Brain Tool #17: Holiday Breath

No! Don’t take out the breath mints! Do take out the yoga mat and treat yourself to this holiday, de-stressing brain booster!

Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

1. In a seated, standing or supine position —  place the left palm on the lower abs and the right palm on the heart
2. Think of a “holiday” word that brings you into a positive state. For example:  joy, peace, love, renewal, stillness, light, etc.
3. Inhale through the nose, feeling the abs release against the left palm. Imagine your “holiday” word “riding-in” on your inhale
4. Hold your breath for several seconds
5. Now, say your “holiday” word as you exhale. Listen with your full body!
6. Repeat the process

Holiday Breath Variations to Inspire Flexible Thinking:

1. Follow the same process while keeping a steady tapping pulse on the heart with the right hand
2. Vocalize your “holiday” word on a musical pitch
3. Close your eyes and visualize the meaning of your word illuminating  your cells and vibrating the cell walls
4. Extend the vocalization of your word by elongating  the vowels
5. Visualize your “holiday” word in color & 3D
6. Change your “holiday” word to a 1 word New Year’s resolution

What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:

1. The hand on the abs helps to ground you  and support your ability to focus on your breath, stabilizing a “busy brain”
2. The gentle holding of the breath (step 4) allows your brain and body to “reboot” and regroup
3. Listening to your word while exhaling slows and extends your respiration. This deepens your breath, bringing your into a state of rest and relaxation
4. Repetition with novelty (playing with variations of color, pitch and dimension) enhances the potency and memory of your “holiday” word and is a handy tool for other working memory tasks

Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!