Reopening Date: August 3rd
I’m looking forward to seeing clients beginning on Monday, August 3rd (barring dramatic change in the curve between now and then).
I’ll open my schedule the week of July 20th to start booking August appointments and will update this page when that’s available. I’ll also email those whose appointments were displaced by the shutdown, and shortly thereafter will email my other clients.
Drop me a note if you’re a new client, or thinking about becoming a client, and would like an email when my calendar is open. I am available now for free Zoom- or phone-based consultations for people who want to talk about whether Structural Integration is right for them.
As always, I’m available for virtual consultations about self-care, or Zoom-based sessions to coach yoga, body rolling, or self-bodywork. How can I help?
Resource: Balancing the Nervous System with Breath
How you breathe affects both your structure and your body chemistry. Have you been breathing during the lockdown? Clearly, you’ve been breathing enough to not pass out, but when is the last time you took a full, nourishing breath?
Inhaling stimulates the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) part of your nervous system, while exhaling stimulates the parasympathetic (rest & digest) part of your nervous system. When we’re under stress, we tend to hold our breath on the inhale (like the gasp that happens when something greatly surprises us). The other day I went to exhale and noticed it felt like it had been a while since I’d exhaled fully. Taking the time to do so felt fantastic! Instantly calmer.
Long exhalations, and exhalations that are longer than your inhalations, have a calming effect. When you have a spare 2-5 minutes, I recommend you try the following:
- First, notice the breath. Does your breath feel shallow or full? Is your belly expanding or contracting on the inhalation? What is it like to try to take slightly more full breaths? What is it like to invite your belly to rise on the inhalation?
- If you find you can’t take fuller breaths, or have trouble expanding your belly, place your hand gently on the areas that feel stuck. You might lie on your back with your knees up or get into whatever position feels most comfortable. Take a minute or two to invite your breath to meet your hand. Stay playful and curious, exploring what’s possible rather than trying to force change. After 1-2 minutes, recheck your breath. Is it a little freer? If you find a new restriction somewhere else, repeat this step with your hand in that new place.
- Try slowing down your breath. Notice how many counts your inhalation lasts (seconds, Mississippis, whatever works), and how many counts it takes to exhale. Let’s say it happens to be 4 counts in and 4 counts out.
- For the next three breaths, try to spend two additional counts on your exhale, so 4 in, 6 out
- Next 3 breaths: 6 in, 6 out
- Last increment: 6 in, 8 out
These numbers are approximate. Aim for making both inhale and exhale longer and slower, and to keep your exhale a little longer than the inhale. This only works if you keep it easy; forcing the breath is stressful.
I’d love to hear what you found when you tried it. What changes did you notice? Did any questions come up for you?
Can’t wait to see you in person soon! In the meantime, be well and stay safe.