Every person on the planet knows that when a woman is in labour and giving birth to a child, that the constant reminder is to breathe.
Most of the time we don’t even realise that we are holding our breath when we are in pain. When we hurt ourselves or feel a vicious cramp or spasm, we are more likely to swear before we take our next breath. Holding our breath increases muscle tension which in turn increases the pain. If you notice that you are taking short, shallow breaths while in pain, trying to slowly draw out those breaths into longer inhales and exhales may help.
So when we are in the moment of pain and waiting for it to pass or ease, here are some neat little breathing meditation practices to try to relax our bodies:
- Deep breathing – right down to your feet. Breathe in through your nose and imagine you are filling your whole body with air.
- Count each breath until you count up to ten, then start again. This practice is genius because you forget how many repetitions of counting to ten you have done, whereas if you keep counting on, it might stress you as you see the numbers increase how long you’ve been counting for.
- Square breathing – Imagine the outline of a square and each side is a breath. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts and pause for 4 counts.
- Tense all your muscles for a few moments and then release them. Let your body feel really heavy and sink into wherever you are lying or sitting.
- Close your eyes and visualise a quiet favourite place and imagine all the sensations of being there – what you hear, smell, feel, see and taste.
Try practicing these techniques on a regular basis when you aren’t in pain, so that if pain does occur, you have some accessible strategies up your sleeve to act on.
Take good care, Readers. I’ll keep the light on.
My Meditation Journey
My journey with meditation had a lot of false starts and it was definitely a skill that once I started with the right intentions and reasons, I haven’t stopped and it has become the most valuable practice in my life. Read more about my meditation journey here:
My Favourite Meditation Resources
Following on from my meditation journey post, I thought I would share some of my favorite meditation apps, teachers and people!
Ending Each Day On A Good Note: My Daily Gratitude Practice
After a long day of trying to keep your head up and survive, it can be hard to remember the good little things that happened during the day. Gratitude becomes a giant exhale for the day. Get the bad stuff out of the way, and let’s focus on the good things and lighten the load.
Book Therapy – Care: The Radical Art Of Taking Time
One of my all-time favorite people to recommend is Brooke McAlary and her new book, Care, helps us work out what to do when the world’s problems feel too big and we are burnt out from trying, and we need to restore ourselves so that we can continue to care for things.
Taking Care of Yourself First
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.