Everyday Inspired Highlights
June Week 3
Feature: Kimberly Martin
Theme: “Practicing Pranayama”
My name is Kimberly and my wellness company is Intuitive Wisdom and Wellness.
Through yoga, pranayama, and mind-body wellness coaching I help groups and individuals find the intuitive wisdom that can lead each of us to optimal wellness. Before starting my wellness journey, I attended Franklin University where I earned a degree in Accounting and Business Administration. I had a full-time accounting job, was engaged to a great guy, and yet couldn’t appreciate any of it due to my anxiety, depression, and OCD.
I was seeing a psychiatrist and taking a plethora of pharmaceutical medications, yet nothing helped. I was hopeless and couldn’t see a way out!
Through some miracle I ended up at my first yoga class and fell in love! The breathing I experienced during the class is what had the most profound effect! I started to see light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to learn more. I attended Yoga on High’s teacher training program to become a yoga instructor and did a complete career change.
After my 200-hour teacher training, I was also trained as a pranayama and meditation coach. Today my psychiatrist is nature, and my medication is yoga. One of my favorite things to do is introduce people to the practice of pranayama; which translates into breath control, or conscious breathing. This practice helps you connect to the nervous system, tap into the intuitive wisdom of the body, and find increased wellness overtime! This week we will dive a little deeper into the practice of pranayama, looking at its benefits and how it is practiced.
A few fun facts about me….
1. I was born in Keflavik, Iceland
2. I love pole fitness (aka pole dancing!)
3. My favorite color is purple
Hey everyone! My name is Kimberly Martin and I’m the owner of wellness company Intuitive Wisdom and Wellness. I also teach yoga at Melt Hot Fitness with Rachel Kerr! If you read the bio that Rachell posted yesterday you’ll know that I’ve spent many years of my life sick, miserable, and unhappy due to anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. I had tried pretty much everything in hope of finding some relief, but nothing worked. It wasn’t until I attended my first yoga class, and was asked to become aware of my breath, that I started to understand and connect to my body. This led me to pursue a new wellness journey, and eventually a new wellness career.
Today, I am happier, healthier, and more emotionally stable than I’ve ever been before, and I no longer take any harmful medication. What is the biggest tool in my toolbox?? PRANAYAMA BREATHING PRACTICES!!! This is what I will share with you throughout this week.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is one of Pantajali’s 8 limbs of yoga. The 8 limbs of yoga are a source of inspiration and guidance on how to live a balanced life.
Loosely translated Pranayama means “breath control”, or “breath manipulation”. “Prana” also means life force energy, so it is also said that pranayama practices are a way of controlling life force energy.
But why should we care about, or pay attention to, our breath?
It turns out that our breath is directly linked to our nervous system!! (Pretty cool!)
Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for the state of “Fight or Flight” that we encounter when we are stressed. It is also responsible for the state of “Rest and Digest”. Both of these states of being have multiple emotional reactions and side effects associated with them. However, most of us do not have any way of controlling our nervous system, our emotional responses, and our energetic states. This is where pranayama comes into the picture!
What if you could be in control of your nervous system, your emotions, and your health?
See the picture below for some of the benefits pranayama has to offer.
Throughout this week I will introduce various breathing practices. Every body is a little different so I encourage you to give each one a try for yourself. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments, along with any questions you many have.
Happy Monday! ❤
3 – PART BREATH
- Activates parasympathetic nervous system for decreased stress and anxiety
- Helps to reduce blood pressure
- Increases focus and concentration
- Retrains the body how to breath efficiently
Allowing the belly to relax and the entire body to receive the breath signals our nervous system to relax and settle. Therefore, by changing the breath you can alter the nervous systems, along with other systems in the body. Overtime, as we continue practice all 3 parts of the breath, this way of breathing will become second nature. I encourage you to follow the video and try it out. Throughout the day notice as the breath changes. As the breath becomes shallow, come back to the 3-part breath. Notice whats happens in the body and in the mind.
Let me know if you have any questions!
RESPIRATORY RATE AND WHY IT MATTERS!
Happy Hump Day Everyone!
So I’ve never been a social media guru. I know videos are probably the best way to share information, however I have no idea how to post a video on FB that’s longer than one minute (except thru YouTube). This frustrates me because I love the practice of pranayama and I want others to understand the power that it has!
I shared the 3-part breath with you yesterday (check out the video if you haven’t already done so). My plan was to share several other breathing practices with you throughout the rest of the week. I still may do this; however, I have some concerns.
Most people breath in a dysfunctional pattern, unless they have a consistent pranayama practice. This dysfunctional breathing pattern can actually exacerbate stress, anxiety, hypertension, etc. Therefore, it is very useful to stick with the 3-part breath until it becomes second nature. It is helpful to convert dysfunctional breathing patterns into functional ones before moving onto more advanced breathing practices.
***This evening I want you to practice the 3-part breath again (follow along with yesterday’s video). However, today, I want you to count your breath before and after you do the breathing exercise.
1. Set a timer for a minute.
2. Breath naturally as you count the exhales
3. Write down the number of breaths in a journal
4. Repeat this process after completing at least 5 min of 3-part breathing exercise
5. Notice if there are any differences between the two numbers
6. Continue practicing the 3-part breath each day
7. Count the number of breaths in a minute again at the end of the week.
***Respond to the post with your answers.***
Why does your respiratory rate matter?
"Doctors from the Boston University School of Medicine, studied 5000 patients over a period of 30 years and figured that breathing capacity of people could ‘predict both long-term and short-term mortality’. According to Dr. William Kannel, “One’s vital breathing capacity can tell if they are going to die 10, 20 or 30 years from now.”
It was found that sick people have faster respiratory pattern. These include people suffering from asthma, diabetes, heart issues and even cancer. So what exactly happens when you breathe rapidly? It makes your body deficient of carbon dioxide, which in turn reduces the delivery of oxygen to cells. It also cuts down the time you hold your breath, making the automatic halt between breaths almost absent." Click the link to read more!
Does the breathing pattern cause the emotion or does the emotion cause the breathing pattern?
Did you notice anything interesting about your respiratory rate? Did it change after the 3-part breath?
I want to invite you to become more aware of your breath throughout the day. As your emotion changes, notice how the breath changes. Where does it land in the body? Is it shallow or deep? Quick or slow? Smooth or shaky? Can you begin to notice any patterns? Whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious, try to come back to the 3-part breath. Notice what happens as you manually change the breath, if anything.
In the article, “Change how you feel: change how you breath” Catherine Dowling explains the connection between emotions and the breath. She says, “This is important information for anyone struggling to manage his or her emotional life. When caught up in the intensity of an emotion, particularly the so-called “negative” emotions — anger, sadness, fear and its low-lying cousin, anxiety — it is difficult to observe one’s own breathing pattern. But to a detached observer the patterns are obvious. When we’re sad we sigh frequently. When angry, we breathe rapidly. In the grip of fear our breathing is shallow and from the top of the lungs. And sometimes we hold our breath without realizing that’s what we’re doing.
My experience as a therapist tells me the source of our emotions can be complex. They can be linked to thought patterns, old memories and unconscious belief systems, as well as physiological changes in the body. Plumbing these depths alone can be daunting and we often need the support of a therapist. But the element of our emotions that we can manage by ourselves is breathing. We can do this in two ways:
1. Short term: Manage the moment. The researchers gave simple instructions during this study. To elicit joy, “breathe and exhale slowly and deeply through the nose; your breathing is very regular and your ribcage relaxed.” Deep, slow breathing into the belly is strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger. When we cry, for example, we usually gulp air into our upper chest. It is almost impossible to cry and breathe into our belly at the same time. Belly breathing loosens the grip of feeling. Return to upper chest breathing and the emotion and the tears will return. In the midst of strong emotion, the breathing of joy can be utilized to ease emotional pain and stress.
2. Long term: Emotional balance. Does the breathing pattern cause the emotion or does the emotion cause the breathing pattern? This study indicates that emotions may be caused, at least in part, by the way we breathe. We all have our own way of breathing. If you observe breathing patterns in others you will see great variation in speed, depth, location in the lungs, and in the length and type of pause between breaths.
The significance of a particular breathing pattern varies from person to person but they all say something about the way that person interacts with life. Shallow breathing often accompanies fear, however subtly that fear might be felt. Deep, full breathing often accompanies confidence, however quietly confidence might be expressed. When a full breather takes shallow breaths over a prolonged period, they begin to feel the hint of panic that lack of oxygen can induce. The shallow breather can feel that all the time, without being aware of it.”
If you would like to read more of this article I’ll post the link in the comments.
I’d love to hear what you notice about the breath! Happy breathing! 🙏❤
Get curious! Try some breathing excerises!
I hope you all had a good week of becoming aware of your breath! Once you notice the patterns of breathing that occur through out the day, you can begin to use various breathing practices to acheive desired emotional and energetic states of being.
The best way to do this is to work with a breath coach! This is what I love to do. I love helping people learn how to use the breath to bring about massive change.
For more info on private pranayama lessons follow the link in the comments section!
Another great way to learn which breathing practices are best for you is through trial and error. Everyone is so different! Just like there is no one size fits all diet, there is no one size fits all pranayama practice. I encourage you to look at the list below and try and few out! Notice the different effects in the body and mind!
Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. 🙏❤