10 FINGERS 10 TOES 4 PAWS 1 HEART
A SWIFT AND EFFECTIVE BODY-CENTRED BREATHING EXERCISE TO RESTORE BALANCE
There are times when whatever is present about the challenges you are facing in your life makes it very difficult to feel you are in control or have any real choice about what is happening. Try this swift routine. It takes only minutes but has the power to lower your stress levels leaving you feeling much calmer. It literally gives you some breathing space to become receptive to finding where and what your choices are by accessing your creative imagination and its ability to guide you when feeling very stuck or trapped.
• breathing to switch of sympathetic arousal
• physical sensation to restore the connection between the boy and the thinking brain
• stretching to release blocked tension in the body
• creative visualisation technique to restore balance and access guidance as to how to alter your perspective.
• Mindfulness which brings you into the present moment helping you to hold a boundary to both the past in the future
Find somewhere comfortable to sit away from noise and other external distractions. Switch off your phone.
Now turn your attention inside and focus on your breathing seeing if you can keep your focus on a complete breath in and out.
Do this 5 times.
Which is easier – the in breath or the out breath?
Put your attention on which ever it is and gently lend your support to what your body is actually doing.
Now switch to doing this with the out breath and gently extend your out breath.
Make contact with your right thumb and imagine yourself breathing in to your chest and breathing out slowly and smoothly through the end of your right thumb. Then do the same with your left thumb. Continue this method but focussing on each finger of both hands in this sequence e.g. right index finger, left index finger, right central finger, left central finger etc. .etc,
Breath into all your fingers and stretch them as you breath out then push from first one palm of the hand then do the same with the other. Stretch and breath out both palms together. Repeat this sequence now with your toes and breath out though the soles of your feet. Imagine you are now breathing in and out through four paws. What kind of animal has paws like this?
As you continue breathing allow your imagination to expand to gather details about this animal – its skin or fur; its nature; its strength and qualities; how you feel towards it.
Can you imagine yourself making eye contact with it?
How does that make you feel?
Can you imagine yourself as the animal looking at you?
How does it feel towards you? Can you feel your heart beat?
Can you imagine your heart beat and this animal’s heart beat being one and the same?
Bring yourself back to your external surroundings and see how you feel.
Then ask yourself if there is any way that the qualities and strengths of the animal you have connected with might be of use to the situation you are currently facing? Write these answers down or record them in some kind of way.
It can be very valuable to find a picture of this animal and keep this with you to remind you to connect to it consciously as you live your life.
As you continue connecting with your breathing and your imagination in this way, the paws and the animal you find changes according to the situations you are considering.
The more your practice this exercise, the more you will remember to do it and notice when your stress levels are heightened.
This exercise recorded will soon be available to download on the www.artismedicine.co.uk website.
“The quality of your breath affects the quality of your life” – Leonard Orr