You have an extra day to the weekend. Hopefully this is giving you the time and space to slow down a little, relax a little more, take in all the little things in your life that make you smile. Be grateful, gracious, and breathe.
If you can, take a moment to focus on your breathing. How you breathe impacts your entire body, mind, and emotions. Hard, fast breathing impacts heart rate and your nervous system – ensuring adequate blood flow and innervation of your muscles to facilitate awesome athletic performance and feats of power. That fight or flight response that makes wee people like us into superheroes for moments. Even hours.
But we don’t always want to be in that overly or even slightly stressed state. And, once again, how we breathe impacts our ability to truly relax and restore.
The ribcage, abdomen, and diaphragm work together to move air in and out of your lungs. When you inhale, your brain signals your diaphragm to contract. The lungs sit on top of and are attached to the diaphragm, so as the diaphragm descends – on inhale – it pulls the lungs down, stretching them and creating space. This allows the outside air to rush in. At the same time – remember the diaphragm descends or moves down when it contracts – the organs and fluid in the abdominal cavity are pushed down causing the belly to gently bulge. When the breath is complete the brain stops signaling the diaphragm to contract, the muscle relaxes, and the tissue spring back to their original position forcing air out of the lungs and creating an exhalation.
In diaphragmatic breathing, at the beginning of your inhalation, you gently contract your superficial abdominal muscles. This creates a slight brace, preventing the belly from puffing too much, and encouraging the lower border of the ribcage to lift and swing outwards. The base of lungs expand from side to side and front to back instead of only moving downwards. Complete exhalation is facilitated by completely relaxing the diaphragm. The lower ribs are no longer being pulled upon and can descend and move towards the midline of your body. You are, in effect, emptying the lungs by moving the lower ribs “down and in” which will make extra room for fresh air on your next inhalation.
- Lie on your back.
- Place a pillow under your knees if this makes you more comfortable.
- Relax your neck, chest, and shoulders.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, making a gentle “HA” sound as you exhale.
- Progress to exhaling through your nose, maintaining the same shape in the back of your throat as you did when you were saying “HA”.
- Lie your palms on the lower part of your ribcage so the tips of your middle fingers touch at the end of each exhalation about 2 inches below your sternum.
- As you begin to inhale, gently tighten your outer abdominal muscles.
- Continue to inhale keeping the belly relatively stable, encouraging instead your diaphragm to spread your lower ribs swing up and apart so the tips of your fingers separate.
- As you exhale, again keep the belly stable.
- Encourage the ribs to move down and in by relaxing the diaphragm.
- On each exhale, try releasing a little extra air. Avoid forcing the movement, rather consciously try to relax the diaphragm and swing the ribs further down and in.
Meg’s Tip: I like taking this time to enjoy a little classical piano when I practice my breathing. After 3 - 4 minutes, I move into my mobility work and find the mindful breathing makes these exercises so much more effective.
Inspiration of the Day
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey
Live Workouts of the Day
Like you, our instructors are making this a long weekend, so there are no live workouts today. But, we are pleased to offer you our Virtual Class Library, which includes previously recorded workouts with all of our amazing instructors.
Live workouts will resume, like normal, tomorrow morning!
Click here to view this week’s schedule.
To learn more about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren directly.
Trainer Moves of the Day
Take the time to unwind, breathe, restore your body and spirit, and spend a few precious moments with Susan Young.
Bite of the Day
Organic Apple Cinnamon Chips
Nicole Tisdale, Events Supervisor at Stratus, knows that holiday Mondays sometimes require extra snacks, so today she’s bringing you a delicious, healthy snack that’s perfect for you and your kids – Organic Apple Cinnamon Chips!
- 3 large sweet Organic apples
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Wash apples and cut thin rounds of apple slices. As you cut, remove the stem and seeds
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and arrange raw apple slices
- Sprinkle cinnamon on slices
- Bake the apple chips for two hours under 200 degrees. Flip slices every half hour to get the best crunch out of every bite!
Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.