Breathe in some Christmas Presence with these Powerful Techniques
For many of us, Christmas is going to look a little different this year. There will be missed events and empty chairs around the dinner table due to distance and growing COVID concerns. It’s a bummer and is taking some magic out of the season for many of us.
Conscious breathing is all the rage these days. It’s a powerful way to create serious shifts in your nervous system. You’re breathing all the time anyway, so you might as well learn to use it in an effective way.
We could all use some holiday cheer and practicing conscious breathing exercises might help you through this challenging holiday season. When you get present with your breath, you are able to be more present with others. This is a most precious gift that we all desire.
This year at Christmas put down your phone and get present with the people around you.
Below are 3 breathing techniques that will help you stay present this Christmas.
- 4x4 Breathing
Balancing your breath can help increase your ability to focus and listen. Using your breath to bring presence to your mind actually expands your ability to listen.
4x4 breathing is a simple and effective way to balance your nervous system out. If you’re feeling wired it will help calm you, and if you’re tired it will help energize you. No matter what is happening around you this holiday, 4x4 breathing will help keep you in balance, Inviting peace into a chaotic mind.
How to perform 4x4 Breathing
- Be mindful of your posture. Move your back away from any support and plant your feet firmly on the ground.
- Begin by inhaling through your nose to the count of four. Let the breath come from your belly.
- Take a slight pause at the top and feel the air move through your body.
- Exhale fully through the nose to the count of four. Consciously let go of thoughts and toxins that no longer serve you.
- Repeat for five cycles.
This year when your Great Aunt Marg tells stories of growing up in Montana or asking you if you have a boyfriend yet, try this technique. Instead of letting your mind wander and wishing you were talking with someone else, breathe. Become present with yourself and actively listen to her story. The experience will be more enjoyable for you and your presence will be a gift of love to your aunt.
2. Hot Chocolate Breathing
This is a fun breathing technique to do with the whole family. It’s especially fun for the little ones. It helps those over-active minds to calm down and enjoy the moment.
Christmas can be overwhelming for kids. As parents and adults, we want to rejoice and live through the wonder of their eyes. But for a kid, this can be a lot of pressure. Going from place to place and opening gifts you want to play with but can’t because you have 3 more stops before dinner. AHHH!
It’s a lot.
Hot Chocolate Breathing can help you and your child slow down and be present in the movement. Teaching this breath always encourages kids to stay curious in the moment. A little make-believe for everyone involved and usually strikes up a conversation.
How to perform Hot Chocolate Breathing
- Gather the family around for some hot chocolate. You can have real hot chocolate or just pretend.
- Have everyone bring the hot chocolate up to their nose and take a big whiff of their “beverage” (the inhale)
- Now with full lungs you gently blow on the hot chocolate to cool it down as you exhale.
- Repeat 3 to 5 rounds. Smelling on the inhale, and blowing on the exhale.
Slow everyone in the family down with three to five rounds of hot chocolate breathing. All will be present and engaged in this fun activity.
3. Triangle breathing
Mindful breathing is a gift for all around you. As you turn these moments of pressure into moments of bliss the ripple effect will be echoed around you.
Triangle breathing is a great opportunity to add a mantra to the routine.
How to perform Triangle Breathing
- Imagine an upside-down Triangle
- Starting at the bottom point you’ll breathe in for 4 counts
- Hold at the top for 4 counts
- And exhale for 4 counts
It’s a great practice to add a personal mantra or message to yourself.
- As you breathe in you say “I receive breath.”
- As you hold at the top you say, “I hold breath”
- As you exhale you say, “I offer breath”
Once you are comfortable doing this you can add in whatever you like.
My favorites are:
- “I receive love, I hold love, I offer love.”
- “I receive light, I hold light, I offer light.”
- “I receive peace, I hold peace, I offer peace.”
You can do anything. It’s a fun one to get carried away with. You can consciously breathe in understanding. Consciously hold knowledge, and you can consciously offer compassion.
Tailor it to your needs. You might have a family who you don’t see eye to eye with. Seriously, who doesn’t? But you can choose to breathe acceptance.
Observe the Moment to Moment
We all would like to believe that we are fully present most of the time when the reality is that most of the time we are lost to the moment. Too busy posting on social media, or texting with a friend to engage in the moment.
Breathwork helps us slow down and become more fully present.
This Christmas slow down and observe your experience moment to moment. Use your breath to connect deeper. As your breath expands and deepens so too can your connections. You’ll discover the blessing of slowing down and being in the moment.
It is better than any gift under the tree.
Through the years when you think back on holidays past it’s truly about the people and experiences over any gift.
Breathwork is a way to add value to your experience beyond any material object
Breathwork takes you off auto-pilot. Christmas is a season of unity and gratitude. With simple practices in mindful breathing you will find that warmth and joy replace difficulty and tension.
No need to change anyone or anything around you. Just breathe.