My Chicago Now Guest Post series is continuing today. Elizabeth Rago is mom of 3, writer at Parenting without a Parachute, loyal reader and commenter. I love her feedback and feel like we are long lost friends even though we have only met in real life once.
I'm thrilled Elizabeth took the time to write a post for Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom about breathing. Breathing is fundamental in every moment, but can be extremely challenging at times.
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Breathing. Who knew it has such power over my day?
Yes, I know if I did not breathe I would not be alive, but the truth is - breathing saves my sanity on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. For years I sat in yoga classes listening to the teacher talk about being mindful of my breathing. Cracking my eyes open on my mat, I often looked around to see what other people in the class were doing.
Closing my eyes, I wondered - How do I become mindful of my breathing?
I have spent the last 5 years having babies or holding one, which has proven to be a daunting task for my body. From pelvic problems to spinal headaches, I found my greatest resource for encouragement and inspiration in regards to my physical body was a private lesson from my dear friend and yoga instructor, Trina Altman. The personal assessment of my physical concerns combined with the critique and correction of my yoga stance helped me survive during physically challenging days. First and foremost, Trina taught me to open my chest and allow myself to breathe.
This simple act of purposefully taking extra time during the day to fill my lungs with more oxygen has helped me…
…be patient with my children.
I thought I was a patient person before I had kids. But once I realized these tiny beings were not mindless drones, rather, smallpeoplewho have opinions and ideas of their own, naturally we began to bump heads. By the time my first born was three, I found myself scolding and raising my voice quite a bit when I was not obeyed. One day, I overheard a preschool teacher talking to a frustrated child about taking a big deep breath and counting to 10 before he punched a friend out of frustration. It was then that I realized this simple, yet effective coping skill was the perfect solution to my impatient manner.
…in emotionally challenging situations
My son broke his arm last year and when your baby is hurt, it is easy to find yourself consumed by concern. As little Raymond was being treated by the paramedics, I found myself tearing up at the sight of his skinny bent arm. Snapped out of my worried thoughts, the soft voice of my 5-year-old calmed my frazzled state : "Mama, I am going to do my breathing. I will be all right." I realized then how much children observe and absorb their parents' behavior. Even the simple act of breathing.
I have to admit, I am not shy and for years found myself boisterously initiating conversations when meeting with clients. Today, I find myself taking a deep breath before I speak and allowing myself time to take in my surroundings and gather my thoughts before I speak. Just one small breath seems to set a positive tone and pace for a more productive meeting.
What tools do you use to help you get through a stressful day? Over time, have you found these positive tools turning more into a ritual rather than a necessary habit?
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Elizabeth Rago is an eternal optimist, who tries to face the uncertainty of each day with humor and a hot cup of coffee. She is a wife, mother, small business owner, and writer who makes mistakes but lives to talk (and usually laugh) about them. Feel free to get social with her on Twitter @bethrago or visit her at Parenting Without a Parachute on ChicagoNow.com www.chicagonow.com/parentingwithoutaparachute