwork specifically, & an EASY breath practice for ANXIETY.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
There are many misconceptions around what meditation is & how to meditate. Meditation is a process to train your mind to focus & redirect your thoughts. From this perspective, you can consciously & intentionally cultivate the mindset & worldview you wish to experience. Now, that being said, there are many styles & techniques of meditation including visualization, sound, mantra, breathwork, mindfulness, active, the list goes on & on. I’m here to talk about BREATHWORK.
First, let’s discuss some of the many science-backed benefits of meditation. It’s important to remember that these benefits are not instant. It’s called a meditation PRACTICE for a reason. It takes consistency & time, however, it’s worth it. This is something you can do for the rest of your life. This list comes from Psychology Today:
♡ It boosts your health.
Decreases pain ( here )
♡ It boosts your happiness.
Decreases depression ( here )
♡ It boosts your social life.
Think meditation is a solitary activity? It may be ( unless you meditate in a group, which many do! ), but it actually increases your sense of connection to others:
Makes you feel less lonely
♡ It boosts your self-control.
Improves your ability to regulate your emotions ( here ). ( Ever flown off the handle or not been able to quiet your mind? Here’s the key. )
♡ It changes your brain ( for the better ).
Increases grey matter ( here )
Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention ( here )
♡ It improves your productivity ( yup, by doing nothing ).
Improves your ability to multitask ( here)
Improves your memory ( here )
Improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box ( research by J. Schooler )
♡ It makes you wise(r).
It gives you perspective.
By observing your mind, you realize you don’t have to be a slave to it. You realize it throws tantrums, gets grumpy, jealous, happy, & sad, but that it doesn’t have to run you. Meditation is quite simply mental hygiene: Clear out the junk, tune your talents, & get in touch with yourself.
Think about it, you shower every day & clean your body, but have you ever showered your mind? As a consequence, you’ll feel more clear & see things with greater perspective. “The quality of our life depends on the quality of our mind,” writes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We can’t control what happens on the outside but we do have a say over the quality of our mind. No matter what’s going on, if your mind is OK, everything is OK. Right now.
♡ It keeps you real.
Once you get to know your mind, you start to own your stuff & become more authentic, maybe even humble. You realize the stories & soap operas your mind puts you through, & you gain some perspective on them. You realize most of us are caught up in a mind-drama & become more compassionate towards others.
And… the more you meditate, the more you seem to benefit, research studies such as this one suggest.
( via )
WHAT IS BREATHWORK MEDITATION?
Breathwork meditation is a type of meditation where you focus on consciously breathing in a specific pattern. I find breathwork to be extremely accessible & powerful in its simplicity. There are various techniques of breath including pranayama, holotropic, & shamanic to name a few.
WHY TRY BREATHWORK MEDITATION?
The breath is our most vital nutrient. You can survive without food & water for weeks, yet if you stop breathing for more than a few minutes you will die. This day & age there is a big focus on wellness – from the food we eat to the sunscreen we wear YET there is little focus on how we are breathing.
**How are you breathing right now while reading this article?**
The style of how you breathe has a direct impact on your nervous system & your emotional state. There are various styles of breathing techniques for everything from energy, grief, anger, bliss, psychedelic states, intimacy, grounding, & joy. The list goes on.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BREATHWORK?
The benefits of breathwork meditation include the benefits of other meditation techniques with a few added bonuses.
♡ Stimulates the lymphatic system: 70% of our toxins are removed through the breath.
♡ Increases oxygen in the blood & removes C02 which helps put your body in an alkaline state.
♡ Helps physically release stagnant energy & emotions from the body.
♡ Creates an empowering space for self-healing of trauma & dis-harmony.
♡ It’s SIMPLE & almost everyone can do it.
SO are you curious & ready to give breathwork meditation a chance? Here is a simple practice you can do when you feel anxious that allows you to switch from your sympathetic nervous system ( fight-or-flight ) & activate your parasympathetic nervous system ( rest & digest ).
1 MINUTE BREATH FOR ANXIETY
You can do this anytime, anywhere when you start feeling anxious.
1. Begin & notice where you are breathing from: your chest? Your ribs? Your belly?
2. Take one full deep belly breath to pause & center yourself.
3. Inhale for 2 seconds through your nose.
4. Exhale for 4 seconds through your mouth.
5. Repeat this pattern for 10 rounds.
6. Notice how you feel afterward. Smile!
Bonus: Dab some lavender essential oil on your wrists or light some palo santo.
Breathwork meditation is a SIMPLE tool that can lead to big shifts in your state of being, especially when practiced consistently. If you try this breath please let me know about your experience! You can connect with me on IG @akasibeing. If you’re interested in learning more about breathwork & meditation I offer virtual 1:1 sessions, group journeys & share practical tips on my YouTube/Podcast show AKASI Being. You can receive a free 5 minute guided breathwork meditation & learn more on my website at www.akasi.us .
To connect with Val, stalk her Instagram here.
What other posts do you guys want to see from Val? She’s living a very interesting & different life, so I feel like she can teach all of us a little something about slowing down.
+ if you like this post, be sure to check out this one on breathing through your nose.
++ be sure to check out Val’s other post on making friends in a new place.