"Smile, breathe and go slowly." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Often, I catch myself holding my breath. So today I chose to concentrate my 'kindness to self' practice on simply remembering to breathe. Being home with my little chicks all day, I had the opportunity to practice mindful breathing, as well as to do some deep breathing exercises.
I lit some incense to put me in the right frame of mind (my incense burner is an original piece of stained glass art created by my sister, Dianne.) As the earthy scent of Nag Champa swirled about my house, it carried me ever so gently into mindfulness and reminded me, every so often, to take a deeper breath.
I also practiced a relaxing, deep breathing exercise by Dr. Andrew Weil called 4-7-8 Breath:
Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge behind your front teeth; keep it there throughout the exercise. Exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sound. Then, inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and exhale audibly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat for four breath cycles two times a day.
Mid-day, I took a "breather" of another sort with a blend of white ayurvedic chai and jasmine pearl tea.
I inhaled its sweet & spicy fragrance and sipped it slowly while the girls played happily about my feet. Remembering to breathe consciously and deeply for just one day helped me to find some much-needed balance, an act of kindness I intend to continue.