What Are You Holding On To? Four Breath Techniques to Help Let It Go
Has this ever happened to you?
Sitting at a frozen computer screen that threatens to erase hours of work on an overdue presentation.
Arriving harried at the boarding gate only to see the airplane doors close before you.
Being asked to make deductive observations an anonymous glass of wine that you’ve been given to assess. In public.
Finding yourself neck-deep in a very emotional and triggered conversation with a loved one.
These situations can all trigger blood pressure to rise, muscles to tighten, and likely cause you to hold your breath as your sympathetic nervous system kicks in, and your body prepares for “fight or flight”.
But the one thing that can actually release you from the emotional grip and help to recalibrate your energy and emotional state?
And when you harness that simple automated function of the body, you can truly help release the emotional response and let it (whatever “IT” is for you) all go.
Courtesy of the wellness website, Banyan Botanicals, here are four simple techniques that can help you regain composure and to refocus on the task at hand:
Easy: Equal-Part Breath
A Full Yogic Breath is taking equal length inhales and exhales focusing on the diaphragm as you breathe and is a simple technique to calm your nerves. A breath count of 4-5 is considered ideal, but breathing in a way that is comfortable is more important than the length of the breath.
2. Easy: The Four-Part Breath (Box Breath)
With the image of a box in your mind, simply trace each side of the box as you breathe in, hold and breathe out, hold. The action of holding your breath at the top and bottom of each inhale and exhale helps to soothe the nervous system. You can read more on this technique from a prior post here.
3. Moderate: Humming Bee Breath
Also known as “Bhramari Pranayama" humming bee is a soothing breath where you literally close your lips and hum as you exhale - like a bee!. The technique quietens the mind and calms the central nervous system, and is a soothing technique to encourage sound sleep.
4. Moderate: Alternate Nostril Breathing
A breath technique where you sit and literally block one nostril and inhale for a count, then exhale on the alternate nostril, is a very powerful means to reduce mental stress. The alternation helps focus the breath, and is highly effective at calming the nervous system and pacifying excess mental stimulation. In yogic texts, it is also called " “Nadi Shodhana”.
As part of my presentation at last month’s Australian Women in Wine Symposium and Awards, we took 60 seconds together to consciously count and focus on our breath. It’s no exaggeration that you could literally feel the room inhale and exhale as a collective, and the fidgety, electric, nervous excitement in the room began to calm, settle and focus.
Even some of the staff working the event stopped for a brief minute and you actually FELT the room calm down. People took a faithful leap, focused on their breath, and made a conscious commitment.
And then they shared some thoughts in private:
“I do it as I set up a tasting; it helps.”
“I have a reminder on my phone twice a day that tells me to breathe”
“It’s an app built into my fitbit – I’m trying to use it more”
Yes it’s understood that breath settles nerves and slows a racing heart. But more importantly, it helps you to stop, and find space.
And with space you can find compassion. For yourself, the situation, and those around you.
Then from compassion rises gratitude; being thankful for an accessible tool that we all have within reach in every waking moment.
Your breath is one of life’s rare and free gifts that never exhausts. So when you’re exasperated, anxious, nervous, cranky, teary, emotional or simply have nothing left. There will ALWAYS be the breath. Trust it.
So tell us how your breath helps you in your busy days, we’d love to know.
Meet The Tribe:
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Brian Cronin, MS
National Education Manager, Taub Family Selections (USA)
Years In Industry:
24 years in the Industry. I started as sommelier for Charlie Trotter (Chicago), then moved to San Francisco to work as a sommelier with Michael Mina, Gary Danko and alongside Shelly Lindgren at A16. I then worked with Jackson Family Wines as Education Manager prior to joining Taub Family Selections in 2015.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
Making sure I take time out for myself. With so much travel and being all over, all the time, it is so easy to take any free time to rest. First and foremost is making sure I do something to energize…even as simple as taking a walk. After a long flight may first thing after landing is usually to go for a run to recharge.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
When I am home I look out the view I have, which makes me want to go outside and do something for myself. If I am traveling I spend a bit looking for places to run, whether it be a park, an attraction, or a monument. It gives me something to look forward to besides just going somewhere for work. Thinking about a gym usually tires my mind, long before I even step foot into it.
What We’re Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
I’ve Seen My Feet Go Thousands of Miles…” - Brian Cronin MS
“It was also running which made me realize I had been running an emotional race my entire life. It had been a race which I have never been able to get ahead in. It was a race called depression.”
Breathing Through the Nose May Offer Unique Brain Benefits – New York Times
“The men and women were consistently much better at recognizing smells if they breathed through their noses during the quiet hour. Mouth breathing resulted in fuzzier recall and more incorrect answers.”
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! Page.
Guest Lecturer at INSEEC in Bordeaux, Jan. 21 – 26 (Cathy)
Attendee at ProWein in Düsseldorf, March 17 to 19 (Cathy)
Attendee at MUST: Fermenting Ideas in Cascais, Portugal, June 26 to 28 (Cathy)