With all the articles during COVID on ways to deal with anxiety and stress – oh, and the cousin of those two often debilitating emotions — fear, breathwork, and meditation have certainly become bigger buzz words than ever before in the wellness and self-care space as people everywhere strive to recenter and recalibrate life on a daily basis.
As a passionate breathwork teacher and mental, physical and spiritual wellness warrior, I’ve been working in this field for 26 years and I tried all the modalities out there for getting “back to good”.
After sifting through all of them, below are my top 7 tips for using breathwork and mindfulness techniques to rise up to a more calibrated and joyful state when these emotions try to take you down.
Tip # 1
The easiest and most accessible of all. Simply take a big deep breath. My version of a big deep breath has a twist to it though. I like to add a deep guttural sigh of release (and relief) at the end of the breath.
How to do it:
Start with a slow steady inhale into the nose for a count of 3-4 seconds– filling the belly and the chest with oxygen – then open the mouth and let out a big guttural sigh for a count of 4-6 seconds. Make the sound of one long HA or a series of HA HA HA’s or any other sound that feels cathartic. Relax everything as you repeat this 2-3 more times or until relief is felt.
Create a daily mindful breathing practice that consists of breath awareness exercises. The goal of this type of breathwork is to get present with the inflow and outflow of the breath by noticing the length of each breath, the sensations of the breath, and all the nuances that take place with each wave of the breath cycle.
Practice moving meditations, this is a different style than traditional seated meditation and is done by simply becoming aware of your breath, your surroundings, your senses, and each movement as you engage in any regular activity throughout the day.
5 minute Trail of Gratitude practice – this is one of my favorites and is part of my daily wellness routine. You can do this seated or lying down – this is how I end each breathwork class I teach and it’s a beautiful way to combine gratitude and visualization (another powerful mindfulness technique)
How to do it:
Picture yourself in your favorite place in nature, and see yourself standing there – your bare feet firmly rooted on the ground beneath you.
In front of you is a trail and it’s clear you are meant to walk down it.
As you stand there, begin to see all of the people in your life that have touched you, changed your life for the better, deeply impacted you – all the people you are grateful for, and see them one by one appearing on this trail of gratitude.
Walk up to them, look deep into their eyes and say “thank you, I’m grateful for you” and give them a big hug for touching your life. Continue doing this for 5 minutes or more and see how many people you can call onto this trail of gratitude. This practice brings tears every time.
Finally, another of my favorite wellness and mindfulness practices involves combining some of the above (breathwork and visualizations) in the shower with the addition of self-massage for relaxation and stress relief.
How to do it:
Start with some deep mindful breathing. Take a breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, making an audible sigh on the exhale. Do several cycles of these “deep sigh breaths” – letting the sighs be freeing, relaxing, and soothing.
Then do a body scan which is simply starting at your feet and working your way to the top of your head by checking in with each area of your body for any discomfort, stress, tightness, or stuck energy along the way.
As you move up the body, breathe into each new area and see where you might need to add some self-massage along with the warm water from the shower targeting that area. Take a few minutes to massage that area until relief is found and the body scan is complete.
A great way to start any day is with what I call RAPfirmations (my version of affirmations) This is taking your normal affirmations list (if you don’t have one start creating one by writing out what you would like to create for yourself in the future in every realm of your life; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, and in your relationships.
Examples are phrases like:
- I am abundant and healthy in all my relationships.
- I am creating magical masterpieces with my passions and in my work.
- I am in charge of the way I feel and the energy I create all day every day.
- I am dancing into beautiful opportunities always.
Once you have YOUR list I have found that singing or “rapping” them has created more of a connection to my affirmations practice over the last few years…seriously, give it a try, you’ll see what I mean.
Pay attention to the way you respond or engage with the world around you throughout the day. Rather than instantly reacting to a situation, someone else’s energy, or the content you consume from a place of emotion, instead, with each encounter you have – remember to take a deep breath, lean into the present moment (stay out of the past or present) drop reactivity and feel and breathe for at least 10 seconds. Allow yourself to respond or react only when you feel a true connection to your center.
Give these tips a test drive and let me know which one is your favorite. But either way, remember we are always one deep breath away from feeling lighter, freer, and more connected.
To learn more about how tapping into breathwork and mindfulness techniques change up-level your life connect with me on Instagram @rebeccakordecki.com or visit my website www.thebreath.zone.
Rebecca Kordecki is the founder of The Breath Zone, RKFIT and the creator of Booty Slide, a full-body slide-based workout that sold at Walmart and Kmart. She has enjoyed a very successful 25-year career as a highly sought after celebrity fitness trainer, a health and wellness specialist, corporate coach, writer, and motivational speaker.
In the last four years, Rebecca added breathwork to her list of expertise and has built a massive following as one of the top breathwork coaches teaching people to get out of their heads and into their hearts in a variety of cities all over the country.
She’s been featured on The Today Show, EXTRA, TruTV, Hollywoodlife.com, Daily Candy.com and in Vogue Magazine, Men’s Health, The New York Times, InStyle, Fitness, TimeOut NY and many others. Kordecki was recently named one of the “Women to Watch” by Strong Fitness Magazine.
Current and past celebrity clients include: Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Khloe Kardashian, Dakota Johnson, Melanie Griffith, Jim Carrey, Jim Belushi, Jay Glazer, Melanie Griffith, Rebel Wilson, Anastacia, Cassie, Raquel Welch, Hunter Tylo (“The Bold and The Beautiful”), Oliver Stone, Rick Fox, Elijah Wood, Scott Wolf (ABC’s V and Party of Five). Kevin Love, Russell Wilson, Roy Hibbert, and Reggie Bush,