From reading my blogs, connecting on social media or engaging in person you most likely know that I am a creature of habit. I like order, organization, and routine. When I fall out of my systems I feel like I am spiraling into a life of chaos.
I have a couple of habits and routines to make sure that I am on my terms as I go throughout my day. Some may call it meditation practice, but I like to call it “breathing exercises”. I have trouble meditating. When I am told to think about nothing, I think about everything. Focusing on my breathing patterns allows me to disengage from my own thoughts. This process takes about 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. Here’s how I start my day, every day:
- Apnea Breathing. Every morning after I drink about 10-12 ounces of water, I perform 10 tempo breaths starting at 2 seconds inhale, 8 seconds pause, 4 seconds exhale. As this becomes easier and easier you can add time in the ratio of 1 second inhale, 4 seconds pause, 2 seconds exhale. This morning I performed a 5-second inhale, 20-second pause, 10-second exhale sequence. A great tool to help you do this breathing is to download the app, Apnea Trainer (the app looks like this).
- Priming Exercise. This is a routine I have taken right from the Tony Robbin’s UPW seminar I attended in March. It is also outlined in Tim Ferris’s book, Tools of Titans and I’m just going to outline the process.
- Perform 3 sets of 30 nasal breaths. With each inhale reach your arms up overhead and with each exhale drop your elbows down by the rib cage. After each set of thirty breaths sit for a minute or two breathing normally with your eyes closed and your hands in your lap.
- Once you have completed the breathing exercises, you will then go into your priming exercises. The exercises are broken into three parts:
- “Three things you are grateful for.” The description is pretty close to the exact explanation. For a couple minutes, think about three things you are grateful for. This can be a time in your life, a person in your life, or a moment – the simpler, the better.
- “Three things you would like to heal.” Think of physical ailments, relationships, finances, incidents, etc…
- “Three to thrive.” Here you will think about three things you would like to achieve or have. This keeps us pushing for more and stepping outside of our comfort zones for what’s possible.
If this is confusing to you, here is a great guide where Tony walks you through the entire process. It’s a little bit longer than what I believe it takes on your own. Here it is:
- Pranayama Breathing. The last part of my routine includes another quick breathing drill, however, this time I incorporate static stretching into my breaths. The tempo is slightly different from Apnea breathing and I like to start with a tempo of 2-second inhale, 2-second hold, 4-second exhale, 2-second pause. As this becomes easier just add time in the ratio of 1-second inhale, 1-second hold, 2-second exhale, 1-second pause. I perform three different stretches, each containing four breath sequences. The stretches I typically default to are seated pike stretch, child’s pose, and seiza sit. However, you should choose stretches that coincide areas that either tight or painful on your body. You can use the Apnea Trainer App for this as well.
There are tons of ways to start your day, practice gratitude and de-stress, this is just what I have found to work well for me. If you have found something that works well for you, I would love to read it. Please just comment below and fill me in