The Importance of the Breath

Written by Kristen, kids yoga, vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, and yoga twist instructor at Hot Feet Fitness.


I often have my clients ask me why it is so important to practice breathing. Like because they do it all the time it has lost any value or intention and is just automatic and disconnected from everything else. However, the opposite is true. Breathing is the easiest way of understanding our underlying emotions and of our physical experience. It creates opportunity for transformation because it connects us so completely with all that we are capable. 


How are you breathing right now? 

When you take control of your breath, take control of body and mind. 

Direct the breath down into your tummy. Put your hands on your belly. Feel it move. It gets bigger as you inhale and smaller as you exhale. Inhale deeply and exhale completely just once and you can notice the mind is calmer and more peaceful. 


Direct the breathe into the ribs. Wrap your thumbs around the back of your waist and try to feel you breathe with your fingers. The ribs move like an umbrella, opening on an inhale and closing on an exhale. This wider breathing can support space between the middle and lower back, giving posture support where we need it most. Try it and notice that the core has to turn on and be more supportive, not to mention this requires focus and intention. So we drop into a different frequency of consciousness, no longer riding the waves of thought, but getting still and aware. 

Now direct your breath into your chest. Bring your fingertips under your collar bones and feel the breath down at your sternum. The shoulders become more relaxed, if they were not already, and the neck feels less burdened, because the head will naturally come back into better alignment when we breathe into the chest. 


Naturally the way we breathe supports good posture and even a good mood. These things are not disconnected. Feeling good comes from breathing good, just like observing how your breathing can be labored or shallow with stress. 


One of the easiest ways to support good posture is to breathe well. Not just breathing into the tummy, but to breathe into the sides and back of the ribs as well as the chest. This three-part breathing will enhance your proprioception, interception, and general self awareness. 


Please don't take my word for it. Don't just believe what I am saying. Challenge yourself. Transformation starts in the transition from inhale to exhale and exhale to inhale. Do you want to feel better? Start by breathing better.

Healthy Work-From-Home Habits

Millions are taking their work home this month in order to do their part in keeping families, friends, and community safe through social distancing. During this time, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of your work-life-balance. When bringing the office into the home space, home and work responsibilities can seem to blend into one long unending task. Working in isolation can also make you lonely, anxious, and affect your performance. 




To break the monotony and keep healthy work habits at home, here are a few tips to help bring balance and mindfulness into your routine:


1. Keep or create a morning ritual.


Just because your “office” may be in your home doesn’t mean you have to give up your morning routine. Make getting ready for the day a ritual, one where you can ease yourself out of rest and into the work you plan to do for the day. Maybe start your day with a little meditation, exercise, a nice shower and a cup of tea or coffee. Try to avoid checking the news or social media for the first few moments after waking, you’ll have the rest of the day to be bombarded by others. Let the morning be just for you.


2. Create a dedicated workspace and transform the space during work hours.


Our minds are always working, even when we are unaware. We subconsciously attribute our work space to our work. By transforming a dedicated area of our home into a workspace during work hours, we tell our subconscious mind that it is time to focus and put our energy into work. We can turn this off by changing the workspace once work hours are finished. This will allow our subconscious mind to rest and feel that work is over for the day. The space is no longer here to subconsciously trigger you to work and you can rest until tomorrow.


3. Move, stretch, check-in periodically.


Sitting for long periods of time can be one of the most detrimental things to our health, especially for those of us who work in office jobs. Try to make a habit of standing up every hour, moving, and checking-in with ourselves. Set a timer if you have to. 


4. Manage your work hours. Shut down when off-hours.


It is easy to blend work into your home life when working from home. This makes it challenging further down the line, to effectively relax and restore. The purpose of turning off is to rest so that we can be recharged and be ready to embrace the next day's challenges effectively. 


5. Stay connected!

Set some time to connect with your co-workers, families, and friends. Set up a time to call or check-in. Many people are scheduling online social hours during this time. Stay in community.


Remember, the only person responsible for your health and well-being is you. Let’s move toward a path of empowerment and not forget to work for ourselves when working from home.


Written by Diana, a Barre Teacher at Hot Feet