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Pause to Breathe, Breathe to Pause: Navigating the Holidays with Your Wise Body


The holiday season, with its mix of joy and stress, often leaves us tangled in a web of year-end responsibilities and festivities. While we're busy wrapping presents and tying up loose ends, it's easy to lose sight of our well-being amidst the chaos. Amid this holiday rush, there's a simple yet powerful solution—listening to your Wise Body.


The Wisdom Within

Our bodies are incredible, adaptive machines. Beyond the basic signals of hunger and fatigue, our minds and emotions play complex roles in our well-being. The constant mental chatter can distract, judge, and induce fear, doubt, and worry. Amidst the holiday hustle, it's essential to pause and tune in to the wisdom of your own body.


Self-Discovery Through Self-Awareness

Thriving during the holidays begins with self-discovery, a journey that commences with self-awareness and self-acceptance. During the chaos, take a moment to check in with your Wise Body.


Check-in:

  1. How does my body feel? (Take note of tension, tightness, or any sensations.)

  2. What kind of thoughts am I having? (Identify planning thoughts, fearful thoughts, or moments of joy.)

  3. What am I feeling? (Acknowledge and accept your emotions without judgment.)

This simple practice sets the stage for the next crucial step—connecting with your breath.


Pause to Breathe, Breath to Pause

As you check-in, you'll gradually become more present, setting aside the anxieties and destructive thoughts. Introducing the breath, a powerful tool available to all living beings, allows you to create a pause and become aware of your needs in the moment.


3-Point Breath:

Notice Your Breath:

  • Observe the tempo and temperature of your breath through your nose.

Hand Placement:

  • Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.

Inhale and Exhale:

  • Inhale, allowing your belly to expand like a balloon.

  • Exhale, drawing your naval toward your back.

Expand Your Breath:

  • Inhale deeper, feeling your rib cage expand.

  • Exhale, progressively moving from your rib cage down to your belly, drawing your naval in towards your back body.

  • Inhale deeper up to the top of your lungs, feeling your collarbones expand.

  • Exhale, progressively moving from your collarbones down through your rib cage to your belly, releasing all the air.

  • Repeat this deep breathing for several rounds as long as you need.

Reflect:

  • Ask yourself: What do you need to thrive right now?


Embracing the Pause

Both the check-in and the 3-point breath are flexible practices that can be incorporated seamlessly into your day. Whether standing in line, sitting in your car, or preparing a holiday meal, take a moment to listen to your Wise Body. Give it the attention it needs and deserves during this bustling holiday season.


Remember, in the art of thriving during the holidays and throughout your life, sometimes all it takes is a pause to breathe and a breath to pause.

 

Author: Phyllis Smith

As the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Live Free Mindfully (LFM), Phyllis Smith has played a pivotal role in shaping the organization's mission and expanding its reach since its establishment in 2016.


Phyllis is a certified Yoga Instructor (RYT-200) and children's Yoga Instructor (RCYT-95). She has also undergone training as a mindfulness teacher, specializing in delivering mindfulness-based programs to both youth and adults. Her dedication to mindfulness extends beyond individual practice, as she has been instrumental in

Live Free Mindfully's growth. The organization now offers a range of programs, including mindfulness and movement initiatives for youth, professional development for educators, and training and support for school staff, communities, and businesses.


[Photo of author, Phyllis Smith, by Kathy Tran]

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